The events of Revelation 12 are not given in chronological order but are transposed by a figure of speech known as hysterologia, where something is put last, that in its usual order should be put first. Is the rearrangement aimed at bringing certain facts together or for other special purposes?

For instance, the chapter opened with the woman with child; and proceeded to the war in heaven; the dragon being cast down to wage war against the inhabiters of the earth and closed with the woman with child.

Did the war in heaven and the casting down of the dragon occur before man was created on earth? By the way, the war resulted to the casting down of the dragon that spelled doom on the inhabiters of the earth. What about the woman with child? Did these events all happened before man was created or after? What is the order of events in Revelation 12?

  • These questions make multiple assumptions you should address if you want to ask all these questions. At least these are assumptions: 1 - That Revelation 12 in inverse order. 2 - The dragon wages war with inhabiters of the earth (that is not what the text says). 3 - The chapter divisions are relevant (even though they were not part of the original writing).
    – colboynik
    Nov 9, 2018 at 2:37
  • No, I have not said the dragon wages war against the inhabiters of the earth. Certainly satan was cast down before the creation of man . . .? Nov 9, 2018 at 7:14
  • And when he was cas down, wasn't he going to confront humankind? Nov 9, 2018 at 7:21
  • You definitely said the dragon wages war with the inhabiters of the earth. Read the second paragraph of your question.
    – colboynik
    Nov 9, 2018 at 13:40
  • I hope I need to edit this question because I don't understand how you are reading it. There was war in heaven at first and that was not with the inhabiters of the earth until after the dragon was cast out of the heaven and to the earth! Nov 10, 2018 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


It is essential to understand the symbolic and metaphorical elements of God's prophesy language. He has a pattern that He used when speaking in prophesy, and it is all defined in the OT.

"Earth" - the land or region, nation or country a prophet was sent to warn as in Isa. 1:2 ..." Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: ..." Isaiah was speaking to the people of Judah and Jerusalem (Isa. 1:1), and he called two groups of people - their heavens and their earth. The people of the "earth" were those of the land or nation of Judah and of the city Jerusalem. So in prophesy "earth" is the land the prophet was specifically sent to warn. We have to identify which people, and which land the prophet was sent to.

Most of the time the OT prophetic "earth" was Israel / Judea, but not always. Isa. 13:13 the "earth" was the nation of Babylon. We have to identify which nation the prophet was speaking to.

"Heavens" - the ruling authority, or king and his officers / agents that ruled over the land / nation the prophet was sent to warn. They occupied a higher place, held a higher station with power and authority over the people. They were a small type of God's heaven, a small type of God's rule and authority over all the earth, in that they held dominion and authority over part of the land.

"They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land." (Isa. 13:5, KJV)

The prophesy against Babylon was that another king and another people from the "end of heaven", that is beyond the borders of Babylon would come against them to destroy the "whole land" of Babylon.

The "sun" referred to the highest ruling authority of that land which was under judgment, and therefore was the king of that nation. The "moon" was the queen / or next ruling authority beneath the king, and the "stars" were the princes or governors of that land. The pattern was set and defined in Joseph's dream in Gen. 37:9-10.

"9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, 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?" (KJV)

Most often in the OT the "stars of heaven" referred to the children of Israel as the promise to Abraham described his descendants - Gen. 26:4; Ex. 32:13; Deu. 1:10; 10:22, etc. But, sometimes the prophet would assign that metaphor to the princes of other nations as in Isa. 13:10.

So, when prophetic language speaks of the sun not giving its light, or the moon no longer shining then the King / Queen, or the highest ruler and next highest ruler of that nation / land was going to be removed from power and thrown out.

The stars "falling from heaven" meant that the children of Israel - or princes of another nation - would be removed from their station of authority. Specifically when applied to Israel or Judah, the princes were the priests who ruled the temple under the authority of the King.

All of this language was speaking about the overturning of political authority which God ultimately determines.

"18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.

19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;

20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations." (2 Chron. 7:18-20, KJV)

So anytime the scriptures begin speaking a prophesy we have to watch for the symbolic language of overthrowing nations and their ruling authority. These elements repeat from prophesy to prophesy. And as the book of Revelation is a prophetic book, then we must surely look for those same prophetic symbols.

Which "heaven" then is meant in Rev. 12:1-2? It sets the context of the entire chapter.

"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:

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered." (KJV)

It speaks first and foremost of the birth of Christ, the Messiah. In which land or nation was Jesus born? Under whose ruling authority was Jesus born? There are two answers here: 1) He was born in Bethlehem, a city of Judea, when Herod was king over the land of Judea (Matt. 2:1); and 2) at that time Judea was a province under Roman rule.

So, there were two ruling authorities over the people of Judea - King Herod and Caesar. The symbolic "heavens" of this prophesy concern either Judea's ruling authorities and/or the Roman emperor. Context will govern which "heaven" is being spoken of. In chap. 12 as it clearly refers to the birth of Christ, the closest "heaven" would be Judea, and the Sanhedrin council.

The "earth" therefore of this prophesy speaks of Judea and Jerusalem, just as it did in Isa. 1:2, and in Ezek. 9:9, and many others.

As this chapter opens with the look back or flash back to the birth of Christ, and the double vision of the birth of Christ's church or "ecclesia" on the day of Pentecost, then the time frame of this chapter is also set as the first century AD. It is not a future prophesy for us. Christ was showing John something that had already happened, and something that was about to happen.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; ..." (Rev. 1:1, KJV).

"Shortly" did not mean 2,000 years later. (1)

The dragon is a symbol for an adversary of God and is used in prophesy for the idolatrous nations that stand against Him. The word “dragon” is drakon in the Greek, and means a huge serpent. It only appears in Revelation. In the OT, it is the serpent in Ex. 7:9-10; the representation of Nebuchadnezzar as a dragon in Jer. 51:34; the representation of the idolatrous tribes of Israel in Deu. 32:33; the representation of Babylon in Isa. 27:1; 51:9; and the representation of Pharaoh, king of Egypt in Ez. 29:3.

The symbolic use of “dragons” and “serpents” meant the pagan, heathen nations who worshiped and sacrificed to idols, the unclean things they made with their own hands. Those pagan, idolatrous nations were always the enemies of the Most High.

So, this dragon / adversary of Rev. ch. 12 was the one with 7 heads and 10 horns, the same "beast" as from Dan. chap. 7:19-20; that 4th kingdom that would be in power when Christ was born, and when Christ was crucified - Rome.

Rome was the sea "beast" identified in Rev. 13:1-5, with the same 7 heads and 10 horns. Rev. 12:4 refers to the dragon (Caesar of Rome) drawing his tail and throwing down a third of the "stars of heaven"; which referred to the pulling down the priests of the temple in Jerusalem, and destroying part of the descendants of Abraham - the Jews.

The woman fleeing into the wilderness was Mary fleeing with the baby Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod's decree to kill the children (Matt. 2:16), but mostly of the collective assemblies (the church) whom Chirst warned to flee to the mountains when they saw the Roman armies gather against Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-21; Matt. 24:15-16).

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven." (KJV)

There was no war in the highest heaven where God sits on His throne above the entire earth. This prophetic language refers to the same "heaven" and "earth" of this prophesy - namely the ruling authority of the kings, both Herod and Caesar over their "earth" or land of their kingdom... the province of Judea under Roman rule.

Angels are agents of God, messengers of God. They refer to both the heavenly, celestial messengers (Psa. 103:20), and to human messengers (Mal. 3:1). The context tells us which are which. In Rev. 12:7 the dragon is the adversary of Christ, and his angels / agents / messengers would be those of Caesar and of the Sanhedrin who worked with Caesar for a time to persecute the saints of Christ's church.

Michael was the OT prefigured Christ, the Angel of the Lord. Michael was Daniel's prince (Dan. 10:21); the great prince which stood for Daniel's people (Dan. 12:1). Christ is the prince of the covenant (Dan. 11:22), and the prince of princes (Dan. 8:25), the Messiah and the Prince (Dan. 9:25). (2) (3)

So, Michael of Rev. 12 was the pre-figured Christ of the OT, the prince of the host (Dan. 8:11). He is still the warrior for His people in Revelation. His angels / messengers included both heavenly, celestial beings and His apostles and disciples who were working to spread the gospel during that first century AD under Roman and Jewish persecution.

That battle occurred on the "earth" of Judea during the days of the 4th kingdom prophesied in Dan. chap 2 & chap 7, when Christ was incarnated on the "earth" in the 1st century AD. It is not speaking of any angels being thrown out of God's highest heaven, but of the power and rule of those adversaries which opposed God's Son - the rulers over the "earth" of Judea - the Jews of the Pharisees and Sadducees who were removed from their rule and authority -their "heaven" of the Jewish temple.

The time of this prophesy was the first century AD. The book opens with the flash back to the birth of Christ = 1st century AD. It sets the time frame for that battle between the Sanhedrin adversaries of Christ, and the saints who converted to the gospel of Christ. Chap. 12 begins the battle vision of the destruction of the temple, and the destruction of Jerusalem which ended with the seige of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70.

Christ and His messengers won.

The order of the events are: 1)the birth of Christ approx. 3 -2 BC.; 2) the birth of the church on Pentecost approx. 30 - 31 AD; 3) the battle of the Roman-Jewish wars approx. 66- 70 AD; and 4)the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in Sep. 70 AD.

See "The Beast of Revelation" at my blog here.

See also "The Signs of Revelation - Part V: The Animal Symbols of the Battle" here.

And, "The Signs of Revelation - Part II: The Codes and Symbols of Nature" here.

There are many more articles on the time of Revelation at my blog ShreddingTheVeil.


1) The Time of His Coming - here

2) The Divine Christ - here

3) Michael the Archangel - here

(Bold emphasis is mine.)

  • Why was the "battle" in Heaven because Satan The Devil was in heaven:-
    – user26950
    Nov 9, 2018 at 16:09
  • No, the dragon was in the "heaven" of the Roman empire, the political dominion over their provinces. The misconception of the use of "heaven" as a literal meaning in this and other prophesy has led to a false belief that this battle took place in the heaven where God sits on His throne. The "heavenly places" spoken of in Eph. 3, and 6 were those dominions of earthly kings. Their "heavens" were their dominions over their lands. Same thing here in Rev. It is not speaking of a battle in God's heaven. That is a misapplication.
    – Gina
    Nov 10, 2018 at 0:17
  • See "Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away" at ShreddingTheVeil.org. These are metaphors when used in prophetic language.
    – Gina
    Nov 10, 2018 at 0:17
  • Then why could Satan talk to God in Job Ch. 1 & Job Ch. 2?
    – user26950
    Nov 10, 2018 at 0:40
  • You are trying to make a metaphor in a prophesy become literal. The word "satan" in the original Hebrew is not a name. It is "ha satan" and it means an adversary. There r many varying takes on Job, from an allegory to that of a staff meeting in heaven, or to the view that God called the patriarchs together before Him in the same manner of speech that He said the priests came before Him in the temple. Revelation is prophetic language with lots of metaphors. An adversary carries a job title, just like we would say "the doctor" or "the teacher". Anyone who stands against God plays that role
    – Gina
    Nov 10, 2018 at 2:38

The Bible Book of Revelation talks of future event to take place, not past events, (see Rev. 1:1, below) from the time it was penned:

Only Key points noted in [] that are added for Dates, Person & Events.

Revelation 1:1 “A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God [YHWH] gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly TAKE PLACE [IN THE FUTURE] . . . .”

THE ORDER IS CHROLOLIGICAL. The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

K. J. V. - Rev Ch. 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman [God’s heavenly organisaion of angels, see Gal. 4:26-27] clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars [#12 a symbol of heaven].

2 Then being with child [God’s kingdom; Gal. 4:26], she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth [in 1914 when Jesus’ “Parousa,” not His “Erkhomai” started) started (Matt. 24:3)].

3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon [Satan he Devil] having seven heads and ten horns [politcial powers on earth under his control see Luke 4:5-6] , and seven diadems [sign of his rulership over humans] on his heads.

4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven [Angels that became Demons] and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child [God’s Kingdom] as soon as it was born.

5 She bore a male Child [God’s Kingdom to take over rulership of Planet Earth] who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron [READ PSALM 2]. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne [protected by God].

6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness [a refuge from attackers], where she has a place prepared by God [YHWH], that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Satan Thrown Out of Heaven

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael [Heavenly name of Jesus Christ] and his angels fought with the dragon [Devil]; and the dragon and his angels [Demons] fought,

8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world [of godless mankind]; he was cast to the earth [this planet], and his angels [Demons] were cast out with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God [YHWH], and the power of His Christ [King of kings] have come, for the accuser [Satan] of our brethren [The elect, “Born Again” or Anointed Christians] , who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

11 And they [The elect or anointed (the Remnant) along with non anointed Christians] overcame him by the blood of the Lamb [faith in Jesus etc.] and by the word [from The Bible] of their testimony [preaching the Good News], and they did not love their lives to the death [even being killed for the faith].

12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! [Satan is now gone from there, heaven ] WOE to the inhabitants of the earth [W.W.1 - 1914-1918 killed over 21,000,00 people (Matt 24:6-7) & “Pestilences”, The Spanish Flu 1918 killed over 20,000,000 people. The War was folowed by “food shortages” Luke 21:11] and the sea [of mankind see Isa. 57:20] ! For the devil has come down [thrown out of heaven by Jesus] to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time [before he is Destroyed by Jesus].”

NOTE: it does not say ‘doom’ (no hope (mankind has a hope in Jesus)) for the “sea” of mankind on “earth,” it says “WOE” (Suffering & Problems) from the Greek “ouai” which started with “The Great War” (W.W. I.)!

The Woman Persecuted

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman [God’s heavenly organisation via followers on earth] who gave birth to the male Child [Kingdom Hiers, The “elect”].

14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle [swift help from God], that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time [three years six months of restbite], from the presence of the serpent.

15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood [of persecution] after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

16 But the earth [man made Laws and legal systems] helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

17 And the dragon [Devil] was enraged with the woman [God’s Heavenly organisaion], and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring [Christians on Earth], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony [preaching] of Jesus Christ [now ruleing as King of God’s Kingdom = The Good News].

  • What about Revelation 1:19? Not all of the book of Revelation is about future events.
    – colboynik
    Nov 9, 2018 at 2:40
  • This is exactly what I intend to explore -- to explain the events in Revelation 12 and arrange them about their past and future spaces in time. Nov 9, 2018 at 12:38
  • @Jack NWT Rev 1:19 “So write down the things you saw [in this vision] , and the things that are [e.g. word power of the day going down into the long distant future] , and the things that will take place after these [the events therein Revelation fortold to take place].
    – user26950
    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:43
  • @Ernest Abinokhauno I will help you in that any time. let me know what other things you want to know sbout Rev.? We can go into the chat room if you like? ethos
    – user26950
    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:46

For instance, the chapter opened with the woman with child; and proceeded to the war in heaven; the dragon being cast down to wage war against the inhabiters of the earth and closed with the woman with child.

The chapter does not end with the woman and child. Revelation 12 is written in chronological order starting at the birth of Christ and ending with Satan going to start the great tribulation against Christians found in Revelation 13. Oddly enough the end of the GT is found in Revelation 11.

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