Why does the dragon in Revelation 12 have seven heads and 10 horns?

Caller:  My question has to do with Revelation 12, about the dragon—why does he have 7 heads, 10 horns, and 7 crowns on his head?

Pastor Doug:  Good question.  The best way to understand the Bible is to let the Bible explain itself.  Go with me to Revelation 17 where this same ugly dragon appears again.  Revelation 17:3So the angel carries John in the spirit into the wilderness where he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemy, seven heads, ten horns.  Does that beast sound familiar?  Seven heads, ten horns—what does that mean? If you go down a little further, the angel comes and he begins to explain this prophecy.  Verse 9: Here is the mind that has wisdom.  The seven heads on which the woman sits are seven mountains. 

It says these are seven kings, in the Bible that means kingdoms.  This beast represents the devil, and the kingdoms the devil has operated through.  Matter of fact, if you look in Revelation 12 it calls him the old dragon, the serpent, and the devil.  We don’t have to guess who the beast is.  It tells us in Revelation 12 that dragon is the devil.  Then it says that it has seven heads.  These are kingdoms that the devil has operated through to persecute God’s people.  There are seven kingdoms that have occupied God’s people through time and some of them are in power now. 

In the Old Testament, you’ve got Egypt that oppressed the Jewish people, God’s people then, you’ve got Assyria, Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece that’s why it says five are fallen, one is.  Rome was in power when John had this vision.  But then you’ve got the fallen church of the dark ages that received a deadly wound and came back, and that adds up to seven.  We’ve got a Bible study we can send you—What’s Wrong With My Church—you can send for that and it will help answer your questions. 

Great Tribulation
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