Advent with the Revelation (Ch 12)
December 08, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 12 (Thursday of the Second Week of Advent)

A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
‘Now have come the salvation and the power
   and the kingdom of our God
   and the authority of his Messiah,
for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
   who accuses them day and night before our God.
But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
   and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
Rejoice then, you heavens
   and those who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
   for the devil has come down to you
with great wrath,
   because he knows that his time is short!’ 

So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from his mouth the serpent poured water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman; it opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus. 

Then the dragon took his stand on the sand of the seashore. 


Now the community of the chosen is the Woman, bearing heavenly insignia, who appears in heaven, crying out in her birth-pangs as she gives birth to the Messiah; the dragon threatens to devour the child, but he is “caught up to God”. This event is of central significance for the world: its consequence is that the dragon, having been vanquished in heaven, falls to the earth (cf. Lk 10:18), where he is in great rage because the time remaining to him is short. He persecutes the Woman, who is removed to the desert and is protected and nourished there; he makes war on her offspring, “who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (12:17). The birth of the Child and the resulting fall of the devil mean that a qualitative time threshold has been passed, once and for all.

It is only when the Woman has given birth in heaven that Satan falls to the earth and his two associates come forth from the depths (Rev 12f.). What was known as the “abomination of desolation” (in the Temple of the holy nation) in Daniel 9:27 will assume worldwide proportions, according to the Book of Revelation. What is at stake is the claim to be equal to God (2 Th 2:4), the blasphemy that is spewed from every mouth (Rev 13:6; 16:9, 11-12). The hostile powers will use stupendous miracles (Rev 13:13ff.) to make people believe that the kingdom of God—which is beyond human definition—can be defined and experienced (Lk 21:8). It is only when God’s triune nature has been revealed in the Incarnation of God’s Son and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that it can be countered by a demonic trinity, namely, the primal devil, a pseudo-incarnation and a pseudo-spirit. Similarly, only when the anguished Woman has given birth in heaven can the Great Harlot who seduces the whole world manifest herself.

All this shows that, in the Book of Revelation, it is quite possible to be both on earth (in the “great tribulation”) and in heaven as well; at least people can be seen to be in heaven, even if they do not know that they are there. The seer may have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders without realizing it. So we must reckon with a reality that bridges the gap between heaven and earth without annihilating it; this is the reality of the Holy Church or the Church of the saints, also appearing as the “witnesses” (6:9), the “rest of the offspring [of the Woman], those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (12:17), the “called and chosen and faithful” (17:14), who stand by the Logos in his struggle. The Woman who gives birth in anguish, surrounded by stars, also appears as a sign “in heaven”, confronting the dragon, who is then “thrown down to the earth” (12:9), whereas the Woman, who surely does not fall from heaven to earth, has a place prepared for her in the “wilderness”, where the “earth” protects her from the dragon’s lethal flood (12:16). With regard to the Woman, therefore, (that is, the Messianic people), we must say that, despite the aspects of “anguish” and “wilderness”, she belongs to both heaven and earth.

 Musical Selection

The Father has given Christ all power, honor and kingship
All people will obey Him

We praise You, the Lord God Almighty
Who is and who was
You have assumed your great power
You have begun your reign

The nations have raged in anger
But then came Your day of wrath
And the moment to judge the dead
The time to reward Your servants the prophets
And the holy ones who revere You
The great and the small alike

Now have salvation and power come
The reign of our God and the authority of His Anointed One
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out
Who night and day accused them before God

They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
And by the word of their testimony
Love for life did not deter them from death
So rejoice, you heavens
And you that dwell therein!

Glory to the Father
And to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning
Is now
And will be forever
Amen. (John Michael Talbot)


God most high,
from the first moment of her conception
you favoured the Virgin Mary with your grace,
that she might become the mother of the world’s Redeemer.
As you blessed the daughter of Israel,
so grant us the grace
to be fully engaged in your service,
eager to do your will.
Hasten that day of gladness
when you will bring to completion your saving work,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.