Revelation 12New International Version (NIV)
The Woman and the Dragon
12 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. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 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. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”[a] And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 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.
Chapters 12-14 are a brief interlude from the seventh and final judgment. The main theme is the battle going on between God and Satan, who is called the "red dragon" in the passage. Most interpret the Woman to be the people of God waiting for the Messiah. The crown of stars represents the 12 tribes of Israel, from which the Messiah will come. Notice the woman gives birth to a Son, Jesus, and right away the child's life is threatened. I.e. Herod's killing of the 2 year olds.
We see too the red dragon has been given power. It's heads, crowns and horns represent its limited power. Meanwhile a war broke out between Michael the archangel and his angels, and Satan and his demons. Michael was stronger and the dragon and his angels were thrown out of heaven. Then a voice came and said that the time of salvation had now come. The authority of God and his Messiah were established when they triumphed over Satan, though Jesus' death and resurrection.
So even though his fate sealed, Satan and his demons were enraged and sought to wage war against the woman and her offspring. At the end the offspring are identified as those who hold fast to the testimony of Jesus and obey His commands.
What can we learn from this? We can learn that Satan and his demons are a real spiritual force, whose main goal is destroy those who believe in Jesus. See 1 Peter 5:8-9, for further teaching about this. We can learn that we live in the "in between time". We live in between the time when Satan was defeated through Jesus death and resurrection, and the time when Jesus returns to defeat him once and for all time. That is what this book is all about.
Paul describes the battle we fight with our adversary, also called the devil in Ephesians 6. Although his outcome has been determined, his goal is to get as many believers to defect from the ranks of God's children. Of course, that can't happen because Jesus has purchased his believers and will not let Satan snatch them from Him But Satan has one tool, which comes from what his name means, "the accuser". Satan day and night tries to accuse believers to doubt the existence of God and what Jesus did for them on the cross. He also tempts believers to sin, so they will doubt whether they are truly Christians or not. The power of sin doesn't disqualify us from salvation, but it's power is in discouraging and leaving believers feeling defeated.
So what is the answer? Stand in and on God's Word. Stand on God's promises about what Jesus has done for you, and how your salvation is sealed in Jesus' finished work on the cross. And though we are tempted to get discouraged, the book of Revelation assures us of how the story is going to end. With that in mind, how does Satan discourage you? What temptations pose the most problems for you? How does the evil one use these to leave you feeling defeated and discouraged? If you are feeling defeated and discouraged turn to Jesus. Keep your eyes in the cross. Remember greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Your eternal destiny is secure! Praise God!