Do You Believe in Dragons? — Revelation 12:1-6

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by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 23

Revelation 12:1-6
English Standard Version

1   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.

2   She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.

3   And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

4   His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

5   She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,

6   and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.[1]


When I lived in Newberry and traveled to Atlanta for the holidays, we almost always spent Saturday mornings at the Discover Mills Mall. Getting my kids out of the house allowed my wife to sleep later and gave me and the children a chance to get some exercise walking the hallway.

One of the businesses in the mall is a dinner theater called Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. Their building is made to look like an old European castle. The entrance inside the Mall has display cases of real swords and antique weapons.

When my sons saw the castle for the first time I nonchalantly told them that we needed to keep our distance because the dragon inside isn’t very nice.

The car went silent. I looked into the rear view mirror and saw their wide eyes and concerned faces. My oldest son of course immediately wanted to go see the Dragon, but I explained that the younger children are not allowed to get that close. Dragons eat children you know.

My kids still believe a real Dragon is chained up inside that castle like in the movie Shrek.

Most old countries have Dragon legends. Disney told the story well in Sleeping Beauty. The Sorceress Maleficent transforms into an enormous black terrifying fire breathing dragon by saying, “Now you shall deal with me, your prince and all the powers of HELL!”

Dragons are cunning and cruel. They don’t dispense compassion or grace. They are evil and take pleasure in the suffering of their victims.

God calls Satan a Dragon. Satan first appeared as a Dragon in the Garden of Eden. The Devil was a walking serpent until God cursed that demonic possessed creature to slither on the ground. Satan appears again in this passage of Revelation as a walking snake and then again in Revelation 20:2 the dragon, that Ancient Serpent, who is the Devil and Satan.

God believes in Dragons. Do you? Man’s legends fall far short of all that God will reveal.

Chapter 12 to the end of the book is not in sequence after Revelation 11. The end of chapter 11 could have ended the book. God’s witnesses win, the church is called to Heaven and rewarded, the enemies of God are defeated and eternal worship commences.

Chapter 12 recycles the vision back to the beginning of this unique apocalyptic revelation.

It’s sort of like finishing the Gospel of  Matthew. Your done, but you’re not done. Now you can read the Gospel of Mark chapter 1. It’s the same story, but told from a different point of view. God also repeats the Creation account of Genesis 1 in Genesis 2.

Revelation chapters 6 – 11 revealed the Day of the Lord as told from Heaven’s perspective.

Revelation chapter 12 and following is the same final period of time and history told from the perspective of the main characters. There’s a Woman, a Child, a Dragon, False Prophet, Beast and Fallen Angels.

So read Revelation 12:1-2 as though it is Mark 1. Don’t erase what you’ve learned, but start with a fresh sheet of paper. It really does read like the beginning of a great novel. Ready?

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.

This woman is a sign. John identifies signs all throughout his Gospel. He identifies seven signs between chapter 12 and the end of this book: three signs in Heaven and four signs on Earth.

Signs teach us a spiritual lesson. They give grace and grow faith as we understand the sign.

Most signs in the Revelation teach us that the sovereign will of God is fulfilled according to His eternal plan. God controlled the Alpha and God now orchestrates the Omega of all things.

God organizes all things for His glory and the benefit of His people. That’s an absolute promise and truth we learn from reading this book. That’s primary.

This sign teaches us some things about God’s protection for His people and His Messiah.

God reveals a pregnant woman. She’s in the delivery room, breathing and pushing, with great pain and agony as she gives birth to a very special baby.

I’ve seen that up close and personal four times. Childbirth is beautiful and unsettling. Women go through lots of discomfort. They and the baby hang in a very vulnerable moment.

Most women have a special glow during their pregnancy. This woman especially. She is clothed with the Sun. A blinding light of glory is her garments. That reminds us of the clothing of light on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Who is she? She is the Church as God alone knows her. We see the Church in her weakness and vulnerability, but God sees her in her glory and perfection. Salvation adorns her whole body.

She also has her feet on the moon.

Last week our family went to the Buford Corn Maze. There were six places within the maze we had to find and at each spot was a sentence in pictures. Those who figured out the puzzle got a prize. God is going to give us a prize if we figure this out. This isn’t meant to be hard.

There’s a billboard on I-85 with the name Gainesville Hospital. Underneath is the pound symbol, the number 1, followed by a red heart, a blue H and the Georgia emblem.

They expect drivers to figure out this sentence in pictures within 3 seconds. The pictures mean that Gainesville Hospital is the #1 Heart Hospital in Georgia.

The Revelation uses the same method of encryption. Pictures become sentences of truth. So has my stalling given you enough time to figure out why her feet are on the moon?

God’s light is shining full strength in Heaven. When the Church abides in fellowship with God she shines like the moon. The moon is a reflected light. We are not righteous on our own. We reflect God’s holiness. But with our feet? Yes. Our walk, the actions of our life, are a secondary light that reflects God’s primary light into this dark world. Cool.

Finally, she is crowned with twelve stars. In the Bible, twelve is the number of an organization. The Twelve Tribes of Israel speak of the Jewish Nation. The Twelve Apostles make us think of the New Testament Church. This Woman is not a individual person, but an organized group. She is the Chosen People of God.

In verse 3 we meet the Antagonist of the story.

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

Another spiritual lesson is here if we will take the time to understand it.

First, this person is not God’s Antagonist. The Great Red Dragon is the Enemy of the Church.

God has no enemies causing Him concern. No person or force of nature threatens God or God’s will. At an instant, Lucifer could stop existing if God stopped sustaining his existence. Lucifer is a creature of God and he continues to exist only by the good pleasure of God.

God created Lucifer to be the most beautiful and the most powerful Angelic Creature ever to exist. Just as Lucent Technology controls intense beams of light within cables, called fiber optics, Lucifer controlled the intense beams of the light of God in Heaven. He was the most powerful of all the angelic realm, but his heart turned dark like a Dragon.

Lucifer is now the Great Red Dragon. He is pure evil, yet appears as an angel of light. Scary.

He has seven heads. We should interpret the number seven in the same way as it was interpreted in the other parts of the Revelation. The Dragon’s ability to bite and devour are immense and full. There’s an unholy perfection in his destructive abilities. Remember the Fullness of the Seven Spirits of God. We have no personal power to fight this Dragon.

Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing, Were not the right man on our side, The man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He. Lord Sabboth, his name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle.

As soon as we think we have cut off the head and are standing as a victorious Christian, six other heads of pride, selfishness and greed bite us in the backside. The Dragon is the author of all murders, lies, rebellion and sin. We are vulnerable like the Woman. Only God can protect us.

The Dragon has TEN Horns. Remember, the number TEN is a complete set. All Ten are accounted for. You have ALL when you possess all Ten. It’s not nine, but TEN Commandments.

Then there’s the HORNS. They represent the power of an animal. In the Bible a Horn of Power refers to a Nation’s influence and power. The meaning of the Ten Horns? All the Nations of the Earth are under the control of the Devil. That’s sort of depressing.

The Devil reigns over this earth as the Prince of this world. On his heads are seven diadems. He holds all the cards so to speak. He has a full deck. All he is missing is God’s blessing.

Satan is not all knowing or all present, but his influence is everywhere. He is looking in all directions and at all things. He is orchestrating the suffering of God’s people. He is working the corruption of all of humanity. He is very effective. He reigns over this world for evil purposes.

4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.

The third of the stars refers to a third of the angelic host which fell from their innocent state when they followed Lucifer in rebellion against God. These angelic creatures are what we call demons. They perform their evil work on the Earth.

Ever since God promised salvation through Eve’s Seed in Genesis, Satan has stood waiting to kill the Christ Child. Herod had the heart of a Dragon when he killed all the young children in Bethlehem while attempting to kill the King of the Jews. Euthanasia, Genocide and Abortion are done by those with the heart of a Dragon.

Satan is the Father of all who would murderer John 8:44. Those who hate have the Dragon’s murderous spirit of hate in their soul. Satan is a liar. Every time we lie we are stepping over the line to the Devil’s side.

5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne. God protects the Christ Child from an untimely death until the Cross. Jesus didn’t have any more power to protect Himself from the Dragon than we have. Mary’s baby was the incarnate Second Person of the Trinity, but He stopped using His divine power that He might vicariously live and die for the frail human race.

Even after the resurrection Jesus was not imbued with Power. That happened at the Ascension. Jesus has now taken hold of His power and is coming back to reign.

We should feel secure reading about these signs. The Father protects His family.

The Father protects the Church. Like Elijah in the wilderness, or like the Jewish nation finally coming out of Egypt, God provides for the Woman during her suffering and persecution.

Do You Believe in Dragons? God believes in Dragons. We need to believe.

Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31-32 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.

The Devil wants to consume us with greed, laziness, anger, lust, envy, gluttony and pride.  The Holy Ghost is working to consume us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness Galatians 5:22.

Where does your life fall within this story? Do you find yourself playing the Devil’s advocate? Do you like to live your life in the gray areas of right and wrong? Don’t forget, the Devil is an Angel of Light. Even our good deeds are sinful when not done for the glory of God.

Are you suffering? God promises to provide for you, one day at a time, until the day we are seated with Jesus at the right hand of His Throne.

I pray these signs will provide you grace to overcome the Dragon as you look to Jesus. Amen.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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