Archives For dragon


A. Review

B. Text of Revelation 17:1-8

1Then one of the seven angels holding the seven last plagues came to me and spoke to me saying, ‘Come! I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, 2with her the kings of the earth have fornicated. The people living on the earth have become drunk from the wine of immorality. 3Then he carried me away in the spirit to the wilderness. Then I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names and who had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman had been clothed in purple and scarlet clothing, was wearing gold, and precious stones, and pearls. She was holding a gold cup in her hand that was full of loathsome things and her sexual impurities. 5On her forehead was written a name—a mystery—Babylon the great mother of all prostitutes and loathsome things on the earth. 6Then I saw the woman becoming drunk from the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs for Jesus. I was completely amazed when I saw her. 7Then the angel said to me, ‘Why are you surprised?’ I will show to you the mystery of the woman and the beast which carries her and has seven heads and ten horns. 8The beast which you saw was, but is no longer. He is about to come up from the Abyss but will go to destruction. Those who live on the earth will be amazed at this. These are the people whose names are not written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world. They will see that the beast was, but now is no longer and no longer present.” (Rev 17:1-8)

Judgment on the Great Prostitute (Rev 17:1-8)

Photo Credit: A picture from Martin Luther’s 1534 Translation of the Bible

C. General Remarks

“Chapters 17 and 18 are dedicated to the description of the final destruction of Babylon in both its ecclesiastical and political forms. It is evident from these chapters that the events described precede the events represented in the seven bowls by a considerable period of time. In fact, it is probably that the events of chapter 17 occur at the beginning of the great tribulation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 253)


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A. Angelic Revelation (v. 1)

Καὶ ἦλθεν εἷς ἐκ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀγγέλων τῶν ἐχόντων τὰς ἑπτὰ φιάλας καὶ ἐλάλησεν μετʼ ἐμοῦ λέγων· δεῦρο, δείξω σοι τὸ κρίμα τῆς πόρνης τῆς μεγάλης τῆς καθημένης ἐπὶ ὑδάτων πολλῶν,

“Then one of the seven angels holding the seven last plagues came to me and spoke to me saying, ‘Come! I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters,” (Rev 17:1)

1. One of the Seven Angels Continue Reading…


A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 12:13-18

“13But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14So the woman was given two wings like a great eagle so that she could fly into the wilderness to the place for her. That’s where she was taken care of for a time, times, and half a time away from the presence of the serpent. 15The serpent threw water from his mouth after the woman like a river in order that she might be swept away by a river. 16But, the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth. It swallowed up the river which the dragon sent from his mouth. 17The dragon became angry at the woman and went to make war against the rest of her descendants who were keeping the commandments of God and witness of Jesus. 18Then he stood on the sand next to the sea.” (Rev 12:13-18) 1

The Dragon and His Pursuit (Rev 12:13-18)

Photo Credit: Bamberg Apocalypse

C. General Remarks

“Taken as a whole, chapter 12 is a fitting introduction to the important revelations given in chapter 13. Here are the principal actors of the great tribulation with the historic background that provides so much essential information. Israel, Satan, Christ, the archangel, and the godly remnant figure largely in the closing scenes of the age. Next, the two principal human actors are introduced: the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth, the human instruments that Satan will use to direct his program during the great tribulation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 202).

“Don’t be surprised that the dragon is out to get you, with more of his foul but powerful accusations, spat out like a flood.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 113)

“Revelation 12 describes the attempts by Satan to destroy Christ at His first coming, and his persecution of Isarel (the woman) in the final days before the second coming (cf. Gen 3:15). The point seems to be that Satan’s plan A was to destroy Christ so he couldn’t rule as king. When he failed in that, he embarked on plan B which was to destroy the people over whom Christ is to reign – the Jewish people. However, God supernaturally protects Israel from Satan during the final 3 ½ years of the tribulation.” (Mark Hitchock, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” class notes at Dallas Theological Seminary)

As we finish the study of Revelation 12 it becomes clear that this chapter is about the Dragon—Satan—and his fight against those who are loyal to God. The word “dragon” (in Greek) is used eight times in this chapter in only eighteen verses. Clearly, the focus of this chapter is Satan and his work to kill others.

II. THE CHASE (12:13-14)

A. The Dragon’s Pursuit (v. 13)

Καὶ ὅτε εἶδεν ὁ δράκων ὅτι ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἐδίωξεν τὴν γυναῖκα ἥτις ἔτεκεν τὸν ἄρσενα.

“But when the dragon realized he had been thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the male child.” (Rev 12:13)

1. Pursued or Persecuted?

Translations are split on the verb used to describe what the dragon does to the woman. Some translations use “pursued” (NLT, LEB, ESV, NIV, NRSV) and some use “persecuted” (NASB95, KJV1900, NKJV, AV 1873). Either seems like a good option because both reflect the dragon’s desire to kill the woman.


2. Satan’s Anger Continue Reading…


  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek New Testament


A. Past Lessons 

B. Text of Revelation 12:1-6

“1Then a great sign was seen in heaven: A woman clothed in the sun, the moon was under her feet, and on hear head was a crown with twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and cried out in her birth pains and she was tormented to give birth. 3Then another sign came from heaven. Behold! A large fiery-red dragon had seven heads and ten horns. On his seven heads were seven crowns. 4The dragon’s tail swept one-third of the stars from the sky and threw them down to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth so that when she gave birth to her child he might devour the child. 5Then she gave birth to a male son. He was about to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. But, the child was taken to God and to his heaven. 6The woman fled into the wilderness—a place which had been prepared by God—in order that she could be nourished for 1,260 days.” (Rev 12:1-6)[/ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 text[/ref]

John's Vision of the Woman and the Dragon (Rev 12:1-6)

Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst Collection

C. General Remarks

“Chapter 12 can be characterized as a flashback, telling of the birth of the Messiah and the attempt of King Herod to kill Jesus soon after he was born. However, instead of telling this as a historical narrative in a straightforward manner as Matthew does (Matt 2), John presents a heavenly tableau of characters that are portrayed with sensational Near Eastern imagery. In describing the tableau John borrows old apocalyptic motifs, some of which have their roots in a dim and distant past. Striking parallels have been found in Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian, and Greek mythology, and in astrological lore.” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 72)



A. Outer Description (v. 1)

Καὶ σημεῖον μέγα ὤφθη ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, γυνὴ περιβεβλημένη τὸν ἥλιον, καὶ ἡ σελήνη ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτῆς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς στέφανος ἀστέρων δώδεκα,

“Then a great sign was seen in heaven: A woman clothed in the sun, the moon was under her feet, and on her head was a crown with twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1)

1. Sign, Not Event

What John sees is a “sign” not an “event.” In my translation above I have listed it as a “great sign was seen in heaven” while the New Living Translation (which I often use) says that it was “an event of great significance.” Mulholland correctly notes, “A ‘sign’ may be an event, but not necessarily. In this case, the sign is not an event, but a person—a ‘woman’” (Mulholland, “Revelation” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, 504).

One of my favorite commentators on the book of Revelation—Robert Thomas—who sees most of the book as literal and future events even concedes that this is a “sign.” This little word “shows that the woman who constitutes the sign is not an actual woman, but symbolically represents some other entity or group” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 119). Regarding these signs Osborne comments, “Here the woman and her adversary, the dragon, are ‘signs’ that alert the reader to the key conflict of the book” (Osborne, Revelation, 456). Continue Reading…