THE BIRTH OF THE MAN-CHILD
Revelation 12:2 says, "And she was with child, and she cried out, travailing in birth and being in pain to bring forth." Being with child is figurative and not real. What does it mean to be with child? It means that a child is in the mother’s womb, and the child and the mother are united in one body. When the mother eats, the child is nourished. When the mother is ill, the child is also affected. The condition of the mother is the condition of the child. The mother and the child are one.
However, this child is also different from the mother; he is another being. If you say that they are one, they are really one, for the child receives life from the mother. However, as far as his future is concerned, he is different. His future is entirely distinct from that of his mother. Immediately after he is delivered, he is caught up to the throne of God, while his mother flees into the wilderness.
In addition, while the woman is with child, all that can be seen is the mother; the child is hidden. Outwardly, it appears as if there is only the mother. The child assuredly exists, but he is hidden within the mother; he is included in the mother.
Verse 3 says, "And another sign was seen in heaven; and behold, there was a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems." That serpent after several thousand years is completely different. Originally it was a serpent, but now it has been enlarged to become a dragon. What is the form of this dragon? It has seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon its heads. It has the same appearance as the beast which rises up out of the sea. Revelation 13:1 says, "And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems." The beast which rises out of the sea also has seven heads and ten horns with crowns. This reveals Satan’s goal—he wants to gain the crowns, which signify authority. The difference between the dragon and the beast is that the crowns of the dragon are upon its heads, while those of the beast are upon its horns. The heads signify the authority to decide, and the horns signify the authority to execute. The heads control and the horns execute. In other words, the horns are subject to the commands of the heads. Whenever the heads move, the horns follow. This means that all the behavior of the beast is under the control of the dragon.
Revelation 12:4 begins, "And his tail drags away the third part of the stars of heaven, and he cast them to the earth." Isaiah 9:15 shows that the tail denotes lying and deception. In Revelation 2 and 3, stars refer to angels. Since the stars of heaven are mentioned here, they are the angels. One third of the angels in heaven were deceived by the dragon, and they fell and were cast down with the dragon.
Verse 4 continues, "And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, so that when she brings forth he might devour her child." Here is a woman whom God has purposed in His will and a man-child whom He desires to obtain. But the dragon is hindering what God is after in the woman. The dragon knows that this woman is about to bear a man-child; therefore, it stands before the woman and waits to devour her child as soon as she delivers.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)