Revelation Chapter 12, Part 7

Verse 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold a great fiery red dragon having seven
heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads
.”

The term dragon, according to the associations currently connected with it, is somewhat apt to
mislead the reader, by recalling to his mind the fabulous dragons of the Dark Ages, equipped
with wings
. At the time this Divine description was given, the term dragon had no such meaning
among either profane or sacred writers.

"The dragon of the Greeks," says Pausanias, "
was only a large snake"; and the context shows that this
is the very case here; for what in the third verse is called a "
dragon," in the fourteenth is simply described
as a "
serpent." Likewise the word rendered "Red" Greek pyrros Strong’s # 4450 properly means
"
Fiery"; so that the "Red Dragon" signifies the "Fiery Serpent" or "Serpent of Fire."

“In the mythology of the primitive world,” says Owen, “
the serpent is universally the symbol of the
sun
.” “The original reason for the identification of the serpent with the sun appears to have been that, as
the sun is the great enlightener of the physical world, so the serpent was held to have been the great
enlightener of the spiritual
world, by giving mankind the knowledge of good and evil. This, of course, like
all idolatry, is
an absolute perversion of the truth; but it serves to identify the sun-god with Satan.”
(
The Two Babylon’s”, Pages 137, 138)

“In Rome the two grand objects of worship were the "
Eternal Fire," kept perpetually burning in the
temple of Vesta, and the sacred
Epidaurian Serpent…The Epidaurian snake, that the Romans
worshipped along with the fire, was looked on as the divine representation of Aesculapius, the child of the
Sun… Now, if this worship of the sacred serpent of the Sun, the great fire-god, was so universal in Rome,
what symbol could more graphically portray the idolatrous power of Pagan Imperial Rome than the "
Great
Fiery Serpent
"? No doubt it was to set forth this very thing that the Imperial standard itself--the
standard of the Pagan Emperor of Rome, as Pontifex Maximus, Head of the great system of fire-
worship and serpent-worship--was
a serpent elevated on a lofty pole, and so colored, as to
exhibit it as a recognized symbol of fire-worship
. * See note at bottom of page.
(The Two Babylon’s”, Page 144)

Behold a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems (or
crowns)
on his heads.”

The great red dragon represents the Pagan Roman Empire…”. “Revelation 17:9 states, “The
seven heads are seven mountains [or kingdoms]
.” Therefore, the seven heads, whether upon the
dragon or the beast, are Rome’s seven prophetic, successive, distinct
forms of government. The ten
horns
represent Rome’s divisions of power in Europe…” “These being mentioned to identify it
(Rome) as the same beast or government described by Daniel and elsewhere in Revelation
.”,
“Just as seven phases of experience were prophesied to occur in the development of the gospel Church,
so seven heads or successive forms of government were to pass upon Rome. In some cases, a head or
form lasted for centuries, although different individuals occupied the office of ruler.

The crown (diadem) is a symbol of vested power or authority.
In this chapter (as opposed to the beast
seen in
Chapter 13 Verse 1, the) “seven crownsare seen on the seven heads, NOT upon the
horns
, which signifies that the divisions of power are under the guidance and control of the head. The
time indicated is that period when
Imperial Rome ruled over its provinces with authority, appointing
subordinate leaders or generals to enforce its edicts.
The time setting of Verse 3 is during Rome’s
first head or form of government
(during the Gospel Age).” T.K.O.R. Page 296, R306:2

“The symbols themselves establish the time for the beginning of the fulfillment of this vision of Chapter 12
as that of Pagan Rome, particularly the reign of Diocletian. He, according to all historians, is the one who
ruled the Roman Empire during the last great persecution of the Church by Pagan Rome. This persecution
began in 303 AD and continued until 313 AD,
the “ten days” spoken of by our Lord in (Rev 2:10).” R.E.
Streeter’s “
Revelation of Jesus Christ”, Page 330

As for the “seven heads” as we have stated these represent seven distinctive forms of government
or
seven distinct changes of government which Pagan Rome underwent under its “crowned
emperors and or Cesar’s. Brother Bob suggested the following,

1) Diocietian, 2) Maximian, 3) Severus, 4) Galerius, 5) Maxentius, 6) Maximin, 7) Constantine

Another suggestion is as follows,

1) Diocietian, 2) Maximian, 3) Galerius 4) Constantius 5) Severus 6) Maximin 7) Constantine

Regardless as to the who and in what précised order they followed the most important point to
understand is that these seven heads pertain only to
Pagan Rome, to “The Red Dragon” (Chapter
12)
, and are not to be confused in any way with the seven heads mentioned in regards to “The Leopard
Beast
Civil Rome, (Chapter 13) and “The Scarlet BeastEcclesiastical Rome, (Chapter 17).

As for the “
ten horns” or supporting powers these at first constituted the various European nations
which were subservient to Rome at the time. As history records some of these kingdoms would fall and
new ones would take their place, but we believe that the number “
ten” as used here relates not so much
to its literal significance but to its symbolic meaning.
The numbertenas used in the Scriptures
designates completeness
in whatever it may pertain to thus we believe that although (in the prophecy)
they are still called “
ten hornsthis in no way limits their number literally to ten, nor strictly to the
European nations, in the beginning yes but no longer
.  

NOTE:Prior to the dragon in 102 BC, the Roman consul Gaius Marius decreed that the eagle would be
the symbol of the Senate and People of Rome. The eagle symbolized strength, courage, farsightedness
and immortality. It is considered to be the king of the air and the messenger of the highest Gods.
Mythologically speaking, it is connected by the Greeks with the God Zeus, by the Romans with
Jupiter
, by the Germanic tribes with Odin and by Christians with God.” (Wikipedia, encyclopedia)

In the days of the republicthe eagle appeared on various inscriptions and coins and more
famously on the standards carried into battle by the Roman legions. The eagle has always been
the symbol of a warlike nation, so the enduring memory of Rome is of a conquering nation
,”
however later this ensign would eventually be accompanied by the dragon.

It is a rule in symbolic language that a symbol is never employed until it becomes familiar in the
minds of the people
. Now it is recorded in history that a dragon was employed by Pagan Rome itself as a
symbol of its sovereignty; and not only so, but we learn from history the exact time when it first began to
be so employed. Note the following from an eminent expositor:

"The general interpretation which refers this vision to Rome may receive confirmation from the fact that
the dragon was at one time the Roman standard. . . . Ammianus Marcellinus (xvi. 10) thus describes this
standard: 'The dragon was covered with purple cloth, and fastened to the end of a pike gilt and adorned
with precious stones. It opened its wide throat, and the wind blew through it; and it hissed as if in a rage,
with its tail floating in several folds through the air.' … "
The dragon was first used as an ensign near
the close of the second century of the Christian era, and it was not until the third century that its
use had become common, and the reference here, according to this fact, would be to that period
of the Roman power when this had become a common standard, and when the applicability of
this image would be readily understood
. It is simply Rome that is referred to--Rome the great agent
of accomplishing the purposes of Satan towards the Church. The eagle was the common Roman ensign in
the time of the Republic and in the earlier periods of the empire, but in later periods the dragon became
also a standard as common and as well known as the eagle."
Barnes, Albert.--Notes on Revelation,
19th century (Historical)

Having we believe established the identity of the great fiery red dragon we will with our next post move on
to
Verse 4


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