The Woman, Child, Dragon, . . . Page 6 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
It is said that they “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ;” which is the revealed truth from God and Christ contained in Scripture. Obedience to God’s word always marks a genuine believer (John 8:32). This is what God expects of His people at all times. As we approach the end of this present Age of Grace, an age characterized by lawlessness and opposition to God and His Son, we Christians, even as those saints in the tribulation, must be loyal to God’s Word and to our Lord Jesus Christ. A battle is raging today, and no man can remain neutral in the conflict. You are either on the side of the Savior or on the side of Satan and be certain that the devil is not resting in his all-out effort to damn the souls of men.
All anti-Semitism is Satan inspired and will finally culminate in Satan making a supreme effort to destroy the nation of Israel. From the brickyards of Pharaoh’s Egypt, Haman’s gallows, Herod’s cruel edict, through Hitler’s purge, and to the world of the Great Tribulation, Satan has led the attack against these people because of the man child—Jesus Christ.
Satan cannot win. Just as the blood of the 3martyrs has proved to be the seed of the church, so during the tribulation, persecution will only serve to drive many Jewish people into the arms of the Lord Jesus. Satan, in a rage, displays a notable lack of imagination and originality. He has tried persecution many times before, and it has always failed to deter our faith and conversion. That he tries it again is a mute confession of failure, the last resort of a desperate and darkened mind. The godly Jews will not repent. They will only scattered far and wide, bearing as they go the gospel of the kingdom and their triumph will be complete. What can Satan do with the likes of these? Lock them up in prison, and they will convert their jailers; torture them, and they become partakers of Christ’s sufferings and heirs to a great reward; martyr them, and they go straight to be with Christ; turn them loose, and they evangelize the world!
The chapter closes with the dragon, frustrated and angry, standing on the seashore ready to call up his reserves, the two terrible monsters of chapter 13.
The name Satan means “Adversary” or “Accuser” (12:10). He actively looks for people to attack (1 Peter 5:8, 9). He likes to seek out believers who are vulnerable in their faith, who are spiritually weak. He is the prince of this world, an angel who rebelled against God. Satan is real, not symbolic, and is constantly working against God and those who obey Him. To overcome Satan we need faithful allegiance to God’s Word, determination to stay away from sin, and the support of other believers.2
A dragon is a flying serpent, a Biblical symbol for Satan (20:2). Satan is pictured here as a great red dragon, an eloquent symbol for cruelty, blood-lust and power. He is the cause of the woman’s sufferings.3
The martyrs are those who have overcome Satan. Martyrdom is itself a conquest of Satan. The martyr has proved superior to every seduction and to every threat and even to the violence of Satan. Here is a dramatic truth for life—every time we choose to suffer rather than to be disloyal we defeat Satan.4
A flood is a common Old Testament picture of overwhelming evil (Psalms 18:4; 32:6; 69:1-2; 124:2-5; Nahum 1:8).5
Red is a symbol of bloodshed and violence (Revelation 6:4).6
Not actual bird’s wings, but a graphic depiction of God’s providential protection of Israel (Exodus 19:4). Wings often speak of protection (Deuteronomy 32:9-12; Psalm 91:4; Isaiah 14:31). Eagles—probably vulture-like griffin’s—was the largest birds known in Palestine. The griffin, griffon, or gryphon is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet. Because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds, the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. The griffin was also thought of as king of all creatures.7
He comes to be identified with the “serpent” because of the story of the fall in Genesis 3.