Monday, April 25, 2005

God's Miniseries, Part Twelve

“But the ultimate problem with spiritual freedom is that it never ends. As Rorty points out, it widens endlessly. Freedom means always keeping your options open, so it means you never settle on truth, you never arrive, you can never rest. The accumulation of spiritual peak experiences can become like the greedy person’s accumulation of money. The more you get, the more you hunger for. The life of perpetual choice is a life of perpetual longing as you are prodded by the inextinguishable desire to try the next new thing. But maybe what the soul hungers for is ultimately not a variety of interesting and moving insights but a single universal truth.”

- David Brooks – “Bobos in Paradise”

You see it’s all very simple. NBC and the sensationalists would have us believe that Revelation is about creepy crawly things. But it’s really about a single, universal truth embodied in a single Person. Once you understand that, the other elements of the saga fall in place.

Part twelve of God’s miniseries follows:

Revelation 12 (New Living Translation)

Revelation 12

The Woman and the Dragon
1 “Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2She was pregnant, and she cried out in the pain of labor as she awaited her delivery.
3Suddenly, I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail dragged down one-third of the stars, which he threw to the earth. He stood before the woman as she was about to give birth to her child, ready to devour the baby as soon as it was born.
5She gave birth to a boy who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And the child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to give her care for 1,260 days.
7Then there was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command fought the dragon and his angels. 8And the dragon lost the battle and was forced out of heaven. 9This great dragon--the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world--was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.
10Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

“t has happened at last--the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth--the one who accused our brothers and sisters[
a] before our God day and night. 11And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die. 12Rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea. For the Devil has come down to you in great anger, and he knows that he has little time.” 13And when the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the child. 14But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle. This allowed her to fly to a place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be cared for and protected from the dragon[b] for a time, times, and half a time.
15Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from its mouth. 16But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. 17Then the dragon became angry at the woman, and he declared war against the rest of her children--all who keep God's commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus.

The Beast out of the Sea
18Then he stood[
c] waiting on the shore of the sea.

Revelation 12:10 Greek brothers.
Revelation 12:14 Greek the serpent; also in 12:15. See 12:9. Revelation 12:18 Some manuscripts read Then I stood, and some translations put this entire sentence into 13:1.

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