“Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth….”
No prizes for guessing who this red dragon is. John again knows he is witnessing another “significant event“. Something special is about to happen. The red dragon is large, we are told. And he has seven heads, ten horns, seven crowns and a tail. What is this all about? It is worth reading Daniel 7, which gives us some insight into John’s description of the devil, particularly with reference to the horns.
The dragon has always, Biblically, referred to satan. Theologians propose that the heads, horns and crowns all refer to the Roman Empire. Their theology suggests that the seven heads describe the seven mountains on which Rome was built, the ten horns were ten kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided and the seven crowns confirm the seven-fold foundation of Rome. The fact that the dragon was coloured red confirms, they say, that the Roman Empire was involved. But the Roman Empire came and went, and has been replaced by many different governmental and political scenarios over the years, covering Europe and the Middle East. Another possibility is that John had a flashback in his vision, seeing events that had already happened.
Regardless, though, of what John’s vision actually meant, what conclusion can we draw from this verse in his Revelation? The implication is that a world power, under the devil’s jurisdiction, was dominant. John saw the devil’s tail sweep away a third “of the stars in the sky“. There seems to be hints in the Bible that a third of all the angels rebelled along with satan and were thrown out of Heaven, so perhaps that explains the reference to the stars. Incidentally, we note that the stars were thrown down onto the earth. The angels have fallen from holiness and purity into uncleanliness, and have become the demons that have aggravated and tormented mankind from the beginning. But overall we get a picture of a malevolent being, waiting for a baby to be born.
The devil, with his angels, has caused unimaginable misery and distress to mankind from the very beginning. He started with Adam and Eve and hasn’t let up one bit ever since. He even tried to tempt Jesus but had to give up in the face of a superior Being. The Apostle Peter wrote about the malevolence of the devil in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour”. We have been warned! The devil hates pilgrims like us, people who are blood-bought followers of Jesus, because we have declared our allegiance to God and His Kingdom, instead of the devil and his. Peter continued in the next verse, “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are”. We refuse to be distracted by the tempting whispers of our enemy, instead adhering to God and His Word, with a spiritual super glue that withstands all attacks.
Dear God. Where else can we go other than into Your arms, embraced with love and grace? We praise and thank You today for all that You have done. Amen.