Revelation 12:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

King James Bible
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Darby Bible Translation
and his tail draws the third part of the stars of the heaven; and he cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, in order that when she brought forth he might devour her child.

World English Bible
His tail drew one third of the stars of the sky, and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

Young's Literal Translation
and his tail doth draw the third of the stars of the heaven, and he did cast them to the earth; and the dragon did stand before the woman who is about to bring forth, that when she may bring forth, her child he may devour;

Revelation 12:4 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven - The word rendered "drew" - συρω surō - means to "draw, drag, haul." Prof. Stuart renders it "drew along"; and explains it as meaning that "the danger is represented as being in the upper region of the air, so that his tail may be supposed to interfere with and sweep down the stars, which, as viewed by the ancients, were all set in the visible expanse or welkin." So Daniel 8:10, speaking of the little horn, says that "it waxed great, even to the host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground." See the notes on that passage. The main idea here undoubtedly is that of power, and the object of John is to show that the power of the dragon was as if it extended to the stars, and as if it dragged down a third part of them to the earth, or swept them away with its tail, leaving two-thirds unaffected.

A power that would sweep them all away would be universal; a power that would sweep away one-third only would represent a dominion of that extent only. The dragon is represented as floating in the air - a monster extended along the sky - and one-third of the whole expanse was subject to his control. Suppose, then, that the dragon here was designed to represent the Roman pagan power; suppose that it referred to that power about to engage in the work of persecution, and at a time when the church was about to be greatly enlarged, and to fill the world; suppose that it referred to a time when but one-third part of the Roman world was subject to pagan influence, and the remaining two-thirds were, for some cause, safe from this influence - all the conditions here referred to would be fulfilled. Now it so happens that at a time when the "dragon" had become a common standard in the Roman armies, and had in some measure superseded the eagle, a state of things did exist which well corresponds with this representation.

There were times under the emperors when, in a considerable part of the empire, after the establishment of Christianity, the church enjoyed protection, and the Christian religion was tolerated, while in other parts paganism still prevailed, and waged a bitter warfare with the church. "Twice, at least, before the Roman empire became, divided permanently into the two parts, the Eastern and the Western, there was a "tripartite" division of the empire. The first occurred 311 a.d., when it was divided between Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin; the other 337 a.d., on the death of Constantine, when it was divided between his three sons, Constantine, Constans, and Constantius." "In two-thirds of the empire, embracing its whole European and African territory, Christians enjoyed toleration; in the other, or Asiatic portion, they were still, after a brief and uncertain respite, exposed to persecution, in all its bitterness and cruelty as before" (Elliott). I do not deem it absolutely essential, however, in order to a fair exposition of this passage, that we should be able to refer to minute historical facts with names and dates. A sufficient fulfillment is found if there was a period when the church, bright, glorious, and prosperous, was apparently about to become greatly enlarged, but when the monstrous pagan power still held its sway over a considerable part of the world, exposing the church to persecution. Even after the establishment of the church in the empire, and the favor shown to it by the Roman government, it was long before the pagan power ceased to rage, and before the church could be regarded as safe.

And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child - To prevent the increase and spread of the church in the world.

Revelation 12:4 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Snares of Satan
The great controversy between Christ and Satan, that has been carried forward for nearly six thousand years, is soon to close; and the wicked one redoubles his efforts to defeat the work of Christ in man's behalf and to fasten souls in his snares. To hold the people in darkness and impenitence till the Saviour's mediation is ended, and there is no longer a sacrifice for sin, is the object which he seeks to accomplish. When there is no special effort made to resist his power, when indifference prevails
Ellen Gould White—The Great Controversy

The Glory of Jesus and Mary.
Before entering upon the contemplation of the excellent glory which surrounds the blessed in heaven, we must endeavor to form a correct idea of God's grace, which enabled them to perform the great and noble actions we are now to consider. They were all, except Jesus and Mary, conceived in sin, and, therefore, subject to the same temptations that daily assail us. They never could have triumphed and reached the supernatural glory which now surrounds them, had they been left to their own natural strength,
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Time of Trouble
"At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book." Daniel 12:1. When the third angel's message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received "the latter
Ellen Gould White—The Great Controversy

Cross References
Isaiah 27:1
In that day the LORD will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, With His fierce and great and mighty sword, Even Leviathan the twisted serpent; And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.

Daniel 8:10
It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.

Matthew 2:16
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

Revelation 8:7
The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Revelation 8:8
The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,

Revelation 8:9
and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Revelation 8:10
The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.

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