Read Revelation 12:1-17
A woman, a dragon, and a son? Those may seem to be fitting characters for some medieval tale complete with castle, court jesters, and jousting. Instead, these characters are a symbolic means by which the aged apostle John communicated biblical truth.
- The woman? Reference to the sun, moon, and twelve stars (v. 1) are reminiscent of Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-11. The woman in this description represents the nation of Israel.
- The red dragon? Identifying him is much easier. In fact, verse 9 does that for us. He is none other than the devil, Satan himself.
- And the son? Again, you, as an attentive reader, have probably already concluded that this is Jesus Himself. He was born as an Israelite (descendant of the “woman”) and will one day rule all the nations (v. 5).
We pointed out from yesterday’s reading that Satan is both antagonistic to all mankind and that he desires to be victorious over Christ. Revelation 12 further underscores that point. Satan has attempted to destroy Israelites throughout history. Do you remember when Pharaoh decreed that all male babies be killed (Exodus 1, 2)? Or how about Haman’s evil plot to annihilate them centuries later (Esther 3)? Behind those human personalities stands the master mind, Satan.
But Satan’s opposition was not limited to the past. Even today, he opposes the people of God as he accuses believers before the Father day and night (v. 10). In the future, he will pursue the Jews during the period of the tribulation (v. 6).
Satan’s plot includes the destruction of mankind in general and of God’s people specifically. And, as we will see over the next several days, he was especially focused on devouring the Son, Jesus Christ (v. 4). The dragon wanted to prevent the Son from accomplishing the plan of God.
There is, however, no reason to worry. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4) Christ and His followers are victorious. Satan is defeated not by people like you and me and our own power. No, “they triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (v. 11a)