1And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
(σημειον μεγα). The first of the visions to be so described (13:3; 15:1), and it is introduced by ωφθη as in 11:19; 12:3, not by μετα ταυτο or by ειδον or by ειδον κα ιδου as heretofore. This "sign" is really a τερας (wonder), as it is so by association in Mt 24:24; Joh 4:48; Ac 2:22; 5:12. The element of wonder is not in the word σημειον as in τερας, but often in the thing itself as in Lu 21:11; Joh 9:16; Re 13:13ff.; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20.
(γυνη). Nominative case in apposition with σημειον. "The first 'sign in heaven' is a Woman--the earliest appearance of a female figure in the Apocalyptic vision" (Swete).
(περιβεβλημενη τον ηλιον). Perfect passive participle of περιβαλλω, with the accusative retained as so often (9 times) in the Apocalypse. Both Charles and Moffatt see mythological ideas and sources behind the bold imagery here that leave us all at sea. Swete understands the Woman to be "the church of the Old Testament" as "the Mother of whom Christ came after the flesh. But here, as everywhere in the Book, no sharp dividing line is drawn between the Church of the Old Testament and the Christian Society." Certainly she is not the Virgin Mary, as verse 17 makes clear. Beckwith takes her to be "the heavenly representative of the people of God, the ideal Zion, which, so far as it is embodied in concrete realities, is represented alike by the people of the Old and the New Covenants." John may have in mind Isa 7:14 (Mt 1:23; Lu 1:31) as well as Mic 4:10; Isa 26:17f.; 66:7 without a definite picture of Mary. The metaphor of childbirth is common enough (Joh 16:21; Ga 4:19). The figure is a bold one with the moon "under her feet" (υποκατω των ποδων αυτης) and "a crown of twelve stars" (στεφανος αστερων δωδεκα), a possible allusion to the twelve tribes (Jas 1:1; Re 21:12) or to the twelve apostles (Re 21:14).
2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
(κα βασανιζομενη). "And tormented" (present passive participle of βασανιζω, for which see already 9:5; 11:10), only here in N.T. in sense of childbirth.
(τεκειν). Second aorist active infinitive of τικτω, to give birth, epexegetical use. Also in verse 4.
3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
(αλλο σημειον). "A second tableau following close upon the first and inseparable from it" (Swete).
(κα ιδου). As often (4:1; 6:2,5,8, etc.).
(δρακων μεγας πυρρος). Homer uses this old word (probably from δερκομα, to see clearly) for a great monster with three heads coiled like a serpent that ate poisonous herbs. The word occurs also in Hesiod, Pindar, Eschylus. The Babylonians feared a seven-headed hydra and Typhon was the Egyptian dragon who persecuted Osiris. One wonders if these and the Chinese dragons are not race memories of conflicts with the diplodocus and like monsters before their disappearance. Charles notes in the O.T. this monster as the chief enemy of God under such title as Rahab (Isa 51:9f.; Job 26:12f.), Behemoth (Job 40:15-24), Leviathan (Isa 27:1), the Serpent (Am 9:2ff.). In Ps 74:13 we read of "the heads of the dragons." On πυρρος (red) see 6:4. Here (12:9) and in 20:2 the great dragon is identified with Satan. See Da 7 for many of the items here, like the ten horns (Da 7:7) and hurling the stars (Da 8:10). The word occurs in the Apocalypse alone in the N.T.
(επτα διαδηματα). Old word from διαδεω (to bind around), the blue band marked with white with which Persian kings used to bind on the tiara, so a royal crown in contrast with στεφανος (chaplet or wreath like the Latin corona as in 2:10), in N.T. only here, 13:1; 19:12. If Christ as Conqueror has "many diadems," it is not strange that Satan should wear seven (ten in 13:1).
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
(η ουρα αυτου). See 9:10,19.
(συρε). Present active indicative of συρω, old verb, to drag, here alone in the Apocalypse, but see Joh 21:8.
(εβαλεν αυτους). Second aorist active indicative. Charles takes this to refer to a war in heaven between the good angels and Satan, with the fall of some angels (Jude 1:6). But John may have in mind the martyrs before Christ (Heb 11:32f.) and after Christ's ascension (Mt 23:35).
(εστηκεν). Imperfect active of a late verb, στηκω, from the perfect εστηκα of ιστημ, graphic picture of the dragon's challenge of the woman who is about to give birth.
(οταν τεκη). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the second aorist active subjunctive of τικτω, "whenever she gives birth."
(ινα καταφαγη). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of κατεσθιω, to eat up (down). Cf. Jer 28:34. This is what Pharaoh did to Israel (Ex 1:15-22; Ps 85:13; Isa 27:1; 51:9; Eze 29:3). Precisely so the devil tried to destroy the child Jesus on his birth.
5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
(ετεκεν υιον). Literally, "she bore a son" (second aorist active indicative of τικτω).
(αρσεν). So A C with the neuter τεκνον or παιδιον in mind, as often in O.T. (ετεκεν αρσεν, Ex 1:16ff.; 2:2; Le 12:2,7; Isa 66:7; Jer 20:15, etc.), but P and some cursives read αρσενα (masculine accusative), as in verse 13 (τον αρσενα), while Aleph Q have αρρενα. The word is old (either αρσην or αρρην), as in Mt 19:4, only in this chapter in the Apocalypse. It is really redundant after υιον (son), as in Tob. 6:12 (Aleph).
(ος μελλε ποιμαινειν παντα τα εθνη εν ραβδω σιδηρα). See 2:27 for these words (from Ps 2:9) applied there to victorious Christians also, and in 19:15 to the triumphant Christian. His rule will go beyond the Jews (Mt 2:6). There is here, of course, direct reference to the birth of Jesus from Mary, who thus represented in her person this "ideal woman" (God's people).
(ηρπασθη). First aorist passive indicative of αρπαζω, old verb for seizing or snatching away, as in Joh 10:12, here alone in the Apocalypse. Reference to the ascension of Christ, with omission of the ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ because he is here simply showing that "the Dragon's vigilance was futile" (Swete). "The Messiah, so far from being destroyed, is caught up to a share in God's throne" (Beckwith).
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
(εφυγεν εις την ερημον). Second aorist active indicative of φευγω. Here, of course, not Mary, but "the ideal woman" (God's people) of the preceding verses, who fled under persecution of the dragon. God's people do not at once share the rapture of Christ, but the dragon is unable to destroy them completely. The phrases used here seem to be reminiscent of De 8:2ff. (wanderings of Israel in the wilderness), 1Ki 17:2f. and 19:3f. (Elijah's flight), I Macc. 2:29 (flight of the Jews from Antiochus Epiphanes), Mt 2:13 (flight of Joseph and Mary to Egypt), Mr 13:14 (the flight of Christians at the destruction of Jerusalem).
(οπου--εκε). Hebrew redundancy (where--there) as in 3:8; 8:9,9; 13:8,12; 17:9; 20:8.
(ητοιμασμενον). Perfect passive predicate participle of ετοιμαζω, for which verb see Mt 20:23; Re 8:6; 9:7,15; 16:12; 19:7; 21:2, and for its use with τοπος Joh 14:2f. and for the kind of fellowship meant by it (Ps 31:21; 2Co 13:13; Col 3:3; 1Jo 1:3).
(ινα εκε τρεφωσιν αυτην). Purpose clause with ινα and the present for continued action: active subjunctive according to A P though C reads τρεφουσιν, present active indicative, as is possible also in 13:17 and certainly so in 1Jo 5:20 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 984), a solecism in late vernacular Greek. The plural is indefinite "they" as in 10:11; 11:9. One MSS. has τρεφετα (is nourished). The stereotyped phrase occurs here, as in 11:2f., for the length of the dragon's power, repeated in 12:14 in more general terms and again in 13:5.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
(εγενετο πολεμος εν τω ουρανω). "There came to be war in heaven" (εγενετο, not ην). "Another ταβλεαυ, not a σημειον (vv. 1,3), but consequent upon the two σημεια which precede it. The birth and rapture of the Woman's Son issue in a war which invades the επουρανια" (Swete). The reference is not to the original rebellion of Satan, as Andreas held. As the coming of Christ brought on fresh manifestations of diabolic power (Mr 1:13; Lu 22:3,31; Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), just so Christ's return to heaven is pictured as being the occasion of renewed attacks there. We are not to visualize it too literally, but certainly modern airplanes help us to grasp the notion of battles in the sky even more than the phalanxes of storm-clouds (Swete). John even describes this last conflict as in heaven itself. Cf. Lu 10:18; 1Ki 22:1ff.; Job 1; 2; Zec 3:1ff.
(ο Μιχαηλ κα ο αγγελο αυτου). The nominative here may be in apposition with πολεμος, but it is an abnormal construction with no verb, though εγενετο (arose) can be understood as repeated. Michael is the champion of the Jewish people (Da 10:13,21; 12:1) and is called the archangel in Jude 9.
(του πολεμησα). This genitive articular infinitive is another grammatical problem in this sentence. If εγενετο (arose) is repeated as above, then we have the infinitive for purpose, a common enough idiom. Otherwise it is anomalous, not even like Ac 10:25.
(επολεμησεν). Constative aorist active indicative of πολεμεω, picturing the whole battle in one glimpse.
8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
(κα ουκ ισχυσαν). Here κα equals "and yet" or "but." A few MSS. read the singular ισχυσεν like επολεμησεν, but wrongly so.
(ουδε τοπος ευρεθη αυτων ετ). First aorist passive indicative of ευρισκω, to find. Probably αυτων is the objective genitive (place for them), just as in 20:11 αυτοις (dative, for them) is used with τοπος ουχ ευρεθη. The phrase occurs in Da 2:35 Theod. and Zec 10:10. The dragon is finally expelled from heaven (cf. Job 1:6), though to us it seems a difficult conception to think of Satan having had access to heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(εβληθη). Effective first aorist passive indicative of βαλλω, cast down for good and all, a glorious consummation. This vision of final victory over Satan is given by Jesus in Lu 10:18; Joh 12:31. It has not come yet, but it is coming, and the hope of it should be a spur to missionary activity and zeal. The word megas (great) occurs here with δρακων as in 12:3, and the whole picture is repeated in 20:2. The dragon in both places is identified with the old serpent (Ge 3:1ff.) and called αρχαιος (from αρχη, beginning), as Jesus said that the devil was a murderer "from the beginning" (Joh 8:44). Both διαβολος (slanderer) and Satan (Σατανας) are common in N.T. for this great dragon and old serpent, the chief enemy of mankind. See on Mt 4:1; Re 2:10 for διαβολος and Lu 10:18 for Σατανας.
(ο πλανων την οικουμενην ολην). This is his aim and his occupation, pictured here by the nominative articular present active participle of πλαναω, to lead astray. For "the inhabited world" see Lu 2:1; Re 3:10; 16:14. Satan can almost "lead astray" the very elect of God (Mt 24:24), so artful is he in his beguilings as he teaches us how to deceive ourselves (1Jo 1:8).
(εβληθη εις την γην). Effective aorist repeated from the beginning of the verse. "The earth was no new sphere of Satan's working" (Swete).
(εβληθησαν). Triple use of the same verb applied to Satan's minions. The expulsion is complete.
10我又听见天上有大声音说：“我们 神的救恩、能力、国度和他所立的基督的权柄，现在都已经来到了！因为那昼夜在我们 神面前控告我们弟兄的控告者，已经被摔下来了！
10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
(φωνην μεγαλην λεγουσαν). Accusative after ηκουσα in this phrase as in 5:11; 10:4; 14:2; 18:4, but the genitive φωνης λεγουσης in 11:12; 14:13. We are not told whence this voice or song comes, possibly from one of the twenty-four elders (Swete) or some other heavenly beings (11:15) who can sympathize with human beings (19:10), the martyrs in heaven (Charles).
(αρτ εγενετο). Αρτ (Joh 13:33) shows how recent the downfall of Satan here proleptically pictured as behind us in time (aorist tense εγενετο).
(η σωτηρια). Here "the victory" as in 7:10; 19:1.
(η δυναμις). Gods power over the dragon (cf. 7:12; 11:17; 19:1).
(η βασιλεια). "The empire of God" as in 11:15.
(ο κατηγωρ). The regular form, κατηγορος, occurs in Joh 8:10; Ac 23:30,35; 25:16,18 and in many MSS. here in Re 12:10, but A reads κατηγωρ, which Westcott and Hort accept. It was once considered a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew word, but Deissmann (Light, etc., p. 93f.) quotes it from a vernacular magical papyrus of the fourth century A.D. with no sign of Jewish or Christian influence, just as διακων appears as a vernacular form of διακονος. Only here is the word applied to Satan in the N.T. In late Judaism Satan is the accuser, and Michael the defender, of the faithful.
(των αδελφων ημων). The saints still on earth battling with Satan and his devices.
(ο κατηγορων αυτους). Articular present active participle of κατηγορεω, old verb, to accuse, usually with the genitive of the person (Joh 5:45), but here with the accusative. This is the devil's constant occupation (Job 1:6f.).
(ημερας κα νυκτος). Genitive of time. "By day and by night."
11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
(αυτο ενικησαν). First aorist active indicative of νικαω, the verb used by Jesus of his own victory (Joh 16:33) and about him (Re 3:21; 5:5). "The victory of the martyrs marks the failure of Satan's endeavours" (Swete).
(δια το αιμα του αρνιου). As in 1:5; 5:6,9; 7:14. The blood of Christ is here presented by δια as the ground for the victory and not the means, as by εν in 1:5; 5:9. Both ideas are true, but δια with the accusative gives only the reason. The blood of Christ does cleanse us from sin (Joh 1:29; 1Jo 1:7). Christ conquered Satan, and so makes our victory possible (Lu 11:21f.; Heb 2:18). "Thus the Lamb is the true συνηγορος (like Michael) of the New Israel, its παρακλητος προς τον πατερα (1Jo 2:1)" (Swete).
(δια τον λογον της μαρτυριας αυτων). The same use of δια, "because of their testimony to Jesus" as in John's own case in 1:9. These martyrs have been true to their part.
(ουκ ηγαπησαν τεν ψυχην αυτων αχρ θανατου). First aorist active indicative of αγαπαω. They did resist "unto blood" (μεχρις αιματος Heb 12:4) and did not put their own lives before loyalty to Christ. There is a direct reference to the words of Jesus in Joh 12:25 as illustrated also in Mr 8:35; Mt 10:39; 16:25; Lu 9:24; 17:33. Paul's own example is pertinent (Ac 21:13; Php 1:20ff.). Jesus himself had been "obedient unto death" (Php 2:8). These martyrs seem to be still alive on earth, but their heroism is proleptically pictured.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
(ευφραινεσθε). Present middle imperative of ευφραινω as in 11:10; 18:20.
(ο ουρανο). Plural here alone in the Apocalypse, though common elsewhere in the N.T. Satan is no longer in the heavens.
(ο εν αυτοις σκηνουντες). Present active articular participle of σκηνοω (see 7:15; 13:6) to dwell (tabernacle) as of Christ in Joh 1:14 and of God in Re 21:3. The inhabitants of heaven (angels and saints) have cause to rejoice, and earth reason to mourn.
(κατεβη). Second aorist (effective) active indicative of καταβαινω, "did go down."
(ολιγον καιρον). Accusative of extent of time, "a little time." The devil's departure from his warfare in the heavens reveals (ειδως, knowing, perfect active participle) to him that his time for doing harm to men is limited, and hence his great wrath (θυμον, boiling rage).
13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
(εδιωξεν). First aorist active participle of διωκω, to pursue, to chase, hostile pursuit here as in Mt 5:10f.; 10:23, etc. John now, after the "voice" in 10-13, returns to the narrative in verse 9. The child was caught away in verse 5, and now the woman (the true Israel on earth) is given deadly persecution. Perhaps events since A.D. 64 (burning of Rome by Nero) amply illustrated this vision, and they still do so.
(ητις). "Which very one."
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
(εδοθησαν). As in 8:2; 9:1,3.
(α δυο πτερυγες του αετου του μεγαλου). Not the eagle of 8:13, but the generic use of the article. Every eagle had two wings. Probably here, as in Mt 24:28, the griffon or vulture rather than the true eagle is pictured. For the eagle in the O.T. see Ex 19:4; Isa 40:31; Job 9:26; Pr 24:54.
(ινα πετητα). Purpose clause with ινα and present middle subjunctive of πετομα, old verb, to fly, in N.T. only in the Apocalypse (4:7; 8:13; 12:14; 14:6; 19:17). Resumption of the details in verse 6 (which see) about the "wilderness," her "place," the redundant εκε with οπου, the "time and times, and half a time" (καιρον κα καιρους κα ημισυ), 1260 days, but with τρεφετα (present passive indicative) instead of τρεφωσιν (general plural of the present active subjunctive), and with the addition of "from the face of the serpent" (απο προσωπου του οφεως), because the serpent rules the earth for that period. "To the end of the present order the Church dwells in the wilderness" (Swete), and yet we must carry on for Christ.
15And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
(υδωρ ως ποταμον). "Water as a river," accusative case after εβαλεν (cast). The serpent could not follow the woman or stop her flight and so sought to drown her.
(ινα αυτην ποταμοφορητον ποιηση). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive of ποιεω. For this use of ποιεω see 17:16. This compound verbal ποταμοφορητον in the predicate accusative (ποταμος, river, φορητον from φορεω, to bear) was not coined by John, but occurs in a papyrus of B.C. 110 and in several others after N.T. times. It means simply "carried away by the river."
16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
(εβοηθησεν τη γυναικ). First aorist active indicative of βοηθεω, old verb with the dative as in Heb 2:18, which see. Herodotus tells of the Lycus disappearing underground near Colossae. But this vivid symbol is not dependent on historical examples.
(κατεπιεν). Second aorist active indicative of καταπινω, literally "drank down."
17龙就向妇人发怒，去和她其余的子孙作战，就是和那遵守 神命令坚持耶稣见证的人作战。 [ (Revelation 12:18) 那时，龙站在海边的沙上。 ]
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
(ωργισθη). First aorist (ingressive) passive indicative of οργιζομα, "became angry."
(επ τη γυναικ). "At the woman," "because of the woman."
(απηλθεν). "Went off" in his rage to make war with the scattered followers of the Lamb not in the wilderness, perhaps an allusion to Ge 3:15. The devil carries on relentless war with all those "which keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus" (των τηρουντων τας εντολας του θεου κα εχοντων την μαρτυριαν Ιησου). These two marks excite the wrath of the devil then and always. Cf. 1:9; 6:9; 14:12; 19:10; 20:4.