Summary: Satan is a defeated foe.
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THE WOMAN, THE CHILD, AND THE DRAGON
Who do the three characters of Revelation 12 represent?
The woman represents the messianic community (first Israel and then the church). In the Old Testament, Israel longed for the arrival of the Messiah (like a pregnant woman longs for the birth of her baby). Today, the church longs for His return.
The child represents the Messiah (Jesus). He “is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (v. 5; cf. 19:15). “
The dragon represents Satan. “Red” (v. 3) represents bloodshed. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). The “seven heads,” “ten horns,” and “seven diadems” (v. 3) might represent his intelligence and power. Verse 4 says, “His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth” (v. 4). This probably refers to Satan’s original rebellion. The “stars” are fallen angels.
ESCAPING THE DRAGON
And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it (v. 14b).
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child (v. 13).
How does the dragon fail?
First, Satan could not devour Jesus.
Satan tried to prevent the birth of the child by attempting to destroy Israel. “Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives..., “When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him” (Exodus 1:15-16). “Haman sought to destroy all Jews...throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus” (Esther 3:6).
Satan attempted to devour the child through Herod. “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all the region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16). Throughout Jesus’ ministry, Satan tried to incite people to kill Jesus. Eventually, Satan used Judas to bring Jesus into the hands of His enemies. “Satan entered into Judas” (Luke 22:3; John 13:2; 27).
Satan probably thought he had devoured Jesus when He was crucified. Did the cross devour Jesus? No! The cross is not the defeat of Jesus; it is the defeat of Satan. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God pronounced a curse upon Satan. He said to “that ancient serpent” (v. 9), “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and her offspring [seed]; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The “woman’s seed” is Jesus. Satan would bruise Jesus' head (the cross), but Jesus would bruise Satan's head (a fatal blow). This verse has been called the “Protoevangelium,” the first announcement of the gospel.