I confess! I am not adventurous. I like things predictable, manageable, consistent. I see no reason to add colors to my wardrobe. Blue and khaki always coordinate. And while menus have options, the ‘old favorites’ are favorites for a reason. Sure, mystery might be exciting, but I am not a huge fan. Especially when it comes to travel.
The internet is a boon for the non-adventurous traveler. Every detail can be examined, anticipated, and planned. Not only can I plot every course — and every alternate route — but with GoogleEarth, I can view the landscape and landmarks as well. Travel should be like a Swiss watch — smooth and accurate. No broken cogs or gears, no unexpected cancellations, no alternate routes, no field retrofits. And certainly, no uncharted territory.
I completely understand the anxiety of ancient mariners whose maps ended short of their destination. No comfort comes from drawings of beasties labeled, “here be dragons!” As if the prospect of sailing off the edge of the world was not enough. Thankfully, most places we travel are now mapped. And despite the History Channel’s best attempts, no dragons have been found. Or have they?
Some journeys do, indeed, boast dragons. The Bible, the map that guides our spiritual journey through this life, does indeed warn of a dragon. A vile beast who appears as an angel of light. Jesus described as “a murderer from the beginning, [who] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
He is no mere abstract idea. He is described as real and personal. He prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He longs to enslave us with a lifelong fear of death. He plots our ruin. He seeks to lead us to sin, then accuses us before God’s justice. He is the enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy. He hates anything that gives glory to God, and everything made in God’s image. He is at enmity with all mankind and at war with the people of God.
Revelation portrays him as an enormous dragon, with seven crowned heads. He is the Great Pretender to the throne of the universe, a vicious tyrant who hates all his subjects. He is a defeated foe, but his defeat has only made him more malevolent. Revelation 12:7-12 describes his current condition.
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
He is defeated, but not to be ignored. The futility of his conflict has not led him to surrender. He is the enemy of the church and is at war with her. We read that “the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Revelation is a book of comfort, not discomfort, but “forewarned is forearmed.” Christ has broken the power of the Devil. Satan cannot triumph, but he is carrying out a war of terror. Revelation 12 paints this picture with vivid colors and bold brush strokes. Using a palate from Exodus, Daniel, and Zechariah, the Holy Spirit creates a stunning spiritual view of the persecuted church. Satan tries to destroy both Christ and His Church. But fails at every turn.
God’s word tells us that our journey is marked with “here be dragons!” But that is not the last word. The Bible tells us that, “the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in [Christ].” (Colossians 2:15) Join us this week as we examine Revelation 12:1-18 and consider a call to vigilant, yet victorious life in Christ.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm at The Arkansas DreamCenter at 1116 Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube. For the Order of Service, click here.