12:1 And 1 there appeared a great wonder in heaven; 2 a
woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,
and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
(1) Until now it has been the general prophecy, comprehended
in two parts, as I showed in (Re 11:1-19). Now will
be declared the first part of this prophecy, in this and
the next chapter and the latter part in the fourteenth,
fifteenth and sixteenth chapters. To the first part, which
is about the conflicting or militant Church belong two
things. The beginning and the progress of the same in
conflicts and Christian combats. Of which two the
beginning of the Church is described in this chapter, and
the progress of it in the chapter following. The beginning
of the Christian Church we define as the first moment of
the conception of Christ, until the time in which this
church was weaned and taken away from the breast or milk of
her mother: which is the time when the Church of the Jews
with their city and temple was overthrown by the judgment
of God. So we have in this chapter the story of 69 years
and upwards. There are three parts to this chapter. The
first, is the history of the conception and pregnancy in
(Re 12:1-4). The second, a history of the birth from
(Re 12:5-12). The third is about the woman who gave
birth, to the end of the chapter. These several parts each
have their conflicts. Therefore in the first part are two
verses: and another of the lying in wait of the dragon
against the child about to be born, in the next two verses.
In the first point are these things, the description of the
mother (Re 12:1) and the pains of childbirth in
(Re 12:2) all shown to John from heaven.
(2) A type of the true holy Church which was at that time in
the Jewish nation. This Church (as is the state of the
Catholic church) did in itself shine with glory given by
God, immutable and unchangeable, and possessed the kingdom
of heaven as the heir of it.
12:2 And 3 she being with child cried, travailing in birth,
and pained to be delivered.
(3) For this is the barren woman who had not given birth;
(Isa 45:1,Ga 4:27). She cried out with good cause, and
was tormented at that time, when in the judgment of all she
seemed near to death, about to die because of her weakness
12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; 4 and behold
a great red dragon, having 5 seven heads and ten 6
horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
(4) That is the devil or Satan, see (Re 12:9), mighty,
angry and full of wrath.
(5) By this to withstand those seven churches spoken of, that
is, the catholic church, and that with kingly objects and
tyrannical magnificence: signified by the crowns set on his
heads, as if they belonged to him by the proper right,
without controversy: as also he boasted to Christ;
See (Mt 4:9,Re 13:1).
(6) More than the horns of the Lamb, or than the churches are:
so well equipped does the tyrant brag himself to be, to do
all manner of wickedness.
12:4 (7) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of
heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon 8
stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for
9 to devour her child as soon as it was born.
(7) After the description of Satan follows this action, that
is, his battle with the Church partly to that which is
visible, in which the wheat is mingled with the chaff, and
the good fish with that which is evil: its good part,
though in appearance it shined as the stars shine in
heaven, he is said to thrust down out of heaven, and to
pervert: for if it were possible he would pervert even the
elect (Mt 24:24) and partly to the elect members of
the holy catholic church in the second part of this verse.
Many therefore of the members of this visible Church (says
John) he overthrew and triumphed on them.
(8) He withstood that elect Church of the Jews which was now
ready to bring forth the Christian Church and watched for
her to give birth. For the whole Church, and whole body is
compared to a woman: and a part of the Church to that which
is brought forth, as we have noted in (So 7:6).
(9) Christ mystical (as they call him) that is, the whole
Church, consists of the person of Christ as the head and of
the body united to it by the Spirit, so is the name of
Christ taken on (1Co 12:12).
12:510 And she brought forth a man 11 child, who was to
rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was
caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.
(10) The second history of this Church delivered of child: in
which first the consideration of the child born, and of
the mother, is described in two verses (Re 12:6):
secondly the battle of the dragon against the young
child, and the victory obtained against him in the three
verses following (Re 12:7-9): last of all is sung a
song of victory, to (Re 12:10-12). Now John in
consideration of the child born, notes two things: for
he describes him, and his station or place in this verse.
(11) That is Christ the head of the Church joined with his
Church (the beginning root and foundation of which is the
same Christ) endued with kingly power and taken up into
heaven out of the jaws of Satan (who as a serpent did
bite him on the cross) that sitting on the heavenly
throne, he might reign over all.
12:612 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath
a place prepared of God, that 13 they should feed her
there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.
(12) The Church of Christ which was of the Jews, after his
ascension into heaven, hid itself in the world as in a
wilderness, trusting only in the defence of God, as Luke
witnesses in Acts.
(13) Namely the apostles and servants of God ordained to feed
with the word of life, the Church collected both of the
Jews and Gentiles unless any man will take the word
"alerent" impersonally after the use of the Hebrews,
instead of "aleretur" but I like the first better. For he
has respect to those two prophets, of whom Revelation 11:3
speaks. As for the meaning of the 1290 days, see the same
verse )Geneva (7) "Re 11:3").
12:7 And there was war in heaven: 14 Michael and his angels
fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his
(14) Christ is the Prince of angels and head of the Church, who
bears that iron rod (Re 12:5).
Also (see Geneva "Da 12:1"). In this verse a description
of the battle and of the victory in the two verses
following (Re 12:8,9). The psalmist noted this battle
as did Paul; (Ps 68:9,Eph 4:8,Co 2:15).
12:815 And prevailed not; neither was their a place found
any more in heaven.
(15) The description of the victory, by the denying of the
thing in this verse, and by affirming the opposite in
(Re 12:9). As Satan gained nothing in heaven, but was by
the power of God thrown down into the world of which he is
the prince, Christ himself and his elect members standing
still by the throne of God.
(a) They were cast out so, that they were never seen any
more in heaven.
12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 16 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.
(16) The song of victory or triumph containing first, a
proposition of the glory of God and of Christ shown in
that victory: secondly, it contains a reason for the same
proposition, taken from the effects, as the enemy is
overcome in battle, in this verse, and the godly are made
conquerors (and more than conquerors) (Ro 8:37).
Thirdly a conclusion, in which is an exhortation to the
angels, and to the saints: and to the word, a prophecy of
great misery, and of destruction obtained by the devil
against mankind, since he himself will soon be miserable
12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their testimony; and they b loved not their
lives unto the death.
(b) He is said in the Hebrew tongue, to love his life, who
values his life more than anything else: and on the
other side, he is said not to love his life, who does
not hesitate to risk it, if need requires it.
12:13 And when 17 the dragon saw that he was cast unto the
earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man
(17) The third part: a history of the woman delivered,
consisting of two parts, the present battle of Satan
against the Christian Church of the Jewish nation, in
(Re 12:13-16): and the battle intended against the
Church of the Gentiles, which is called holy by reason of
the gospel of Christ in (Re 12:17).
12:1418 And to the woman were given two wings of a great
eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her
c place, where she is nourished for a 19 time, and
times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
(18) That is, being strengthened with divine power: and taught
by oracle, she fled swiftly from the assault of the devil,
and from the common destruction of Jerusalem and went into
a solitary city beyond Jordan called Pella as Eusebius
tells in the first chapter of the third book of his
ecclesiastical history: where God had commanded her by
(c) Into the place God had prepared for her.
(19) That is, for three and a half years: so the same speech
is taken in (see Geneva (q) "Da 7:25"). This space of
time is reckoned in manner from that last and most grievous
rebellion of the Jews, to the destruction of the city and
temple,for their defection or falling away, began in the
twelfth year of Nero, before the beginning of which many
signs and predictions were shown from heaven, as Josephus
wrote, lib.7, chap.12, and Hegesippus lib.5, chap.44, among
which this is very memorable. In the feast of Pentecost
not only a great sound and noise was heard in the Temple,
but also a voice was heard by many out of the Sanctuary
which cried out to all, Let us depart from here. Now three
and a half years after this defection by the Jews began,
and those wonders happened, the city was taken by force,
the temple overthrown, and the place forsaken by God: and
the length of time John noted in this place.
12:1520 And 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.
(20) That is, he inflamed the Romans and the nations that in
persecuting the Jewish people with cruel arms, they might
at the same time invade the Church of Christ, now departed
from Jerusalem and out of Judea. For it is a normal thing
in scripture, that the raging tumults of the nations
should be compared to waters.
12:1621 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened
her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon
cast out of his mouth.
(21) That is, there was offered in their place other Jews, to
the Romans and nations raging against that people: and it
came to pass by this that the Church of God was saved
entirely from that violence, that most raging flood of
persecution which the dragon vomited out being completely
exhausted in the destroying of those other Jews.
12:1722 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
(22) Being set on fire by this means, he began to be more mad,
and because he perceived that his purpose against the
Christian Church of the Jewish remnant was come to
nothing, he resolved to fall on her seed, that is, the
Church of the Gentiles, gathered by God and the holy
members of the church. This is that other part, as is said in
(Re 12:13) in which the purpose of Satan is shown in
(Re 12:17) and his attempt, in (Re 13:1).