When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child, (Rev. 12:13).
If you are old enough to remember the ‘60s, and were conscious enough to recall some of its clichés, you might remember the anti-war slogan, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” Today’s text comes from a passage in the book of Revelation that contains an apocalyptic image of the spiritual history of the world. Properly understood it could lead to the question, “What if you were engaged in a war and didn’t know it?”
We live in a fallen world. It is not the way God intended it to be. One day that will change. In the meantime, the Bible is clear that an epic war is going on in the heavenly realm that is playing itself out in the lives of men and women in what we think of as normal reality. We are at war. You are engaged in warfare. If you are not aware of this fact, and don’t process your life experiences through the grid of this truth, you are probably going to end up as a casualty.
The truth of this war is portrayed symbolically in Revelation as a dragon pursuing a woman. Hold that image for a second. In a book that has baffled theologians for centuries, the image of the dragon is one of the symbols that we can identify with certainty because the text explains who or what the dragon symbolizes. The dragon is a symbol of Satan. The woman’s identity is a bit more complicated, but given the context, think of her as a symbol of the people of God. The dragon pursuing the woman is a great image of the devil working to destroy God’s people. It is war!
The good news of the passage is that this is a war you can win! The big war has already been won at the cross. The final victory takes place when Jesus returns. But when it comes to your part of the war the jury is still out. Do you want to be sure you win? This same passage gives us three great tips.
Verse eleven of chapter twelve states that “they (the people of God) overcame him (the dragon/Satan) by the “blood of the lamb”. Tip #1: Live in absolute dependence on the finished work of Jesus Christ. The verse goes on to say “and by the word of their testimony”. Tip #2: There is power in the Word of God and in the public proclamation of our faith. Finally, it tells us that those who triumphed “did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Tip #3: Daily surrender of all we are to all he is.