We are in Revelation, a scary but appropriate book for the end of the church year. Today’s text is Rev 12:7-17. It continues series of seven signs inbetween the cycles of 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 bowl. It really it not another cycle like those last ones, becuase there is no metaphore introducing each portion. Instead, what these signs are is an apocalyptic view of salvation history.
Yesterday we ended with the protection of the woman (the church) for 1260 days. Today’s reading gives a little more background. The dragon couldn’t kill the son (Jesus) and the son was taken up to God. A War in heaven erupts and the dragon is thrown out of heaven. No more can the devil parade before God accusing men (like in Job 1:6-7). Christ has paid the penalty. The accuser has no case.
Seeing the He has been thrown out the devil tries to destroy the woman (the church), but just as was promised the woman is carried safely away and nourished (this time for a time, times and half a time = 1260 days). Even the earth, groaning under the weight of sin, opens up and protects the woman. The dragon’s war has limits. It can’t touch the church. Just like it can’t touch the heavens.
What the dragon can war against is individual Christians. The dragon goes off to war against the offspring of the woman – those who bear testimony to Jesus.
As Peter wrote – Satan is a roaring lion looking for who he can devour (1 Pet 5:8). But we must see the great boundaries that have been put on the dragon. God has expelled him from eternity. Christ has won. The verdict in eternity is sure. Christ has protected his church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. The only warfare the dragon can use is confusion. The only weapon he has is the ability to cloud our vision, to make us loose sight of the things eternal.
Today’s world strives mightily to make fun of that thought – things eternal. The dragon – through the beasts yet to be seen – tries in every generation to move us from that natural inclination that we are more than flesh and bone. The world wants us to believe what it says – “this is all there is”. Yet even the groaning world works against that. To believe that this is all there is, you must believe in billions and billions of years. The things eternal can’t be escaped. Knowing that confusion is the Devil’s only weapon, hold ever more firmly onto the Revelation that we have been given. He’s judged. Eternity is assured in Christ our victor.
May the Lord keep your spiritual eyes clear from the Dragon’s deceit.
Alternate Readings: Nahum 2:1-12 and Luke 12:1-12