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|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
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1 A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman 2
clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of
She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as
she labored to give birth. 3
Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a
huge red dragon, 4 with seven heads and ten horns, and on
its heads were seven diadems.
Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the
sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman
about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.
She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined
to rule all the nations with an iron rod. 5 Her child was
caught up to God and his throne.
The woman herself fled into the desert where
she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for
twelve hundred and sixty days. 6
7 Then war broke out in heaven; Michael 8
and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought
but they did not prevail and there was no
longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, 9
who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown
down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now
have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of
his Anointed. For the accuser 10 of our brothers is cast
out, who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and
by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who
dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to
you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time."
When the dragon saw that it had been thrown
down to the earth, it pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
But the woman was given the two wings of the
great eagle, 11 so that she could fly to her place in the
desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two
years, and a half-year.
The serpent, 12 however,
spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away
with the current.
But the earth helped the woman and opened its
mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth.
Then the dragon became angry with the woman and
went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God's
commandments and bear witness to Jesus. 13 (18) It took its
position 14 on the sand of the sea.
[⇒ 12:1-⇒ 14:20] This
central section of Rev portrays the power of evil, represented by a dragon, in
opposition to God and his people. First, the dragon pursues the woman about to
give birth, but her son is saved and "caught up to God and his
throne" (⇒ Rev 12:5). Then Michael and his
angels cast the dragon and his angels out of heaven (⇒ Rev
12:7-9). After this, the dragon tries to attack the boy indirectly by
attacking members of his church (⇒ Rev 12:13-17). A
beast, symbolizing the Roman empire, then becomes the dragon's agent, mortally
wounded but restored to life and worshiped by all the world
(⇒ Rev 13:1-10). A second beast arises from the
land, symbolizing the antichrist, which leads people astray by its prodigies to
idolize the first beast (⇒ Rev 13:11-18). This is
followed by a vision of the Lamb and his faithful ones, and the proclamation of
imminent judgment upon the world in terms of the wine of God's wrath
(⇒ Rev 14:1-20).
2  The woman adorned with the sun,
the moon, and the stars (images taken from ⇒ Genesis
37:9-10) symbolizes God's people in the Old and the New Testament.
The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (⇒ Rev 12:5)
and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the
dragon (⇒ Rev 12:6,
⇒ 13-17); cf ⇒ Isaiah
50:1; ⇒ 66:7; ⇒ Jeremiah
50:12. This corresponds to a widespread myth throughout the ancient
world that a goddess pregnant with a savior was pursued by a horrible monster;
by miraculous intervention, she bore a son who then killed the monster.
3  Because of Eve's sin, the woman
gives birth in distress and pain (⇒ Genesis 3:16; cf
⇒ Isaiah 66:7-14).
4  Huge red dragon: the Devil or
Satan (cf ⇒ Rev 12:9;
⇒ 20:2), symbol of the forces of evil, a mythical
monster known also as Leviathan (⇒ Psalm 74:13-14)
or Rahab (⇒ Job 26:12-13; ⇒ Psalm
89:11). Seven diadems: these are symbolic of the fullness of the
dragon's sovereignty over the kingdoms of this world; cf Christ with many
diadems (⇒ Rev 19:12).
5  Rule . . . iron rod: fulfilled
in ⇒ Rev 19:15; cf ⇒ Psalm
2:9. Was caught up to God: reference to Christ's ascension.
6  God protects the persecuted
church in the desert, the traditional Old Testament place of refuge for the
afflicted, according to the typology of the Exodus; see the note on
⇒ Rev 11:2.
7 [7-12] Michael, mentioned only here
in Rev, wins a victory over the dragon. A hymn of praise follows.
8  Michael: the archangel, guardian
and champion of Israel; cf ⇒ Daniel 10:13,
⇒ 21; ⇒ 12:1;
⇒ Jude 1:9. In Hebrew, the name Michael means
"Who can compare with God?"; cf ⇒ Rev
9  The ancient serpent: who
seduced Eve (⇒ Genesis 3:1-6), mother of the human
race; cf ⇒ Rev 20:2; ⇒ Eph
6:11-12. Was thrown down: allusion to the expulsion of Satan from
heaven; cf ⇒ Luke 10:18.
10  The accuser: the meaning of
the Hebrew word "Satan," found in ⇒ Rev
12:9; Job 1-2; ⇒ Zechariah 3:1;
⇒ 1 Chron 21:1; he continues to accuse Christ's
11  Great eagle: symbol of the
power and swiftness of divine help; cf ⇒ Exodus
19:4; ⇒ Deut 32:11;
⇒ Isaiah 40:31.
12  The serpent is depicted as the
sea monster; cf ⇒ Rev 13:1;
⇒ Isaiah 27:1; ⇒ Ezekiel
32:2; ⇒ Psalm 74:13-14.
13  Although the church is
protected by God's special providence (⇒ Rev
12:16), the individual Christian is to expect persecution and
14 [17(18)] It took its position: many
later manuscripts and versions read "I took my position," thus
connecting the sentence to the following paragraph.
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