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Revelation 12

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The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

12:1 Then 1  a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars. 2  12:2 She 3  was pregnant and was screaming in labor pains, struggling 4  to give birth. 12:3 Then 5  another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadem crowns. 6  12:4 Now 7  the dragon’s 8  tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then 9  the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 12:5 So 10  the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, 11  who is going to rule 12  over all the nations 13  with an iron rod. 14  Her 15  child was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne, 12:6 and she 16  fled into the wilderness 17  where a place had been prepared for her 18  by God, so she could be taken care of 19  for 1,260 days.

War in Heaven

12:7 Then 20  war broke out in heaven: Michael 21  and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 12:8 But 22  the dragon was not strong enough to prevail, 23  so there was no longer any place left 24  in heaven for him and his angels. 25  12:9 So 26  that huge dragon – the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world – was thrown down to the earth, and his angels along with him. 12:10 Then 27  I heard a loud voice in heaven saying,

“The salvation and the power

and the kingdom of our God,

and the ruling authority 28  of his Christ, 29  have now come,

because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, 30 

the one who accuses them day and night 31  before our God,

has been thrown down.

12:11 But 32  they overcame him

by the blood of the Lamb

and by the word of their testimony,

and they did not love their lives 33  so much that they were afraid to die.

12:12 Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them!

But 34  woe to the earth and the sea

because the devil has come down to you!

He 35  is filled with terrible anger,

for he knows that he only has a little time!”

12:13 Now 36  when the dragon realized 37  that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 12:14 But 38  the woman was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, 39  to the place God 40  prepared for her, where she is taken care of – away from the presence of the serpent – for a time, times, and half a time. 41  12:15 Then 42  the serpent spouted water like a river out of his mouth after the woman in an attempt to 43  sweep her away by a flood, 12:16 but 44  the earth came to her rescue; 45  the ground opened up 46  and swallowed the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. 12:17 So 47  the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, 48  those who keep 49  God’s commandments and hold to 50  the testimony about Jesus. 51  (12:18) And the dragon 52  stood 53  on the sand 54  of the seashore. 55 

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1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

2 sn Sunmoonstars. This imagery is frequently identified with the nation Israel because of Joseph’s dream in Gen 37.

3 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

4 tn Grk “and being tortured,” though βασανίζω (basanizw) in this context refers to birth pangs. BDAG 168 s.v. 2.b states, “Of birth-pangs (Anth. Pal. 9, 311 βάσανος has this mng.) Rv 12:2.” The καί (kai) has not been translated.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

6 tn For the translation of διάδημα (diadhma) as “diadem crown” see L&N 6.196.

sn Diadem crowns were a type of crown used as a symbol of the highest ruling authority in a given area, and thus often associated with kingship.

7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate that this remark is virtually parenthetical.

8 tn Grk “its”; the referent (the dragon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

10 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the conclusion of the anticipated birth.

11 tn On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἄρσην states: “male…The neut. ἄρσεν Rv 12:5, difft. vs. 13, comes fr. Is 66:7 and is in apposition to υἱόν. On the juxtaposition s. FBoll, ZNW 15, 1914, 253; BOlsson, Glotta 23, ’34, 112.”

12 tn Grk “shepherd.”

13 tn Or “all the Gentiles” (the same Greek word may be translated “Gentiles” or “nations”).

14 tn Or “scepter.” The Greek term ῥάβδος (rJabdo") can mean either “rod” or “scepter.”

sn An allusion to Ps 2:9 (see also Rev 2:27; 19:15).

15 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

16 tn Grk “and the woman,” which would be somewhat redundant in English.

17 tn Or “desert.”

18 tn Grk “where she has there a place prepared by God.”

19 tn Grk “so they can take care of her.”

20 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.

21 sn The archangel Michael had a special role in protecting the nation of Israel in the OT (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; see also Jude 9).

22 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the implied contrast.

23 tn The words “to prevail” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

24 tn Grk “found.”

25 tn Grk “for them”; the referent (the dragon and his angels, v. 7) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

26 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the result of the war in heaven.

27 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

28 tn Or “the right of his Messiah to rule.” See L&N 37.35.

29 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

30 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelfoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). The translation “fellow believer” would normally apply (L&N 11.23), but since the speaker(s) are not specified in this context, it is not clear if such a translation would be appropriate here. The more generic “brothers and sisters” was chosen to emphasize the fact of a relationship without specifying its type.

31 tn Or “who accuses them continually.”

32 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast.

33 sn They did not love their lives. See Matt 16:25; Luke 17:33; John 12:25.

34 tn The word “But” is not in the Greek text, but the contrast is clearly implied. This is a case of asyndeton (lack of a connective).

35 tn Grk “and is filled,” a continuation of the previous sentence. Because English tends to use shorter sentences (especially when exclamations are involved), a new sentence was started here in the translation.

36 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” because the clause it introduces is clearly resumptive.

37 tn Grk “saw.”

38 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present here.

39 tn Or “desert.”

40 tn The word “God” is supplied based on the previous statements made concerning “the place prepared for the woman” in 12:6.

41 tc The reading “and half a time” (καὶ ἥμισυ καιροῦ, kai {hmisu kairou) is lacking in the important uncial C. Its inclusion, however, is supported by {Ì47 א A and the rest of the ms tradition}. There is apparently no reason for the scribe of C to intentionally omit the phrase, and the fact that the word “time” (καιρὸν καὶ καιρούς, kairon kai kairou") appears twice before may indicate a scribal oversight.

sn The parallel statement in Rev 12:6 suggests that the phrase a time, times, and half a time equals 1,260 days (three and a half years of 360 days each).

42 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the vision.

43 tn Grk “so that he might make her swept away.”

44 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present here.

45 tn Grk “the earth helped the woman.”

46 tn Grk “the earth opened its mouth” (a metaphor for the ground splitting open).

47 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the woman’s escape.

48 tn Grk “her seed” (an idiom for offspring, children, or descendants).

49 tn Or “who obey.”

50 tn Grk “and having.”

51 tn Grk “the testimony of Jesus,” which may involve a subjective genitive (“Jesus’ testimony”) or, more likely, an objective genitive (“testimony about Jesus”).

52 tn Grk “he”; the referent (the dragon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

53 tc Grk ἐστάθη (estaqh, “he stood”). The reading followed by the translation is attested by the better mss (Ì47 א A C 1854 2344 2351 pc lat syh) while the majority of mss (051 Ï vgmss syph co) have the reading ἐστάθην (estaqhn, “I stood”). Thus, the majority of mss make the narrator, rather than the dragon of 12:17, the subject of the verb. The first person reading is most likely an assimilation to the following verb in 13:1, “I saw.” The reading “I stood” was introduced either by accident or to produce a smoother flow, giving the narrator a vantage point on the sea’s edge from which to observe the beast rising out of the sea in 13:1. But almost everywhere else in the book, the phrase καὶ εἶδον (kai eidon, “and I saw”) marks a transition to a new vision, without reference to the narrator’s activity. On both external and internal grounds, it is best to adopt the third person reading, “he stood.”

54 tn Or “sandy beach” (L&N 1.64).

55 sn The standard critical texts of the Greek NT, NA27 and UBS4, both include this sentence as 12:18, as do the RSV and NRSV. Other modern translations like the NASB and NIV include the sentence at the beginning of 13:1; in these versions chap. 12 has only 17 verses.



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