Home | Letters | WOMAN, CHILD, DRAGON IN REV: 12


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The book of Revelation provides us with the history from the time before Adam and Eve until the second coming of our Lord and Saviour. Revelation 12 then gives us an overview of three major players in the world today: the woman, child and the dragon. Who are these?

The chapter begins with the statement: “Now a great sign appeared in heaven,” verse 1. The word ‘sign’ can also mean a ‘mark’. According to Thayer’s Greek definitions the word sign denotes ‘an unusual occurrence’ transcending the common course of nature.
The first sign that John saw in this chapter is of a woman who gave birth to a child (verse 1). In verse 3 we read; “And another sign appeared in heaven.”

We thus understand that these three symbols - a woman, child and a dragon - represent things beyond the ordinary events of nature. As we are going to see, these three figures symbolise three major spiritual forces that have been at work for several thousand years. Therefore, in order for us to understand this chapter, we need to understand the meaning of these symbols.

In the Bible, God’s church is symbolised as a woman (2 Corinthians 11:2); and its members are likened to virgins (Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 14:4; Revelation 19:7). When Christ returns to earth he is going to marry the church, which is called ‘his wife’ in Revelation 19:7, based on these passages, it is clear that the woman in Revelation 12 represents God’s people.

The woman is described as giving birth to a ‘male child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron and her child was caught up to God and his throne’ (Revelation 12:5).
The language here makes it clear that Jesus is the ‘child’. Jesus is the one who is prophesied to ‘strike the nations and he himself will rule them with a rod of iron’ (Revelation 19:15). He is also the one who, after his resurrection, was taken up in a cloud to heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

The third symbol of Revelation 12 – ‘a great, fiery red dragon’ (verse 3) - is described as having drawn ‘a third of the stars of heaven’ and standing ‘before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born’ (verse 4).

A few verses later, this dragon is clearly identified as satan: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and satan, who deceives the whole world,” verse 9. As for the dragon drawing ‘a third of the stars of heaven’, this reference represents satan leading a third of the angels in a rebellion against God since in prophecy stars represent angels (Revelation 1:20).

Dear Reader, whether you realise it or not, satan also hates you and will do everything possible to keep you from loving and obeying your creator.

His anger is not just against Jesus and the church but to you as an individual. However, this must not bring fear into our lives because Revelation 12:11 says; “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” There is victory in Christ!

Bopoto Gwinyai
(7663 8191)

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