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The Woman and the Dragon (v. 1-6)
A great sign appeared in heaven.
Is this significant? What follows is some crazy stuff that happens up in the sky. Is the fact that it starts off by saying it is a "great sign" an indication that the claim is not that these things happen up in the sky, but rather that it is some kind of cosmic light show? Is this the equivalent of God saying "this is just a special effect"?
Again, we will get help from Guzik to understand this stuff. Apparently there will be 7 signs,
- The woman, representing Israel
- The dragon, representing Satan
- The man-child, referring to Jesus
- The angel Michael, head of the angelic host
- The offspring of the woman, representing Gentiles who come to faith in the Tribulation
- The beast out of the sea, representing the antichrist
- The beast out of the earth, representing the false prophet who promotes the antichrist
A pregnant woman appeared in the sky, clothed with the sun, feet on the moon, a crown of 12 stars on her head. She was in the process of giving birth. Another sign appeared in the sky, a great red dragon with 7 heads, 7 diadems (crowns essentially) and 10 horns. The tail of the dragon knocked down a third of the stars in the sky. The dragon positioned himself so that when the woman gave birth he could eat it. She gave birth to a male child who would rule all nations with an iron rod, but the child was caught up to God, the woman fled into the wilderness where she would be nourished for 1260 days.
So...drugs? As to what all of this means? I have no idea.
“From the similar description given in 13:1 and the parallel references in Daniel 7:7-8; 7:2, it is clear that the revived Roman Empire is in view . . . The seven heads and ten horns refer to the original ten kingdoms of which three were subdued by the little horn of Daniel 7:8, who is to be identified with the world ruler of the great tribulation who reigns over the revived Roman Empire.” (Walvoord)Apparently some people think the dragon knocking out a third of the stars means that a third of the angels were on Satan's side. Some people think the dragon trying to kill the child was fulfilled by Herod trying to kill Jesus. The wilderness establishes that the woman is not Mary, but instead Israel. Apparently the 1260 days connects it to some prophecy from Daniel.
Satan Thrown Down to Earth (v. 7-17)
There was a war in heaven, michael and his angels against the dragon and his angels. Team dragon lost and was cast down to earth.
A lot of fiction says this war happened way in the past and Satan was cast down to hell. Apparently in the bible it happens at the end times. Strange.
The dragon is called Satan and the devil, the ancient serpent, and the deceiver of the whole world.
So is this the serpent from Genesis?
A voice from heaven says that the salvation of the kingdom of God has come as the accuser has been thrown down, he had accused them day and night before God. They have conquered him by the blood of the lamb and they were willing to sacrifice their lives to get it done. Those in heaven should rejoice, however woe to those on earth as the devil will cause great wrath as his time is short.
Wait, so there was a battle in heaven and some angels gave their lives? What is the deal with the accuser? I just find this whole thing confusing.
When the dragon realized he was on earth, he pursued the woman. She was given wings of an eagle so she could get away to a place where she could be nourished for "a time, and times, and half a time". Then the serpent created a river to capture her in the flood, but the earth helped the woman by swallowing up the river. This angered the dragon so it went to war with the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.
I just...I don't...what?! Is she supposed to be Eve, or maybe Mary? Why is this crap in the bible?
I'm gonna be honest. The Christian commentary got a fair bit preachy in there and I basically just skimmed it. I didn't see anything terribly interesting in it. I think the bulleted list up above which says what each element of the story is supposed to represent is probably good enough here.
What are the lessons from today's reading?