Mystic Figure, The Dragon, Revelation Chapter 12 Verses 3-4 (NASB)

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    And ANOTHER SIGN appeared in heaven:
The woman (verse 1) was the first sign.
    and BEHOLD, a GREAT RED DRAGON
"Look at that", John says, "I have seen evil in my day, but seeing this makes me realize evil is much larger and pervasive than really known." Even John is taken by the "size of evil"; we just don't experience that in our everyday activities. Nonetheless, evil of that magnitude is around us all the time.

Red is the absence of peace (Revelation 6:4); so all turmoil and conflict is embodied in this SIGN (symbol).

  • having seven heads and ten horns, and
This is an ugly creature. Many scholars believe the seven heads refers to past governments (Revelation 17:10) periods and the ten horns to governments in the last times (Revelation 17:12). Daniel's dragon had only one head and ten horns (Daniel 7:7; Daniel 7:23-28). Since Daniel's dream was about the end times, this would make sense for Daniel's vision to only have the 10 horns.
  • on his heads were seven diadems.
This denotes that the evil is actively working inside governments in the end time. The devil (dragon - verse 9) openly boasts that the world's kingdoms are his (Luke 4:5-6). While Jesus didn't refute it (why should He argue with the devil?), He countered it by quoting scripture. This tells us that to counter 'the GREAT RED DRAGON', that we should quote scripture. Oh, that we would spend more time in studying God's Word. This also implies that instead of working for the people, governments work for Satan (1 John 5:18-19-21). One wonders what the government's programs really are meant to do! One only has to recall the Holocaust or abortion rights or alcohol misuse; all "legal" in government terms but intent on 'killing' people in violation of one of God's ten commandments (Exodus 20:13).
    And
a.   his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth. And

The literal view is that the cosmic response to the heaven and earth conflict will be a multitude of asteroids or similar stellar shower. Since most stars are many times larger than the earth and are 'burning', this would be the end of the physical earth as we know it. Thus the symbolic view is preferred in this instance. However, don't discount the physical phenomena from happening!

The symbolic view is that the WOMAN (verse 1) is a collective view of Israel. That is, the 12 stars are the twelve tribes of Judah. Then this part of this verse would be that a third of Israelis will be killed, "thrown to the earth" (Matthew 24:15-22-28). See how Daniel saw this verse in Daniel 8:9-14.

This conflict has gone on throughout history

  1. Cain killing Abel
  2. Pharoah/Moses
  3. Saul/David
  4. Babylonian/Captivity
  5. Herod/Jesus
  6. People/Jesus (Luke 4:28-30)
  7. Government/church

b.    the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

From the DRAGON viewpoint, he has to kill the child coming from the woman. According to 1 John 3:7-10, this is the reason Jesus came to the earth: that He might destroy the works of the devil. In a real sense, when Jesus said "unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3), Satan is standing right in front of you waiting to DEVOUR you as soon as you say "YES" to Jesus. Even after you say yes, Satan is still trying to kill Christ who lives in us. But since the devil is not successful (see the rest of this chapter), we have our HOPE OF GLORY (Colossians 1:24-29)!
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only