The last days of history – Part 25
12:7-9 “war in heaven.” The tribulation will involve not only great spiritual conflict on earth, but also war in heaven. Satan and his angels will put forth a supreme effort to defeat God. (1) Satan is defeated, hurled down to earth and allowed no further access to heaven. (2) Heaven rejoices (vv.10-12), for Satan is no longer a spiritual force in heavenly places (see Eph 6:12). At the same time, the expulsion of Satan causes “woe” to those on earth (vv.12-13). This fall of Satan may begin the great tribulation.
“And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.” (Rev12: 3)
“Red dragon,” The Greek word drakōn occurs in the NT only in Revelation (13 times; 8 times in ch. 12). Drakōn can mean three things: “serpent, dragon, sea monster.” In the book of Revelation, the dragon always represents Satan and is his foremost symbol or image in the book. Rev12: 9 clearly identifies the “red dragon” as the “old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.”
“Red” symbolises his murderous nature; the overall description of the dragon’s head (v.3) symbolises his hideous strength and fullness of evil. The dragon empowers the government of the antichrist or “sea-beast” at the end-time (13:1-2). In every way possible, that dragon opposes God’s redemptive mission in the earth (cf.12: 4,16-17).
Satan’s Work In The World
His hatred for Christ (Rev12: 13); His hatred for God’s people (Rev 12:17); His power and authority (Rev 13:2); His popularity among unbelievers (Rev 13:4); His blasphemy against God (Rev 13:6); His war against believers (Rev 13:7); His ability to deceive (Rev 13:14).
“Babylon”; “The great harlot” is fallen
“And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Rev14:8)
“Babylon is fallen.” Babylon represents the political, religious and commercial system of the whole world at the time of the end (17:1), and its fall is foretold here (see chs. 17-18 for more details).
Babylon was the name of an evil city and an immoral empire, a world centre for idol worship. Babylon ransacked Jerusalem and carried the people of Judah into captivity (2 Kings 24 and 2 Chronicles 36). Just as Babylon was the Jews’ worst enemy, the Roman Empire was the worst enemy of the early Christians. John, who probably did not dare speak against Rome openly, applied the name Babylon to this enemy of God’s people (Rome)—and, by extension, to all God’s enemies of all times.
Read Rev 17,18. The fall of Babylon the Great
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.” (Rev17: 1)
“And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.” (Rev17: 6).
17:5 “BABYLON.” The name “Babylon” originates from “Babel,” which symbolises unified false religion, sorcery, astrology and rebellion against God (Gen10: 8-10; 11:4; Is47: 13).
Rev17: 1ff The destruction of Babylon mentioned in Rev16: 17-21 is now described in greater detail.
The “great harlot,” called Babylon, represents the early Roman Empire with its many gods and the blood of Christian martyrs on its hands.
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