Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas in the Apocalypse

At the end of Revelation 11, we see the seventh trumpet of judgment blown. Heaven rejoices. Earth rages. God judges. But we don't get the actual content of the trumpet until Revelation 15. Revelation 12 to 14 relate the Satanic view of the tribulation period on earth. The rest of the book shifts back and forth from one perspective to another---earth, heaven, Satan, God, earth again, heaven again---all the way to the end. The first few verses of Revelation 12 take a step back to elaborate on the conflict of the ages, the long war between God and Satan culminating with the events recorded by John in the Apocalypse. We get a big picture of what is occurring through the introduction of the main characters in this drama. John identifies his manner of communication as symbolism, and then he reveals the players in cryptic fashion---one of them is a woman (vv. 1-2), another a dragon (vv. 3-4), and a third, a child (vv. 5-6).

Here's what we learn. The dragon, who is Satan, has it out for the woman and her child. He wants to destroy her and her baby. The woman is Israel and the child is Jesus. The Devil was ready to devour the Christ child as soon as he was born. Ever since Satan was cast from heaven, dragging one third of all the angels with him, he has worked at foiling God's plan of redemption. History tells the story.

Cain kills Abel, the godly line (cf. 1 John 3:12). Pharoah massacres Hebrew baby boys. Enemies surround Israel, hoping to exterminate the Jews. Only the infant son Joash survived the genocidal rampage of Athaliah (2 Chronicles 21-22). The ten northern tribes mingle with the two southern to save the nation whole when Assyria obliterates Israel. Haman threatens the existence of the Jewish race, defeated by God with Mordecai and Esther. Herod kills all the infant sons in Bethlehem. Satan tempts Jesus to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Residents of the Lord's hometown march him to a cliff to push him over, but He passes through their midst. The Roman Catholic inquisition murders Jews by the tens of thousands. Russian pogroms. Hitlers' holocaust. The Antichrist sends the woman into the wilderness, the time of Jacob's trouble.

Jesus has already struck the death blow to Satan, bruising the head of the serpent (cf. Gen 3:15). Guaranteed the ultimate loser, the devil persists his opposition to the plan of God, orchestrating his multi-millions of demons in his lying and murderous ways against Jesus, Israel, and the church. Only the protection of God thwarts his success.

When you see distractions from the Incarnation message at Christmas, know that Satan, the prince of this world, commanderes his demonic fiends to conceal the saving gospel. Jesus will rule all nations with a rod of iron (Rev 12:5). The dragon would relegate the Lord to whimsy and decoration, blended with Santa, elves, Scrooge, Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, snowflakes, and sleigh rides. With gladness Satan obstructs most of the good news a lost world needs in the festive and bright packaging of holiday cheer. Even churches cooperate with the garish productions they use to lure a crowd year after year in the month of December. In his own way and for all intents and purposes, to most men the prince of darkness does devour the Christ Child. As it relates to Satan's strategy, it is very merry Christmas indeed.


David Millar said...

Excellent argument, Kent. Thanks for your work on this; it is concise, yet sufficiently comprehensive to be compelling.



d4v34x said...

Bro. B.,

A big amen, and a blessed Christmas to you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, I know it's a little off topic to the post, but it is a little related, do you have a christmas tree or no?

Claymore said...


How exactly is a Christmas tree related to this discussion? The Christmas tree began with Dr. Luther as an evangelistic visiual aid to his children to describe the cross (an evergreen tree shows the eternality of Christ - it is cut down and then stood upright, showing the death and resurrection - the lights or candles show the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit - the fruit the fruit of the Spirit). How does that relate to the subject in hand?