Reading: Revelation 12:7-18
Advent Theme: Adversity
An interpretation and re-telling of Rev. 12:7-18, Revised Julia Version
And then fighting began in the spiritual realm, near God’s throne. Michael, who is a leader among the angels, and the other angels fought against the Satan, the adversary of God’s will. The spiritual forces that oppose God’s will battled mightily, but they were defeated and they could not last near the throne of God. To be clear, the Satan is the same one who is sometimes called the Devil or by other names. The Satan works to deceive the world and there are spiritual forces- on many levels- that are willing to try to work against God’s purposes. At the end of the battle, the Satan and his minions fled back to the earth, to try to make trouble there.
Then John heard a booming voice in heaven, stating clearly:
“It is the right time. Here are the saving power and everlasting leadership of our one true God. Here is the authority of his Anointed One, the Messiah. For the one who tries to make trouble for our friends, the saints, has been defeated. Oh, that sly one tried to present a case for how they were weak in faith, but they persisted!
The saints of God won by a three-fold victory. First and foremost, Jesus claimed them through his own blood. Secondly, their testimony was certain- identifying themselves with Christ. Lastly, they both lived and died in Jesus Christ.
It’s too bad for those who will not do those things. The Satan is loose on the earth and is angry because he knows his is a losing battle.”
So, when the Satan realized his heavenly visa had been revoked, he stirred up trouble on earth. Eagles took away the woman whom Satan harassed so that she could rest in safety in a place apart from fear and pain. He still tried to whisper lies to her, lies that he sent in a variety of ways. Yet, God’s creation would not let the lies stand. The very soil and water of the earth witnessed to the power and majesty of God’s creative love and mercy. The lies of the Satan could not stand.
The Satan was mad. Stomping off, the Satan- the spiritual adversary of the Christ followers- vowed to make life hard for all who seek to live a life of faith and hope.
The Satan made a stand at the edge of the abyss and waited to for willing accomplices, with whom to wreak havoc.
Potential Takeaway: There are spiritual and earthly forces that oppose God’s will. The internal force of sin is a manifestation of the human desire for control and our struggle to understand that only God is God. And that God is good. A very real part of the life of faith is renouncing the forces outside and within us that seek to oppose God’s will for life and wholeness.
Holy and mighty God, Your word is love and your gospel is peace. Yet the forces that oppose You do so with such violence that it can be difficult to walk a path of justice and peace-making. Guide me in following You, identifying Your work and word, and living into Your truth alone. Amen.