(7.) On Christ as The Child

(7.) On Christ as The Child

(7.) On Christ as The Child.

“And another sign appeared in heaven. Behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads! And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” (Revelation 12:3-5).

We know that Jesus submitted to all the stages of human development. He was a fetus in Mary’s womb, an infant, a toddler, a young child who matured as all young people do. We know that “as Jesus grew, so did His wisdom and maturity. The favor of men increased upon His life, for He was loved greatly by God.” (Luke 2:52). W don’t know anything about the eighteen years of his life between His youthful time in the Temple and His baptism, but as we consider His adult ministry, we wonder if He retained the heart of a child. His physical needs were simple, he was always curious and imaginative, He wanted to please people. Most of all, Jesus had a child-like trust in His Father, a steadfast faith in the love and intentions of the Father in heaven. He wanted above all to please His Father and obey His instructions, hanging on every word from the Father. He loved children, He advocated for children, and that was partly because He seemed to identify with them so profoundly. In some ways, Jesus was eternally a Child.

Jesus is referred to as The Child time and again in Revelation 12, and it’s worth our while to dive deep into John’s vision in the Apocalypse. Revelation 12 is an exciting version of the Christmas story as seen from heaven in the spiritual realm. This is an eye witness account of the nativity story, and it’s not for the sqeamish. It is a story full of danger, intrigue and mystery. It has a fiery dragon, warrior angels, a pregnant woman, and a seemingly vulnerable baby. As told in this vision from St. John, there is no straight-line chronology. It is in the eternal dimension, so the past, the present and the the future are all wrapped together in the narrative.This story has flashbacks and fast forwards and frightening scenes in real time.

According to the vision, one could rightly imagine a sign in front of the sweet little stable in Bethlehem… Caution: Baby At Risk. There is a fierce and murderous dragon, the devil himself, who is crouched outside the stable, intent on destroying this Child born to be King. In the spiritual realm, one could probably see the smoke coming from the dragon’s nostrils, billowing into the stable while Mary is giving birth. This birth has cosmic implications. It is a moment of ultimate good versus unthinkable evil. This Child must survive, yet there is acute danger to His life. The dragon will do anything to devour this Child.

In a dramatic flashback, the devil has already been defeated in the ancient war in heaven (v. 7). Michael and his angelic soldiers rendered Satan powerless in the heavens after much fighting. Satan was able to take a third of the angels with him in his rebellion against God and His throne, and they were all cast down onto the earth. They were powerless in heaven, so they had no choice but to wreak havoc and bring evil to this world. Killing the Child Christ would be his most significant victory, and he will stop at nothing to do so. One can easily see Herod enacting the Slaughter of the Innocents in Bethlehem, and how Satan was fully behind that rampage of death in order to destroy that Child. In John’s vision one can also see the safe escape to Egypt, with the holy family being protected from the devil all the while. There is a fast forward scene of Christ’s victorious ascension, when the Child “was caught up to God and His throne.” (v. 5). One sighs with relief at this early confirmation that the Child was indeed protected during His time on earth.

And now a shout from heaven proclaims that Satan is finally defeated in the spiritual realm by the power of Christ. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” (v. 11). This shout from the heavens seemingly came after the Cross and Christ’s death. But now “Satan knows that he has a short time” to his eternal defeat on earth. He has no power in heaven, and he turns his evil rage once again to those on the earth. “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth.” (v. 12).  This time his enemy are the believers in this Child.  Sure enough, the fiery dragon seeks to persecute the woman’s “children,” those who follow the Child. Satan seeks to make hell on earth for “those who keep the commandments of God and hold firm to the testimony of Jesus.” (v.17). But the Church will be preserved, for the gates of hell cannot prevail against her (Matt. 16:18).

What appeared to be a quiet, humble birth in a lonely little town, actually was loud and busy in the spiritual world, with a fierce battle between the forces of good against the forces of evil. The holy night was penetrated by sinister powers. But, praise God, the Child was victorious, and we know that the dragon will eventually be slain.

O Holy Night (feat. Melvin Crispell III & Mav City Gospel Choir) | Maverick City Music | TRIBL – YouTube