Three signs are introduced in the first three verses. e first is of the woman with child. She is described as clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a garland of twelve stars with twelve crowns. The honored woman is representative of the faithful remnant from the old covenant, which brought forth the Messiah of promise, and which then becomes or is combined with the faithful of the new covenant and Kingdom of Heaven – the Church of Christ. It cannot represent the Church, as the Church did not bring forth the Messiah (it worked the other way around). Many commentators say the woman is appropriately described as “the daughter of Zion” (Israel) from Micah 4:8-10: the faithful remnant. Even though there is no clear reference or background for it — It will do. Christianity had its beginning through the remnant of Israel and this remnant then represents the beginning of the Church.
The dragon is the second figure. That a dragon is always Satan is expressed in v.8. The descriptions serve to point up the power and strength of Satan. He failed in his opposition to Christ when Christ was on the earth (v.4-5). The third image, the child clearly symbolizes the Christ. The symbolism of ruling with a “rod of iron” is found in Psalms 2, as had been the praise in chapter 11:18 (Psalms 2 is a recurring source of the descriptions of Christ throughout the New Testament as in the book of Revelation). The child is caught up to God and to his throne. Obviously, these events had taken place from the time of the death of Christ through to his ascension. They are parallel signs to the last visions.
The sign of war in heaven (verse 7-12) is also descriptive of past events. This war is not a literal one, but figurative, as with all the events in the book. These signs in heaven are likened to a war with the good angels under Michael the Archangel (chief angel) fighting the dragon Satan and his company. Satan and his angels are cast to the earth, and at that time the record states: “Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of God and the power of his Christ have come.”
What precisely does the word NOW mean in English? What would a translated word for NOW mean in any language?
The only conclusion must be that the sign given is symbolic of the events up to and including the giving of the Kingdom of God, the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven – the Assembly or Church of Christ on earth. That is what Jesus said his church “is” – The Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 16:18,19 and elsewhere.) Therefore, this war is not a physical war, any more than any of the other symbols are indicating physical things; and they are symbols for the events which had already taken place as the Christ came to earth and set up the Kingdom of God — for us, the Church of Christ — in its place. When these things were concluded, Jesus ascended back to the Throne room in heaven with The Holy Father, The Lord God Almighty and the Heavenly Host.
We note that as the kingdom was established that Satan had lost his place as accuser of the brethren in Heaven (v.10), as there is an advocate there for believers. He had been overcome by those who have been faithful to Christ being “saved by the blood of the Lamb;” and is only allowed to harm individually whom he might as he roams the earth, just as the Apostle Peter had noted, “…as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Therefore, this also means the battle in heaven has been won. It is not a future fight, but one already concluded (contrary to what the various advent and millennial doctrines teach). This is the only legitimate interpretation of the signs, as this agrees with the text both here and elsewhere, and with the explanations of the other signs in the rest of the book.
The woman (the faithful remnant), the Kingdom – the Church, is persecuted (remember those voices crying out from beneath the alter?), having fled into the wilderness. This is a symbol of trial and strengthening as when Israel left Egypt for the wilderness. One thousand two hundred sixty days is the same amount of time for the treading down of the Holy City in 11:2, and the length of time that the two witnesses prophesied in 11:3. It is also the length of time that the beast in chapter 13 was to be granted authority on the earth (see 13:5). Once again: All time signs are identical (with one late exception – which will be identified when we get to it), but that does not imply that they run concurrently or are precisely identical in length. They are periods defined by God’s standard – not ours. What that means is that these are parallel and complementary events of similar circumstance or that they lead to the same end. The events began to unfold while the Savior was upon the earth and concluded sometime after the death of the Apostles and the “treading down of the Holy City.” The woman, the Church, cannot be overcome, so the dragon seeks to “make war with her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Is there another reasonable explanation?