“A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” (Rev. 12:1-5)
This prophetic picture is a mind-transforming drama of Christ’s great victory that he has won for us. This vision starts by looking back in time at a woman who is in labor. This woman symbolizes the people of God through history.
The next thing we see is the grotesque image of a huge red dragon standing poised, ready to eat the baby as it comes out of the womb. All thought the history of the Old Testament Satan had been trying to destroy this Child, which was first promised right after Mankind’s fall into sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). He thought perhaps he was Abel, or maybe Moses, possibly David or one of the prophets.
Finally the hour came, Jesus was born into the world, the Promised One. Herod came up with an evil scheme inspired by Satan, to try to kill him in his infancy but his plan was thwarted. At the proper time Jesus willingly went to the cross to die. Instead of this being a victory for the dragon this death was his defeat! Jesus rose from the dead and after 40 days ascended to the throne of God in heaven eternally winning our salvation.
This vision ends with the dragon enraged at the woman and is set on making war against her and the rest of her children, that includes all of us who follow Jesus and are part of his people. Satan is angry because he has been defeated and he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:17). Without this prophetic perspective on our history as the people of God we will have a difficult time understanding what God is doing among us now. Prophetic vision does not just focus on what is going to come, it focuses on what has already happened in the past and in this way brings us to prophetic understanding about what is going on right now and what is to come. Through this vision, the Apostle John gives us a sweeping picture of God’s Big Salvation Story to strengthen our faith.
Looking at what God has done for us in the past is essential to living passionately for his glory in the present and walking into the future with confidence in God.