Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Who's the dragon?

A quick sequel to this:

Catholic apologists argue that since the child in Rev 12 is an individual (Jesus), and the dragon is an individual (Satan), then in consistency, the woman is an individual (Mary). But let's take a comparison:

2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended (Rev 20:2-3).

It's the same dragon we find in Rev 12. So who is the dragon in Rev 20? Suppose you say it's Satan/the Devil. After all, the text explicitly identifies the dragon/serpent as Satan/the Devil. And Satan is an individual. So that supports the Catholic argument, right?

Not really. Certainly the Satanic identification is true as far as that goes. But is that the only referent?

Consider this: would it make sense for God to bind Satan to prevent him from deceiving the nations while God allows billions of demons to continue deceiving the nations? (I don't know how many demons there are, but there doesn't seem to be a shortage.) 

Why would God bind just one fallen angel (Satan) but let all the other fallen angels have free rein to deceive the nations? So I understand "the dragon/serpent" in this vision to be a synecdoche for all the fallen angels, using the leader of the pack to illustrate the principle. The binding includes Satan, but he's being used as a representative figure for demonic and diabolical deceivers in general. 

If that's correct, then the same holds true for the dragon in  Rev 12. The referent isn't restricted to one individual in particular, but functions as a synecdoche for angelic adversaries of God, Jesus, and the people of God (faithful Jews and Christians). 

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I had never thought of that before. Satan is bound for 1000 years but what about his minions?