Advent Reading – December 9, 2017

Harry Strauss – Encore Pastor

Revelation 12:1-6

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. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.’  And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

A less traditional account of the birth of Christ is reflected, albeit briefly, and perhaps even unsettling, in Revelation 12:4-5. John, the writer of Revelation, is given a glimpse into the intentions of the evil one. Satan, also referred to as the ‘great dragon’ or the ‘ancient serpent’ (Rev. 12:9), endeavored to kill the Christ child at the moment of His birth. We most readily see this played out in the birth account of Christ, where an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, directing him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, because “Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Mathew 2:13). Herod was no stranger to ruthless acts of killing, as demonstrated by his fury, and directive, to have all the baby boys in Bethlehem and vicinity, two years old and under, killed. Evil to the core. And the one most responsible for this ‘evil of all evils’ was none other than Satan, himself. Satan was there, right at the birth of Christ, with the agenda of snuffing out the Christ child.

The reference to the birth of Christ in Revelation 12 is brief, but unmistakably there. The preoccupation of Revelation is not the birth of Christ, as important as that is, but Christ on His throne. So, in this brief reference to the birth account, the text moves quickly to that of the ascended Christ, on His throne. This is consistent with the decided emphasis of Jesus on his throne, most notably Revelation 5. Christ is on His throne! And this emphasis is brought to the attention of the reader, constantly, as reminders that the fury of the evil one, now directed at God’s people, comes under the ultimate reign of Christ.

Christmas certainly is a time to reflect on the warm thoughts that emanate from the story of the manager scene. But integral to that story, is the insidious and wicked ploys of the evil one.  May our Christmas reflections carry some element, some weight, on the realities reflected in Rev. 12.