What is the meaning of the “seven heads,” “ten horns,” and “stars of heaven” in Revelation 12?

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Revelation 12 begins a new line of prophecy, which continues to the end of the book. This section of prophecy sets forth the church of God in conflict with the powers of evil, and the church’s ultimate triumph over them.

A. The seven heads appear also on the beast John saw rising from the sea (Rev. 13:1), and on the scarlet-colored beast in Revelation 17:3. The heads in Revelation 17:9, 10 are identified as “seven mountains” and “seven kings.” It can be concluded that the seven heads of the dragon represents political powers that have championed the cause of the dragon, and through which the dragon has exercised his persecuting power.

Some hold that the number “seven” is here used as a round number to show completeness, and that it is not necessary to find precisely seven nations through whom Satan has operated. For a description of the seven-headed serpent in ancient mythology study Isa. 27:1. The Talmud also mentions a dragon with seven heads (Ḳiddushin 29b, Soncino ed., p. 141).

B. The “ten horns” represent the governments, or nations, that support the major powers in their oppression of God’s people and church. During pagan Rome’s tenure (Revelation 12:3, 4), they represented the 10 barbarian tribes that supported the papacy in eventually bringing down the Roman empire (Daniel 7:23, 24). These tribes later became modern Europe. In the last days, they will represent all the nations of the world as they unit in the end-time coalition (Revelation 16:14; 17:12, 13, 16) which will support “Babylon the great” in her warfare against God’s people.

C. “The third part of the stars of heaven” are the angels who supported Lucifer in his insurrection in heaven and who were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9; Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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