Thursday, December 29, 2011

John's point





Scripture

And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.
(Revelation 12:13 NASB)
But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
(Revelation 12:14 NASB)
And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.
(Revelation 12:15 NASB)
But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.
(Revelation 12:16 NASB)
So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
(Revelation 12:17 NASB)

Observation

Reading Revelation has never been easy for me. The whole story seems so wild and for centuries many bright scholars have tried to decipher the message. This paragraph on the woman tucked into the middle of the story I found rather interesting and and I found myself wondering what in the world John's point was in telling this story. It is about a woman who has given birth to a baby boy. The enemy awaited the birth of the child so that he could devour the baby. Instead, God snatched the baby away and saved him. This made the enemy angry and he went after the woman, trying to destroy her. Interestingly in the middle of the story the enemy who is at first in the shape of a dragon is then called the serpent. The scene of a woman, hiding in a wilderness area with a river and a serpent determined to "catch" her sound all too familiar, do they not?

Application

So, what exactly was John's point? I'm not sure that we can determine what John was saying but here, in the middle of his Revelation, I find an amazing story of redemption. For thousands of years "the woman" had been blamed for the fall of humanity. It was believed that there was a little "Eve" in every woman, just waiting to be the downfall of man. However, this story with this woman brings about something new. This woman is protected from everything that the serpent throws at her. She is not overcome by his temptations, but rather, this time she stands firm. By standing firm he becomes so angry that he leaves her alone and decides to go off and make war with the rest of her children. But do you hear how her children are now described? Her children are the ones who "keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."

This is a new day -- a new era. Jesus has been victorious and the hope of restoration for all of humanity is found in this paragraph. The hope is a life restored in the original image of God -- in His desired image for each and every one of us. We don't have to live in sin. We don't have to live in the fallen state, but rather, if the woman can be restored and victorious -- so can all of us! The tables can be turned and her children no longer have to follow the lusts of the flesh, but rather, can follow God with all their hearts and take on the enemy.

What's John's point? That in the midst of this horrible battle -- Jesus has already won. Things have already been set right. There is hope for everyone who is "in" Christ.

Prayer

Thank You, Father for the victory which has already been won. Help us to live in that victory and rejoice in You day after day. Amen.

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