Revelation, Chapter 12:1-17
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 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.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy , pp. 559-579
The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St. John, has a special suggestiveness in connection with the nineteenth century. In the opening of the sixth seal, typical of six thousand years since Adam, the distinctive feature has reference to the present age.
Revelation xii. 1. And there appeared a great wonder in
heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon
under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
Heaven represents harmony, and divine Science interprets the Principle of heavenly harmony. The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man. This goal is never reached while we hate our neighbor or entertain a false estimate of anyone whom God has appointed to voice His Word. Again, without a correct sense of its highest visible idea, we can never understand the divine Principle. The botanist must know the genus and species of a plant in order to classify it correctly. As it is with things, so is it with persons.
Abuse of the motives and religion of St. Paul hid from view the apostle's character, which made him equal to his great mission. Persecution of all who have spoken something new and better of God has not only obscured the light of the ages, but has been fatal to the persecutors. Why? Because it has hid from them the true idea which has been presented. To misunderstand Paul, was to be ignorant of the divine idea he taught. Ignorance of the divine idea betrays at once a greater ignorance of the divine Principle of the idea--ignorance of Truth and Love. The understanding of Truth and Love, the Principle which works out the ends of eternal good and destroys both faith in evil and the practice of evil, leads to the discernment of the divine idea.
Heaven represents harmony, and divine Science interprets the Principle of heavenly harmony. The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man. This goal is never reached while we hate our neighbor or entertain a false estimate of anyone whom God has appointed to voice His Word. Again, without a correct sense of its highest visible idea, we can never understand the divine Principle.
Ignorance of the divine idea betrays at once a greater ignorance of the divine Principle of the idea--ignorance of Truth and Love. The understanding of Truth and Love, the Principle which works out the ends of eternal good and destroys both faith in evil and the practice of evil, leads to the discernment of the divine idea.
The Revelator beheld the spiritual idea from the mount of vision. Purity was the symbol of Life and Love. The Revelator saw also the spiritual ideal as a woman clothed in light, a bride coming down from heaven, wedded to the Lamb of Love. To John, "the bride" and "the Lamb" represented the correlation of divine Principle and spiritual idea, God and His Christ, bringing harmony to earth.
John saw the human and divine coincidence, shown in the man Jesus, as divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration,--reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God. In divine revelation, material and corporeal selfhood disappear, and the spiritual idea is understood.
The woman in the Apocalypse symbolizes generic man, the spiritual idea of God; she illustrates the coincidence of God and man as the divine Principle and divine idea. The Revelator symbolizes Spirit by the sun. The spiritual idea is clad with the radiance of spiritual Truth, and matter is put under her feet. The light portrayed is really neither solar nor lunar, but spiritual Life, which is "the light of men." In the first chapter of the Fourth Gospel it is written, "There was a man sent from God... to bear witness of that Light."
John the Baptist prophesied the coming of the immaculate Jesus, and John saw in those days the spiritual idea as the Messiah, who would baptize with the Holy Ghost,--divine Science. As Elias presented the idea of the fatherhood of God, which Jesus afterwards manifested, so the Revelator completed this figure with woman, typifying the spiritual idea of God's motherhood. The moon is under her feet. This idea reveals the universe as secondary and tributary to Spirit, from which the universe borrows its reflected light, substance, life, and intelligence.
The spiritual idea is crowned with twelve stars. The twelve tribes of Israel with all mortals,--separated by belief from man's divine origin and the true idea,--will through much tribulation yield to the activities of the divine Principle of man in the harmony of Science. These are the stars in the crown of rejoicing. They are the lamps in the spiritual heavens of the age, which show the workings of the spiritual idea by healing the sick and the sinning, and by manifesting the light which shines "unto the perfect day" as the night of materialism wanes.
Revelation xii. 3. 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.
Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. We may well be astonished at sin, sickness, and death. We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness? The great red dragon symbolizes a lie,--the belief that substance, life, and intelligence can be material. This dragon stands for the sum total of human error. The ten horns of the dragon typify the belief that matter has power of its own, and that by means of an evil mind in matter the Ten Commandments can be broken.
The Revelator lifts the veil from this embodiment of all evil, and beholds its awful character; but he also sees the nothingness of evil and the allness of God. The Revelator sees that old serpent, whose name is devil or evil, holding untiring watch, that he may bite the heel of truth and seemingly impede the offspring of the spiritual idea, which is prolific in health, holiness, and immortality.
Revelation xii. 4. And his tail drew the third part of the
stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the
dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be
delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
The serpentine form stands for subtlety, winding its way amidst all evil, but doing this in the name of good. Its sting is spoken of by Paul, when he refers to "spiritual wickedness in high places." It is the animal instinct in mortals, which would impel them to devour each other and cast out devils through Beelzebub.
As of old, evil still charges the spiritual idea with error's own nature and methods. This malicious animal instinct, of which the dragon is the type, incites mortals to kill morally and physically even their fellow-mortals, and worse still, to charge the innocent with the crime. This last infirmity of sin will sink its perpetrator into a night without a star.
The Revelator speaks of Jesus as the Lamb of God and of the dragon as warring against innocence.
From Genesis to the Apocalypse, sin, sickness, and death, envy, hatred, and revenge,--all evil,--are typified by a serpent, or animal subtlety. ...
The serpent is perpetually close upon the heel of harmony. From the beginning to the end, the serpent pursues with hatred the spiritual idea. In Genesis, this allegorical, talking serpent typifies mortal mind, "more subtle than any beast of the field." In the Apocalypse, when nearing its doom, this evil increases and becomes the great red dragon, swollen with sin, inflamed with war against spirituality, and ripe for destruction. It is full of lust and hate, loathing the brightness of divine glory.
Revelation xii. 5. And she brought forth a man child,
who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her
child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.
The impersonation of the spiritual idea had a brief history in the earthly life of our Master; but "of his kingdom there shall be no end," for Christ, God's idea, will eventually rule all nations and peoples--imperatively, absolutely, finally--with divine Science. This immaculate idea, represented first by man and, according to the Revelator, last by woman, will baptize with fire; and the fiery baptism will burn up the chaff of error with the fervent heat of Truth and Love, melting and purifying even the gold of human character. After the stars sang together and all was primeval harmony, the material lie made war upon the spiritual idea; but this only impelled the idea to rise to the zenith of demonstration, destroying sin, sickness, and death, and to be caught up unto God,--to be found in its divine Principle.
Revelation xii. 7, 8. And there was war in heaven:
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the
dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not; neither
was their place found any more in heaven.
The Old Testament assigns to the angels, God's divine messages, different offices. Michael's characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and fights the holy wars. Gabriel has the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love. These angels deliver us from the depths. Truth and Love come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God. The Gabriel of His presence has no contests. To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death. Against Love, the dragon warreth not long, for he is killed by the divine Principle. Truth and Love prevail against the dragon because the dragon cannot war with them. Thus endeth the conflict between the flesh and Spirit.
Revelation xii. 9. And the great dragon was cast out,
that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth
the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his
angels were cast out with him.
That false claim--that ancient belief, that old serpent whose name is devil (evil), claiming that there is intelligence in matter either to benefit or to injure men--is pure delusion, the red dragon; and it is cast out by Christ, Truth, the spiritual idea, and so proved to be powerless. The words "cast unto the earth" show the dragon to be nothingness, dust to dust; and therefore, in his pretence of being a talker, he must be a lie from the beginning. His angels, or messages, are cast out with their author. The beast and the false prophets are lust and hypocrisy. These wolves in sheep's clothing are detected and killed by innocence, the Lamb of Love.
Divine Science shows how the Lamb slays the wolf. Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error. Ever since the foundation of the world, ever since error would establish material belief, evil has tried to slay the Lamb; but Science is able to destroy this lie, called evil. The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse typifies the divine method of warfare in Science, and the glorious results of this warfare. The following chapters depict the fatal effects of trying to meet error with error. The narrative follows the order used in Genesis. In Genesis, first the true method of creation is set forth and then the false. Here, also, the Revelator first exhibits the true warfare and then the false.
Revelation xii. 10-12. And I heard a loud voice saying
in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the
kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the
accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them
before our God day and night. And they overcame him by
the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore
rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the
inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is
come down unto you, having great wrath, because he
knoweth that he hath but a short time.
For victory over a single sin, we give thanks and magnify the Lord of Hosts. What shall we say of the mighty conquest over all sin? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlast-ing strain. Self-abnegation, by which we lay down all for Truth, or Christ, in our warfare against error, is a rule in Christian Science. This rule clearly interprets God as divine Principle,--as Life, represented by the Father; as Truth, represented by the Son; as Love, represented by the Mother. Every mortal at some period, here or here-after, must grapple with and overcome the mortal belief in a power opposed to God.
The Scripture, "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many," is literally fulfilled, when we are conscious of the supremacy of Truth, by which the nothingness of error is seen; and we know that the nothingness of error is in proportion to its wickedness. He that touches the hem of Christ's robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality, and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing,--in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love. Alas for those who break faith with divine Science and fail to strangle the serpent of sin as well as of sickness! They are dwellers still in the deep darkness of belief. They are in the surging sea of error, not struggling to lift their heads above the drowning wave.
What must the end be? They must eventually expiate their sin through suffering. The sin, which one has made his bosom companion, comes back to him at last with accelerated force, for the devil knoweth his time is short. Here the Scriptures declare that evil is temporal, not eternal. The dragon is at last stung to death by his own malice; but how many periods of torture it may take to remove all sin, must depend upon sin's obduracy.
Revelation xii. 13. And when the dragon saw that he
was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which
brought forth the man child.
The march of mind and of honest investigation will bring the hour when the people will chain, with fetters of some sort, the growing occultism of this period. The present apathy as to the tendency of certain active yet unseen mental agencies will finally be shocked into another extreme mortal mood,--into human indignation; for one extreme follows another.
Revelation xii. 15, 16. And the serpent cast out of his
mouth water as a flood, after the woman, that he might
cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth
helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and
swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his
Millions of unprejudiced minds--simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert--are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name, and never fear the consequences. What if the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea? He can neither drown your voice with its roar, nor again sink the world into the deep waters of chaos and old night. In this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood. Those ready for the blessing you impart will give thanks. The waters will be pacified, and Christ will command the wave.
When God heals the sick or the sinning, they should know the great benefit which Mind has wrought. They should also know the great delusion of mortal mind, when it makes them sick or sinful. Many are willing to open the eyes of the people to the power of good resident in divine Mind, but they are not so willing to point out the evil in human thought, and expose evil's hidden mental ways of accomplishing iniquity.
Why this backwardness, since exposure is necessary to ensure the avoidance of the evil? Because people like you better when you tell them their virtues than when you tell them their vices. It requires the spirit of our blessed Master to tell a man his faults, and so risk human displeasure for the sake of doing right and bene-fiting our race. Who is telling mankind of the foe in ambush? Is the informer one who sees the foe? If so, listen and be wise. Escape from evil, and designate those as unfaithful stewards who have seen the danger and yet have given no warning.
At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.
Through trope and metaphor, the Revelator, immortal scribe of Spirit and of a true idealism, furnishes the mirror in which mortals may see their own image. In significant figures he depicts the thoughts which he beholds in mortal mind. Thus he rebukes the conceit of sin, and foreshadows its doom. With his spiritual strength, he has opened wide the gates of glory, and illumined the night of paganism with the sublime grandeur of divine Science, outshining sin, sorcery, lust, and hypocrisy. He takes away mitre and sceptre. He enthrones pure and undefiled religion, and lifts on high only those who have washed their robes white in obedience and suffering.
Thus we see, in both the first and last books of the Bible,--in Genesis and in the Apocalypse,--that sin is to be Christianly and scientifically reduced to its native nothingness. "Love one another" (I John, iii. 23), is the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer. In Science we are children of God; but whatever is of material sense, or mortal, belongs not to His children, for materiality is the inverted image of spirituality.
Love fulfils the law of Christian Science, and nothing short of this divine Principle, understood and demonstrated, can ever furnish the vision of the Apocalypse, open the seven seals of error with Truth, or uncover the myriad illusions of sin, sickness, and death. Under the supremacy of Spirit, it will be seen and acknowledged that matter must disappear.
In Revelation xxi. 1 we read:--
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first
heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was
no more sea.