The Hangry Dragon
VIDEO – “Super Bowl 2015: Snickers Ad” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UO2A2p-19A].
How many of you are familiar with the term “hangry?” It means to be bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.
When we lived in Shippensburg, PA and my father pastored Prince Street UB Church, my Mom would always pack me a snack to eat on the car ride home
I would actually get sick in my stomach without that snack, because I was so hungry
That hunger and stomach ache would make me irritable
Now we didn’t have the term “hangry” back then, but that’s exactly what I was
Protection from being hangry
My Mom knew that to protect herself and the rest of the family, from me being bad-tempered and irritable on Sunday mornings, was to pack a snack for me to eat
It wasn’t a full course meal, just some animal crackers, or other kinds of crackers that would take the edge off my hunger
It allowed me to remain pleasant on the car ride home until we could have lunch together
She knew that the snack would also protect me
I’m certain I’m the only one who has ever experienced being hangry
I can’t imagine that anyone else would act bad-tempered or irritable because of hunger
Perhaps we all know someone who deals with being hangry (let’s keep their names to ourselves, this morning)
Perhaps those of us who have hangry people in our lives should start packing snacks, especially when we’re going to miss a meal or be late in eating a meal
This will protect those around us from experiencing the bad-temper or irritability of those who are hungry
Maybe a Snickers will do the trick
We’ll see today that Satan, described as a hungry dragon, is waiting, ravenously, to devour the child that a pregnant woman is preparing to give birth to. When that child is snatched away the dragon will pursue the woman, but she is protected by God. John wants us to understand that...
BIG IDEA – God protects His people and Jesus so they can fulfill His plan.
GOD (Revelation 12:1-6)
Introduction to Scene 4 (Rev. 11:19)
Last week I mentioned that Rev. 11:19 could be the conclusion of Scene 3, but it could also be the introduction of Scene 4
There are some repeated items throughout Revelation that seem to mark the beginning of various scenes
Wilcock does an excellent job of outlining those repeated items [Wilcock, The Bible Speaks Today, The Message of Revelation, 114]
1:1 – Introduction
1:12 – John turns to see who is speaking to him: Scene 1
4:1 – In heaven a door is opened and a voice says ‘Come’: John is taken to a vantage point from which he can see the whole heavenly sphere: thunder and lightning (v. 5): Scene 2
8:2 – The angels with the trumpets appear: thunder and lightning (v. 5): Scene 3
11:19 – In heaven the temple is opened; thunder and lightning: Scene 4
15:5 – In heaven the temple of the tent of witness is opened: Scene 5
17:1 – An angel says ‘Come’: John is taken into a wilderness: Scene 6
19:11 – Heaven itself is opened: Scene 7
21:9 – An angel says ‘Come’: John is taken to a mountain top: Scene 8
22:20 – Epilogue
This in Wilcock’s understanding of the Rev. 11:19 as the introduction to Scene 4
As mentioned last week, it certainly could be the conclusion of the previous scene, but there seems to be a break between Rev. 11:18 and 11:19
The Woman (vv. 1-2, 6)
If Rev. 11:19 is the introduction to Scene 4, it is an incredible introduction before two signs appear in the heavens
Seeing God’s temple opened with the ark of his covenant visible would be awe inspiring
The flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and earthquake and a great hailstorm would get my attention and cause me to look heavenward
That’s when I would see the great and wondrous sign
“This is the first of seven signs that appear in the remainder of the Revelation (see 12:3; 13:13, 14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20).” [Akin, Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 210]
There is a woman whose appearance is majestic (v. 1)
Clothed with the sun
Yahweh is described as being clothed in light
Psalm 104:1-3a, Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
Light represents God’s majesty
The woman clothed with the sun speaks of her majesty
We’ll understand who the woman is in just a moment, but remember that she is clothed in majesty
Moon under her feet
In the Old Testament the moon was representative of beauty (Song 6:10) and glory (Isa. 24:23; 30:26)
Song of Songs 6:10, Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? (this is spoken by the friends of the Lover and the Beloved)
Isaiah 24:23, The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.
Isaiah 30:26, The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
The position of the moon being under her feet would represent dominion or reigning over a kingdom
Jesus (Luke 20:43) and Paul (Acts 2:35) both reference Psalm 110:1 and apply this not to David, who wrote the Psalm, but rather to Jesus as the One who will reign and have dominion over the entire world
Psalm 110:1, The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
As we identify who the woman is, we will understand the dominion she will have
Crown of twelve stars on her head
This represents victory
The Greek word is stephanos and is the crown or wreath that was given to those who were victorious in the games
This crown was made of twelve stars
This description of the crown is significant when we look at the background for this woman
Background for her appearance
Most scholars agree that the background for the imagery of the woman comes from Joseph’s dream found in Genesis 37:1-11
Read Genesis 37:1-11
We see all three elements here – the sun, the moon, and the stars
The sun represented Joseph’s father, Jacob
The moon represented Joseph’s mother, Rachel
The stars represented the tribes of Israel
We know that Jesus came from Jacob’s line
From this description of the woman, it should be clear who the woman represents
Who is this woman?
The woman represents the people of God – the Israelites
She also represents all redeemed people, whether Jews or Gentiles
Revelation 12:17, Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
PRINCIPLE – God sees His people as majestic and victorious through His power.
I think this principle is overlooked and marginalized in our culture today
We are majestic in God’s eyes
We don’t really believe that God sees us as majestic, beautiful, and victorious
There are many who have a defeatists mentality and live their lives with that belief
They don’t consider themselves worthy, beautiful, or of value (Satan likes to remind us of our sin)
Some, go so far as to consider themselves just a placeholder in this world – of no significance
God considers every human being of importance and value, because He created everyone
On the sixth day God created human beings, both male and female
He gave them dominion over every living creature, whether on land, sea, or air
Then this is what He said at the end of the sixth day of creation
Genesis 1:31, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.
My Next Step Today Is To: Recognize that God sees me as His beautiful creation even when I don’t see myself that way.
We are victorious in God’s eyes
While God looks at every human being as a very good creation, He says this about those who are followers of Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
God sees us as without sin, through the blood of Jesus Christ
We are born with a sin problem (Rom. 3:23)
There is a consequence for our sin – separation from God (Rom. 6:23a)
But God provides a free gift for everyone who confesses their sin to Him and believes in Jesus as their Savior (Rom. 6:23b)
John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ we are victorious in God’s eyes
My Next Step Today Is To: Receive God’s gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ as my Savior.
This majestic, victorious woman who has dominion on earth is also pregnant
She is pregnant (v. 2)
The time for her delivery has arrived
She is crying out in pain, which obviously draws the attention of the dragon
We will unwrap who the dragon is in just a moment, but I want us to skip down to verse 6 where the woman is spoken about again
She has already given birth to her child, who is immediately snatched up to God and his throne
She is protected (v. 6)
A heavenly battle ensues and the dragon is hurled from heaven where he then pursues the woman (Rev. 12:13)
God protects the woman from the serpent’s reach by sending her into the desert
This is reminiscent of the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt
At every turn, when they grumbled against Moses, Aaron, and God, God would provide just what they needed (water from the rock, bread in the form of manna, meat in the form of quail)
When they rejected God’s plan to enter the Promised Land the first time they arrived, God sent them into the wilderness to wander for 40 years
During that time He provided for them and protected them until it was time to enter the Promised Land
Their sandals and clothing did not wear out (Deut. 29:5)
God took care of them supernaturally
God has prepared a place for the woman where she will be taken care of for three and a half years (1,260 days)
Jesus talked about the people of God fleeing when the end times come
Matthew 24:15-16, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Read Isaiah 16:1-4
“As your margin might say, ‘Sela’ means ‘Rock’ or ‘Petra.’ Petra is truly an amazing city. Located in Moab, or present-day Jordan, this city carved of stone has stood for centuries, preserved largely because the sole entrance is a passageway only twelve feet wide.” [Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary, New Testament, 1730]
[Show pictures of Petra]
Perhaps Petra is the place that is referred to here, but we are not told in Revelation – only that it will be in the desert
God protects His people so they can fulfill His plan.
The same is true of us today
God will protect us so we can fulfill His plan
Our mission statement tagline is Pursue Disciples, Grow Disciples, Multiply Disciples (that is the Great Commission in three statements)
That’s what we are called to do
I’m thinking about the Back to Church Sunday next week
We’ve provided engagers for everyone to use in inviting family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to come back to church
While we may be fearful about inviting people, we can rest assured that God will protect us so we can fulfill His plan, the Great Commission
We’re also focusing on discipleship here at Idaville Church
We’ve been encouraging our board members to begin a discipleship relationship with one other person or couple
We’re encouraging everyone in the congregation to either be in a discipleship group or working with someone else in a discipleship capacity
We’re providing more small group opportunities where individuals can be discipled
God will protect us so we can fulfill His plan
My Next Step Today Is To: Be in a discipleship relationship either individually or in a group (Pastor Marc Webb will be in contact with you to get that started).
We have determined then that the woman represents all redeemed human beings who are majestic and victorious in God’s eyes, and protected by Him so they can fulfill His plan
This leads us to the second character in this new scene
The Dragon (vv. 3-4)
A second sign in heaven appears
An enormous red dragon (v. 3)
It symbolizes Satan’s character and desire – he wants to shed bled, to murder people
John 8:44, You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Who is the dragon?
John explains who the dragon is in v. 9, The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.
The use of the word serpent takes us back to the Garden of Eden where Satan deceived Adam and Eve
It was at that time that God promised to send a Savior to redeem humanity from sin
This dragon isn’t only enormous and red, but has multiple heads and horns
The number seven is a symbol of completeness
“Most likely, the meaning of the ‘seven heads’ is the dragon’s pretension to sovereignty over the earth.” [Osborne, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 460]
Satan believes that he has complete sovereignty over the earth, but it will only be short lived
His sovereignty will only be over his own followers and not all of humanity
“Horns” in the Bible refer primarily to strength or power
Daniel described a very powerful beast from his vision that had ten horns
Daniel 7:7, “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast – terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
The Greek word for “crowns” here is diadēma which is the royal crown instead of the victors crown (stephanos) that the woman is wearing
This again points to Satan’s pretension to rule and reign
He is given royal titles throughout Scripture
Prince of the world (John 12:31; 14:30; and 16:11)
Ruler of the kingdoms of the air (Eph. 2:2)
God of this world (2 Cor. 4:4)
Satan is continually trying to imitate God and Jesus
This is perhaps his most powerful tool in deceiving humanity
He wants everyone to believe that He is god
He wants them to worship him instead of the true and living God
This enormous red dragon with seven heads and crowns to match and ten horns is fighting a heavenly battle
Battle in the heavens (v. 4a)
This battle is described in more detail in Revelation 12:7-12, so we will not spend much time unpacking it here
What is described here is Satan’s rebellion against God
Satan convinced a third of God’s angels to join him in his rebellion
God’s punishment for this rebellious group was to cast them out of heaven
We see this fall in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6
Waiting for the woman to give birth (v. 4b)
Since Satan’s rebellion was unsuccessful in heaven, he will try anything to circumvent God’s authority and plan
We see here that he is waiting for the woman to give birth
I envision this dragon with drool dripping from his mouth – He is hangry
I also think about our dog Fester when I get his leash ready – he starts prancing around and lifting his front paws off the ground (there is anticipation and excitement)
That’s Satan demeanor as he waits for the woman to give birth – he is excited, angry, and anticipating ruining God’s plan of redemption
He has tried to do that all along
God’s declaration is what Satan has been fighting against from the very beginning, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
Satan has tried throughout history to stop this child from coming
Akin outlines it for us [Akin, 211]
“He moved Cain to kill Abel (1 John 3:12)”
“He moved Pharaoh to kill Hebrew baby boys (Exodus 1-2)”
“He moved wicked Athaliah to destroy all the royal heirs of the house of Judah (2 Chron. 22:10)”
“He moved Haman to plot genocide against the Jews (Esther)”
“He moved Herod to kill Jesus (Matt. 2)”
All of his efforts have failed
We see that Jesus was protected so He could fulfill God’s plan
The Son (v. 5)
The woman gave birth to a son
We know that this male child is referring to Jesus
Jesus came from the line of Jacob/Israel, which is what the woman represented (the whole Israelite family)
“The birth of Christ on that day in Bethlehem inaugurated the death of this ancient serpent, just as it had been promised in Genesis 3. The birth of Christ declared the death of the ancient serpent; the death of Christ defanged the adversary. (“Fighting,” 2012).” [David Platt cited by Akin, 212]
His purpose is to rule all the nations with an iron scepter
This was spoken of by David in Psalm 2
Psalm 2:7-9, I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.
The idea behind ruling here is shepherding
“As a shepherd defends his flock against the wild beasts of prey, so Christ will strike the nations that oppress and persecute his church.” [Mounce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation, 234]
God protected Jesus
We see the birth and ascension of Jesus in v. 5
There seems to be a lot of Jesus’ life and ministry missing
What about His death, burial, and resurrection?
Aren’t they important?
They are, but when mentioning the first and last item in a list it encompasses everything in between
In Revelation 5 we have an incredible explanation of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection
The baby boy is snatched up to God and his throne
“Snatched” is a strong verb meaning to “take suddenly and vehemently.” [Osborne, 463]
Satan’s plan to stop God’s plan is foiled when God protects Jesus by taking Him back to heaven
From Jesus’ position in heaven, at God’s right hand, He will be able to fulfill God’s plan completely
God protected Jesus so He could fulfill God’s plan.
God sees you as beautiful and majestic
Don’t let the world tell you differently
He has created you in His image and He loves you very much
God also sees you as victorious through the blood of Jesus Christ
You and I have no righteousness of our own
Our righteousness comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, who sacrificially gave His own life on the cross for you and me
We are victorious over sin and death, because of Jesus Christ
God protects you so you can fulfill His plan
It is the Great Commission
Pursue Disciples, Grow Disciples, Multiply Disciples
It’s our responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ to tell the world that God sees them as beautiful and majestic – His creation!
We must also tell them that God can see them as victorious when they confess their sins and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation
We can have confidence that God will protect us as we fulfill His plan
Satan is always out to get us. Peter describes him like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Peter’s advice is to stand firm in the faith, because there are other believers who are suffering just like we are (2 Peter 5:9). Standing firm in the faith and doing God’s will affords us God’s protection from being devoured.