Rev 12:1  "And 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:" 

The overuse of the term great in the English language has probably caused less attention to the significance of the term "great" in "great wonder."  The word, "great," comes from the Greek word, "Megas." This word means exceedingly great.  This woman who appeared in heaven was an exceedingly great wonder.  While many have attempted to identify this woman as the church, I have problems with this.  The church did not give birth to Jesus, but rather Jesus established the church.  There is, however, another woman who is often very closely associated with the church.  This woman is described to us in the following passage of scripture: Gal. 4:22 "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."  The two covenants are represented in the above allegory by two women, the one a bondwoman, and the other a freewoman.  The bondwoman represented the law covenant of which natural Jerusalem was in bondage with her children.  The freewoman represented the grace covenant which is said to be free and the mother of us all.   

This woman (grace covenant) is said to be clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.  Joseph had a dream and told it to his brethren and to his father, Jacob.  In his dream the sun and the moon and the eleven stars came and did obeisance to him.  To this Jacob replied, "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"  Joseph was a very strong type of Christ.  Together he and his brothers and his mother and father were represented by the sun, moon, and twelve stars.  First, Christ is said to be the "Sun of Righteousness."  Next, the moon receives her light from the sun and is therefore dependant on the sun.  Third, the number twelve is a representative number and is used in the scriptures to represent the totality of the children of Israel.  The relationship between the sun, moon, and stars is typical of the relationship that Christ (the sun) has with his bride (the church) and his elect covenant people (twelve stars).  Christ has the preeminence, to him belongs all the glory, for he is the Sun of Righteousness who comes with healing in his wings.  The church receives both her righteousness and her light from the Lord.  She reflects the very glory of God as a city that is set upon a hill that cannot be hid.  Each child of God is given a light and is to let their light so shine that other may see your good works and glorify God. 

The woman in Rev. 12:1 is clothed with the Sun.  Her clothing is the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  She also has the moon under her feet for she possesses the church in covenant.  The crowning glory of the woman is the glorification of the twelve stars.  The covenant of redemption found in Rom. 8:28-30 manifests this picture to us: Rom. 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." 

Just as the woman in Rev. 12 is said to have many children so the covenant of redemption brings forth all those whom God foreknew before the foundation of the world.  Secondly, her children are all clothed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he justified them.  Thirdly, Jesus Christ is the elder brother of those children, in this principle, the Lord was born of the covenant as their redeeming elder brother.  (Now we know that Christ is eternal, but he was born or brought forth into the world according to that covenant of redemption.) Fourth, the children who were chosen before the world began according to that covenant have as an end result, glorification.  

Additionally, there was a heaven in which this woman appeared.  Paul said in 2 Cor. 12:2 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."  Thus he spoke of a third heaven and he called this third heaven paradise.  Rev. chapter 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  Thus, since paradise is the third heaven, and the new heaven and the new earth is the second heaven, then the first heaven is the old law covenant.  The old law covenant passed away and then came the new covenant of worship which we have today.  It was in this first or law covenant that the great wonder appeared.  The covenant of redemption is found throughout the types and shadows of the Old Testament.  She is also found in certain passages of scripture as follows: 

          1.  2 Sam. 23:1 "Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, 2 The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. 6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: 7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place." 

          2.  Is. 46:9 "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." 

The covenant to which David alluded to with his last words, between the Rock of Israel and the God of Israel, was ordered in all things and sure, it was an everlasting covenant, it was God's complete salvation, and it didn't grow (there was no chance system here).  It resulted in the Lord destroying our sins as he was the man who was fenced with iron and the staff of a spear and utterly burned our sins (thorns thrust away) in the same place.  In Isaiah 46 Jesus is the ravenous bird from the east, the man who executes God's counsel from a far country.  

In the above manner and others the covenant of redemption (the great wonder) appears in the old law covenant (heaven).

Rev 12:2  "And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." 

The covenant of redemption (woman) was with child (Jesus Christ) who was to come and execute the covenant, redeem the covenant people and glorify them.  The law had been in effect for hundreds of years.  The ceremonies with their types and shadows had been carried out multiplied times.  The prophets had each prophesied of the coming Christ.  Many things had been prophesied about his coming and surrounding his coming.  It had been nearly four hundred years since the last prophet had arisen and prophesied (Malachi).  Israel had back sled over and over again.  She was in captivity to the Romans and the law had been greatly perverted.  Still the promised one had not come, as the scoffer said, "Where is the promise of his coming."  Things looked pretty dismal, for who could fulfill the requirements of the promise to David that one would sit upon his throne in an everlasting kingdom? How could you get around the curse of Coniah, since no seed of his could ever sit upon the throne of Israel. 

The things that look impossible with men are possible with God.  God has a means of fixing things so that he will receive all the glory.  A virgin conceived of the Holy Ghost and a Holy Child was to be born.  God had gone around the curse of Coniah as Christ was not the seed of Coniah, yet was still born into the lineage of the Kings.  Yes the covenant of redemption had pained to be delivered, but now the promised child was to be born.  Great troubles were brewing in the world and in the realm of Judah.  Yet at God's appointed time Christ came into the world, born of a virgin, and born under the law to redeem them that were under the law. 

Rev 12:3  "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads." 

This second wonder that appeared in heaven (first heaven=Old Testament Age) was a great red dragon.  The dragon is identified in v.9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."  The word, "dragon," comes from the Greek word, "drakon," meaning sea monster or sea serpent.  This dragon appeared in the garden of Eden and deceived the woman and brought death upon all mankind.  Six times in the Old Testament the word dragon appears.  The dragon appeared to David in 1 Chr.21:1 "And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."  This dragon appeared against Job: Job 1:6 "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?"  The dragon appeared as Lucifer in Is.14: 12 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."  The dragon appeared against Joshua the High Priest in Zec.3:1 "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?"  Besides these examples, there are many other times that the dragon is either portrayed as the serpent, or in types and shadows, or referred to as Satan in the Old Testament. 

This dragon or sea monster is said to be red.  The Greek word, "purrhos," means fire-like or flame-colored.  This is probably where the idea of the flame breathing dragon comes from.  As the dragon, he is the devourer, as the serpent, he is the murderer, as Satan, he is the deceiver, as the devil, he is the possessor.  This great red dragon is said to have seven heads.  Seven is the bible number of completion.  Seven doesn't always appear as something good, but in this case it is showing the complete evil of the dragon.  The head is the part of the body that controls, directs, and commands.  In contrast to the dragon, the Lord is said to be the head over the church in the following verses: 

          1.  Eph. 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."

          2.  Eph. 4:15 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"

          3.  Col. 2:19 "And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." 

We read in the book of Isaiah above where the dragon is an imitator when he said "I will be like the most High."  The only way that Satan can be like the most high is as a mirror image.  The image in the mirror is exactly the opposite of the object it is reflecting.  For instance, the right eye in the mirror is reflecting the left eye of the object, etc.  Whereas, the Lord is the Head of the church, the dragon is the head of everything that is evil.  He is the head of organized crime, he is the head of false religion, false prophets, false teachers, false apostles, and false worship, he is the head of all corruption.  He, however, is not the head of the Lord's church, or the head of those who worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.  He is ever striving to become the head of these, however.   

The dragon is said to have ten horns.  Ten is the bible number of commandment.  The commandments of the dragon are in direct opposition to the commandments of God.  While the Lord said, "Thou shall have no other gods before me," the dragon leads in promoting and pressing for a multiplicity or diversity of gods.  While the Lord said, "Thou shall make no graven images," the dragon promotes graven images.  While the Lord said, "Thou shalt do no murder," the dragon is a murderer from the beginning.  While the Lord's bride is said to be a virgin, the dragon's bride is a harlot and the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.  The horn speaks of authority.  The dragon has no lawful authority, but his authority comes from rebellion and what he can force upon others.  It is unscriptural, unlawful authority. 

The dragon is said to have seven crowns upon his head.  This is indicative of his reign over the rulers of the darkness of this world.  He is crowned with infamy, and blasphemy, and every evil work. 

Rev 12:4   "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." 

We have before noted that the stars of heaven are frequently used to represent the Lord's elect people.  The fact that the tail of the dragon drew the third part of the stars of heaven, doesn't mean that he drew 1/3 of the total number of the stars.  To get the meaning here we must understand something about God's people.  According to 1 Th. 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," the children of God are composed of three parts: body, soul, and spirit.  The dragon draws the third part, which is the body or flesh of the children of God.  We read in James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."   

The dragon is the tempter.  It is through his enticement that the lust of the flesh conceives and brings forth sin.  According to 1 John 2:16 the lust in the body are three-fold: 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."  Additionally, Eph. 2:2 "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others," teaches us that the spirit of the dragon worked in us so that we had our conversation (lifestyle) in the lusts of our flesh and we fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind.  It is in this manner that the dragon draws the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. 

The second part of our subject verse says that the dragon stood ready to devour the woman's child as soon as it was born.  This principle is taught both in the Old Testament as well as the New by the following verses of scripture: 

          1.  Jere. 31:15 "Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not."

          2.  Matt. 2:18 "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

          3.  Matt. 2:12 "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.   

Yes the dragon knew that this was the Christ child and used the jealousy and fear of Herod the king in order to try and kill the child.

Rev 12:5  "And 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." 

Some have thought that since it says she brought forth a man child that this identifies the woman as Mary.  However, this cannot possibly be as Mary never fled into the wilderness, nor was she given two wings of a great eagle.  The woman we have before identified as the Covenant of Redemption and all that she represents.  Jesus came forth according to this covenant of redemption as the following scriptures show: 

          1.  John 6:38 "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."

          2.  Matt. 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

          3.  John 17:2 "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."

          4.  Eph. 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"

          5.  Gal. 4:4 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." 

Our subject verse alludes to the kingship of Jesus Christ.  The following verses prove he was born a King:

          1.  Matt. 2:1 "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2  Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

          2.  John 18:37 "Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."

          3.  Matt. 21:5 "Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."

          4.  Matt. 25:34 "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"

          5.  1 Tim. 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever."

          6.  1 Tim. 6:15 "Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;"

          7.  Rev. 15:3 "And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

          8.  Rev. 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." 

Furthermore, as King, he has a dominion or rule.  A part of that rule is to rule all nations.  Jesus Christ is the creator of all kings and he has rule and dominion over all things.  Therefore, he has authority over all, including all nations.  It is said that he will rule all nations with a rod of iron.  The rod is used in at least two ways in the scriptures.  First, it is identified with the authority and commandment of God: 

          1.  Ex. 4:20 "And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand."

          2.  Ex. 7:9 "When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent."

          3.  Ex. 7:17 "Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood."

          4.  Ex. 17:9 "And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand."

Second, it is used for correction: 

          1.  Pro. 22:15 "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

          2.  Pro. 23:13 "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."

          3.  Jere. 7:28 "But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth."

          4. Hab. 1:12 "Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction."

          5.  2 Tim. 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" 

Iron is the metal of strength.  It can be used as an instrument of destruction: Num. 35:16 "And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death."  It is used in connection with judgment: Deut. 4:20 "But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day."  It is sometimes used in connection with bondage: Deut. 28:48 "Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee." 

Jesus Christ rules the nations with a rod of iron.  He rules them by his authority and his word.  He rules them by the very strength of God.  His rule is manifest by the judgments that sometimes comes on nations, such as the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues in the land of Egypt, the bondage of Israel and other nations to Babylon, etc., He rules them with his four sore judgments of the sword, famine, noisome beasts, and pestilence.  Nations have been reproved and corrected by each of the above sore judgments.  Nations have been destroyed that have refused correction. 

The child was caught up to God and his throne.  While this can be seen in the resurrection, the context doesn't seem to support this meaning.  Jesus Christ from the very beginning was Holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.  He came not to do his own will, but the Father's will.  From the very beginning he kept the law of God to a jot and a tittle.  He was not living after the course of this world, but after the commandments and laws of God.  He was caught up to God in his living and in the things that he spoke.  He had the Spirit without measure.  He was God manifest in the flesh.  He told Phillip, "If ye have seen me, ye have seen the Father."  He came as a servant to fulfill the laws and commandments of God and to redeem his people from their sins.  Everything he did was according to the purpose of God.  I believe that in this manner he was caught up to God and his throne.