Day 9

The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon

from the Revelation reading plan

Revelation 12:1-18, Genesis 3:1-15, Colossians 2:13-15

BY Guest Writer

One of my favorite hymns is “For All the Saints.” I was reminded of it when reflecting on today’s reading. Every verse of the song compels us to cling to “our Rock, our Fortress,” and “our Captain” in the battle, as we keep our eyes trained toward a more glorious day yet to come. It echoes this truth from Revelation: God is and forever will be seated on His throne, and all the heavenly hosts give glory, honor, and thanks to Him. The hymn continues:

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long;
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song.
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

The strife really is fierce, and it has been since the serpent sowed deceit and destruction in the garden of Eden. Our fear of God, alienation from Him and one another, deceit and pride and endless greed—these things tore the fabric of our human existence before the curse was pronounced upon the serpent.

And yet in the midst of Genesis 3, God declared a message of hope that has echoed throughout human history: the offspring of the woman would one day “crush” the serpent’s head (v.15). True, the serpent would “crush” (yes, it’s the same word in Hebrew) the heel of Eve’s offspring—a lethal blow, but one that would end in the greatest, most victorious event in human history: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That malevolent serpent has since donned many hideous characteristics, and Revelation 12 does not mince words when describing the evil one. We read that the “great fiery red dragon” has been intent on devouring the woman (representing Israel, God’s people) and her Son, Jesus the Messiah. There is an appallingly fierce war in the heavenly realms, one we can hardly imagine. The grim powers of evil and the mighty forces of good tangle with each other. The dragon is identified as the ancient serpent, the devil, who leads the whole world astray. This is serious in the extreme, not to be dismissed with a wave of our enlightened hand. (We often do that.)

In other words, our battle here on earth is not done. We face the rage of the devil who knows his time is short and his end sure (v.12). But we also know the perspective from God’s throne:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been thrown down” (v.10).

As painful as our suffering here on earth is, victory is ours by the blood of the Lamb (v.11). We are empowered by and rest in the assurance that God has made us alive in Christ, that Lamb sitting on the throne. His shed blood has cancelled out the debt we owe, and the enemy has been disarmed completely. The serpent’s head has been crushed at the cross (Colossians 2:13–15).

Alleluia indeed.

Elaine A. Phillips received a BA in social psychology from Cornell University, an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary, and an MA in Hebrew from the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, where she and her husband, Perry, studied and taught from 1976–79. She holds a PhD in rabbinic literature, and teaches Biblical Studies at Gordon College. She also serves as a historical geography field instructor for Jerusalem University College. She has published a commentary on Esther in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary; a devotional book, With God, Nothing Is Impossible; and, most recently, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts.

Post Comments (13)

13 thoughts on "The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon"

  1. Zoe Gonzales says:

    My pastor posed the question: “if you were committing your worst sin behind closed doors when God walked in, what do you think he would say? Because that says a lot about who you believe God is.” And in my heart I thought, he would say to me: “oh Zoe, what did you do?” And I want to revisit that, and scripture, and my beliefs about God because the genesis passage when God addresses Eve brought me to tears this morning. “What have you done?” And she replies, “the serpent deceived me… and so I ate.” That’s true of my life. But I want to live in the remembrance of Colossians 2:13-15! Because that’s what’s true of my God. He’s not surprised by what I’ve done and he understands why I’ve done it, and he’s here to rescue me from that every day and for all eternity. I’m also very grateful for my husband-to-be who doesn’t turn a blind eye to the sin in my life and who knows how vulnerable I am. I hope to be a good companion to him all the days of my life as I walk in faithfulness to our King.

  2. Janice says:

    Angie, I love the analogy of your grandson and the sloppy spoon. It’s true we have to remember God is our Father, he doesn’t need our help, but he appreciates our efforts.

  3. Kristine Brown says:


  4. Angie says:

    I don’t pretend to understand Revelation, yet it is my favorite book of the Bible.
    Something new crossed my mind today when I read this scripture.
    (I pray that I do not speak anything that would lead to wrong thinking.)
    I wondered…, as the battle continues to rage between good and evil, am I making a difference for good?
    Not good for me, not battling to do the right things, be a good witness, live well-for me…am I a warrior for Christ?
    Yes, daily I battle in my armor. Gracious armor, given by God to His children.
    A helmet to cover thoughts. A breastplate to surround my heart. Truth secured around my core. Feet of peace to stand firm. A shield to block the attack…all armor for defense, BUT, am I using my sword, my only offensive weapon?
    Rev. 12:11 “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony for they did not love their lives to the point of death.” is the verse that niggled this question my way.
    How, do I use my sword?
    Testimony of God’s work in my life – only glorifying Him.
    Claimed and applied Scripture.
    God, God, God, does not need me to win
    and yet He draws me into the fray, covered, protected…
    and allows me to be a part.
    Sort of like I cheer when my grandson takes a big bite of yummy food.
    He’s not very good at getting it on a spoon and to his mouth but, I am proud of his effort and celebrate his success.
    God has the battle won,
    Oh, but thank you Lord for blessing my sloppy-spooned, mouth-messy efforts to stand and fight for you.
    Humbly I offer all that I have and am,
    recognizing, even in that the only strength is in You.

    I would also humbly thank you ladies for your prayers. This roller coaster ride of caring for someone I love with cancer is exhausting both mentally and physically, and I will never be the same. Thanks to God for not leaving me where I was. I will be different. I will be better for Him.

    God is good, ALL the time and I thank Him for you.

    1. L V says:

      Prayers for your continuing to fight the “good fight”— I only know from my own experience that Satan wants to steal that joy and peace from you. Turning to praise the One who has won for us defeats Satan’s attacks. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. -Hebrews 12:2”
      Thank you for sharing! Our victory is secured and soon to come! And we don’t know what our Heavenly Father knows—possibly how some of our simplest acts of kindness can be part of His perfecting another’s faith walk or strengthening during their own battles! Praise God!

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