Friday, December 18, 2020

The Woman and the Dragon

"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head" (Revelation 12:1).

As we lead up to the seven chalices of wrath, the first vision we see is that of the woman and the dragon. The woman is clothed with the sun, moon, and stars, and this probably refers back to Genesis 37:9, where Israel is symbolized this way. The woman represents the true Eve, the church of the time before Christ, laboring to give birth to the Seed.

Before her stands a dragon, representing Satan. Satan seeks to destroy the Seed of the woman as soon as He is born. Throughout the Old Testament, Satan tried to wipe out the Seed several times, as when he tried to kill all the baby boys in Egypt, and when through Athaliah he almost destroyed the line of David. When Jesus was born, Satan slew all the boy children in Bethlehem, seeking to kill the Seed. But he failed, and Christ ascended to heaven to rule (Revelation 12:2–5).

The woman, the true church, was given a place in the wilderness to flee to. This probably refers to the time of the first century, as described in Acts. When Christ ascended to heaven, Satan was cast out and sought to destroy the woman. She was given protection however, and the persecution unleashed by Satan was instead drunk by the earth, which probably represents the Jews of the first century (who, of course, suffered great destruction in A.D. 70). Then the dragon went after the rest of the woman’s offspring, carrying forth his attacks throughout all of the history of the church (Revelation 12:6–17).

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea and called forth his agent, the beast (13:1). This beast is the fulfillment of the first beast, the serpent that seduced Eve in the garden. Beasts are used as symbols of anti-God powers throughout the Old Testament, especially in Daniel. Some take the beast of Revelation 13 to refer to Rome, and perhaps more pointedly, Nero or Domition. Historicists took it to refer to the political power of the Roman Catholic Church. Futurists see the beast as a political oppressor who will arise in the end times (Revelation 13:1–10). The beast has himself a helper, the second beast, who uses propaganda to cause people to be loyal to the political power of the main beast (13:11–17).

The Trinity is counterfeited by the dragon (false father), the beast (false son, ruler of the nations), and the second beast (false spirit, who brings people to worship the false son). Beasts have oppressed the true church throughout history. Pray for Christ to come and vanquish the beasts that oppress His people worldwide.