(12.3) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
1. Keep in mind that the word “wonder” translates the Greek word shmeion, usually translated “sign.” So, we are not dealing with something literal, but with something symbolic.
2. This second wonder that appears in heaven is grotesque. Imagine a nightmare in which you see a seven headed red dragon that had ten horns and seven crowns, one on each head. Such a nightmare might wake you up in the middle of the night. Allow me to designate this grotesque red dragon as Satan. We will see it clearly as we go, but I tell you now to clear up any doubt you might have.
3. Why is he portrayed as “great”? If he is who I think he is, he is the most powerful of all God’s creatures, with intelligence, capacity and power that is unimaginable to you and me. He is not infinite, since he is not God. But he is beyond our limited imaginations.
4. Why is he described as “red”? “This is the color of murder and blood.” According to the Lord Jesus Christ, “He was a murderer from the beginning.” Want to know where sin and death and Hell came from? They all came, ultimately, from him.
5. Why is he labeled a “dragon”? “In this is a picture of the hideousness and horror that sin brings. . . This word is used only in The Revelation, and occurs thirteen times, twelve of these concerning Satan.”
6. “Seven heads”? “’The seven heads’ refer to the seven world kingdoms that have existed from Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the end-time government of Antichrist made up of the ten horns (Dan. 7-8; Rev. 13; 17).”
7. “Ten horns”? “‘Ten horns’ suggests the final division of the Roman Empire which is dominated by Satan and which is his final effort to rule the world. . . The crowns represent kingly authority and rulership.”
8. “and seven crowns upon his heads.” This would refer to Satan’s usurped authority. “Whole governments are in his power, and through them he operates.” Remember, he is “the prince of the power of the air.” But more importantly, he is “the god of this world.” The authority he wields is illegitimate and unauthorized.
(12.4) And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
1. The first part of this verse gives us a little history of the dragon’s activities in the past. This little piece of information we are given satisfies some curiosity Bible students have had about Satan.
2. Job 38.1-7 suggests, if the phrases “morning stars” and “sons of God” are understood to be angels, that angels were created before God created the physical universe we live in and that they shouted for joy at seeing God bring the physical creation into existence:
1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
3. Ezekiel 28.11-19 is usually taken to be a complex prophecy that begins to speak of a human ruler of the city of Tyre, but then expands and deepens to include a history of the creation and fall of Satan, originally known as Lucifer, the most perfect of God’s created beings:
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
4. Though we are not told specifically in Scripture, it appears that Satan was a part of the heavenly host that was created before the six days of creation in Genesis and that he observed and shouted for joy as God performed His creative acts. If that is true, then the tragic fall into sin of Satan had to occur after the creation of the heaven and the earth and all that herein is, but before Satan’s temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden.
5. Precisely what caused Satan to sin against God and be changed from Lucifer to Satan is found in Isaiah 14.12-15. Notice the five “I wills” in verses 13 and 14. Notice, also, that although Satan’s destiny is promised to be “to hell, to the sides of the pit,” he is not yet there:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
6. So, we have a pretty good idea about Lucifer’s creation, his sin and fall to become Satan, the reason for it (pride), and his destiny. It is in Revelation 12.4 that we seem to have evidence suggesting just how many holy angels followed Satan in his rebellion against God, and what happened to them when Satan was defeated and cast down. One of every three angels sinned against God by choosing to follow after Satan’s rebellion. It is likely that the demons that we find mentioned in the New Testament are rebellious angels who have been cast down to earth.
7. So, Satan, the demons, “the sons of God” mentioned in Genesis chapter 6, the beasts that ascend out of the pit with Apollyon in Revelation chapter 9...all of these are beings originally created as holy angels, but who sinned against God and were cast down.
8. Back to the dragon in Revelation 12.4. These two wonders, these two signs, come together before John. The dragon stood before the woman who was about to deliver, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. This would remind the Jewish Christian of Herod’s murder of the children two years old and under in Bethlehem, in a murderous attempt to assassinate the Christ child. Matthew 2.13-18 informs us of that butchery:
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
 William R. Newell, The Book Of The Revelation, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1935), page 172.
 John 8.44
 Newell, page 173.
 See footnote for Revelation 12.3 from Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000), page 1383.
 J. Vernon McGee, Revelation, Volume II, (Pasadena, CA: Thru The Bible Books, 1979), page 155.
 Lehman Strauss, The Book Of The Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1963), page 234.
 Ephesians 2.2
 2 Corinthians 4.4