For three decades I’ve had the opportunity to preach on the birth of Christ each Christmas season here at Grace church, and it’s always a special joy to approach the birth of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.
Typically, during the Christmas season, we usually are drawn to familiar Old Testament passages that speak of Christ’s birth. The two most common would be Isaiah 7 and Isaiah 9. Occasionally we can address the birth of Christ from the prophet Micah, who referred to the town of Bethlehem as His birthplace, and even Psalm 2 is a psalm that indicates that God is going to bring His Son who will establish His rule over the world.
Or if it’s not a familiar Old Testament text that looks at the birth of Christ, it’s one of those very familiar New Testament texts. The most common, of course, is Matthew 2 or Luke 2 which record the historical event of the birth of Jesus Christ. Occasionally, around the Christmas season, we are drawn to John chapter 1. I’ve certainly preached on that passage in which you have the birth of Jesus Christ from the divine side; not from the historical side, but from the eternal side. The eternal Word becoming flesh. And on other occasions, you can preach the birth of Jesus Christ from Colossians chapter 1, which is a great place to identify the nature of the incarnate God-man, or Philippians chapter 2, the kenosis, the self-emptying of the Son of God who took on the form of a man, or Galatians 4, how in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son made of a woman, made under the Law. Or perhaps Hebrews chapter 1, which tells us that in the past God spoke through the prophets, but now has spoken through His Son. Those are familiar portions of Scripture in addressing the birth of Christ.
But I want to draw you, this morning, to one that is less familiar but critically important. It is a text that is dramatic. It is a text that is potent; it is powerful. In fact, it is a passage that I would daresay is well-nigh unforgettable. And once you have been there and heard it explained, it will find its way indelibly into your mind. It is brief; it’s only five verses. But in its brevity, it tells the significance of the birth of Christ as it fits into an eternal plan, an eternal drama. It takes the reader from eternity past to eternity. It reveals that the birth of Christ was not just an isolated religious event, just not another important moment in the economy of God, but a high point. It goes beyond looking at the birth of Christ from a personal viewpoint at that moment the Savior – your Savior, my Savior – was born. It is bigger and broader than all of those important and real considerations.
This portion of Scripture looks at the birth of Christ from the perspective of a divine war – a long war between the two most powerful spiritual persons in the universe: God and Satan. The eternal God and the much-inferior, rebellious, proud, wicked adversary Satan are the two most powerful spiritual beings in the universe according to the Bible. They are not, in any sense, equal. Satan was created by God and is completely under the control of God at all times. But he is the archenemy of God; he is the great adversary of God who leads both the angelic and the human rebellion against God and divine purposes. This is the real star wars; the long war waged by Satan against God is the great, massive, sweeping conflict of evil with good.
The battlefield is the heavens, where the demons engage the holy angels, and where Satan himself even comes before the throne of God to engage God in conflict. But the battlefield is also the world, for men and women. All men and women, who have ever lived on this planet, have either been on God’s side or on Satan’s side. Nobody is neutral, nobody is in the middle, nobody is left out. The war has always raged since the Garden of Eden. And it rages today, and it will rage on until the end.
The battle began at the very throne of God when Satan rebelled against God when he was the anointed cherub in heaven, probably the worship leader of all of heaven’s praise. It then descended into the demonic realm when a third of the angels, as we shall note in this passage, joined in Satan’s rebellion, became demons, and all of them were thrown out of heaven for their wickedness. And they have engaged the holy angels in warfare ever since.
The battle then descended to earth in the garden when Satan came in the form of a serpent and approached Adam and Eve and seduced them into joining his rebellion into turning against God and joining the enemies of God. And since then, we have this great war right here in our world.
The question that needs to be asked at this point and answered is how will it end? Is it always going to go on? Is this an interminable conflict between good and evil? How will it end, and if it will end, who triumphs? Who wins?
The answer the Bible gives is it will end. It will end. This entire universe as we know it is not a permanent universe. It will be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth. That will occur when this great war comes to its final end. The Bible also says that, at the end, God wins. Satan is defeated, all the demons are defeated, all those on Satan’s side among the human race are defeated, and all of them together cast into a place called the eternal lake of fire, where they are punished forever outside the presence of God. And at that time, God will create a new heaven and a new earth in which all holy angels and all those made holy, by God through grace, will dwell forever, free from evil and conflict.
And the question is this: who is it that will bring about this great victory? Who is it that will conquer Satan, conquer demons, conquer the ungodly of the world, establish the kingdom of God forever and ever? The answer is it is the Messiah. It is the Son of God. It is the Savior. It is Jesus.
Now, we learn about this aspect of the coming of the Son of God in the book of Genesis, chapter 3 and verse 15. Right at the very beginning, Satan comes into the garden; he seduces Adam and Eve. They buy into his lies; they rebel against God; they side with Satan. They are then cursed. But God immediately says, “Sometime in the future, the seed of a woman will crush the serpent’s head.” The Hebrew word “crush” is used there, sometimes translated “bruise,” better translated “crush.”
So, the promise comes right at the very beginning, that Satan’s rebellion is not permanent, and that someday he will be destroyed; he will be defeated as you would lift your heel with great force and crush the fragile head of a serpent under your foot, so there will come One who is defined and described as the seed of a woman who will crush the head of Satan, which is to say Satan and his angels and all who follow him will be destroyed in that moment of triumph.
The seed of a woman is a phrase in itself that is unique, since the seed is in the man. This will be a woman who has a seed. Only one time in human history has that occurred, a woman who has a seed apart from a man: that is the virgin, Mary. A seed is planted in her by the Holy Spirit while she is still a virgin, and by her own confession, as we read this morning, has never known a man. And that seed in her grows to become the Son of God, the God-man, the One who is born who will crush the serpent’s head.
“Sometime in the history of man,” said God way back in the garden, “a Man will come, born of a virgin,” as Isaiah puts it, “who will deliver the crushing blow to Satan and his rebellion. He will be the seed of a woman, but He will also be the Holy One, the Son of the Most High God.”
And you can understand that when Gabriel announced that to Mary, he must have said it with great joy and great anticipation, because he himself has permanently been engaged in this warfare with Satan and the hosts of demons in the heavenlies.
Now, this great drama, this great promise of One who would crush the serpent’s head, and the actual coming of that one to do that, to fulfill that prophecy, this great drama is described for us in the twelfth chapter of Revelation. So, open your Bible, if you will, to Revelation chapter 12. Not a normal Christmas text, but certainly a suitable one. Revelation chapter 12.
Here is this dramatic and powerful portion of Scripture which defines for us the birth of Jesus Christ in sweeping, cosmic, eternal proportions. Beyond seeing Him as the King of Israel, beyond seeing Him as our personal Savior, this takes us to the great drama of the conflict of good and evil that has raged since the fall of Satan and will until its culmination in the crushing blow delivered by the Son of God.
Let me read you just these opening five verses of Revelation 12. “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
“And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven crowns” – or diadems. “And his tail swept way a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.
“And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and His throne.” This is really a dramatic vision that John has.
Now, I want you to notice that in verse 1, and again in verse 3, it talks about a sign. A sign. What is a sign? Sēmeion is the word, and it needs to be understood as we begin to look at this. A sign is a symbol. It is symbolic of something else. If you are driving down the freeway, and you see a sign that says “Roscoe Boulevard,” that is not Roscoe Boulevard. That is simply pointing in the direction of the reality of Roscoe Boulevard. If you’re driving into the city, and you see a sign that says “Los Angeles,” the sign is not Los Angeles. The sign is simply identifying something else that is. It is a symbol. It is a way to point you to the reality.
And that’s what you have all through prophetic literature and certainly all through the book of Revelation. You have signs. You have something that symbolizes a reality. And here, John sees a great sign, in verse 1, and along with it another sign in verse 3. And they are signs that point to another reality. If you drive into – drive along the freeway, the Roscoe Boulevard sign is very, very small in proportion to the actual street which, I guess, runs about 30 miles. If you come into Los Angeles, and you see a sign that says “Los Angeles,” it is relatively small compared to the size of the city.
And the sign here is pregnant with meaning, and it is very important in what it symbolizes. But it is very small in comparison to the sweeping reality to which it points. And there is this great sign. John, in the book of the Relevant, writes down the series of visions that he has. And this is another of those visions. And all of his visions are signs. They are symbols of some great reality. And John can’t live through the history of all of that; he can’t live through the sweeping drama of all of redemptive history. He can’t live through all that occurs on the divine level and around the throne of God from eternity past to eternity future. He can’t even live out the history of his own years in every place where God is working, nor will he live through the history of the future about which he writes.
And so God, because he can’t do that, reduces all that he wants John to write about to a series of supernaturally-crafted designed and revealed signs that point to these great, sweeping realties. And so, when you read the book of Revelation, you’re not just reading a moment in history. Some have wanted to tell us that all the book of Revelation is is a description of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., but that’s not what it is at all. The book of Revelation literally sweeps from eternity to eternity in the unfolding drama of God’s divine purpose and plan. And it is reduced, for John, to a series of visions that symbolize that seeping reality which John writes down for us to understand.
Now, in this massive drama, this drama way beyond our finite capability to completely understand, there is enough for us to get the picture we need to get that relates to our celebration of the birth of Christ. The drama can be best understood by noting three characters. Three characters. You remember, don’t you, verse 1, there was a woman; verse 3, there was a dragon; and verse 5, there was a son, a child. Those are the three main characters in this sign, this dramatic vision.
And this vision appears in the sky, verse 1. It’s like divine skywriting. God literally projects this great vision, this great sign, this great symbol into the heavens in the gaze of John. This is a vision; this is a miraculous revelation by God to John. It is not a dream, and yet it is not simply normal reality. It is a supernatural revelation to John that appears as John looks into heaven.
The word “great” indicates to us both its size and its importance, its magnitude in terms of what he sees and its magnitude in terms of it means. So, this is a very large sign, unmistakable and absolutely important. This is the nature of the revelation that we study at the end of the Scriptures. It is filled with such monumental and critical signs that transcend any particular point in history to give us great, sweeping understanding of God’s unfolding purposes from eternity to eternity.
Let’s look first of all at the woman. He looks up and in his very large vision he sees a woman. Now, there are several symbolic women in the book of Revelation. There is a woman in chapter 2 who is called Jezebel. She’s given that symbolic name because she represents pagan immorality. There is also, in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation, a prostitute, a whore, a scarlet woman who represents the apostate church, the corrupt church, the church that has abandoned its fidelity to God and gone a whoring after idols.
And there is also another woman, in the nineteenth chapter who is the bride, the true church who is the bride of the Lamb. And then there is this woman, the fourth of the symbolic women in Israel. If you consider traditional Catholic interpretation, this woman is Mary. And so, you will see Mary sometimes depicted in art as clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head are 12 stars. This cannot be Mary. This is not Mary.
Others have said – and I’ll show you who it is in a moment – others have said, “This is the church.” That this is the church. The church is the one who brings forth the child. This cannot refer to the church. The church is never, in the New Testament, called a woman. The church is never a wife. The church is never pregnant. The church never gives birth to anything. The church is always viewed as a bride waiting to get married. The marriage supper of the Lamb doesn’t occur till the nineteenth chapter of Revelation when we all get to heaven. We are the chosen bride. We are betrothed, and we are to be a chaste virgin. We are not a pregnant wife.
The Roman Catholic Church sees Mary here. Traditional covenant reformed theology sees the church here. Neither of those is possible. We are, as a church, a chaste virgin, a bride waiting for the marriage that hasn’t yet happened. There is one and only one real possibility: the woman is Israel. Israel is often called the wife of God, sometimes a widow, even a divorced woman according to Hosea. You find the same in Isaiah 47 and Isaiah chapter 50. Israel is depicted as a disloyal, unfaithful, adulterous wife who finally, in the end, will become faithful.
Israel, all throughout the Old Testament, is the erstwhile wife of God. This has to be Israel. And we know that the Messiah came out of Israel. And we also know that we’re in the book of Revelation, and we’re getting close now I the chronology of Revelation to the time when the Messiah comes to establish His kingdom. It’s not surprising, then, that Israel is being referred to. The salvation of Israel is near. The promised kingdom of Israel is near. Israel is becoming the focal point again in God’s redemptive plan because the Messiah will come and establish the kingdom.
But you don’t even have to talk about it in those sort of general theological terms. This has to be Israel because this description is almost identical to the description of Israel given in Genesis 37:9-11. In Genesis 37:9-11 you have something unmistakably connected to this. There is this description of Joseph and a dream that Joseph had. And in the dream, verse 9, he had, he relates to his brothers. You remember Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob. And he has 11 brothers, and he said, “I had another dream. The sun, the moon, and the eleven stars were bowing down to me.” Now, that is almost a direct parallel with the exception that you have 12 stars in the book of Revelation. And what Joseph is saying in that passage, in that dream is that, “I had a dream that my position in messianic promise, my position in the divine plan is to be the promised line of God.” He represents messianic promise; he represents the glory of Israel; he represents the hope of the world. He has been exalted above his brothers who – and above others. Other people might be represented by the sun and the moon, and all of his brothers are beneath him in the dream. The sun could refer to Jacob. Some think the moon could refer to Rachel. The 11 stars to his 11 brothers. But Joseph sees himself as this chosen one, as the one who represents messianic fulfillment, and he sees it as a position of elevation. He sees it as a position of exaltation. He sees it as a position of being lifted up, and that is described by him being over the sun, the moon, and his brothers. That is to say he is exalted above everybody else in the promises and the purposes of God in the messianic plan.
And here is the identical imagery. This woman is exalted above everybody else. This woman is exalted and associated with the 12 tribes of Israel. So, clearly the imagery here is of the nation that is more than the tribes, the nation that is above all other nations. This is imagery that is literally taken from the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis. Clothed in this case with the sun, is showing brilliance and reflecting its light as the glorious nation that God has chosen.
The imagery here is just to show you that this is connected to the purposes of God with Israel, and it takes a little liberty with changing the imagery a bit from Genesis 37, but the parallel is very, very obvious. There is no other parallel such as that anywhere in Scripture.
So, here we see the woman is that exalted woman, that covenant woman, that elevated, exalted woman above all the others as Joseph was that covenant person, that person elevated above all the others. This clearly must be the woman who is Israel. On her head is a stephanos; it’s a wreath; it’s a garland, and it’s somehow used to identify the 12 tribes. And the nation itself is seen as the shining sun that’s shining through, as it were, the 12 tribes.
Second verse depicts further about this woman. She was with child. This woman is pregnant. John is seeing this huge pregnant woman in the sky essentially. And with shining face and this crown, this identification for him is clear, obviously, because he is a Jew, and because he surely knew the text of Genesis 37. She is pregnant. Israel is often depicted this way, by the way. You can go to the Old Testament – Isaiah 26, Isaiah 54, Isaiah 66; you can go into Hosea, Micah, Jeremiah – you will find Israel depicted as a woman in travail, as a woman in birth pain, as a woman trying to bring forth a child. This is Israel, and she is in some serious pain, this woman. He sees that she’s crying out. She’s literally screaming in pain, the pain is so bad. And the pain is the labor pain.
The rest of the verse says she’s in pain to give birth. She is in labor. This is a woman – not pre-labor – this is a woman in labor. This is a woman, in the imagery, having contractions, trying to bring forth this baby. This is Israel. And for centuries and centuries and centuries and centuries Israel has suffered and suffered and suffered these terrible pains to try to realize its promises, to wait and wait and ultimately realize the coming of Messiah.
All the promises of God, way back to Genesis chapter 3 about a seed of a woman. All the promises of God, way back to Abraham, in Genesis chapter 12, about the one who come and bless not only the nation Israel, but all the nations. All the promises reiterated to Jacob, and then reiterated to Joseph, and then reiterated again and again to the people of Israel. All the promises of God, century upon century, thousands of years have passed – about 4,000 to be exact – since the first promise of the seed of a woman and all this. Four thousand years is a long labor. A long labor. This is Israel suffering, suffering. And when will it come to pass? When will Messiah come? When will we have the promised kingdom? When will the persecution stop? When will the suffering be over? Waiting, waiting, waiting. And that’s what he sees. That’s the woman.
And there’s a second person that appears in verse 3. And another sign appeared in heaven, and the idea is that they’re literally in opposition to one another. “Another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon” – a great red dragon. This dragon is clearly Satan. He is referred to and explained as the dragon. Down in verse 9 of the same chapter, “The great dragon, the serpent of old who is called the Devil and Satan” – so, we don’t need to wonder who the dragon is. You have the same description of him given in the second verse of the twentieth chapter. This is a great red dragon. Again big. The woman is huge, and the dragon is huge. This is like the worst thing that you could ever imagine in a sort of cosmic Jurassic Park. Some massive, destructive, deadly monster. The category of the Hebrew language leviathan, behemoth, the monster. This is not some small snake now. Satan appears in the form of a great dinosaur, a great dragon – deadly, destructive, fierce.
This is an interesting scene, this pregnant woman in the midst of birth pains, screaming out, and right there is this deadly, destructive, massive dragon. And it’s red, which again speaks of blood and fire and all that destroys and is cruel. And this is a very powerful dragon because verse 3 says he has seven heads and ten horns. And on his heads are seven crowns.
In the seventeenth chapter of the book of Revelation, the seven heads – you have this same seven heads – you don’t need to look it up, just know it’s there – and what they describe is the sequence of world empires. The sequence of world empires are covered in those seven heads. There have been four; there will be another one. It will be killed and restored, and then the final one.
And so, you can look at the notes in the study Bible, if you want, and see the detail of that. But suffice it to say the seven heads and the seven crowns mean that this is the dragon who literally has controlled the world. All of its empires, he has worn the crown. This is the god of this world. This is the prince of the power of the air. This is the god of this age, the ruler of this fallen world. This is none other than Satan the serpent, the dragon; and he is the ruler of the world. He is, of course, under and subject to the sovereign purposes of God, but God has allowed him to rule this system of evil. And so, he literally is the ruler of history. This is the great power of evil through all of human history sweeping through.
The ten horns represent what Daniel talked about in Daniel chapter 7, that in the future there will be a ten-nation confederacy in the world that will be ruled by the Antichrist. So, this Satan figure, this symbol of Satan is seen as the world ruler of all human history, not only of the past but even of that final ten-nation confederacy that will mark the final world empire of Antichrist. He is the ruler of all of it. This is a formidable beast. Here is this poor pregnant woman, in agony and pain, and juxtaposed against her is this fierce sovereign dragon.
What’s the purpose of the dragon? Verse 4 indicates that not only is he the ruler of the evil system, but he’s not alone. “His tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” That indicates that when he went down out of heaven with his rebellion, a third of the holy angels also rebelled and commiserated with him in that mutiny. And together they were thrown out of heaven as well so that he comes to his enterprise with tremendous force. Not just him, as powerful as he is, but a third of the angels have now become demons. And they aid and abet him in his enterprise.
So, here is this poor woman, this poor, agonizing woman, this poor woman by virtue of being a woman is defenseless by virtue of being a pregnant woman; by virtue of being in labor, pain, and agony is really defenseless, and certainly before a great dragon, a formidable beast, aided and abetted by tens of thousands of demons. This is the picture.
The great enemy of God is Satan. And therefore, the great enemy of Israel is Satan. But the focal point of this hostility is described for us in the middle of verse 4, “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth he might” – what? – “devour the child.” This is the picture.
The dragon certainly thinks he’s capable of doing that. The fact of the matter is he tried to devour the woman. We can throw a little extra history in here. Satan has always done everything he could possibly do to destroy the nation Israel. And it is some absolutely amazing, amazing evidence of God’s sovereign power in the world to note that we still have Israel in the world. Not just – I’m not talking about the geographical location; I’m talking about Jewish people. I mean I know you never met a Jebusite, a Hivite, an Amorite, a Hittite, or a Girgashite, but you’ve met a lot of Israelites. Every other nation of people have disappeared off the planet. That’s what history is. It’s the cycle of disappearing people, amalgamation, destruction, death, plague, whatever. But not Israel. And so, Satan has never been able to destroy the woman. It would have devoured the woman at any point. Tried to in Egypt.
Do you remember in Exodus chapter 1 when Pharaoh said to the midwives, “If those Jewish women have a boy” – do what? – “kill that boy. I don’t want any leaders, I don’t want any rulers, I don’t want any threats coming out of that group of Jewish people”?
The poor midwives were so sympathetic because – I mean how could they kill baby boys? I mean they loved the little children that were born. And so, they came back and said, “We can’t do it. We can’t do it because the Jewish women have babies so fast; they have them before we get there. And they’re already out and alive.”
And so, you know what? The children of Israel multiplied, multiplied, multiplied. And it – I suppose if, at that moment, Satan wanted to get the Pharaoh to find another way to kill all those baby boys, but it didn’t happen, and so the nation was preserved. Satan tried to prevent Abraham from even getting started by having a child. And then he confounded everything by getting Abraham to do a stupid thing, and that is to take his handmaid Hagar and have a son – Ishmael – who’s been a thorn in the flesh of the Israelites even to this day.
He tried to destroy Jacob and kill the line of Judah altogether. He tried to keep Israel captive into Babylon after taking the ten northern tribes into Assyrian captivity from which they never returned. He tried to get Saul to murder David, who was the royal seed from whom Messiah would come, and end all messianic hope.
And then there was Haman. Haman was really the one who tried the first genocide of the Jews. But his plot was thwarted by, amazingly the fact that a Jewish girl had married a pagan king. The Jewish girls name was? Esther. And Esther intervened along with Mordecai, and Haman was executed, and the nation of Israel was preserved.
The line – the messianic line got down to one little child in 2 Chronicles 21 and 22, and murderous Athaliah tried to destroy that one child, that one child that would have destroyed the line. I mean Satan has always tried to destroy the woman. Always. And even in modern day, in England a thousand years ago, they were banished – Jews. In France and Germany, the Jews were blamed for the Black Plague and tortured. In the year that Columbus discovered America, Spain drove out all Jews. The Crusades massacred Jews.
And later on, the Roman Catholic Inquisition slaughtered them in the name of Jesus Christ. 1881 began the horrible Russian atrocities against the Jews. 1894 was that Dreyfus Affair in which the Jews were blamed for all the national problems and taken out of all ranking positions. And then came Hitler, and then came Stalin, and now it’s the Arabs and – I mean Satan is just relentless in trying to destroy the woman, but he doesn’t succeed at that. Israel is metaphorically like the burning bush. You know? It burns but never gets consumed.
Satan can’t kill the woman. But he waited and waited and waited and waited to kill that child when that child was born. Matthew chapter 2 says that when the child was born what did Satan do? He got Herod to do what? Massacre all male children in an effort - since he didn’t know which one was the Messiah - in an effort to kill the Messiah.
When Jesus first went into Nazareth to preach in His own hometown, Satan moved the mob of people that were in the synagogue that they’d try and throw Him off a cliff. When Jesus went into the wilderness, Satan tried to tempt Him so that He could turn Him against God like he had turned Adam and Eve against God and thwart the whole redemptive purpose. It’s just one long story of Satan trying to destroy the work of the Messiah. But he was there, pictured in that vision. As soon as that child came, he was going to devour that child. He even took Him to the cross, but three days later He rose from the dead.
And that brings us to the third person and to the point of our Christmas message, verse 5, “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” – and that’s what it says in Psalm 2. That’s the prophecy. He is to rule. But wait a minute; she gave birth, and there’s this massive dragon, and a third of the once-holy angels – now demons – and they’re all ready to kill that child, and all hell, as it were, is set against that child. And it says, “She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and His throne” – which mean that He escaped from Satan. Right? He couldn’t do what he wanted to do. He tried. He tried killing all the infants. He tried throwing Jesus off a cliff. He tried destroying Jesus through sin and temptation. He tried and keep Him on the cross; he couldn’t do it.
“She gave birth to a son, a male child” - that’s the incarnation; that’s the incarnation – “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” – that’s the coronation. That’s the coronation. He couldn’t stop the birth of Christ, and they cannot stop His kingdom. He will rule. He will rule with a rod of iron. He will rule. And that coming kingdom is described in the book of Revelation. His return is in chapter 19. He sets up His kingdom in chapter 20. The first thing He does, it says at the beginning of chapter 20, is He takes Satan and along with Satan all the demonic hosts, binds him with a chain, as it were, and puts him away for a thousand years. At the end of that thousand years he is released and then taken with all the demons and all the ungodly and thrown into the eternal lake of fire. And He will rule – Satan will not devour Him. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Folks, Jesus is going to come back and establish His earthly kingdom. He will rule.
And in the meantime, He is caught up to God and to His throne. And that’s his exaltation. Incarnation. His coronation is coming. Right now He’s in His exaltation. He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit – right? – to live within us. He carries on the work of redemption and the work of intercession on our behalf. He is the Lord of His people, the Shepherd of His people. Someday He will come back. A rod of iron is irresistible power; it is implacable justice; it is swift judgment.
In that day, there won’t be any supreme courts; there won’t be 7 or there won’t be 9 or there won’t be 12 who can’t agree. There’ll be one. There’ll be one court in the world and one judge who’s perfectly righteous and perfectly wise and perfectly omniscient, and He will rule with that rod of iron. And that rod of iron indicates a swift and crushing judgment. And He will crush the serpent’s head and the demons and all unbelievers.
Satan tried to kill that baby; couldn’t do it. The child was caught up to God. That’s speaking of what great event in His life? His ascension. Satan tried all through Jesus’ life to devour Him; couldn’t do it. Jesus rose from the dead. Satan tried to keep Him on the cross, keep Him in the grave, but He went to the Father and He’s on the throne. That’s His exaltation And He is exalted, waiting for His coronation.
Satan couldn’t stop the child from being born; he couldn’t kill the woman Israel. He couldn’t kill the child when the child was born. He cannot stop the child from being exalted to the right hand of God, where He literally intercedes for His people, and He will not be able to prevent the child from His coronation, coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords to establish His eternal kingdom, at which point Satan and all associated with him will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.
So, the birth of Christ, that great event, is seen by John with such drama. There is the woman; she finally gives birth. And the dragon is ready to pounce, and the child is caught up to God. The message is clear: Jesus Christ escapes the fury of Satan to reign, to be crowned King, to redeem His people. This is the child born to conquer all.
It is summed up so magnificently in the words of Revelation 11 which were taken by Händel and put into the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Revelation 11:15, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.” That’s how the drama ends. That’s how the conflict of good and evil ends. Who will win? God. Who will gain the victory? Christ, the child born to conquer. Let’s pray.
We are made aware again, our Father, of the greatness of biblical truth. We look at a world of people trying to sort out the issues of life, trying to understand why things are the way they are, and they can’t even make sense of what they can see and experience. And here are we, opening the pages of this book and literally being introduced to a drama that no one can perceive apart from spiritual sight and divine revelation.
We understand the great drama of good and evil. We understand the great conflict between Yourself and Satan, between holy angels and demons, between righteous men and unrighteous. We understand where it’s going and how it culminates.
We understand how the birth of the God-man brought the Savior into the world, who escaped the fury of the dragon and is now at Your right hand, having been exalted as Savior and Redeemer and Intercessor and Keeper of His people. And we thank You, Father, that someday He is coming again to establish His glorious and eternal kingdom, at which time He will take the rod of iron and destroy the wicked and bring about the eternal joy of a new heaven and a new earth in which there is no conflict, there is no sin, but all is glory and honor to His great name. And we worship You, our God; we worship our Christ and the blessed Holy Spirit who has brought this great salvation to us through the miracle of the new birth. And we celebrate the birth of the child, not just as a personal Savior, but as the great Conqueror of evil. And we long for His kingdom and say with John, at the end of the revelation, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” It’s for His glory that we pray, amen.
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