And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 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 12:1-4)
The enemy of God and of man comes to us either as a serpent or a dragon. We have commented on the subtlety of the serpent in an earlier chapter, in his seduction of our first parents, through loaded questions, implied accusations against God, and through the centuries via his crafting and dissemination of various soul destroying philosophies, and false “knowledge” calculated to estrange men from the Creator and damn them forever.
This is the subtle side of the Devil.
Subtlety is necessary when one is on the outside trying to gain access, or to seduce in order to gain something from the unsuspecting. Serpents slither and whisper, they insinuate and crouch in their coils until they have the opportunity to strike.
But as the vision of Revelation 12 shows us, the Devil is both a serpent and a Dragon, depending upon the situation.
In a nutshell, Revelation 12 is the corresponding chapter to Genesis 3.
What do we see in Genesis three? A woman, a man (who didn’t account for much), a serpent, and the promise of a virgin born deliverer, “the seed of the woman”.
By Revelation twelve, the Woman is clothed, and pregnant, writhing in labor. The “Seed of the woman” has come, and been taken up into heaven. The Serpent has become a great red Dragon, with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head,(He has much poet and has won many victories).
What is the essence of this mysterious symbolism, revealed by the Holy Spirit? The Woman, represents the true people of God, Israel in particular. The child taken up, is the LORD Jesus Christ, who came , died, rose again, and will soon return to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
The great red Dragon is identified in the 12th chapter of Revelation,
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)
Literally the text calls him, “… That serpent of old…” . He is the same person as the one who lured Adam and Eve to their spiritual suicide in the garden. That serpent is also a dragon.
Wherever in the world that there is still a strong Judeo Christian influence , Satan is forced to make war on the saints and on mankind in general , as the serpent. He must employ lies, subtlety, the use of heresy, vain imaginations, reasonings and philosophies, and a flood of deception.
However, where there little or no Judeo Christian influence, Satan reveals as the Persecutor of the Holy People, the Dragon who openly devours.
In Revelation 12, the Dragon waits for the woman (Israel), who is pregnant, to bring forth the Seed of the woman (The Messiah). This was the meaning behind the attempts of Pharaoh to take Abrahams wife, and Isaac’s wife, and The Pharoah’s attempt to kill Hebrew children, and Queen Athaliah’s attempt to win out the children of the Son of David. The Dragon was behind all of this all the way down to Herod, slaying the babes at Bethlehem.
“… 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 12:4)
By this time, no subtlety was necessary, The Dragon was able to be open about his malice and to “Kill, Steal and Destroy”… as Jesus told us he would.
The Dragon’s power is vast and fearful, but he till must serve God. He is allowed to be the serpent, and the Dragon, yet his malice in the war He makes on the Saints,fulfills God’s glorious purposes.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.(Revelation 12:12-13)
The Dragon knows his time is limited. He will soon be cast to the earth, and this will usher in a greater persecution of Israel and the church than ever seen before. Already in the Muslim world, as well as in the Hindu and Bhuddist world the saints have been suffering a severe persecution by the dragon.
We know why He would attack the true church…they bear witness to the Truth of God in the face of the LIE, which is being recieved and accepted throughout the world.
But why does the Dragon yet seek to destroy the woman, the children of Israel ? He failed in his attempt to wipe out the “Seed of the woman”, the man child has come and done his saving work and has ascended to heaven, the Dragon failed.
Certainly Israel is at present under the deception of the Dragon, as are all the nations. Why is she a threat to the dragon?
The Dragon knows that God’s promises are invested in the woman. He has said she will endure forever, and that He would place them back in the land, and in one day would save the entire nation. If Israel could be wiped out before any of this is fulfilled, God would have failed to keep his Word.
Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)
In this way the woman is still pregnant and is in labor pain, she has already born the pain and reproach and trial and privilege of bringing the scriptures into the world, and being the site of the only true worship on earth, and she has been the receptacle nation of the seed of the woman, Satan has failed to halt any of these things.
But Israel is yet in labor with one more very important thing, that is that the Kingdom of God and the New Age of Righteousness cannot commence until she repents of her national sin. This is the meaning of the great tribulation and time of Jacobs trouble, God is pressing her to repent, and Satan seeks to destroy her through the Kings of the earth.God told her;
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. (Hosea 5:15)
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.(Revelation 12:15-17)