A Great Red Dragon

12:3 And another sign was seen in heaven. And behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

 The great red dragon was mentioned in the last post and more will be added here.  Plus, some groundwork will be placed for a future post.

Many prophetic students see a relationship between the book of Revelation and the book of Daniel  The great red dragon relates to the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream.

Daniel 2:28 – 45 

2:28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, who has revealed to you, king Nebuchadnezzar, what will happen in the latter times. Your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed, are such as these.
2:29 You, O king, began to think, while in your blanket, about what will be hereafter. And he who reveals secrets showed you what will happen.
2:30 To me, likewise, this mystery is revealed, not according to the wisdom that is in me more than in other living things, but so that the interpretation might be made manifest to the king, and so that you may know the thoughts of your mind.
2:31 You, O king, saw, and behold, something like a great statue. This statue, which was great and high, stood exalted above you, and you considered how terrible it was.
2:32 The head of this statue was of the finest gold, but the breast and the arms were of silver, and further on, the belly and the thighs were of brass;
2:33 but the shins were of iron, a certain part of the feet were of iron and another part were of clay.
2:34 And so you looked until a stone was broken off without hands from a mountain, and it struck the statue on its feet, which were of iron and clay, and it shattered them.
2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold were crushed together and diminished like the ashes of a summer courtyard, and they were quickly taken away by the wind, and no place was found for them; but the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
2:36 This is the dream; we will also tell its interpretation before you, O king.
2:37 You are a king among kings, and the God of heaven has given to you a kingdom, and fortitude, and power, and glory,
2:38 and all the places wherein the sons of men and the beasts of the field dwell. He has likewise given the flying creatures of the air into your hand, and he has placed all things under your realm. Therefore, you are the head of gold.
2:39 And after you, another kingdom will rise up, inferior to you, of silver, and another third kingdom of brass, which will rule over the whole world.
2:40 And the fourth kingdom will be like iron. Just as iron shatters and conquers all things, so will it shatter and crush all these.
2:41 Furthermore, because you saw the feet and the toes to be part of potter’s clay and part of iron, the kingdom will be divided, but still, from the slip of iron it will take its origin, since you saw the iron mingled with the earthenware from clay.
2:42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, part of the kingdom will be strong and part will be crushed.
2:43 Yet, because you saw the iron mingled with pottery from the earth, they will indeed be combined together with the offspring of man, but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron cannot be mixed with earthenware.
2:44 But in the days of those kingdoms, the God of heaven will inspire a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and his kingdom will not be handed over to another people, and it will crush and will consume all these kingdoms, and this kingdom itself will stand in eternity.
2:45 In accordance with what you saw, because the stone was torn away from the mountain without hands, and it crushed the earthenware, and the iron, and the brass, and the silver, and the gold, the great God has shown the king what will happen after this. And the dream is true, and its interpretation is faithful.”

The dream was about the progression of empires, from the Babylonian, which was gold, to the Media-Persian of silver, the Greek of brass and the Roman of iron and iron mixed with clay.  There were two legs to the Roman which related first to the secular Roman empire and later to the ecclesiastical Roman empire.  The 10 toes relate to the ten kings of the dragon.  There are various interpretations as to who specifically they all are, but for the purposes of discussing Revelation chapter 12, we will not go into details.  As mentioned in the last post, the red dragon was there to devour the Christ Child at birth, by the killing of the Innocents, all children two years old and younger through Herod’s decree.  The red dragon was there at the crucifixion, nailing Christ to the tree.  Satan, through the Roman Empire, persecuted Christ at both his birth and death.

It must be noted, and this was said early on in this blog, that these posts focus on a historical view of Revelation, as having extended from the time of the church in one long continuum.  There are other views where people think there is a jump or pause in history, and that the last seven years are completed at the end of days.  The variation in the two views have to do with how time is interpreted.

And while this is not an attempt to discuss Daniel, let’s look at just one verse where there is disagreement in how to read it.

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.  Daniel 9:24

Who accomplished that?  Jesus the Christ.  

He finished transgressions by dying for mankind.  He made an end of sins by being crucified on the cross and now offers forgiveness through repentance and faith in His finished work and cleansing through His Blood .  He made reconciliation for iniquity.  He brought in everlasting righteousness.  He was the fulfillment of prophecy.  He was anointed the most Holy.  He started his ministry by reading Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed Me….”

What follows is not unique for those who study prophetic time any more than 2 + 2 =4 is unique.  These topics have been amply discussed among various prophetic scholars and are only going to be reviewed here, again, on a historical scale.

The big question is whether time symbolically relates to days or years.  If it is days, then it is possible to come up with a relatively short period of time for the fulfillment of many things in the book of Revelation.  If it is years, there is an entirely different perspective.

Let’s start with Jeremiah’s prophecy that Judah would be taken into captivity into Babylon for 70 years.  The book of Daniel talks about 70 weeks.  The captivity is 70 years.  Daniel, who lived at the same time as Jeremiah, talks about 70 weeks.  70 weeks.  70 years.  And since they are weeks, it is 70 x 7=490 years.  This is a consideration when discussing prophecy, and is only mentioned here.

Let’s talk a little more about time.  In the Old Testament, the Lord told the nation of Israel that if they disobeyed he would punish them 7 times.  Now, in today’s world, that may sound like a threat a parent might make.  To today’s ear, it might sound like a parent trying to get the child to obey with some kind of a threat.  “If you don’t clean your room (take out the trash, put your laundry away, feed the dog, mow the yard, etc.), then I’m gonna (whatever the consequence may be).   We need to interpret scripture it in literal terms.  What God says may sound like some kind of parental threat, but be assured, it is far more serious and not an idle threat.

The full judgments are written in Leviticus, Chapter 26, but here are two relevant scriptures.

26:23 But if you are not willing to receive discipline in this way, and you still walk as an adversary to me,
26:24 likewise, I will advance against you as an adversary, and I will strike you seven times, because of your sins.

So what are seven times?

360 degrees

What is a “time”?  A time is a revolution.  It is a revolution as in the revolution of an old-fashioned clock in which the hands went around in a circle each hour.  A circle has 360 degrees.

So a time is 360 years.  Seven times is 7 x 360 years which comes to 2520 years.  In addition, a time, times, and half a time is [360 + (2 x 360) + 360/2] which adds to 1260 years. [360 + 720 + 180 = 1260].  So God when he talks about seven times [2520], He is talking about years of punishment to the nation. It is not an expression or an idle threat.  It is an actual numeric fact of things that have happened in history.

Why were first, the northern kingdom, and later the southern kingdom taken into captivity?  Why did the seven times [2520 years] punishment come?  The Lord had given the nation of Israel the promised land.  He brought them out of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and God brought them into the promised land through Joshua.  There was a period when they were ruled by judges.  Later, they had a king, first Saul, then David, then Solomon.  Idolatry came in and the kingdom was split into two, the northern kingdom and southern kingdom.  There were a series of kings in both kingdoms,  bad and good, mostly evil.  Finally, God had enough.  The time of seven times punishment had come.  The northern kingdom was taken into captivity by Assyria.  Later, the southern kingdom was taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar.  Jeremiah prophesied of this.  Daniel lived at this time and was one of the youths who was taken to Babylon at the time that Jerusalem was destroyed.  Jeremiah’s prophecy was that they would remain in Babylon for 70 years and then return to Jerusalem to build the temple.  This happened and the story of the rebuilding is in Ezra and Nehemiah, and some of the minor prophets such as Haggai.

This is a little bit of background to further understand Revelation Chapter 12.

 

 

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