The Woman's Seed - (Revelation 12:13-17)


Beasts from the sea
(Revelation 12:13-17) – “And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he pursued the woman who had brought forth the manchild. And there were given unto the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the desert, into her place—where she is nourished, a season and seasons and half a season, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth, after the woman, water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the stream. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was angered against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed—with them who were keeping the commandments of God, and holding the witness of Jesus;—and he stood upon the sand of the sea.”
The Dragon vents his rage by persecuting the Woman.  She is nourished in the wilderness for a “time, times half a time,” Daniel’s period of persecution of the saints (Daniel 7:25, 12:7). God’s “nourishing” of the Woman alludes to the story of Yahweh feeding Israel in the Wilderness with “manna” (Exodus 16:15-35).
The “two wings of the eagle” allude to Exodus 19:3-4: “you have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself” (cp. Deuteronomy 1:31-33, 32:10-12, Isaiah 40:31).
The “Serpent casting water out of his mouth like a river” does not refer to a “literal” flood; this is a simile (“like a river”). Elsewhere, things that issue out of a creature’s mouth are words, whether for good or ill (1:16, 2:16, 9:19, 11:5,13:5, 14:5, 19:15). In view are satanic attempts to overwhelm the Woman by deception, false doctrines, and false teachers.
Several of the churches of Asia already had experienced such deceptive onslaughts (2:2, 2:9, 2:13-14, 2:20-24, 3:9). In each case, the attack was linked to Satan: the “synagogue of Satan” (2:9, 3:9), the “throne of Satan” (2:13), and the “deep things of Satan” (2:24).
God intervened on behalf of the Woman to thwart the Serpent’s attack. Enraged, he turns his fury against the “rest of the Woman’s seed, to make war with them who were keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.”
To make war with them” alludes to Daniel 7:21, the Little Horn “made war with the saints and prevailed over them” (cp. Revelation 11:7).The description in 12:17also serves to transition to the next section that will provide a more detailed picture of the Dragon’s onslaught against the Woman’s “seed” (Revelation 13:1-10).
This last verse is also a link to the Beast from the Abyss and its war against the two witnesses (11:7). The ascent from the Abyss corresponds to the Beast’s ascent from the sea (13:1).
The “seed” of the woman is comprised of men and women who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.” This is a verbal link to Revelation 6:9-11, the martyrs under the altar “who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had.” When they asked “how long” they must wait for vindication, they were told until the full number of their brethren “who were going to be slain as even they” was assembled. The war of the Dragon against the Woman’s “seed” serves to fill up that number.

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