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Week 3 December 2023, Devotion Part 1

His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. Revelation 12:4


“And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth...And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne….”


Some Nativity! Some “Nightmare before Christmas!” The dragon is Satan, who may be planning a meteor shower for the child he intends to devour. The woman is Israel, the nation that gave Christ to the world. Her apparel evokes memories of Joseph’s dream, “…and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” She is clothed in celestial splendor because she is bringing forth the ultimate Ruler, the only true “Light of the World.” This birth will ignite a global firestorm of hatred and suffering that will burn itself out only in the ashes of the Tribulation at the end of our age.  (Part 1 of 2)


Comment: Never mind if those “portents” appearing in heaven make us think of “eschatology,” the study of end times.  Neither John who wrote it, nor the persecuted Christians who read the Book of Revelation, had the means to rely on scholarly minds to put all the eschatological ducks in a row.  Instead, they remembered…and rejoiced that they had personally witnessed the veracity of verse 10, the words announced with a loud voice from heaven, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come…”  Surely the following Gospel references should ring a loud enough bell for us. Luke 11:20, “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”  Luke 4:41, “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’  But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”  Mark 1:23-26, “And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit.  And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God.’  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’  And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.”  Matthew 8:31-32, The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’  He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they went into…” the cook books of America as the first recipe for “deviled ham.”  I don’t fear my readers’ indignation because verse 12 states that the devil has “great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”  It ends briefly on this high note for the here and now: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death” (verse 11).

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