This week we continue our series focused on connecting some of the biggest summer movies to the most feared book in the Bible … Revelation. Welcome back to Apocaflix!
Okay, so who’s already seen Godzilla?! Yeah … not as in actually seen him, but the recent blockbuster movie about him! No more crude animatronics, smoke machines, crazy lasers and fake fire radiating from this early metaphor for nuclear weapons. This crazy lizard monster is full scale (yes! pun totally intended)! And, I think, a really good visual for the enormous red dragon of Revelation 12 … that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. (Revelation 12:9)
The story contained in the chapter we are focusing on this week is resonant with the epic nature of the entire narrative of Revelation. But in contrast to the inspirational truths that God is on His throne, He is working His plan, and everything will declare His glory, this week we turn out attention to great antagonist, the one who wages war against God. We turn from the awe-inspiring picture of the great throne room of God to the pure evil of the enormous red dragon. We read a story of an epic battle that begins in heaven, that sees the great dragon forcibly expelled and “hurled down” (12:9) to earth. There is great triumph and rejoicing in heaven, but a stark admonition … “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.” (12:12b)
We find another strong admonition in the words of 1 Peter 5:8-9. They seem right and fitting in response to this red dragon that has been expelled from heaven.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
I encourage you to watch the video above and consume the story for yourself to fully experience it. Read all seventeen verses and connect this epic action to the four main “characters” in this story … Israel, Jesus, Christians and Satan. It’s action that has been, and is happening. It’s a war whose battles are well documented in the pages of scripture and continue today. It is a story, the story, of our God and the great antagonist.
In leaving this story, there are two things that need to be abundantly clear. First, this great red dragon is to be greatly feared. Make no mistake, this dragon is no cartoon, no crude animatronic, no fictional metaphor. He is very real, and he is very dangerous. The apostle James (the say it as it is, and slap you in the face apostle) has this to say to those considering the great red dragon…
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.
And lest that last part leave you feeling all warm and comfortable, he completes the passage (James 4:7-10) with this sobering call…
Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
This sobering admonition speaks the truth of the only protection you have from this great dragon. You cannot be timid, you cannot be emotional, you must turn. Repent (mourn and grieve), confess your sins (wash and purify) and turn from them. Take it seriously, and humble yourself before God.
Children and adults … there is, indeed, no such thing as monsters. As good as digital effects (and whatever the next great technology is) get, the epic action of the biggest summer blockbuster will never be anything more than a figment of someone’s imagination. But make no mistake, evil, the dragon of Revelation 12 and his angels are very real. They are very real and should be greatly feared. But these are not the final words.
The second and final thing which must be abundantly clear as you leave this story is … this dragon is an epic failure. In the story, the dragon tries to attack the woman … and he fails. Then he tries to get her child … and he fails. And then he takes the battle to heaven with all his angels and tries to wage war there … But he was not strong enough (v8) and he was hurled down (v9) … epic fail. This dragon knows that he loses in the end and that his time is short. This is the punctuation that is coming.
There’s an improper picture in many people’s mind. A picture of the struggle. The struggle between evil and good, between Satan and God. They see this (admittedly horrible) picture of good and evil on a fairly level plane, engaged in a back-and-forth struggle that more resembles arm wrestling.
This is anything but true and accurate. Our God is the Creator of everything, the I Am, the omnipotent ruler of heaven and earth. He may be allowing this dragon a window in time, but there will be no question in the end Who wins. In fact, if you read on in Revelation, you will see God seizing this dragon by the nap of the neck and throws him into the abyss forever and ever, end of (the dragon’s) story.
The call of this chapter of Revelation, as it is for the entirety of the book is … be faithful. Be faithful. Be faithful. Be …. faithful. Through all the battles, be faithful.