Publication: Pastoral Letter, May 2010
Dear Friend in Christ:
Revelation 12 describes the cosmic war between the Dragon and the Baby. The Dragon represents our spiritual enemy; the Baby represents both Jesus and those who follow after Him.“The Dragon” is the most feared beast, vicious and deadly. “The Baby” is the most vulnerable and defenseless stage of life, no match for the destroyer. There is a deadly confrontation. In this letter, I will cite three examples of this war and how we should respond to it with vigilance and action.
WAR IN HEAVEN: REVELATION 12:1-6
This chapter opens with a vision of a great sign in heaven: a woman is about to give birth; she is in labor. The woman is Israel that is about to deliver the Child that was foretold by the prophets. This is the Child feared by the enemy who instinctively knows the danger posed by the Child. The child would become the ruler of nations and destroyer of the Dragon – he real dragon slayer!
The writer sees a second sign, a great fiery red dragon – the one who drew a third of all the angels out of heaven with him and was cast down to the earth. The Dragon stood before the woman and was poised to devour her Child.
The woman, I believe, represents Israel, who brought forth the Messiah.However, by the end of the chapter, the woman also represents the Church who brings forth those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 12:17).
Notice that this is a war in heaven that is played out upon the earth. Michael and his angels defeated the Dragon and cohorts in heaven, then the battle comes to earth, and it is a full scale war! This war has raged ever since Cain and Abel.
The war is difficult for us to comprehend because it is eternal; it happens in heaven before it happens here, as history always does. Jesus is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the earth.Being creatures of time, we have difficulty with this thought. However, God Who is eternal sees the end from the beginning. We cannot comprehend the eternal side of the war, but we had better understand the earthly side of it. Verse 9 tells us that Satan(though lost in heaven) is the deceiver of the whole world, and has come down to earth. His purpose is to destroy the Baby, and all of those who have received His testimony.
The enemy is desperately afraid of the offspring of the righteous. He knows the promise and power of righteous offspring – even more than we know it. He will stop at nothing to eliminate them and prevent their emergence.
WAR IN EGYPT: EXODUS 1:8-22
Pharaoh was afraid of fruitful Israel. He understood that the future belongs to the fruitful, so he persecuted the Israelites. But persecution was not enough for him.
I just returned from Cuba. The atheistic government has made life very difficult for followers of Jesus. But the Church continues to grow. It is the same everywhere that the government persecutes believers – they multiply (see U.S.S.R. and China).
So, Pharaoh issued an order to the midwives, “Kill the Israelite male babies.” He feared the promise of God’s children. Notice that he specifically intended to kill the males. Their potential of strength and leadership were of great concern to him. But the midwives disobeyed because they feared God.
Moses’ mother understood the importance of her son and found a way to preserve his life. The hand of God was with her and her child. Not only was he spared, but he grew up in the palace, educated in the ways of Egypt that would later serve him in defeating Pharaoh. The Lord often uses Satan’s own devices against him.
WAR IN ISRAEL: MATTHEW 2:1-18
Approximately 1500 years later, the desperate Dragon again showed his cruelty and willingness to go to any lengths to destroy the Holy Seed. Mary had just brought forth her Baby, Jesus who was the Christ. Wise men from the East had seen His star and had followed it to Jerusalem to find the Baby that had been born. They began asking a disturbing question, “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” But the Jews had a king…Herod. The troubling news came to Herod. In fact, all of Jerusalem was troubled. God’s purpose in God’s babies always troubles the usurpers of power…and their ungodly cultures.
Herod and his cohorts searched the Scriptures to know where the Baby would be born; they discovered it was in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). Herod deceitfully told the wise men to let him know when they found the Baby that he too could go and worship. But the wise men were warned of God not to tell Herod. Likewise, the Lord warned Joseph to take the Baby to Egypt.
Herod was angry that the wise men did not return to him. So, he issued an order, “Kill all the male babies in that area that are two years old and under.” And so it happened. The grief around Bethlehem was beyond description. The hatred of the Dragon was manifested as babies were dragged from their mother’s arms and slaughtered! There was no consolation.
THE WAR IN AMERICA
The war in the heavens still rages. It came down to Egypt and to Bethlehem, and it has come down to us as well. The tears in Egypt and Bethlehem have long since dried in the dusty pages of history, but tears continue to wet the faces of parents today here and abroad. The Dragon wants our children. He still fears the promise of the offspring of the righteous.
We live in a dangerous world. Education and material wealth have not kept the Dragon at bay. Pedophiles, rapists, and murderers roam our streets and devour our babies. Millions have been slaughtered in the womb, even as they were being born! Millions more are deceived by the Deceiver and are locked away in prisons.
One of the greatest lies of our time is the notion that “education” prevents the destruction of children. Hitler’s minions were “educated”, and they slaughtered 250,000 Jewish babies. I stood at the memorial to them in Israel and wept at the unspeakable tragedy. Hitler, like Pharaoh and Herod, feared their promise. “Education” did not prevent the Devourer.
I could add the atrocities committed under Stalin and Mao and other despots who were terrified of little babies, whose promise was aborted. “Education” did nothing to civilize the work of Satan. Nor does it here. While parents sleep, the slaughter goes on. The real abortion is not only innocent babies, but the future.
The great mystery to me is how the “educated” Western world is so blind to the destruction of its own future, all the while importing the seeds of its own destruction. I can only attribute it to the Deceiver who lost in heaven and has come down to earth. Intellectual pride has set us up for a confrontation with the Dragon. The parental pursuit of wealth, pleasure, and knowledge has left the babies alone to face the Dragon.
For millions of children, it is too late. We forgot the importance of fatherhood and motherhood. The guardians were lured away and the Dragon ate the Baby. But it is not too late for millions of other little ones, if our culture can but awake to the importance of the future that lies in the hearts and hands of our children. There are yet things that we can do as Moses’ mother did or as Joseph and Mary did. We can save our children, if we can only become as concerned about them as some are about sea turtles, eagles, snail darters, or even alligators. Some fish get more protection than our babies!
I will suggest some things that we can do to protect the promise that is in our children.
Recognize that it is a war. This is not a game, the future of the planet is at stake, and the enemy is a destroyer and deceiver by his very nature. Persecution is not enough; he is out to kill. Even as I write this, promising youth are being killed.
Love the children. Love does not mean simply giving them things. It means protecting and fighting for them. It means being there for them. Years ago, when my children were small, I travelled too much. I was on the phone with my three year old daughter, and she said, “Daddy, when are you coming home?” “Next week,” I answered. “No, Daddy, when are you really coming home?” I wept.
Take responsibility. The children don’t belong to the State or the school. They belong to their parents. God does not hold the state responsible or the school. We answer for them! “State parentalism” is the Dragon’s deception.
Teach them the Word of God (see Revelation 12:11). They overcame the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and loving not their own lives.
Give them identity. “Idiot” is not a good identity. “Stupid” is not an identity. The Father said, “This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”
Go to a church that makes children a priority. People my age are not the priority; you can’t teach them much and if you do, they soon forget. But I still remember what I learned as a child from my parents and teachers.
Inspire courage in them by your example. If you expect them to fight the war against evil, show them how. Show them the courage and biblical weapons that will prevail against the Dragon. They still work!
FROM THIS TIME AND FOREVER MORE
I thank God for my parents. My welfare and the welfare of my siblings was their priority. They gave me intangible riches. I thank God for my wife, who is now with the Lord. Our children were her priority. Largely because of her, they turned out well and serve God.
I am grateful for the godly parents who wage war in prayer and responsibility to produce righteous offspring. And I thank God for children and grandchildren who know and love the Lord because a parent led them to Jesus.
Finally, I am grateful to God who is for us and our children. “‘As for Me,’” says the Lord, “‘this is my covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,’” says the Lord, “‘from this time and forever more’” (Isaiah 59:21).
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Scripture Reference: Revelations, Exodus, Matthew