Portrait of a Dragon
Good morning, church. This week and next week I get to share Revelation 12 and 13 with you, and I want to let you know up front that I am pretty intimidated to preach this stuff. I’m going to start by asking God to help. And since you have to listen for the next 35 minutes, maybe you should ask for help, too. Let’s pray together.
God, I prayed in first service that you would help me to say the things that are accurate to your Word, that would serve these people that I love so much, even if that means you have to supernaturally change everything that I’ve prepared to say. I’m willing to do that even though I love my plan. So if you want me to switch, you’re going to have to help me make that happen. Let your Word go forth and open eyes and encourage hearts. I pray this in faith with as little fear as I can, amen.
The bad guy, the villain, the enemy, the most profound destructive dictator, the most evil-minded destroyer, the most skilled propaganda-spinning manipulator of all time, the most formidable accuser that has ever lived … Who comes to your mind? Now for some of us, our minds might go into the realm of fantasy novels or movies, and we’ll come up with names like the Joker from Batman, or Sauron from Lord of The Rings, or Darth Vader, or for you Harry Potter fans, “He Who Must Not Be Named.”
Perhaps some of us go into the real world of villains and enemies and go into history and get names like Stalin and Hitler, who are famous men and infamous examples of villainous dictators. It’s not even hard to find these types of examples even in present day. Consider Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe who has risen to power through electoral deception. In one election where he didn’t get enough votes, it is reported that there were nearly 20,000 people killed because of it. As he was trying to get re-elected in his time in office, it is estimated that millions of Zimbabweans lost their homes, jobs, and livelihoods to his “land reform program” which was basically a program to bulldoze villages that didn’t vote for him. Throughout history we see tyrants and evil overflow into the destruction of people’s lives. But what if behind every historical example we could think of or even every fantastical example that seems so terrible, what if in reality there is behind this an enemy who is even more dangerous, destructive, and dishonest.
In Revelation, John holds on for eleven chapters before he paints the picture of an enemy. And John gives us an enemy in chapter 12 that we actually can’t even see. He’s an invisible enemy who plots and plans in secret, but he is as real as the wind and as constant as gravity. Unseen enemies create their own unique brand of fear.
During the French and Indian War, the French began to use the tactics of the Indians. They would camouflage themselves and hide behind trees in the forests, whereas the English used the European style of fighting where they had bright red coats and stood in lines and exchanged honorable volleys with the enemy. Thousands died as a result.
In present day, enemies and criminals use keyboards as ruthlessly as armies used to use bombs. Hackers electronically blackmail. Digital saboteurs and soldiers steal valuable information. Web-based mercenaries sit far from the crime in front of their laptop. They are an unseen, powerful force ready to digitally destroy. Let’s be clear, an unseen enemy does not mean an unreal enemy. The French and Indians were real enemies, and thousands died. Hackers are real enemies. Scarcely a week goes by where we don’t hear about it in the news. And friends, our enemy is real. Who is our enemy and what is he like?
John hinted at and even named our enemy back in Revelation chapters 2 and 3. The enemy is named Satan, and back in chapter 2 and 3 no information is really given about him — no backstory, no character description — no other information. John seems to assume at least a limited knowledge in his readers of who Satan was. But now when we reach chapter 12, John’s going to pull back the curtain and reveal more about the villain. And we’re going to see this enemy through three snapshots: his names, his appearance, and his actions. We’re going to look at the enemy through his names, appearance, and actions.
Snapshot number 1, our enemy’s names. John names our enemy in multiple ways in chapter 12, and we can learn a lot about the enemy through these names. The primary name that he uses is Dragon, and we’re going to talk about that more in a few minutes.
John names the enemy the Ancient Serpent. Now for the original reader, especially one from Jewish descent, they would have an echo here of Genesis chapter 3 — the serpent in the Garden of Eden who deceived humanity. He tempted humanity to believe a lie about what God actually said, and humanity followed the serpent’s sermon. What was the result of that? Permanent separation between humanity and God. And in Revelation 12 John is now saying that ancient serpent lives on.
John also calls him the Devil. Our enemy is an accuser and slanderer by trade. Later on an angel in Revelation 12 describes the Devil as the accuser of our brothers “who accuses them day and night.” The Dragon never stops accusing. This invisible enemy will attack you through lie and accusation. The Dragon wants any Christ follower to wear the mantle of “accused” rather than “forgiven.”
And then John reuses the name Satan, which literally means the adversary. The Satan is the adversary. He is diametrically opposed to Christ, to God, and to God’s people. And then John finally gives him the title of Deceiver of the whole world. His reach is wide. The Dragon wants everyone to hold the wrong view of life. That is his mission. Christ Jesus, God, the Spirit, are presenting one view of life through the cross, through the life death, burial of Jesus, and the Dragon is coming in and wants the whole world to believe a different message, a different gospel. He wants us to live in a different kingdom than the kingdom of Christ. From that snapshot we learn a lot about our enemy as a lying, accusing, deceiving adversary.
What does he look like? Snapshot number 2, our enemy’s appearance. The scriptures say this.
“Another sign appeared in heaven, behold, a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on his head seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to earth.”
Why a great red dragon? For the early reader, a dragon would have been a creature from a really chaotic, evil domain. And potentially for these early readers this would have been maybe a water creature. From the Old Testament there are these two wild words called behemoth and leviathan. To that ancient culture, that unknown, large, lurking creature in the ocean, dragon. A great red dragon. Dragons in our culture, they are legends that fill movies and fantasy novels. Smaug from “The Hobbit” is our idea of a great red dragon. In more recent history, Sephira is a blue dragon who is the hero of a novel called “Eragon.” Dragons in our culture are the subject matter of beautiful and intricate Japanese traditional tattoos. And perhaps there are even some nerds among us, like me, who would confess that you defeated a dragon by rolling a natural 20 playing Dungeons and Dragons. And I know I lost probably the vast majority of you with that last reference. But if you get it you are my people.
I just think as we read Revelation 12, it’s really hard for us to feel what the original readers would have felt, and I think that’s the point of this great red dragon. It’s not just informational. It’s not just a description. It’s art. This whole apocalyptic style of literature is artistic by its very nature. He wants us to feel something. But dragons for us are just too normal or too fantastical fairy-like with no real power. It’s as if we need a substitute.
On the east coast, in recent years, it’s reported that shark attacks are on the rise. Did you think about that last summer when you went to the beach? Are you willing to go into the water in the ocean at night? I’ve challenged my kids to do that for years, never had a taker. Go boogie board at night when it’s pitch black out in the ocean. It’s the same water, it’s the same place. Imagine you go down to Charleston and you get into a kayak and you paddle about a half a mile out into the inland waterway. You’re there to fish, when all of a sudden right in front of you bursts out a 16-foot great white shark and breaches right in front of you. Your kayak is now perilously close to tipping you right into that cold water where that shark lives. Feel that. A literal, I’m face-to-face with that beast right there. What is that fear like? That feeling, that shark, that unknown lurking monster, is how the original readers would think of dragon.
I think this is even harder for us because we pay money to try to get close to creatures like that nowadays. Think of that! We pay money to get close to the most dangerous creatures on earth that for the vast majority of human history terrified people. They had no steel cage. They had no gun. They had no way to get away. Friends, I’m just trying to get us somewhere. If we read Revelation 12, and we don’t feel anything when we think of great red dragon, then we’re going to miss it. The metaphors that were so strong for the ancient culture are weak or even cartoonish for us. But listen to me. Make no mistake, the Dragon is not trivial.
The Dragon, we learn, is also influential. Interpreters have long believed that his tale sweeping down a third of the stars is a reference to him taking angels with him — a lesser part of the armies of heaven went with him. He is not flying solo. The enemy is not just him, it’s his recruits. And so church, I think we have to begin this whole Revelation 12 with the question of, is it possible that we consider our enemy to be more like a mean little dog than a great red dragon? Functionally, as you walk through life, and we think of evil or the accusations that come at us, the lies that come at us, what’s going on in our brain and our heart as we think about ourselves and our relationship to God, do we consider the Devil an evil? It’s almost like that’s the embarrassing part of Christianity. I don’t really want to talk about all that kind of crazy devil stuff. Mean little dog. And Revelation 12 screams at you, he is a great red dragon.
What does the Dragon do in the story of chapter 12? That’s our third snapshot. Snapshot number 3 is our enemy’s actions. Before we look at that, I want to introduce you to another character in Revelation chapter 12. And I’m going to read every bit of the chapter that pertains to this particular woman. It says this,
“And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth … She gave birth to a male child … and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days … the woman was given two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness where she is to be nourished for a time, and times and half a time.”
This woman is powerful. This is no kind of simpering little 1950s Disney princess. She is clothed with the sun, the moon is under her feet, twelve stars around her head. And the original readers, as they hear some of those descriptors, they would have an idea of who this is. This is God’s chosen people here. This woman is God’s chosen people. This is Israel. This is God’s chosen people throughout history. This is the lineage of the great hero of Revelation that begins a lineage that reaches all the way to us. And this woman is in the middle of distress. She is bringing forth life. Perhaps there’s not a more vulnerable moment for any human than when a woman gives birth. Pain, fatigue, and helplessness create a moment of great need. But even in the middle of that distress, the text is really clear that God’s people, this woman, is protected. The text tells us that she both flees and flies to the wilderness. While the wilderness is often a place of difficulty, in this place and this time it becomes a place of protection for God’s people. God creates a safe space for God’s people even during attack. A specific amount of time that God protects his people to nourish and protect them. Even in the midst of attack God is ultimately unfolding events for his purposes.
After introducing us to this pregnant woman giving birth, John describes what actions the great red dragon commits. It says this as the woman is giving birth. John tells us,
“And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she bore her child, he might devour it.”
You remember that word devour? We prayed through it in 1 Peter 5,
“he goes about as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.”
This past summer I read a news report in July in my office right over there that made me viscerally angry, immediately. On July 25 in Logan Circle in Washington D.C., a pregnant woman was shoved to the ground after a guy publicly groped this woman and then shoved her down. It was later discovered this guy has 60 particular types of assault charges against him, and I’m going to speak very generally because there are kids here. Those types of assault charges, 60. And the guy is still walking around, and he shoves down a pregnant woman.
I’m not going to lie to you, I had a daydream like that in the moment of being there and having the pleasure of being the one to interrupt that particular moment. And let me be the shover and he the shovee. And I’d give him another couple extra just for good measure. But there’s something about that that is just so revolting. I felt my heart was just like… During pregnancy there’s additional vulnerability for the woman and the child.
Rebecca, my wife, when she was pregnant with Max (he’s our 17-year-old), one month before he was born, we were at a July 4th party. She tripped going up brick steps and fell down to her knees. My heart just sank. Nothing happened from it, but such a small trauma could have had huge implications to our lives.
What kind of a sick, demented person would threaten a pregnant woman at her most vulnerable moment? Even more, who would threaten the life of that child? A great red dragon. We see in this description a very real snapshot into our enemy. Satan, the Dragon, has no limits, no rules of war, no regulations. In his attacks and hatred on God, Jesus, and God’s people, nothing is out of bounds. We also see in this that Satan is against Christ. At his birth Satan wanted Jesus destroyed. We know it’s Jesus in this picture because the one who’s going to rule with a rod of iron, that’s Psalm 2, that’s Jesus. Satan wanted to devour Jesus when he was born. If we go back into the Gospels, we read that when Jesus was born, Herod, a ruler, decided to slaughter the children, male children, that would’ve been Jesus’s age because he was afraid. Who would make a person slaughter children? A great red dragon.
The Dragon also makes war. John allows us to see a really tragic moment. The phrase in the Scriptures is “Now war arose in heaven.” The Dragon makes war in heaven. I dare you, if you are a creative writer, to come up with a more brief, polar statement than war in heaven. Two things that should not exist together. Michael and his angels versus Satan and his angels. The Dragon again has recruited from among his peers and built up an army. And we learn this dragon is a war-maker. Satan is a war monger. He is inherently anti-peace. The Dragon creates war in the one realm where you think it would be impossible. But he loses.
After losing the heavenly war, the Dragon decides to move on to another enemy in his mind. The Dragon wants to make war against God’s chosen people. The text says this,
“And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down, [he got defeated in heaven] he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.”
He went after God’s people. The Dragon did not get to devour the child. He lost the war in heaven. Now he tracks down the woman. The Dragon is relentless. Once again God prepares a place for his people, even during attack. The Dragon in response to that, turns his attention to yet another war. The text says this,
“Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Now remember this was written to seven real churches in Asia. The lineage of Jesus to Jesus, to “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The Dragon is permanently furious. He moves on to attack these churches and by extension us. If you are someone, like these churches, who says, “I want to obey what God says, and I want to believe in the testimony of Jesus, and I’m going to hold fast to that,” the enemy has declared war on you. Make no mistake friends, the Dragon is real, and he is ruthless, and we are his enemy.
Now in Revelation 12 the Dragon receives the vast majority of words in the chapter, but the hero of Revelation is not absent here. The hero of the story is Jesus Christ, and Jesus has been beautifully and eloquently described already before chapter 12 in the book of Revelation. And John is abundantly clear that Jesus is the hero. John describes Jesus as pure white appearing, gold sash wearing, receiver of worship with a voice as loud as Reedy River Falls after seven days of rain. Jesus is just this powerful picture throughout the whole book. Jesus is the Lamb and the Lion. He is the scroll opener. He receives worship that is supposed to be directed to the Great One on the throne. And the beasts that were worshiping the Great One worship Jesus.
We see Jesus as God. The hero, Jesus, is magnificently awesome in this book. And it seems like our only viable response to Jesus is this mixture of fall-on-our-face humility and jump-for-joy celebration. And it goes back and forth in the book — fall on our face, jump for joy. We put our heads down at times, and we lift our hands at times. Jesus commands every viable response of worship.
In light of the enemy and in light of the hero, Revelation does not permit you to be passive about the way you view Jesus. Whether you’ve been a Christian for a very long time, or whether you’re here and you actually think that all I’m saying is really weird and this book is weird (and that’s ok, it’s weird) as we work our way through. But no matter where you are in that, Revelation screams at you: What do you think about Jesus? Because Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. If you don’t know how you view Jesus today, Revelation 12 is asking you to inspect that. And we would love to do that together. Find me afterwards. If you don’t get the whole Jesus piece here, we’d love to talk to you about that, because it’s really important when it comes to Revelation. “Follow the hero, not the villain” could be one expression of the Book of Revelation. Follow the hero, not the villain.
In this text we’re reminded yet again of how the hero of Revelation became the hero. How did Jesus become the one who saves everybody? He did it through his own blood and death and resurrection. John mentioned this reality in chapters 1, 5, and 7. Jesus, the heroic lamb, died for us. He gave his blood so that when we were separated from God, we can be back in relationship with God. In the middle of the story now, between the woman and the Dragon, a loud angel comes on stage for an announcement. For those of us who have been through Revelation since the beginning, starting last spring, we’re kind of used to loud angels interrupting the action. It’s a regular thing that seems to happen. What I want to draw our attention to is not only the message but the fact that it’s a loud message. That loud angel seems to be important. It’s as if we need to be interrupted. Whatever he’s going to say, whatever that angel is going to say, is so important that he speaks loudly. And this is what he says.
“Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
The loud angel may provide us with the most valuable information about the enemy that we really need. Two things the angel lets us know: the Dragon is thrown down, and the Dragon is conquered. He is thrown down and conquered. The Dragon is defeated in heaven. We saw this earlier. Michael and his angels win the heavenly war and throw Satan and his angels out of heaven. And John goes to great lengths to remind us that the enemy has been thrown down. Seven times he talks about him being thrown down — he’s thrown down, he’s thrown down.
The Dragon is also conquered. John uses war imagery throughout all of chapter 12 and here the hero, the sacrificial lamb, conquers. The Dragon is evicted from heaven. A place where he could accuse brothers is a place he can no longer enter because of what Christ did on the cross. The blood of the Lamb conquers the fury of the Dragon. Yes, the Dragon is great and red and fearsome, but he is a thrown-down, conquered dragon. And the Scriptures create that tension in the way that we look at him.
We also learn from the angel that the devil’s wrath is great because his time is short. The dragon is warring on borrowed time. I had someone after first service describe them as a lame duck dragon. Lame duck is when the President knows his term is about to end, someone else has been elected. He has only a certain time left to act. That’s how the dragon is. His time is short. We are in the midst of God’s tracking down all evil that remains in his kingdom. We are not … and this is really important in your mindset, the way you view God, Jesus, the Spirit, and Satan. They are not in some big cosmic heavenly battle. God has all the power here. They are not fighting. He’s conquered. It’s already won.
How do we see ourselves as part of this story? Or should we? And I think John lays out a specific role for God’s people. It says this in the angel’s announcement,
“And they have conquered him [that’s Satan], they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
An interesting thing happens in this text. A second ago he was talking about the war in heaven, how Michael and his angels threw him down. But now “they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” That’s not the angels, that’s the seven churches. They conquered the devil. How? The “blood of the Lamb … the word of their testimony … not loving their lives even unto death.”
And so us, by extension, we live out of this same reality. We are participants in the great victory that Jesus has over the Dragon. We’re not bystanders, we’re participants. How? Through the blood of Jesus, which is so churchy. You have to say that. But does that really mean anything? This literal sacrifice of Jesus is the conquering power over the Dragon. We recognize in Jesus the real conqueror. We see his birth, life, death, resurrection as this kind of pinnacle moment of conquering power. We hold onto that.
We conquer through the word of our testimony. I would put it this way, we are witnesses in the courtroom of this world to the reality of Jesus. We’re witnesses in the courtroom of the world to the reality of Jesus. This whole story of how God created the world, and man rebelled, and we were separated, and God set out a plan to redeem his people throughout history, and how Jesus died, and if we put our faith in him we are reunited in relationship with God Almighty. That whole thing, we are witnesses of that in this world. And a silent witness convinces no one. If you’re in court, and you’re being sued, and you call a witness, you’d like them to say something. If your life and income depend on your witness and then they get up on the stand, and they don’t say anything, they’re not really helping. And here we’re called to witness to this reality of Jesus.
And finally, how do we do that? By not living our lives even unto death. We soberly consider what it means to die for believing in Jesus. And I think that’s the one I’m the farthest away from. Blood of Jesus. I’ve grown up with that teaching since I was 8 years old. I’m very thankful for that. The word of our testimony, okay I want to live life and speak of life in such a way to point others to Jesus. I’ll do that with my kids. I’ll do that with my wife. I’ll do it with my friends. I’ll do that in town at the gym, where I make relationships or wherever. I’ll try to do that because I love God, and I love Jesus, and I love other people.
Not loving my life even unto death. I just have no category for that because that’s nowhere near my life right now. We’re under no threat at all right now in this gathering, none. The seven churches that received this vision, they were the ones who were living not loving their lives even unto death.
A couple of weeks ago our partner from India was here, Praveen. He showed a picture of one of his pastors, this man right here, who preached the gospel, and that happened to him. That’s an edited picture because we didn’t want to offend anybody with the rest of the damage that was done to him. That is “not loving your life even unto death.” I can’t be an example of that to God’s people. I have to look at a guy like that and go okay. For me to be able to do that I think I have to start thinking that through now, because that doesn’t magically happen like that. That guy has had thoughts about how much he loves Jesus and loves God’s people. He has been discipled by Praveen and others in that culture to go, “Well we’re testimonies in this courtroom to the reality of Jesus, so we have to go into these villages, and we know I’m going to get beat up. Okay.”
Brothers and sisters, Revelation 12 is showing us and our brother, this pastor from India, is showing us death is only a steppingstone to forever. It seems like it has so much power, but it doesn’t. I don’t have to love my life today so much that I forget who gave it to me. I hold to the word of my testimony concerning Christ.
What do we do with this? What do we do in the light of Revelation chapter 12? I want us to ask ourselves two questions. One, do I recognize or rationalize the Dragon? Recognize or rationalize the Dragon? Remember the tools at the Dragon’s disposal are primarily contained within his names, described by his names — liar, accuser, slanderer, adversary. I think we often consider the enemy through the sin that we do. That’s how we think of the enemy. But he starts way before what we do.
He starts at the level of belief. The battlefield against the enemy is in our belief first. That then affects behavior. The Dragon, the Serpent, the Devil, he attacked Adam and Eve, and he attacked Jesus in the same way that he attacks us. In the Garden he tried to get Adam and Eve to question whether or not God said something. “Did God really say that?” Jesus, in Luke chapter 4, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness, interestingly. He’s in the wilderness, and the Devil comes to him and accuses him by saying, “Hey, if you are the son of God, prove it. Do what I say.” What’s fascinating about Luke chapter 4 is right before that, Jesus is baptized, and God declares over Jesus “You are my Son in whom I am well pleased.” The enemy immediately comes after the reality of Christ’s identity. And the enemy does the same thing today. He does the same thing to you. Did God really say? Are you really? The Dragon attacks our identity in Christ. His temptations play to our weaknesses, and he manipulates the broken world around us to his own purpose. In your life, do you recognize … This goes back all the way to the beginning of what I shared. Do you recognize there’s a great red dragon who’s warring against God’s people? Or do you kind of rationalize the way the world works and there’s bad and the other might be a devil thing?
Question number 2, Do I give the Dragon too little credit or too much credit? The Bible describes Satan. He is an angel, one of God’s created angels. He is the prince of the power of the air, a lion seeking to devour, the father of lies. He has an army of other angel beings at his disposal. He’s lost heaven, so earth is his only battlefield, and he is after God’s people. So how does he and his forces attack you? When you hear any kind of internal accusation, whose voice is that? Do you get accused during the day, just up in here, or in here? And I’m talking mundane accusations or not really mundane. I said this during first service, and it seemed to resonate. But even an accusation like “You’re a terrible mom.” I know my wife is a mom and has heard that in her head I don’t know how many times over the years. Where does something like that come from? When you’re plagued with doubts, so much — plagued with doubts about God and yourself — so much that literally, you would describe it as “I feel like I’m being attacked.” Who’s doing that? When you’re tempted to believe something opposite of what you know God says is true, where does that come from? And then in general, where we just view the destructiveness of our world like school shootings, genocide, racism, hatred, pornography, divorce, abuse, or any number of war-like campaigns that are going against humanity and God’s people, where do they come from, and who’s behind it? If the great red dragon is never a consideration for you, you may be giving him too little credit. If the great red dragon isn’t behind pornography, I don’t know who is.
Similarly, we also have to know the truth about this dragon. Satan is not omnipresent, right? He’s not God. He’s not everywhere, in every place, with every person, all at the same time. He can’t do that. Satan isn’t all powerful. He’s a created being, therefore he cannot be all powerful. He’s not omniscient. He doesn’t know everything. He knows his time is short, but he doesn’t know when it’s over. The Son of Man doesn’t even know when it’s over. There’s not even a question of the power of God versus the Devil. Again, it’s not a cosmic battle. In the text I think it’s really interesting that Satan makes war against Michael and his angels, that Satan makes war against Israel, that Satan makes war against God’s people, the Church, but Satan never makes war against Jesus. He lost! That battle doesn’t exist. Jesus definitively defeated and conquered the Dragon through his blood. And Revelation 12 puts in front of us this moment, this tension, that we live out of, that the Dragon is great, red, and fearsome, but he is defeated, conquered, and thrown down. And we step out into that reality tomorrow. His time is short, and he hates us. He is defeated and thrown down.
The point of this text seems to be this: the defeated Dragon is desperate to destroy. The defeated Dragon, he is desperate to destroy. But Jesus conquered the Dragon and empowers us to join in the victory. That’s Revelation 12. The defeated Dragon is desperate to destroy. Jesus conquered the Dragon and empowers us to join in the victory. And my prayer is that as a people we can live that out by believing in the blood of Jesus, holding fast to the word of our testimony, and ultimately not even loving our lives even unto death. Let’s pray.