Matthew Henry Complete

Commentary on The Revelation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Chapter 12

It is generally agreed by the most learned expositors that the narrative we have in this and the two following chapters, from the sounding of the seventh trumpet to the opening of the vials, is not a prediction of things to come, but rather a recapitulation and representation of things past, which, as God would have the apostle to foresee while future, he would have him to review now that they were past, that he might have a more perfect idea of them in his mind, and might observe the agreement between the prophecy and that Providence that is always fulfilling the scriptures. In this chapter we have an account of the contest between the church and antichrist, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

  1. As it was begun in heaven (v. 1–11).
  2. As it was carried on in the wilderness (v. 12, etc.).

Verses 1-11 Here we see that early prophecy eminently fulfilled in which God said he would put enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, Gen. 3:15. You will observe,

I. The attempts of Satan and his agents to prevent the increase of the church, by devouring her offspring as soon as it was born; of this we have a very lively description in the most proper images.

II. The unsuccessfulness of these attempts against the church; for,

III. The attempts of the dragon not only proved unsuccessful against the church, but fatal to his own interests; for, upon his endeavour to devour the man-child, he engaged all the powers of heaven against him (v. 7): There was war in heaven. Heaven will espouse the quarrel of the church. Here observe,

Verses 12-17 We have here an account of this war, so happily finished in heaven, or in the church, as it was again renewed and carried on in the wilderness, the place to which the church had fled, and where she had been for some time secured by the special care of her God and Saviour. Observe,

I. The warning given of the distress and calamity that should fall upon the inhabitants of the world in general, through the wrath and rage of the devil. For, though his malice is chiefly bent against the servants of God, yet he is an enemy and hater of mankind as such; and, being defeated in his designs against the church, he is resolved to give all the disturbance he can to the world in general: Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, and the sea, v. 12. The rage of Satan grows so much the greater as he is limited both in place and time; when he was confined to the wilderness, and had but a short time to reign there, he comes with the greater wrath.

II. His second attempt upon the church now in the wilderness: He persecuted the woman who brought forth the man-child, v. 13. Observe,


Return to Index page
Return to Eschatology page

Return to CRTA