Revelation 12:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.

New Living Translation
Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads.

English Standard Version
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems.

New American Standard Bible
Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

King James Bible
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then another sign appeared in heaven: There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

International Standard Version
Then another sign appeared in the sky: a huge red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven royal crowns on its heads.

NET Bible
Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadem crowns.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And another sign appeared in Heaven and, behold, a great fiery Dragon that has seven heads and 10 horns, and upon its heads seven diadems.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Another sign appeared in the sky: a huge fiery red serpent with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns on its heads.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And there appeared another sign in the heaven; and, behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

King James 2000 Bible
And there appeared another sign in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

American King James Version
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.

American Standard Version
And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems:

Darby Bible Translation
And another sign was seen in the heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems;

English Revised Version
And there was seen another sign in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems.

Webster's Bible Translation
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Weymouth New Testament
And another marvel was seen in Heaven--a great fiery-red Dragon, with seven heads and ten horns; and on his heads were seven kingly crowns.

World English Bible
Another sign was seen in heaven. Behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven crowns.

Young's Literal Translation
And there was seen another sign in the heaven, and, lo, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his head seven diadems,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:1-6 The church, under the emblem of a woman, the mother of believers, was seen by the apostle in vision, in heaven. She was clothed with the sun, justified, sanctified, and shining by union with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The moon was under her feet; she was superior to the reflected and feebler light of the revelation made by Moses. Having on her head a crown of twelve stars; the doctrine of the gospel, preached by the twelve apostles, is a crown of glory to all true believers. As in pain to bring forth a holy family; desirous that the conviction of sinners might end in their conversion. A dragon is a known emblem of Satan, and his chief agents, or those who govern for him on earth, at that time the pagan empire of Rome, the city built upon seven hills. As having ten horns, divided into ten kingdoms. Having seven crowns, representing seven forms of government. As drawing with his tail a third part of the stars in heaven, and casting them down to the earth; persecuting and seducing the ministers and teachers. As watchful to crush the Christian religion; but in spite of the opposition of enemies, the church brought forth a manly issue of true and faithful professors, in whom Christ was truly formed anew; even the mystery of Christ, that Son of God who should rule the nations, and in whose right his members partake the same glory. This blessed offspring was protected of God.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and there was seen another sign in heaven (Revised Version). (See on ver. 1.) The appearance seen is not a representation of the devil as he actually is, but the sign - the dragon - is figurative and descriptive of the particular characteristics now about to be exhibited. In heaven - most likely merely in the space above, where he could be easily seen. Wordsworth, however, says, "Because the power here represented assails the Church, the kingdom of heaven." And behold a great red dragon. His identity is established by ver. 9, where he is called "the great dragon, the old serpent, the devil, Satan, the deceiver." Red; no doubt to enhance his terrible appearance; suggestive of his murderous, destructive character. "Dragon" (δράκων,) in the New Testament occurs only in this book. In the Old Testament the word is of frequent occurrence. In the LXX. δράκων is used seventeen times to express the Hebrew tannin (a sea or land monster, especially a crocodile or serpent); five times it stands for leviathan; twice it represents kephir (young lion); twice nachash (serpent); once attud (he-goat); and once pethen (python). Tannin (singular) is always rendered by δράκων except in Genesis 1:21, where we find κῆτος; but twice it is corrupted into tannim (viz. Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2). The latter word, tannim, is the plural of tan (a jackal), and is found only in the plural; but once it is found corrupted into tannin (Lamentations 4:3). There is no doubt as to the signification of the appearance. The dragon, is, in the Old Testament, invariably a symbol of what is harmful, tyrannous, murderous. It is a hideous, sanguinary monster, sometimes inhabiting the sea, sometimes the desolate places of the earth, always "seeking whom it may devour." In some passages it refers to Pharaoh (Psalm 74:13; cf. Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2); in others it is a type of what is noxious or desolate (Job 7:12; Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Psalm 44:19; Jeremiah 9:11, etc.). In Isaiah 27:1 we have the combination, "leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent;... the dragon that is in the sea." Having seven heads and ten horns. The description of the beasts in Revelation 12-17, is evidently derived from the vision of Daniel (7.), although the details differ. It seems reasonable to conclude, therefore, that the interpretation generally should follow the same lines as that applied to the Old Testament symbols, with which the writer was so familiar. The appearances described in Daniel are universally considered to typify various worldly powers which oppressed the Church and nation of the Jews. Similarly here the symbolism seems intended to portray the opposition of the devil to the Church of God, working through the power of the world. The heads and horns are both declared in Revelation 17:10, 12 to typify kingdoms - in what way we shall presently see (Revelation 17:10). The numbers seven and ten are both symbolical of completeness (see Revelation 1:4; Revelation 5:1; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 17:3). We have, therefore, in this picture of the dragon, the idea of the full and complete power of the world arrayed on earth against God and his Church. This power, connected with and derived from the devil, the prince of this world (John 12:31), is often alluded to by St. John as being opposed to, or in contrast with, the godly (see John 7:7; John 14:17; John 15; John 16; John 17; 1 John 2:15; 1 John 3:13; 1 John 5:4, etc.). And seven crowns upon his heads; seven diadems (Revised Version). That is, the kingly crown, the symbol of sovereignty, worn by the dragon to denote his power as "prince of this world." The word διαδήματα is found in the New Testament only here and Revelation 13:1 and Revelation 19:12. It is not the στέφανος, the crown of victory worn by the saints (see Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 6:2, etc.). No account is given of the disposition and arrangement of the heads, horns, and diadems; nor is it necessary. The seven crowned heads signify universal sovereignty; the ten horns, absolute power. Probably those to whom St. John wrote understood the symbol as referring specially to the power of heathen Rome, which was at that time oppressing the Church; but the meaning extends to the power of the world in all ages (see on Revelation 13:1).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And there appeared another wonder in heaven,.... Or "sign"; which represents the woman, or the church's adversary, Satan; not that he was in heaven, in the third heaven, the place of glory and happiness, for out of that he had been cast long ago; but in his great power and authority here on, earth, particularly in the Roman empire, where the church was labouring to bring forth her man child:

and behold a great red dragon; the devil, as it is explained in Revelation 12:9; though not he in person, but the Heathen Roman empire, or the Heathen Roman emperors, acted, influenced, directed, and presided over by him; so Pharaoh king of Egypt, and other cruel and persecuting monarchs and states, are called dragons in Scripture, Isaiah 27:1; all which places the Targum interprets of "a king", and particularly of Pharaoh king of Egypt; who is like to a great and mighty dragon: and the Roman Pagan empire, as under the influence of Satan, the god of this world, is fitly compared to a "dragon", for its policy and cunning in circumventing and ensnaring the professors of Christianity; and for its cruelty and inhumanity in persecuting of them; and for its poison of idolatry, will worship, and superstition: and it may be called a "great" one, for its strength and power, which lay in its immense treasure and riches, in numbers of men, in powerful armies, in strong cities, castles, &c. and for its large extent and jurisdiction; and a "red" one, because of the blood of the saints shed in it, by which it became of this colour; suitable to the character and bloody practices of the old serpent the devil, by whom it was influenced, who was a murderer from the beginning; and agreeably to one of the names by which the Jews (x) frequently call the Roman empire Edom, the name Esau had from the red pottage he sold his birthright for, and who himself was born red, Genesis 25:29; it seems there were red dragons; Homer (y) says of the dragon, that it is red upon its back:

having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads; the "seven heads" of the Roman empire either design the seven mountains, or hills, on which Rome, the metropolis of the empire, was built, as the seven heads of the beast on which the woman drunk with the blood of the saints sat, are explained in Revelation 17:9; or rather the seven forms of government which successively should obtain in the empire, as kings, consuls, decemvirs, dictators, tribunes, emperors, and popes; hence these heads are said to have "seven crowns" upon them, as expressive of the imperial power and dignity which were in them, and exercised by them: Mr. Daubuz thinks seven capital cities in the Roman empire are meant, as Rome, Carthage, Aege, Antiochia, Augustodunum, Alexandria, and Constantinople; and nothing is more common than to call chief cities the heads of the countries they belong unto, as Damascus the head of Syria, and Samaria the head of Ephraim, Isaiah 7:8. Pliny (z) calls Babylon the head of Chaldea; and Cornelius Nepos says (a) of Thebes, that it was the head of all Greece; and Syracuse is by Florus (b) called the head of Sicily, as Rome is in Livy (c), and other writers, the head of the world: and by the "ten horns" are meant either the ten kingdoms which should hereafter arise out of the Roman empire, and whose kings should give their kingdoms to the beast; or the ten Roman emperors, the persecutors of the Christians; or rather the ten provinces, or jurisdictions, which the empire was divided into while Pagan: Brightman out of Strabo has shown, that in the times of Augustus Caesar the Roman empire was distributed into two parts, the one was more immediately under the care of the emperor, and the other was governed by deputies; and each were divided into ten provinces; that which the emperor held consisted of Africa, France, Britain, Germany, Dacia with Mysia and Thracia, Cappadocia, Armenia, Syria, Palestine with Judea and Egypt, in all ten; and that part which was governed by deputies were the outermost Spain, and the isles by it, the innermost Spain, &c. Sardinia with Corsica, Sicily, Illyricum with Epirus, Macedonia, Achaia, Crete with Cyreniaca, Cyprus, Bithynia with Propontis; so that the Roman Pagan empire, as under the dominion of Satan, is manifestly designed by the dragon thus described. The Jews (d) speak of ten horns which the Israelites had, which when they sinned were taken from them, as it is written, Lamentations 2:3, and were given to the nations of the world, according to Daniel 7:20; "and of the ten horns that were in his head", &c.

(x) Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Rab. in voce (y) Iliad. 2. l. 308. (z) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 26. (a) In Vita Epaminond. l. 15. c. 10. (b) Hist. Roman. l. 2. c. 6. (c) Hist. l. 21. c. 30. (d) Echa Rabbati, fol. 53. 2, 3.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. appeared—"was seen."

wonder—Greek, "semeion," "sign."

red—So A and Vulgate read. But B, C, and Coptic read, "of fire." In either case, the color of the dragon implies his fiery rage as a murderer from the beginning. His representative, the beast, corresponds, having seven heads and ten horns (the number of horns on the fourth beast of Da 7:7; Re 13:1). But there, ten crowns are on the ten horns (for before the end, the fourth empire is divided into ten kingdoms); here, seven crowns (rather, "diadems," Greek, "diademata," not stephanoi, "wreaths") are upon his seven heads. In Da 7:4-7 the Antichristian powers up to Christ's second coming are represented by four beasts, which have among them seven heads, that is, the first, second, and fourth beasts having one head each, the third, four heads. His universal dominion as prince of this fallen world is implied by the seven diadems (contrast the "many diadems on Christ's head," Re 19:12, when coming to destroy him and his), the caricature of the seven Spirits of God. His worldly instruments of power are marked by the ten horns, ten being the number of the world. It marks his self-contradictions that he and the beast bear both the number seven (the divine number) and ten (the world number).

Revelation 12:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Woman and the Dragon
2and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. 3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.…
Cross References
Isaiah 27:1
In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword-- his fierce, great and powerful sword-- Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.

Daniel 7:7
"After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

Daniel 7:20
I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell--the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

Revelation 12:1
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

Revelation 12:4
Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.

Revelation 12:7
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

Revelation 12:9
The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:13
When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

Revelation 13:1
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

Revelation 13:2
The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

Revelation 13:4
People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?"

Revelation 15:1
I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues--last, because with them God's wrath is completed.

Revelation 16:13
Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Revelation 17:3
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:7
Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:12
"The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.

Revelation 17:16
The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

Revelation 19:12
His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.

Revelation 20:2
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Treasury of Scripture

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.

wonder. or, sign. See on ver.

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with …

a great.

Revelation 12:4,9,17 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did …

Revelation 13:2,4 And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were …

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth …

Revelation 17:3,4 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw …

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, …

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall …

Isaiah 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the …

seven heads.

Revelation 13:1,3 And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of …

Revelation 17:9,10 And here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven …

ten.

Revelation 17:3,7,12,16 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw …

Isaiah 9:15 The ancient and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teaches …

Daniel 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, …

Daniel 7:7,8,20,24 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, …

seven crowns.

Revelation 13:1 And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of …

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