We can see in Revelation 12:7 that the red dragon is a spiritual being. It was defeated by archangel Michael and thrown down to the earth, and this earth is referring to the physical realm (Revelation 12:13). He then persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child; the woman is referring to the church.
Because of Christ Jesus, we who are from the physical realm are entering into the spiritual realm. In Revelation 12:16-17, the dragon poured out water just like God poured out water through His temple. In the spiritual realm, it is important to distinguish the source of the water and the holy spirit will help us to be on the right side.
Revelation 12:17 and 13:11 speaks about the beast from the sea and the land and it works with the authority from the dragon. Outwardly it had the appearance of the lamb but it spoke like the dragon (Revelation 16:13).
1. Identity of the red dragon
It is the serpent of old, the devil and Satan (Revelation 20:2).
(i) Ten horns (Revelation 12:8-14)
The ten horns represent the 10 kings who are ruled over by the dragon. 10 represent the number of completion and this represents the kings of the nations throughout history. It is referring to the influence that rules over the whole world. In Revelation 13, it says people start to like the message that the beast is sharing and eventually worshipping the red dragon (Revelation 12:13, 13:1, 11)
(ii) His tail swept away a third of the stars and threw them to the earth (Revelation 12:4)
The tail represents the prophets who teach falsehood and lie. The stars are the prophets, teachers and even believers in the heavenly realm (Isaiah 9:15). It says a third of them will be dragged down by the tail, the false teaching to the earth (Revelation 12:12, Isaiah 9:15, Daniel 8:9-10, Revelation 9:10, Revelation 21:8).
In John 8:44, Jesus scolded the religious leaders that they are the children of the devil himself (Revelation 22:15, Psalm 58:4). The identity of the dragon – it is a liar, it is there from the beginning, thrown down from heaven and it is trying to drag us down too.
2. Dragon’s work
The red dragon is none other than satan himself, who appeared in every part of the Bible and redemptive history, trying to devour the people of God.
(i) It stands up against God and His work
The red dragon appeared in the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. There he deceived mankind and caused the fall. As a result, according to Genesis 3:15, the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, will crush the head of the serpent. That is why it wanted to destroy the seed of the woman (1 Chronicles 21:1, 1 Peter 5:8).
(ii) It slanders the Word of God
When the serpent came to the woman, it took and twisted the Word of God and caused animosity between God and His people (Genesis 3:1-6, Psalm 140:11, Romans 1:30).
(iii) It accuses and destroys God’s people
In Job 1:9, God was boasting about Job, and the serpent came and accused him. We sin and satan take that small thing and accuse us until we are destroyed. We need to be thankful for the cross and the holy spirit who prays and groans over us. We have the layer of protection by the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:9, 2 Corinthians 11:3).
3. History of the red dragon’s work
It begins from before the beginning in the heavenly realm.
(i) During the time of Adam, we see the red dragon and the seed of the woman. The serpent (dragon), its purpose is to destroy the seed and God’s redemptive work is to preserve the seed, even today.
During the time of Noah, through the flood, God preserved his seed, Noah and his family (Genesis 6). However, even after the flood, satan came into Ham.
From the time of the patriarch from Abraham to Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel were barren, unable to carry the seed. Abraham and Sarah had Ishmael the wrong seed, not according to God’s promise but according to their thoughts. Through this, God proves that it is not the physical seed but the blessing of the spiritual seed that will continue the lineage to the Messiah.
(ii) The slavery in Egypt and the wilderness
What the dragon wants is to kill all the seeds of God. Pharaoh tried to annihilate all the seeds of God, to prevent Messiah from being born. By God’s grace, the people of God and Moses was saved. Then came Exodus and wilderness.
Two main weapons of the dragon are idolatry and sexual immorality. The Israelites worshipped golden calf in the wilderness and had sexual immorality with the Moabites. That is how satan works in our lives today. He tries to destroy us first then he tries to tempt us to distance ourselves from our life of faith.
(iii) Time of the judges and the king
Satan caused the Israelites to forget. God wanted to be the king of His people and lead his people to Canaan so they could establish His kingdom. As soon as they arrived, they wanted a physical king. The dragon makes them forget about God, and look at the physical things. The Israelites started to forget the importance of God in history and what He did.
Saul was supposed to be the mediating king so he can lead people of God according to God’s way (1 Samuel 19:9). But King Saul lost the spirit of God and received the evil spirit. Athaliah, brought all the idols from foreign nations and forced these people to worship idols. And killed anyone who possibly had the seed in the royal lineage so she could rule. But God’s work is to preserve that seed (2 kings 8:26, 2 Chronicles 21:6, 22:2, 2 kings 11:1-3, 1 Chronicles 23:12-15, 2 kings 16:1-20).
Therefore, it is only by the grace of God that the seed, covenant and word of God are preserved in our hearts today (Isaiah 7:3-9). According to Isaiah 6:13, the holy seed is the stump. God preserved the holy seed. God prophesied through Isaiah, that in the end there will be very few remaining in the end. May we be the ones who remained till the end.
(iv) Birth of Jesus
God prophesied through Micah that Jesus would be born in Jerusalem and all aspects were working against the birth of Jesus. All the kings, priests and High Priest, had been corrupted spiritually and physically. In the midst of that Jesus was to be born.
Jesus was born and Herod wanted to kill him. After He came, through the religious leaders, satan tried to kill Him again. Eventually through Judas Iscariot, finally satan was successful (John 6:70-71, 13:26-27).
As Judas sold Jesus and Jesus was crucified, it was the victory for the dragon. However, the seed was already spreading out. The spirit of God, Jesus resurrected and spread throughout the world.
The red dragon continues to work hard to devour God’s people. It is fierce warfare that is happening right now. The authority and power of the red dragon are increasing, so how do we overcome it? The only way is the Word of God. Our only hiding place and saviour is our God and His word. Spiritually we need to eat the Word of God (Psalm 32:7, 119:114. Proverb 18:10, Isaiah 26:20). May we find that hiding place in the Word of God under the wings of our Lord Jesus Christ.