Great Red Dragon & The Birth of Christ

Posted in Family, Leadership by Benham Brothers | December 21st, 2016

Several years ago, our dad explained to us a different way to look at the Nativity scene in a Christmas sermon he preached, titled, “Do you see what I see?”

At first we thought he was going to sing – which would’ve been a disaster – but as he preached, many pieces of the Christmas story came together in our minds.

In a typical nativity scene, you see Baby Jesus sleeping in a manger with Mary, Joseph and some shepherds and farm animals close by. It’s usually warm and cozy, and maybe it even has three kings if the owner had some extra cash to buy the mac daddy set.

But what you don’t see – and what isn’t so warm and cozy, and might even scare the kids – is the epic spiritual battle that raged in the heavens over this very moment in history.

In Chapter 12 of John’s account of the Revelation of Christ, he chronicles the great battle surrounding Christ’s birth:

“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 pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth” (1-2).

“Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads … 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” (3-4).

“She gave birth to a son, a male child, who ‘will rule all the nations with an iron scepter’” (5).

Can you imagine a nativity set with a huge red dragon trying to chew up baby Jesus?! Nah, it wouldn’t sell. But before we go any further, let’s consider the scene:

The woman represents Israel (and the Israelite mother, Mary). The stars are the 12 tribes. And the baby is Jesus. The dragon represents Satan – as we later learn in Verse 9 – and his desire is to destroy the Christ child. The reason is because he knows baby Jesus will bring eternal salvation to mankind and provide “peace on earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). This will eliminate Satan’s power to damn the souls of men to hell forever. So he wants that baby!

Now back to the story …

“And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne … then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (5b-9).

OK, let’s pause again to consider something very important here. We have this battle in heaven where Michael and the angels drop the hammer on Satan and his demons – and yet the battle plan for victory then is the exact same battle plan for victory now:

“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” (11).

  1. Faith in Christ
  2. Faith in Christ lived out
  3. Faithful to Christ whatever the cost

Jesus was born to die – to shed His blood as a lamb for our sins. By placing our faith in Him, we become His disciples and are called to live out our faith in every area of life. But it won’t come easy, so we must fully surrender to Him – even in the face of death.

This is the true, biblical Christianity that fully defeats Satan’s power over any and every life he tries to destroy. No wonder he’s so ticked off about baby Jesus.

“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” (12b).

The birth of Christ numbered Satan’s days.

Let’s finish the story …

“When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child … then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring – those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (13,17).

The battle that raged in the heavens around the nativity now rages here on earth. It’s no coincidence that Christianity is the only target of attack – not other religions. Satan is warring against the only One with the power to defeat Him. He hates Jesus, and any who would confess His name.

So when you see groups targeting the Nativity scene this year you’ll know exactly what’s happening behind the scenes. The simple question is, “Do you see what I see?”
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