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Author: Ron Graham

Book of Revelation

Satan the Failure
—Revelation 12:1-17

Judgment of the Beasts (Revelation 12-20) >Seven Signs >1st and 2nd signs >The Dragon and the Spendid Woman’s Child

A very strong theme in the Book of Revelation is the frustration of Satan. The story of his seven failures is told in the visions in chapter 12, and completed in chapters 18 and 20. In this lesson we follow the four failures in chapter 12.

Satan’s Seven Failures

  • First, Satan failed to devour the infant Christ (Revelation 12:1-6).
  • Second, he could not conquer heaven and lost the battle (Revelation 12:7-11).
  • Third, he failed in that his time was too short (Revelation 12:12).
  • Fourth, he failed to kill the splendid woman (representing God’s grace) (Revelation 12:13-17).
  • Fifth, he fails as “Babylon” falls (Revelation 18:1-2,21).
  • Sixth, he fails to escape his binding (Revelation 20:1-3).
  • Seventh, he fails to escape his doom (Revelation 20:7-10).

1 A Splendid Woman Gives Birth

Revelation 12:1-4

John sees seven signs. The first is of a spendid woman who cries out in pain as she gives birth to a man child. In a following lesson, we will compare this splendid woman with the atrocious woman of a future vision. The man child of course represents Jesus.

2 The Dragon Fails to Devour the Child

Revelation 12:4

The dragon stood before the splendid woman who was giving birth to a man child. The dragon was intending to devour the male child as soon as it was born. But the child was caught up to God and his throne and the splendid woman finds shelter in the wilderness (Revelation 12:1-6).

Satan did his best to destroy Jesus, and eventually succeeded when he had him crucified. However, Christ was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven to God’s right hand to establish his kingdom the church (Acts 2:22-24,32-33).

3 The Man Child’s Ascension

Revelation 12:5-6

The dragon pursues the Christ-child into heaven. The woman flees into the wilderness where God nurtures her for 1260 days. This period is 42 months, or three and a half years, which represent times of tribulation already discussed).

4 The Dragon Makes War on Heaven

Revelation 12:7-9

The devil and his angels fight a bitter war against Michael and the angels of God. The dragon and his angels could not prevail and lose the war. There was no longer a place for them in heaven and they were expelled (Revelation 12:7-9).

This vision signifies the solid truth that Christ in Heaven is supreme. "You are of God little children, and have overcome [the spirits of antichrist] because greater is he who in you than he who is in the world" (1John 4:4).

5 Heaven’s Victory Song

Revelation 12:10-12

While the victory song is sung in heaven, Satan is very angry as he realizes his failure and knows hisw time is short. He knows that his defeat spells his end. Cast down to earth, he has "great wrath knowing that his time is short" (Revelation 12:10-12).

Whilst we know Jesus is far greater and stronger than Satan, we still must not underestimate the devil's power. He is utterly evil, deeply frustrated, and in a mighty fury. Here on earth we have to contend "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of Heavenly wickedness" (Ephesians 6:10-12).

6 The Splendid Woman's Escape

Revelation 12:13-17

The dragon turns to persecuting the splendid woman who had given birth to the man child. She was given two wings of a great eagle and flew to refuge in the wilderness. The dragon tried to flush her out by spewing a flood of water from his mouth, but the ground soaked it up.

So having thrice failed, the dragon turned upon the woman's offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and have the gospel (Revelation 12:13-17).

The splendid woman represents the grace of God. It was by grace that Christ was born, and by grace that he died and rose again to become our Saviour. Even now by grace we endure tribulation and have the victory over Satan who is furiously attacking us.

Tribulation is to be expected in this world and "through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).


Webservant Ron Graham

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