As we continue to venture through the book of Revelation, I hope that you are beginning to feel a bit more comfortable reading this often neglected book. Certainly, there is no shortage of challenging chapters. Yet as we begin to wrap our minds around the imagery and symbols, the overall narrative becomes a powerful statement of God’s rule and reign in this world. As you might imagine, the first century Christians needed this letter. And while we may not know it, we need it too.
This week, we come to another chapter with more images. This is a fun one (in my opinion). I hope you will read ahead and join us on Sunday for worship. Remember, you can always go back and watch or listen if you have missed a week or two. Here is Revelation 12 in the NTE version.
(Revelation 12 NTE) Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was expecting a child, and she cried out in pain, in the agony of giving birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: a great fiery-red dragon with seven heads and ten horns. On its heads were seven coronets, and its tail swept a third of the stars out of heaven and threw them down to the earth. The dragon stood opposite the woman who was about to give birth, so that he could devour her child when it was born. She gave birth to a male child, who is going to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. And the child was snatched away to God and to his throne. The woman, meanwhile, fled into the desert, where a place has been prepared for her by God, so that she could be looked after there for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Then war broke out in heaven, with Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fighting back. But they could not win, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. So the great dragon was thrown down to the earth – the ancient serpent who is called the devil and the satan, who deceives the whole world. His angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now at last has come salvation and power: the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah! The accuser of our family has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, because they did not love their lives unto death. So rejoice, you heavens and all who live there! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he only has a short time.” When the dragon saw that he had been cast down to the earth, he set off in pursuit of the woman who had borne the baby boy. The woman, however, was given a pair of wings from a great eagle, so that she could fly away from the presence of the serpent into the desert, to the place where she is looked after for a time, two times and half a time. The serpent, for its part, spat out of its mouth a jet of water like a river after the woman, to carry her off with the force of the water. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing up the river which the dragon had spat out of his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to wage war against the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commands and the testimony of Jesus.
See you on Sunday.