The Dragon, the Woman, and Rage

Taking a moment away from our series “Joseph: A Life with Many Colors” to address what’s going on in our culture seems like the right thing to do.  The minister in me knows we have a world of hurting people right now.  There are those grieving the loss of civility, the loss of peace, the loss of joy, and yes, the loss of loved ones in the wake of the recent mass shootings.

Why is all this happening? 

There is a simple answer: we’re at war in the spiritual realm.  It’s been a war for some time, a battle of good and evil. It will remain a war often bubbling beneath the surface and erupting as lava…timely reminders that this is what is happening 24/7. (It’s happening even when we cannot see the ferocity of the war in hidden realms).  It will continue until Jesus returns.

In Revelation 12, there is an end times image of a woman with a crown of stars (a symbol of God’s people including the Church) and a terrifying dragon with seven heads who earlier sought to devour the Messiah. When that failed, the dragon seethed with rage against God and the woman, and it turned its attentions towards the woman’s “offspring.”  As it is written,

“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring– those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).

So regarding mass shootings and other atrocities, I’d like to encourage a spirit of calm and wisdom.  We have been told this type of horror will happen.  Mass shootings are terrible, and when the perpetrators are captured alive, they need to be held to account within the fullest extent of the law. But consider this: we do the battle of good and evil a genuine disservice when we focus only on the terrifying and fail to see the mundane. A focus on mass events amplifies the panic and diminishes the true reality around us.

A mundane evil has become our baseline comfort level. 

It doesn’t sell papers the way rage or fear does, or the way panic does.  A politicized evil gets ratings, raises money, and promotes a political agenda.  But here’s the ugly truth: a regular evil–we wake up with every morning–is on our televisions, smart phones, and computers as entertainment all the live-long day; is part of the very fabric of our society; and is, frankly, mundane. 

An evil so normal, it’s background noise.

But what are mass shootings, if not those concentrated in one location and point in time?  The victims may be adults, but sometimes it’s children whose lives have been cut short. When the dead are children, we hear enhanced sighs of tragedy exhaled from the very pundits and activists who demand that women have the right to end the life of someone a mere 2 years younger.  In El Paso, TX where a 2-year-old was injured and 22 people lost their lives in the mass shooting (August 2019), a heroic and noble mother, Jordan Anchondo, age 25, died shielding her 2-month-old baby. 

Yet in El Paso, not including nearby Santa Teresa, a search reveals there are 2 of Texas’ 36 abortion clinics which—if available statewide statistics average out—result in the deaths of 11 babies every single day.  It’s not hyped.  It’s not sensationalized.  It never sells papers or makes the news despite the majority of El Paso’s abortions being babies “of color.”  It’s never called racism or bigotry or hate.  No one calls those performing abortions “white nationalists” even if they are white and are purposely eliminating children “of color” for profit.  We just take it as the normal course for everyday life with sexually active people in El Paso.  Mundane.  The children who died remain nameless and won’t make headlines.  No one mourns for them with half-staff flags, thoughts and prayers, expert panels, or TV specials.

Having normalized it to mundane, we fail to see that “death-count to death-count”, an equivalent mass murder happens in El Paso every 2 days, all year long.  I raise this issue—not to minimize or trivialize the deaths of those from Mexico and El Paso at the Walmart—but to implore us to look at our baseline and give the other children’s lives their lost dignity. Their lives mattered too. The noise of battle between good and evil has become a constant sound like summer cicadas, but for those with eyes to see by faith, there is The Dragon, the Woman, and the Rage of battle between good and evil all around us. Let’s remember the deeper, hidden reality that surfaces as sensational tragedies in these dark days.

Think about it:

  • A very fine commentary on the Book of Revelation by Grant Osborne states: “Spiritual warfare is all too often neglected in the life of the average Christian.  It seems as if we are all trying to be Switzerlands and remain neutral in this war.  To be neutral is to lose, however, for Satan is real, and his hatred towards all who are made in the image of God dare not be ignored.”  Are you awake or a Switzerland?
  • Have you ever thought about adopting a wartime mindset regarding your faith in God, your personal restraint in panic, and caution in getting wrapped in emotion instead of remaining firmly grounded in the Truth? 
  • How does the armor of God, including Truth, prepare you for the spiritual battle? 
  • How does prayer act as a weapon, and why do prayers for our leaders amplify the battle even prompting the dragon’s rage and visible eruptions?  
  • Do you believe Satan is real? 
  • Jesus reminds us that no one, not even Satan can snatch us out of His hands.  How should this change our attitude about engaging in prayer, acts of faith and love, and preaching the Gospel as we wait for Jesus’ return?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on August 6, 2019

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