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Another sign was seen in heaven,

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it was a great red dragon,

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with seven heads and ten horns,

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and on his heads

are seven crowns.

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Another important teaching tool was seen in heaven, and

you should have been there to see it; it was a powerful, dangerous Deceiver who possessed all leadership;

and all legal authority which it exercised ruthlessly, and his leadership was characterized by complete victory.



“Seen in heaven” indicates that this epic struggle is on a spiritual level and is much greater than the human struggles we are familiar with here on earth.


Red was the color of blood and of fire, thus the idea of “dangerous” fits well. The word “dragon” meant “huge serpent.” Any reference to a snake or a serpent brought to mind Satan’s deception in the garden of Eden. Indeed, Satan has always been a deceiver and always will be. For these reasons the phrase “great, red dragon” is adequately expressed in modern English as “powerful, dangerous deceiver.”

3: “Ten horns”

While seven was the number for completeness in a general sense, ten was the number for completeness in regard to legal and structural matters. “Horns” were a picture of strength and ruthlessness because, in the animal world, the one with the largest, or sharpest horns, if it knew how to use them well, would win any conflict.  In the phrase “ten horns,” “ten” indicates a complete legal or political power and “horns” points to a ruthlessness in exercising that power.


This is a different kind of crown than the ones the woman of verse 1 wore, for two different Greek words are used. Her crowns showed she had the right to rule because such a right had been bestowed upon her; the dragon’s crowns were the crowns of a victorious conqueror. She had authority because it had been granted to her by someone else; he had authority because he had claimed it for himself through trickery and cunning.