Mary & The Dragon on the ceiling of
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
In Revelation 12, the next sign that appears in heaven is an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. This dragon sweeps a third of the stars out of the sky and flings them to the earth. He stands in front of the woman to devour her child the moment it is born.
Who is this dragon? We do not have to do much searching to find the answer. John tells us in Revelation 12:9 that “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Thus, the dragon represents Satan. The seven heads represent the tremendous authority of Satan. The ten horns represent his great strength. The seven crowns represent the power and kingdoms of this world over which he rules. The stars that plunged to earth with him are the angels who fell with Satan and became his demons. According to Hebrew tradition, one-third of all the angels in heaven fell with Satan when he rebelled against God.
We remember from the Gospels how Satan sought to devour Christ from the moment of his birth. Satan instigated King Herod to have all the babies in Bethlehem, two years old and under, killed in order to try to destroy the Messiah. But Satan was not successful in his attempts to destroy the Christ. Even when Stan thought he had won a decisive victory at the cross, Jesus turned around and defeated Satan through his resurrection and ascension to heaven. As John says in Revelation 12 the “child was snatched up to God and to his throne.”
Not only does this dragon seek to destroy the Messiah and his Mother, but also all of her children, the Church. In Revelation 12:17 we read: “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.”
We should not be surprised as Christians when we face difficulty and trial. The Bible tells us over and over again, in plain words as well as coded messages, that we should expect trouble.