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The Radical Message Of Revelation (Revelation 12 and 13)

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The Dragon And The Child

Michael And The Great Dragon Revelation 12: 7-9




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Revelation 12

The woman and the dragon
And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was with child, and was crying out with labour pains and the agony of giving birth. 3 And there was seen another sign in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns and upon his heads seven diadems. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and he did throw them to the earth; and the dragon stands before the woman that is about to give birth, so that when she gives birth he may devour her child. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a man child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
   7 And there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels retaliated. 8 But he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.
   10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying: Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they did not love their life even to death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea! Because the Devil has gone down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has but a short time.
   13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that had brought forth the man child. 14 And there was given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time from the presence of the serpent. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman; the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon grew angry with the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed that keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.  


12:7-9 Bible teaching about Satan is explained in the doctrinal summary at the end of this Bible.

- The language of “cast down” and “cast out” does not require literal downwards movement- Babylon is “thrown down” in Rev. 18:21. ‘Cast out of Heaven’ means a loss of power

- After the drama of :7-9, v. 10 says that now is the Kingdom of our God. These verses speak of the future rather than telling us what happened in Eden (1:1). There is rejoicing that the devil has been cast to earth. Why should there be rejoicing if his coming to earth was the start of sin and disaster for man?

- The dragon had “seven heads and ten horns” (:3), therefore it was not literally the serpent. It being called “that old serpent” shows that it had the characteristics of that serpent in Eden, in the sense of being a deceiver, as the serpent was. Thus the devil is not literally the serpent, it is a political power, manifesting sin. Pharaoh is likened to a great dragon (Ez. 32:2).

- The dragon drew a third of the stars of heaven to the earth with his tail (:4). If this is read literally, the sheer size of the dragon is immense - a third of the whole universe could be contained just on his tail. There is no way planet earth would be big enough to contain such a huge creature sprawling over it. And remember that all this happened, or will happen, after the first century A.D., when this prophecy was given.

- “Heaven” can figuratively refer to a place of power. Revelation being such a symbolic book, we would expect this to be the case here. The woman in “heaven” then delivered her child, who was “caught up unto God and to his throne” (:5). God’s throne is in heaven. If the woman was already in heaven, why would her child have to be “caught up” to heaven? She must have been a symbol of something on earth, although in a figurative “heaven”. She then flees “into the wilderness” (:6). If she was in literal heaven, this means there is a wilderness in heaven. It is far more fitting for her to be in a figurative heavenly place, and then fleeing to a figurative wilderness on the earth. As all other references to “heaven” in Revelation 12 are figurative, it seems only consistent that the “war” was in a figurative heaven. There can be no rebellion or sin in literal heaven (Mt. 6:10; Ps. 5:4-5; Hab. 1:13). The conflict in figurative heaven - i.e. a place of authority - was therefore between two power groups, each with their followers, or angels.