“There weren’t any dinosaurs at the manger,” my four-year-old, Jonah, argued. His younger brother Jude had begun mixing random toys into our VeggieTales nativity set, including one mean-looking stegosaurus. I didn’t have the heart to tell Jonah there probably weren’t any talking cucumbers in Bethlehem either.
Revelation 12 doesn’t offer us a typical Christmas scene, but the chapter does include the birth of Christ, and there’s even a dinosaur—er, dragon. John sees a sign in the sky: a woman about to give birth and a fiery red dragon waiting to devour her Child. Clues in the text invite us to see the woman as Israel, the sun, moon, and stars being an early image of God’s people (see Genesis 37:9–11). The Son born to the woman is Jesus, the Messiah. The iron rod is the clue there (see Psalm 2:6–9). Finally, there is the dragon, whom John identifies as “the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).
Jesus’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension unfold quickly—so quickly in fact that a lot of readers miss it (see v.5). Unlike in the Gospels, the Revelation account of Jesus’s ministry is focused not on earth, but on what took place in the unseen realm.
Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross, and when He walked out of the empty tomb on Easter morning, He triumphed over death. He did these things for us—on our behalf. As a result, the devil no longer has any claim on God’s people, no reason left to accuse us. We have been justified, made clean, forgiven. The price has been paid. As a result, Satan lost his place as prosecutor in God’s heavenly court (vv.8,10). Therefore, the archangel Michael and God’s angel armies waged war against the devil and his angels, and threw them down to earth. Satan has now been forced to change his strategy—from accusing God’s people to waging war against them (v.17).
That sounds like bad news at first, doesn’t it? We have an enemy who’ll stop at nothing to destroy us. But that’s not the way John frames it. In the middle of the action he includes a victory cry from heaven:
“The salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Christ
have now come,
because the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them
before our God day and night,
has been thrown down” (Revelation 12:10).
Jesus has defeated Satan. Good has triumphed over evil. It’s the end of the story we’ve been waiting for. Only it isn’t the end.
You and I live between this great victory and the final battle, after which Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire (20:10). But we have been given this glimpse behind the veil separating heaven and earth so that when we hear the forces of evil roar, we might remember all is not lost. In fact, everything—absolutely everything—has been won, because of what Jesus accomplished. Satan’s time is short (12:12), and our redemption is near.
Written by John Greco