Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Creation Falls - Revelation 12:1-17

Revelation 12:1-17

Our text for this day is a text that plays on the hope given in Genesis 3.  The hope that through Eve, a descendant would come who would destroy the serpent and restore God’s creation.

The text begins with a description of a woman who is dazzlingly described.  Clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head.  A quick glance to Genesis 37 would remind us that the people of Israel are described by Joseph in his dreams in the same way.  Who is this fair lady?

She is the Church.  The people of God.

And we are told that she is pregnant?  A call back to Genesis 3 tells us who the people of God are giving birth to: Jesus Christ.  Even Paul says to the Galatians that his work of labor is so that Christ can be formed within us.  A cool thought, that we cannot explore here, is that the church, even today, is bringing forth Christ into the world.  God is at work with mankind to achieve this.  Pretty cool.

But back on point.  Another sign appears in heaven with the pregnant woman:  A great red dragon, or even could be translated, a serpent.  He is crowned with dominion and power and he does not like this woman nor this child.  We are told that his tail swept a third of the stars from the sky, most likely meaning that Satan took a sizeable host with him who joined him in rebellion.  And he waits to consume and devour the Christ child the moment the child was born.  You can think here of Herod the Great who sought to destroy Jesus when the Magi came to visit.

The woman, however, gives birth to the male child and the baby boy is given a Messianic link to Psalm 2, “one who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron.”  A clear reference to this being Jesus Christ.

The serpent fails, however, and the child is caught up to God and to his throne, you can think here of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.

The woman who gave birth to this child is then said to flee into the desert, to a place provided to her by God, where she is nourished for 1,260 days, one of Revelation’s favorite way of saying “the time it takes for Jesus to return.”

While the woman is taken on a journey to the wilderness (think also the Israelites in the wilderness being cared for by God for 40 years until they entered the Promised Land) the dragon makes war in heaven between his fallen chattel and the armies of God who are led by Michael.  This could be Michael the archangel, or it could be code for Jesus Christ, since Michael’s name means, “one who is God,” or “who is like God?”

Either way, the dragon is defeated and God’s kingdom in Christ is established.  The dragon, fuming over his loss, is cast down to earth until the time comes to destroy him entirely.  His remaining time is spent hunting down those responsible for the coming of the Christ: The people of God.

The remaining verses describe how the dragon seeks the woman’s destruction and that of her offspring, you. (remember that the devil prowls about looking for someone to devour.)  The children are described as those who keep the commandments of God (love one another as I have loved you, and believe in the one whom God has sent), and also hold to the testimony and witness of Jesus.
Here we get a picture of God’s work to restore creation and destroy the serpent who caused the temptation into sin.  Here we see how Jesus Christ has conquered and won the day for you.  
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