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Revelation 12

1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.

Are these stars angels?

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4 Answers 4

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Are the stars in Revelation 12:1, 4 angels?

Answer: This is unlikely.

What follows is presented from an amillennial perspective, one in which the Book of Revelation is highly symbolic and should be treated with the caution that such an approach demands.

In the Old Testament, Israel is portrayed as a woman (Jer. 2:32). In the New Testament, the Church is described as a pure woman (1 Cor. 11:3; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 5:22-23; 2 John 1).

Here, we might observe that the woman is not the Church because Christ emerged from this figure as we see in Revelation 12:4:

Revelation 12:4: "And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child" (emphasis added).

"The Child" here is, without question, Christ. It will be remembered that King Herod murdered all boys born in Bethlehem 2 years old and under in an attempt to destroy Jesus in His infancy (Matt. 2:16). Herod was surely used as an instrument of Satan. If we add verse 5 to this, there can be little doubt Who is in view:

Revelation 12:5: "And [the woman] gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne" (emphasis added).

No other Figure meets the qualification of "ruling with a rod of iron" (Psa. 2:9, Rev. 2:27, 19:15) more than Christ.

The woman appears to represent both physical Israel of the O/T and spiritual Israel of the New. Christ was the firstborn (Col. 1:15), a product of physical Israel while "other children" would later emerge as products of spiritual Israel (Rev. 12:17, "the rest of her children").

In the O/T, the faithful (saints) would be those such as Jacob, Moses, David, and many, many other great characters of antiquity (cf. Heb. 11). In the N/T, there were the apostles and disciples of Christ — also saints.

The twelve stars over the woman's head most likely symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel, the nation from which Christ would eventually arise. God appears to shine His light (the sun) on these O/T faithful as the woman was given authority and honor over her enemies.

Consider the majesty of this woman. She is clothed with the sun (light), and has been given 1) authority and 2) honor with 3) a crown of 12 stars (12 tribes), and 4) the moon — perhaps representing a footstool under her feet for her enemies.

Finally, the phrase from Revelation 12:4 is also very important:

Revelation 12:3-4a: "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth" (emphasis added).

At least one commentator1 has suggested:

Heaven in this context is not the abode of God, but a struggle taking place among the principalities and powers of civil government; one that would be witnessed worldwide. Fiery red symbolizes ravenous death; seven heads show great reasoning power and control; ten horns show great strength; crowns: authority. The "dragon's" tail casting down stars is a figure of his purging out anyone of authority who stood in his way. (Emphasis added.)

1 Blake, Paul R. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, The Triumph of the Suffering Church.

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"Stars" occur in Rev 12:1 and 4 but are probably different.

Rev 12:1 - 12 Stars in the "crown" of the woman

On the basis of Dan 12:3, the 12 stars are probably an allusion to the teaching of the 12 apostles and the significant church leaders.

Rev 12:4 - one third of the stars of heaven

On the basis of Rev 1:20, 12:7-9, the stars are almost certainly angels.

Rev 12:7-9 - Then a war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But the dragon was not strong enough, and no longer was any place found in heaven for him and his angels. And the great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

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God has called His children stars. This is recorded in Job.

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Read: Luke 20:36 (kjv). The short answer is yes.

The term sons of God, is almost ways attributed to directly created beings in the OT , like Adam and the angels (messengers). In The New Covenant, the term takes on a different meaning by our new nature in Jesus Christ.

Further documentation (https://www.therain.org/appendixes/app23.html)

Are these stars angels? (verse 4*):

Revelation 12 is a heavy subject. I'll try to summarize only the verses you brought up. And rightly divide it so the subject is apparent and understood. Revelation 12 covers a very long history of time.

From the world that then was, to the current age, and the events leading into The Lords Day (2 Peter 3).

Revelation 12:1-4 (kjv)

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:

(This woman is Israel. A crown of Twelve stars representing those 12 tribes. The sun and moon fixes this as a zodiac representation (Psalms 19 ;Genesis 1:14 kjv) meaning this was Gods plan in the making Long before it was enacted and eludes to events Before The Foundation Matthew 13:35 Foundation: https://www.therain.org/appendixes/app146.html) .

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

(The child is Jesus Christ, labor pains that bring about the birth of a the age of Salvation)

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 goes way back to the world that then was standing in and out of the water, recorded in Genesis 1 (Not to be confused with Noah's flood which only pertains to this current second age). Peter briefly touches upon this in 2 Peter 3).

Pay attention to the seven crowns upon his heads. This is a similar description to the First Beast of Revelation 13 but its not the same . That multi-headed world political system that Satan will use. So Revelation 12:3 has a different set up suggesting Satan at some distance past used a similar system to draw Gods children away from Him. That would be before, the recorded events of the creation of this age). Consider reading Ezekiel 28.

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.

( Casting to the earth is akin to birth. As Christ would teach all must be born, to participate in His Spirit of Salvation John 3. Satans actions in the world that then was , caused God to end that way of life (Jeremiah 4:19-27 to wit all fossil remains belong), and brought in this second age of Salvation where all must be born of women.

Apparently one-third is an exact number. Factor in all the people living today, all that have died up until this point, the possible number yet to be born before this second age concludes , and (those who wont be born we can exclude) .One-third of all Satan deceived once before.) Its Logical that, God is saving the one-3rd to be born at the tail end of this age, for When Satan is here in his new system, proclaiming to be God and Messiah, that these same people can be tested before we go into The Lords Day. And yet he must continue a short space after.

  • and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

(This is self explanatory The woman being Israel, specifically two tribes Christ would come through, Satan's attack on Israel from Eve in garden to the fallen angels on the daughters of Adam in Genesis 6 on, to causing David to number his armies, Herod of Judea ordering the execution of all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem etc.

All attempts to prevent Christ from entering this world. Even attempting to tempt Christ in the wilderness; finally entering Judas to betray Christ. Satan's attempts to thwart Gods plan to Save His children. Us.

But it plays into Gods plans Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14 kjv.

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In Revelation 12:4, “a great red dragon” swept away “a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” (Rev 12:3-4). What does this mean? Revelation 12 also describes a war in heaven between the dragon’s angels and Michael’s angels. Are the “stars” in 12:4 the same as the dragon’s angels? Consider the following:

  1. The Book of Job described angels as stars (Job 38:1-7).

  2. The Book of Daniel symbolizes God’s people as stars (Dan 8:10; 12:2).

  3. Closer to our text, Revelation 1 represents Jesus as one like a son of man. He has seven stars in the right hand which are explained as the angels of the seven churches (Rev 1:20, 13, 16). But I assume that these "angels" really are the leaders of those churches and, therefore, they are people.

  4. In Revelation 12 itself, in the context of the war in heaven, the Dragon is identified as Satan. This may imply that the stars are supernatural beings such as angels. But, in verse 4, the dragon has "seven heads and ten horns" (Rev 12:3), symbolizing the organizations on earth through which Satan works (Rev 17:9, 12). This may imply that the stars are people.

  5. Isaiah 9:14-15 declares, "the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail." So, the dragon's tail may symbolize "falsehood." But this does not help us much because Satan declares falsehood both in heaven and on earth.

  6. The context of our verse is that the dragon stands before a woman who is expecting a child; ready to devour her child as soon as he is born (Rev 12:1-4). That woman is identified as a symbolization of the woman in the garden of Eden, with respect to whom God promised that her “seed” would “bruise” the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). Her child is Christ. This woman in Revelation 12 has a crown of 12 “stars” (Rev 12:1). The number 12, in both the Old and New Testaments, represents God’s people. The 12 stars in her crown, therefore, symbolize people.

Conclusion

I propose that 12:4 must be interpreted within its immediate context and not within the context of the war in heaven described a few verses later:

Since verse 5 describes the time of Christ, the context of verse 4 is before Christ. In contrast, the war in heaven in verse 7 is described after Christ.

Furthermore, verse 4 describes the war between the woman and the dragon: “the dragon stood before the woman.” In that context:

  • The woman represents God’s Old Testament people.

  • The dragon, with its seven heads and ten horns, represents the human organizations through which Satan persecuted God’s people.

Given that context, I propose that the stars symbolize God's people. That the dragon swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth then means that Satan has deceived a large number of God's Old Testament people.

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