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Our Messiah: The Bright Morning Star of Wonder

To start off this week, it would be really helpful if you watch the video below. The video gives an idea of the theme of dragons in Scripture. Yes, that’s right, I said dragons… in Scripture.

Coming off the lineage of women embracing God’s will, we "hyperlink" to the original promise of Genesis 3:15,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;

he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

We should ask ourselves who the “offspring” of the serpent are. The conflict with the serpent/dragon/sea creature is littered throughout Scripture. The “leviathan” creature appears multiple times and even the great fish that swallows Jonah is included in this imagery. The variety of authors in Scripture are not shy or conservative about the usage of the dragon.

Now, you might be wondering, “what does this have to do with Christmas?” Well, thanks for asking. In Revelation 12 and 13, we get another narrative about the dragon/beast. The two chapters of Revelation have similarities to the troubling visions of Daniel 7. Each of these apocalyptic passages involve dragons/beasts and “one like the Son of Man” who will rule over every tribe, nation, and tongue. The Biblical authors are very educated in Scripture. Their inspiration is not spontaneous dictation by the Spirit. Yahweh is partnering with His people and prophets, giving them understanding.

The beginning of Revelation 12, verses 1-6, are a prophetic, “big picture” telling of the Christmas story. The prophetic language can throw it off a bit, but it most certainly is about Jesus’ coming into the world. I am not going to be giving us some system or map of Revelation 12 and 13. So much of prophetic imagery is repetitive, with similar characters or symbols doing similar things. Some of the theories I am playing with come from renown Old Testament scholar Dr. Michael Heiser. You can hear his episode on the Old Testament in Revelation 12 here.

Revelation 12 is about the agonizing birth of a child who will be born and rule the nations. I would suggest that the woman is representative of our place as the Bride of Yahweh, who bear the presence of God in this world. Mary gives birth to Jesus, but Mary is no different than the rest of us as saints and believers. She is loyal and faithful to the cause of Christ. The symbols of the crown of stars with the moon and sun underfoot speak, to me, of our royal identity as God’s people. At the end of days, we will rule with Christ because we will have come to final, complete, unified freedom and submission in His glory. This partnership between Yahweh and faithful women is an image used throughout Scripture of Yahweh’s bigger picture faithfulness and partnership with His people throughout time into eternity.

The dragon is an agent of chaos who “seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.” The dragon is not a rival of Yahweh. As Genesis 3:15 states and Revelation 12 shows, the dragon our rival. The dragon and chaos are competing with us over the rulership of creation, whether we will be faithful to Yahweh, or submit to temptation, sin, and destruction of our souls, our lives, and the world around us. In Daniel 7, “one like the Son of Man” indicates that there is a human who will conquer the dragons and beasts, the agents of chaos.

Now, Revelation 12:1 says, “A great sign appeared in heaven…” If we look back to Genesis 1:14, we see God make “lights in the expanse of the heavens… let them be for signs…” Now it seems possible that Revelation 12 and 13 are a constellation prophecy occurring in the sky AND, the wisemen of the east are highly likely to be tracking signs in the heavens. In all likelihood, the wisemen are nobility or officials of some sort who would have been familiar with Daniel. Daniel was a significant member of the aristocracy of Babylon, which was dominated by astrological religion. Would it not be the grand providence of Yahweh to have a major prophet be of high esteem in the dragon’s lair? Would it not be the amazing foreshadow of how the Gentiles would accept and receive our God and His word?

I am not naive to concerns about a teaching like this. Understanding prophecy is a tricky business. I hold these with open hands to be wrong and corrected. I do not know that any of this could be “proven,” but it certainly sounds like our God to plant the seeds of His coming in the courts of the dragon’s lair, Babylon. It sounds like our God to have the reverse exile happen, where the descendant aristocrats of Babylon come to give gifts to the infant king of the Hebrew people.

Is it possible that the star that leads the magi is actually the child who is born in Revelation 12:5? What do we do about this dragon sitting there waiting to devour the child? What do we do about the chaos going on around the world? What do we do about our world that promises us worldly success with enough hard work? What do we do about a world seeking to hand us every temptation we would ever want on a silver platter?

We live in the dragon’s lair. We live in the dominant society. When the Biblical authors are thinking about empires that are dominating the earth, they would see our Western world, with it is influential fingers all over the globe and consider our society a type of dragon. Our economy is driven, in large part, by consumerism. Sin is lurking around every corner, knocking at our doors, waiting to devour us. Our life group just finished the fasting chapter in the Spiritual Disciplines book, and I think Daniel is a great figure to think about in this light. His fast denied the delicacies of Babylon (the dragon).

How do we abstain from the delicacies that the serpent would give to us? What tempts us with the illusion of being like god? How do we keep from being partners with the dragon? I do not pretend to have the answers for you. I live in this world, just as you do. I need to fight sin, just as you do. We have an Advocate who has gone before us, though. Jesus has overcome the dragon. He gave Himself over to it is predations and came out to new life. We trust Jesus to crush the head of the dragon as we follow Him, taking up our cross in the midst of the dragon. We offer ourselves to Yahweh as living sacrifices. We conquer the dragon by dying to ourselves, for the dragon dare not devour Yahweh, who dwells within our resurrected bodies.

Our song this week is Star of Wonder by Phil Wickham. Let us meditate on Yahweh, who comes as a babe to conquer the dragon. The agent of chaos and darkness is subdued and brought down by the Bright Morning Star, the light of the World. The gates of Hell (Sheol, darkness, the home of the dragon) will not prevail against us because we have a faithful Saviour who has taken up residence in our bodies. Our safety comes by laying ourselves down and being obedient to Yahweh, despite the presence of the dragon.


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