In Revelation 12, that the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns refers to the antichrist system is, in the context, clear. How can the manchild then refer to Christ? Also, the saints are said to be allowed to rule the nations with Christ in Rev 2:26-27, which is promised to the manchild. Are these the overcoming saints who are caught up to God and His throne of verse 5? Mary never went into the wilderness as the woman does here, and it is never mentioned in scripture that Satan made war against the brothers and sisters of Jesus (the remnant of the woman's seed of verse 17). Could this be the raptured saints?
The "man-child" caught up to the Throne of God is clearly Christ. From Hippolytus(An Early Church Father) "On Christ and Antichrist" pgr. 61
by which is meant that the Church, always bringing forth Christ, the perfect man-child of God, who is declared to be God and man, becomes the instructor of all the nations. And the words, her child was caught up unto God and to His throne, signify that he who is always born of her is a heavenly king, and not an earthly; (Taken from here)
Also taken from the same source "the woman" is the Church, yet she represents both OT and NT saints. She is 1st mentioned in Gen. 3:15, where "her seed"(Christ) will crush the head of Satan's seed (Antichrist).
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The time of Christ being "taken up to God and His Throne" is clearly the Ascension.
To answer the question, "How can a singular Christ be in context with a "composite" Antichrist" we have to understand the nature of "seed". While most cases can be made for a plural "seed"(zera), the following source adds this perspective,(A SYNTACTICAL NOTE (GENESIS 3:15):IS THE WOMAN’S SEED SINGULAR OR PLURAL? Jack Collins)
From these data it becomes clear that, on the syntactical level, the singular pronoun hû’ in Genesis 3:15 is quite consistent with the pattern where a single individual is in view.(Taken from here)
This is important to understand, because "Christ" or "Messiah" can be denoted singularly when the pronoun is involved(hu), whereas the "serpent's seed" is given no such pronoun and must be represented plural. Therefore, based on God's original judgment to the serpent, who is recognized to be Satan, his 'seed' will collectively resist Christ, ultimately putting Him to death, whereas His foot, through His victory over death will 'bruise/crush' Satan's head under our feet.And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. (Rom.16:20)
This Rom. 16:20 passage is also indicative of the role we play in Christ's singular victory over Satan, which explains the 'woman's'(churches) role in overcoming him.
The context for Rev. 12 is figurative, because man child=Christ, woman=OT/NT church.
The man child in Revelation is Jesus the Christ. This symbolic scene has already taken place. If one compares chapter 12 of Revelation to Matthew chapter 2, all the characters listed in chapter 12 of Revelation are revealed in Matthew chapter 2.
The woman, (symbolic for a church), is Judah, or the Church in the wilderness, (see Acts 7:38), for Judah was not divorced like Israel, (see Jer 3:8), and Judah, (see Isa 50:1).
I agree with Jamie's assessment of the, "beast with 7 heads and 10 horns referring to the antichrist system". King Herod's government was that system. It was the Dragon/Satan that gave this government/system its power, and it tried to kill the infant JESUS. King Herod himself is symbolic for the "red" dragon. Red is symbolic for blood, which was shed in the killing of the children of two years and under by the king.
The third of angels/messengers are not literal angels in heavens. These messengers, (symbolic for angels), are earth bound, but with the heavenly message of where the King of the Jews is born, and these third of angels are identified in Matthew chapter 2. First of the thirds is the chief priests. The second of the thirds is the scribes, (see Matthews 2:3) and the third of thirds are the wise men, whom the red dragon "gathered", with his tail, to seek out where the man child location, and time of birth was.
In conclusion, we have the man child, Jesus the Christ, which answers the question by Scripture. Also the woman, the church in the wilderness/Judah; the red dragon, king Herod; the symbolism of the man child, is Judaism giving birth to Christianity.
This is mostly from an answer I gave on Christianity.SE
Is it really end-times?
There are many who would debate that Romans 12 is "clearly" end-times.
The Historicism interpretation see's much of Revelation to be prophesying of literally "things that will soon take place" (Rev 1:1).
A such, this understanding holds that the woman is the church. The dragon is Satan's pagan Rome seeking to destroy the church in the 3rd century AD. But the woman/church is divinely rescued and preserved even through brutal persecution.
Revelation is largely apocalyptic language, specifically "dream-like apocalyptic" prophecy. This means we must be careful not to read it like we would read a narrative or the same way we would a psalm. There is a lot of symbolism involved and the safest way to interpret it is to look for consistency in the meaning of the symbols.
In Genesis 37 we immediately accept that the sun, moon and stars bowing to Joseph represent him being bowed to by his family one day due to his authority in Egypt. Celestial bodies are commonly used in apocalyptic language to refer to political authorities.
In this, Revelation 12 is no different. The man-child is Constantine. Born in a time that the church was under persecution, Constantine was divinely protected until his time came to take control of the empire. His rise to power stopped the persecution and established the political power (the sun and moon under the woman's feet) of the church and ruled with a "rod of iron".
The attempt to flood the woman represents the dragon's change of tactics as he has lost his authority over the Roman Empire. In Rev 12:13 the dragon is thrown to earth from heaven, this is again symbolizing a loss of power. The flood is his attempt at deception and false teaching which then arose in the form of heresies such as Arianism, demanding the the statements of creeds such as the Nicean Creed.
Satan continues to wage war with the church throughout much of the rest of Revelation, as we, the church, are to this day.
Finally, the rest of the woman's offspring of the woman are identified as "those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" showing them to be the people of the church.
You can find the commentary I have consulted here, The Final Prophecy of Jesus by Dr. Oral E. Collins.
For those possibly unfamiliar with the Historicism understanding, I suggest you check out this useful site: http://historicism.com/tour/tour4.htm Historicism was a major view among Protestants for centuries but has largely been forgotten over the last several decades.
The woman's description in Revelation exactly parallels that of Israel as dreamt by Joseph; see Gen. 37:5-11. To briefly summarize the account, Joseph was sold into slavery, but in time he rose to power in Egypt and his parents and brothers bowed down to him. In addition, Revelation makes a large number of references to the Old Testament, so there is clear precedent for interpreting this particular "sign" in Revelation as an OT reference.
If that is accurate, then it follows that the "man child" is in fact Jesus, who was "birthed" from Israel. But as for being "snatched up", there are two issues. One is that Jesus was indeed taken up to heaven as his disciples watched (Acts 1:9-11). The other is that many OT prophecies are interpreted as having both near and far fulfillments, such that the snatching up in Revelation does not necessarily follow immediately in time. That is, things are not as linear and sharply defined as we'd prefer.
The man child cannot be Jesus Christ because of Revelation 1:19. John was to write the things he had seen, events of chapter 1; the things which are (existing at the time of the vision), which is the churches of his day; and the things which shall be hereafter, everything from his experience that day forward. The birth of Jesus was a thing many years past, and even if you take the things he 'had' seen as being John's whole life, he did not see Jesus born of Mary. Also, Jesus was not taken up to God as soon as he was born as this man child is.
There are others along with Jesus that will rule with a rod of iron with him. See Revelation 2:25-27. Jesus says to the overcomers of the church of Thyatira that the overcomers of that church will receive to rule the nations with a rod of iron just as he had been given to do by his Father. You may have to go to the KJV or check several versions that are not paraphrased because not all translations include the "...even as I received..." part, but it is there in the Greek.
These overcomers are part of the church and as soon as the complete child is brought forth from her it is taken up to God. Therefore the woman is the church.
My conclusion is that it is believers who overcome this world even as Jesus overcame who are 'raptured' to wait until the time when Jesus returns to restore all things and rule and reign in glory.
Not all of the church will be caught up to God at the time of Revelation 12:5. The woman will be 'trepho', Stong's G5142 meaning nourish, feed, bring up, however it is from the base of G5157, trope, which has the connotation to turn, to change. This feeding/nurturing change is something done to her or for her in the wilderness/place prepared for her by persons unnamed. She must be turned/formed/changed into an overcomer as well, though she is not as zealous about it as her child.
That's my take.
Daniel is the man-child... he is BACK and shall rule all nations with a rod of iron. He has the wrath of Almighty God on his right hand; and he is waiting to take position under the 1,000 year reign. He hath also, been made King of the Eunuchs, for these creatures have been led astray, and he shall bring his people back to righteoussness with the word os his sword. A sharp sword going out of his mouth also, and ye shall find he is also the voice of the 7th angel, who is ABOUT TO SOUND.