Bible Revelation

The Dragon and His Pursuit (Rev 12:13-18)


A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 12:13-18

“13But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14So the woman was given two wings like a great eagle so that she could fly into the wilderness to the place for her. That’s where she was taken care of for a time, times, and half a time away from the presence of the serpent. 15The serpent threw water from his mouth after the woman like a river in order that she might be swept away by a river. 16But, the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth. It swallowed up the river which the dragon sent from his mouth. 17The dragon became angry at the woman and went to make war against the rest of her descendants who were keeping the commandments of God and witness of Jesus. 18Then he stood on the sand next to the sea.” (Rev 12:13-18)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek New Testament[/ref]

The Dragon and His Pursuit (Rev 12:13-18)

Photo Credit: Bamberg Apocalypse

C. General Remarks

“Taken as a whole, chapter 12 is a fitting introduction to the important revelations given in chapter 13. Here are the principal actors of the great tribulation with the historic background that provides so much essential information. Israel, Satan, Christ, the archangel, and the godly remnant figure largely in the closing scenes of the age. Next, the two principal human actors are introduced: the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth, the human instruments that Satan will use to direct his program during the great tribulation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 202).

“Don’t be surprised that the dragon is out to get you, with more of his foul but powerful accusations, spat out like a flood.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 113)

“Revelation 12 describes the attempts by Satan to destroy Christ at His first coming, and his persecution of Isarel (the woman) in the final days before the second coming (cf. Gen 3:15). The point seems to be that Satan’s plan A was to destroy Christ so he couldn’t rule as king. When he failed in that, he embarked on plan B which was to destroy the people over whom Christ is to reign – the Jewish people. However, God supernaturally protects Israel from Satan during the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.” (Mark Hitchock, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” class notes at Dallas Theological Seminary)

As we finish the study of Revelation 12 it becomes clear that this chapter is about the Dragon—Satan—and his fight against those who are loyal to God. The word “dragon” (in Greek) is used eight times in this chapter in only eighteen verses. Clearly, the focus of this chapter is Satan and his work to kill others.

II. THE CHASE (12:13-14)

A. The Dragon’s Pursuit (v. 13)

Καὶ ὅτε εἶδεν ὁ δράκων ὅτι ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἐδίωξεν τὴν γυναῖκα ἥτις ἔτεκεν τὸν ἄρσενα.

“But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Rev 12:13)

1. Pursued or Persecuted?

Translations are split on the verb used to describe what the dragon does to the woman. Some translations use “pursued” (NLT, LEB, ESV, NIV, NRSV) and some use “persecuted” (NASB95, KJV1900, NKJV, AV 1873). Either seems like a good option because both reflect the dragon’s desire to kill the woman.


2. Satan’s Anger