SPECIAL TOPIC: A GREAT RED DRAGON

Revelation 12:1-6 describes the ultimate (cosmic) battle between good and evil in mythological terms taken from Ancient Near Eastern cultures (cf. Grant Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, p. 229).

1. Babylonian creation account – Tiamat (chaos), a seven headed monster who threw down one third of the stars of heaven, versus Marduk, the chief god of the city of Babylon, who kills her and becomes the head of the pantheon.

2. Egyptian myth – Set (Typhon), a red dragon, versus Isis (Hathor), giving birth to Horus. He later kills Set.

3. Ugaritic Ba'al legend – Yam (waters) versus Ba'al. Ba'al kills Yam.

4. Persian myth – Azhi Dabaka (evil dragon) versus son of Ahura Mazda (the high good god).

5. Greek myth – the Python (serpent/dragon) versus pregnant Leto (she gives birth to Apollo, who kills Python).

Revelation 12:3, "a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems," is a description of evil and great power (cf. Rev. 13:1 and 17:3). The horns and heads symbolize perfect power (cf. Daniel 7) and the diadems represent the evil one's attempted usurpation of Christ's royal place.

The term "dragon" may go back to the OT

1. the serpent of Genesis 3

2. the two evil monsters of chaos

a. Rahab (cf. Ps. 89:10; Isa. 51:9-10; Job 26:12-13)

b. Leviathan (cf. Ps. 74:13-14; 104:26; Job 3:8; 7:12; 41:1; Isa. 27:1; Amos 9:3)

There are numerous titles for the evil one found in the NT

1. "Satan," used 33 times (see Special Topic: Satan)

2. the "Devil," used 32 times (see Special Topic: Devil)

3. the "Tempter" (cf. Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5)

4. the "evil one" (cf. Matt. 6:13; 13:19; 1 John 5:18)

5. the "Enemy" (cf. Matt. 13:39)

6. the "Prince of Demons" (cf. Matt. 9:34; 12:24; see Special Topic: Personal Evil)

7. "the Ruler of this world" (cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)

8. "the Prince of the Power of the air" (cf. Eph 2:2)

9. "The god of this world" (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4)

10. "Belial" (cf. 2 Cor. 6:15)

11. "Beelzebul" (cf. Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15,18-19; see Special Topic: Beelzebul)

12. "the Dragon" (cf. Rev. 12:3,4,7,9; 20:2; see  Special Topic: The Serpent)

13. "the Serpent" (cf. Rev. 12:9,15; 20:2)

14. "the Accuser" (cf. Rev. 12:10,15)

15. "the Adversar," (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8)

16.  "a roaring lion" (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8)


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