Revelation 12 – 13: The Woman and the Dragon and the Two Beasts

The Book of Revelation

Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clo...

Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with Sun (1805) is one of a series of illustrations of Revelation 12. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Woman and the Dragon

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. (Revelation 12:1-3, ESV)

As we are drawn deeper into the Mystery of God we are given a vision of Israel giving birth to Jesus the Christ and being protected by God.  This is followed by Michael leading his angels in an attack that throws Satan and his angels out of heaven and down to earth. Christ‘s authority on earth is proclaimed shortly thereafter as well as the conquering power of salvation by the blood of Jesus and the voices of believing martyrs.  The dragon (Satan, the accuser) tries in vain to lead God’s people ( Israel) astray but they are protected by creation itself.  His words are swallowed up by the earth and never reach her.  In his rage, the ancient dragon turns his attention to the Church.

What do we learn from this? First, we see that Satan was active during the time that Jesus was on earth. This is reminiscent of Jesus’ temptation at the beginning of His ministry.  It also explains the venomous rejection of Jesus as well and His inevitable crucifixion after His trumped up trial. The latter especially reads like an episode of pure, inexplicable evil, though we know now that The Passion of Christ was all within the bounds of God’s plan. We also learn that Satan had a place in heaven until this time. Evidently, it was his duty to accuse people before God. Enough was enough, however, when he attempted to murder the Son of God.

Of great, practical import to believers is that we are, once again encouraged by God’s Word that believers are conquerors of the evil one by our faith in Jesus and our faithful testimonies.  Just as we were exhorted to in Revelation 2, our faith and our faithful works will carry us through the tribulation even when besieged by the wrath of the evil one.  But he’s not one to give up even as we near the end times.

Chapter 13

The number of the beast is 666 by William Blake.

The number of the beast is 666 by William Blake. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. Revelation 13:1-2, ESV)

The beast is like the beast from Daniel Chapter 7. With this in mind, we can look at this beast as a conglomeration of great civilizations on earth.  That people worship their nations and are overly proud of all of civilizations apparent progress is, I think, beyond question.  Governments, too, desire to supplant God in the lives of the populace. We are told in verse seven that this beast will be given authority even over the saints and will conquer them, and everyone on earth will worship this beast except the true saints.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:10, ESV)

Then there will be a second beast who will deceive many by the miracles it/he will be given power to perform. One can only imagine the confusion during these times.  Those who have already fallen under the influence of the first beast may feel validated while believers may be tempted to second guess their faith.  “This calls for wisdom…” (verse 18)

What more can be said that the Word hasn’t already said? The evil one is working overtime because he knows that his time is short. Believers must endure until the end no matter the consequences.  They will be deceived and confused and tormented by the devil and his minions. The end times, therefore, are a time of faith, endurance and wisdom and the tribulations to come are purposed by the true saints.  

Remember whose you are and stay faithful my friends.

God Bless,

Christopher

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