Chapter twelve provides long-term look at the big historical picture. John made it clear in Revelation 12:1 that this was a “sign,” so we should read this as symbolic figures. A natural reading shows three main persons: the woman, who represents the nation of Israel; the dragon, who represents Satan; and the male child, who represents Jesus. According to Revelation 12:6, Israel “fled into the wilderness” to be protected by God from Satan for 1,260 days, the last half of the Tribulation. Jesus said that this would happen after “the abomination of desolation – spoken about by Daniel the prophet” (Matthew 24:15). Daniel wrote that this would take place “in the middle of that week” (Daniel 9:27), or the 7-year covenant that Antichrist will make with Israel.
At this point (in the middle of the Tribulation), Michael and his angelic army will overpower Satan and his demonic army and will cast them out of heaven. Once confined to the Earth, Satan will “make war on the rest of [Israel who did not flee]” and on those who “hold to the testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17) for the remainder of the Tribulation. It is during this period that many will be martyred, possibly those already mentioned in the fifth seal and some of the multitude in chapter 7. This time is called a “woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you” (Revelation 12:12).