Waging War

I don’t always find it very easy to understand each of the intricacies and detail of the book of Revelation. That’s not to say it isn’t worth the time. I think it is. It just isn’t easy for me to try to dig into it and keep it all straight.

For example, in today’s reading in Revelation 12, there is a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars. Then there is a dragon who appears with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns, one for each head. The woman has a child that the dragon tries to kill but is unable. Then the dragon tries to kill the woman but is unable.

The imagery is amazing, and again, I do think it is important to try to understand what John is saying through the imagery. I think he is trying to use the language that he has to describe what he is seeing, but at times it is difficult for me to follow or understand the detail of what is being said.

But I think that there are some pretty important points that we can get out of what we find here. For example, after the dragon is defeated, we see that a loud voice calls out and proclaims the following:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”

Revelation 12:10-12

So, what do we see here:

First, we can see that salvation has come because the Messiah has come upon the earth. This is, of course, speaking of Jesus. It is speaking of the he who came to the earth to reestablish his Kingdom here upon the earth. God came in the form of Jesus to reestablish His kingdom.

But the Messiah did not come with weakness. He came to defeat evil. He came to throw out the ruler of this world. That ruler is Satan and he has been defeated through Christ’s death on the cross. While it seemed that Satan had won, Jesus rose again, stood back up, and lives again. Satan is defeated because his ultimate weapon is death, but death has now been defeated. If Jesus can overcome death, all of those that come with him can do the same. So what can evil do? It can kill, but as followers of Christ, we will overcome death to spiritually live with Christ forever. Satan has no more weapons that can defeat us.

But that doesn’t mean that he won’t try. He will continue to wage war. Satan knows that he is defeated, but he is in a rage and will try to take down as many people with him as he can. The dragon is now on the earth and is waging war against God’s people, against those who hold fast to their testimony about Christ.

So what does this mean? We must be ready to fight? Are we brandishing our swords and guns? No, of course not. While there are other religious leaders who call for the destruction of their enemies – Mohammed, for example – Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Our weapons here on the earth are the word of God, prayer, and telling others the Good News of what Christ has done for us. We allow God to use us to expand His Kingdom here on the earth, but we know that Satan, and those who choose to follow him, even if they don’t realize that they are doing it and think that they are doing God’s will, will continue to wage war against the people of Christ.

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