Thursday, December 12, 2013

When Hell Broke Loose In Heaven (part 1)

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your soul too." ~ Luke 2:34-35

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. ~ Matthew 2:16

The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God... And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down…he was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him…Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. ~ Revelation 12:4-12

The Great Dragon was hurled down...

Thoughts that most often come to mind when we think of the Christmas story are those of wise men and their gifts, shepherds and their flocks, bright lights and heavenly choirs, a little baby and a lowly manger, a noble man and his virgin wife. Shiny wrapped gifts, Christmas carols playing, colorful lights twinkling, sleepy looking adults, and children wide-eyed. How grateful we are for all those memories and the magic of Christmas.

Woven throughout the Bible is the equally dramatic story that doesn't carry the warmth and charm that usually comes to mind. In truth, it was intended to be the story. Luke's gospel introduces us to Simeon's prophecy about the Christ child. Simeon cradled the infant in his arms and claimed him to be the way of salvation for all mankind--Jew and Gentile, alike. He would be the Light to pierce all darkness. Messiah was the centerpiece of all God and His prophets had promised. Mary and Joseph glowed as they listened with rapt attention to the presage. Then, a shadow of sadness spread across Simeon's face. Sullen words were reluctantly forced from his mouth. "Mary and Joseph, your little one will grow to a young man who will divide all Israel. Flashing like a warning beacon, his life will expose and agitate dark hearts. Violent opposition will dog his steps." Said Simeon. The foretelling whooshed like a sword and slashed at the young mother's heart.

Matthew tells us that when Messiah was born there was inconsolable weeping and wailing as little ones--who drew their first breath around the time the baby Jesus drew his first--would die by the edge of the sword. Herod, the deranged dictator slaughtered them all to insure killing the One.

From the Isle of Patmos a religious exile, an old man so tough that sacred legend says he couldn't be boiled in oil, told the back story of the Incarnation. His name was John; the disciple whom Jesus loved. When the Son of God was born, says John, all hell broke loose in the heavens. Angelic hosts who heralded Immanuel's birth were not alone in the night skies above the manger. Hovering in the blackness, loomed a force invisible to earth-eyes. Puffed up in rebellious pride, the great dragon, with legions of celestial traitors, stood battle ready to devour the virgin and her child. But the arch angel, Michael, unsheathed his sword, and the hosts of heaven hurled down the Rebel and his minions.

But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short. 

That explains a lot of our story...


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