Advent Day 12
Read: Revelation 12
Chapter 12 is almost so obvious that it is embarrassing. After we have been working so hard, trudging through difficult portions of the book, chapter 12 is easy.
A dragon imperils a pregnant woman. Okay. That’s easy. Dragon=devil. Expectant mother=virgin Mary. She has a son (=Jesus). The dragon is sitting there waiting for the kid to be born like a catcher crouched behind home plate waiting for the next pitch. But…the child is snatched away before the devil can get the kid in his clutches, which escape sounds a lot like the Ascension of our Lord.
The thwarted dragon (devil) turns his frustrated designs upon the mother, who now comes to symbolize mother-church. But she escapes, fleeing into the wilderness. She gets away. So, the mother’s other children (the church’s children…ie. christians in general) become the next target of the dragon, a villain who seems unable to keep his focus or to hit his targets. Everyone keeps getting away from him and he keeps chasing this one and then that one. The dragon is like a kid playing tag, and he’s it. He can’t catch anyone as he keeps switching it up as to who he is chasing.
The dragon is cast out of heaven. That means he has no legal standing. He has no legal right to go after anyone.
The individual pieces of the puzzle in chapter 12 aren’t hard to make out. What is interesting is the fact that the dragon (the devil) really can’t seem to get his act together. He is this very menacing threat who can’t seem to catch anyone. He’s a first-class threat but a third-class strategist. I love this image. And I find it immensely comforting. As menacing as the bad guys out there in the world are, the good news is–they’re boobs…incompetents. They can make some noise and cause some trouble. But they can’t stay in the game and persevere. Perseverance is one of those magical, wonderful gospel words which you will hear often applied to the saints and never to malevolent characters like the dragon. Evil has no perseverance to it.
The other point worth noting in chapter 12 is that flight is not an illegitimate nor an improper response to the dangers that the dragon and his ilk present. Run from ‘em. In fact…outrun them. Run them to death.
We often think that the only proper thing to do in the face of danger is to stand up and fight. Such a procedure certainly does produce fights; and often a lot of collateral damage. Maybe not in every case, but in a lot of cases, you might consider–flight. It’s not necessarily cowardice to run away. If you happen to possess a weapon that will help you against a fierce foe, and gives you a fighting chance, you should use it. I don’t think that using that weapon is dishonourable. And, it just so happens, that the weapon that is associated with the saints of God is–endurance. We have the power to outrun our foe. So why not flee? Let them call you a coward all they like. Let them expend their breath with taunts. Just keep running until the powers that imperil you fall over and can’t catch their breath. Flee and endure.