And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.(Revelation 12:3-4)
The vision of Revelation 12 corresponds to the account of the fall of man in Genesis 3. What do we have in Genesis 3? A Woman,a Serpent and the promise of the birth of a Savior.
By the time of Revelation 12, The Woman is clothed in the Sun,Moon and Stars, and is pregnant. The Serpent has become a Dragon, invested with great power and authority.
We need not speculate the identity of the serpent for this vision gives the identity,
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.(Revelation 12:9)
Without explaining the details of the seven heads and ten Horns and the crowns, suffice it for the time to consider this; all political and worldly power is handed over to the Dragon, “the Whole world lies n the wicked One”. The powers of this world are increasingly put into the disposal of the Devil, “This is their hour and the power of darkness”.
What is the difference between a serpent and a dragon? A serpent has to be subtle. We can see something of the subtlety of the serpent in the garden of Eden.The following is an excerpt from a book I have written about Genesis 1-11,Creation,Fall and the Promise of the Seed;
Now the Serpent was subtil…but can a snake be subtil? Isn’t subtlety a feature of intelligence? Subtlety is an attribute that can only be given to a responsible, moral being, therefore the scripture itself is being subtle, for it is implying that something more than a mere reptile is involved in this story.The serpent is the vehicle for another malevolent personality.
We are told without explanation, that the snake spoke to the woman. We remember that to the man, Adam, had been given the task of naming all of the animals. The act of naming the animals carries with it the idea that the one who names, has dominion over the ones named. This is in accord with the original commission given to the man, to rule over creation.
But something is amiss, for in the fact that the serpent spoke to the woman, there is rebellion against the divine order. It is the man’s wife that the serpent addresses, not the man standing there, the one who named the serpent. Obviously there is something very much out-of-order here.
The method of seduction is enlightening. The serpent probes the understanding of the woman, not by proposition but by loaded question;
Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
What a masterpiece of insinuation! He is not saying that God did say that, nor is he denying God said that, he is merely asking a question.
Yet the question itself is slanted- it could be paraphrased, Did God really deny you the freedom to eat of every tree of the garden? The serpent insinuated that God’s sole limit upon the couple was altogether unreasonable, not by stating so, but just by asking the loaded question.
The woman’s response offered the serpent clues to the couple’s inner state, openings to exploit;
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Her answer betrayed a slight hint of dissatisfaction. First, she maximised the prohibition of God, (though not as greatly as the serpent ), by saying that not only were they not to eat of the tree, they weren’t even supposed to touch it! Thus she portrayed her benevolent, Creator in a harsh light, as though he were being unreasonable.
Secondly she minimized the sanction, by saying that God said , lest ye die, when originally God had said, You shall surely die! As if it may or may not be true that those who transgress the word of God are liable to the revealed punishments. Maybe not?
Now the Serpent perceived that the couple, (for Adam had been standing there also ),were ready to hear God’s Word openly denied;
I have seen the serpent become a dragon in my own day. I wrote a book about the Prophetic Movement in 1999 called Beware the New Prophets. In the research I had to use a lot of discernment and prove by scripture that the “Words” of those prophets were unscriptural. It took a lot of wok because back then they were subtle.
But when A publisher asked me to update the book and do a study on the newer prophets, such as Bill Johnson of Bethel church,in Redding California, and Mike Bickle of IHOP, I was amazed. These people aren’t even subtle anymore!
They openly deny the Word of God, advocating without irony that the church go to the New Age movement to find out what they are doing right to produce their miracles, or endorsing obvious charlatans such as Todd Bentley, a man who left his wife for another and continues to minister!
This says more about the people than it does about these ‘prophets’. If there wasn’t a Todd Bentley or a Mike Bickle, someone would have to invent one, because there is such a market for these frauds among God’s confessing people.
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
The Serpent has become a Dragon! The people are ready and willing to hear God’s Word openly denied. The end brings a horrifying clarity as the devil comes out in the open, and in the fierceness of his malice, to oppose the woman and her seed.