Last time we read about a great red dragon who swept a third of the stars from heaven, and who was waiting to devour the male child, the Messiah, which was borne by the woman, Israel.
“Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:1-9
The book tells us flat out who the great dragon is: it is Satan. The stars which were swept from heaven were fallen stars. We had already seen that stars, in Revelation, are angelic beings or spiritual powers. Verse 9 confirms for us that the stars who fell were angels, who sided with Satan when there was a great war in heaven. Enoch actually wrote a long book of prophecy about these fallen angels and the havoc they caused on the earth, and the judgment of God which was waiting for them and for the earth. Jude refers to these events in his short book. Enoch lived even before the Flood of Noah, so this war took place long ago.
In fact, the Hebrew scholars traditionally believed that the rebellion of Satan took place on the second day of creation. It was the only day in which God did not pronounce anything good.
So we are all in agreement that the great dragon is Satan. But Revelation 12 gives us another clue: the dragon had seven heads and ten horns. What is that all about?
“Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.” Daniel 7:2-8
If we count the heads and horns on these four beasts of Daniel’s vision, we come up with seven heads and ten horns. Hmmm ….
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 12: seven heads and ten horns