CHRISTMAS THROUGH HEAVEN’S EYES

Earthly events are the result of heavenly actions. There are cause and effect relationships between heaven and earth. We can see Christmas through heaven’s eyes portrayed for us in Revelation 12:1-5. In this story, there is a woman, a dragon and a baby. The woman is Israel. The baby is Messiah – Jesus – who will rule the nations with a rod of iron. The great, red dragon represents Satan (cf. 12:9). Satan wages war against Israel over the birth of the Messiah.

Satan is the enemy of God and God’s people. He is determined to rule this world and will do whatever he can to maintain his rule. Milton wrote of Lucifer in Paradise Lost, “To reign is worth ambition, though in hell. Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.” Power is what drives Satan. That same ambition is what drives all those who serve Satan in this world. We see Satan’s global strategy pictured in these verses. He works through humans who will swear allegiance to him. In return, Satan offers such pawns the illusions of earthly success, wealth and power.

 AN UNSEEN HOLY WAR

Satan’s purpose was to “devour the woman’s child.” His objective ever since his heavenly rebellion has been to thwart God’s redemptive plan. He knew God planned to redeem humanity through the nation of Israel. He attempted numerous times to obliterate the nation from the earth. Genocide has long been a favorite tactic of Satan. This is holy war. Satan and God are locked in mortal combat, and only one will win. Humans are the spoils of victory. Satan and God are fighting over us. More specifically, Satan and God are fighting over the nation of Israel since it is through Israel that God’s greatest promises find their fulfillment. It should not surprise us that the focal point of all human history is a tiny strip of land bordering the Mediterranean Sea where three continents come together. This strip of land has been and continues to be the center point of world affairs because it is the center point of an unseen war between God and Satan.

 NOW AND NOT YET

In the fullness of God’s time, the son was born. Israel had fulfilled her eternal purpose. God had contracted with Abraham to deliver a child who would rule the world. Now the child had come. God had promised Eve, the very first mother, that a child would come who would crush the Serpent’s head. That child had finally arrived. The son of the woman was born to be a ruler. Psalm 2:9 had predicted His reign a thousand years before Jesus was born. The King has come, but we still wait for Him to consummate His rule. The war drags on, but now we fight with hope. We are on the winning side. The enemy is digging in for the final battles. Those battles will come, but we have seen the end of the story. The child wins. The dragon surrenders … but not yet.
Jesus was born, and Satan thought he was ready. After all, he had his henchmen in place. Herod the Great drew his salary from Satan. Jesus entered the world as a baby in a poor family in Bethlehem. He was tiny and vulnerable. What could he or his parents possibly do against the might of Rome? Bethlehem was a tiny hamlet close to the power center of Herod. All Herod had to do was strike – strike quickly – while the opportunity was there. God even allowed the wise men to tip Herod off. Yet Herod hesitated. Perhaps it was only a few weeks or months, but it was enough. By the time he struck, it was too late. God had taken His Son to Egypt for safety.

 A KILLING FIELD

Omaha Beach was a killing field on June 6, 1944, when the U.S. 1st Infantry Division and the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division landed at 6:30 in the morning. The Germans had built formidable defenses on the one-hundred-foot-high cliffs overseeing the six-mile beach. From that vantage point, the Germans sprayed the entire beach with deadly fire. Bodies fell everywhere on the sand and in the water. Men tried to find cover behind beach obstacles while they considered the dangerous sprint across the open sand to the sea wall. By 8:30 they were on their own. There was no way off the beach. 2,400 Americans died on Omaha Beach that day.

The story played out similarly up and down the beaches of Normandy by British and French troops. The Germans, under the command of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the Desert Fox, had the upper hand. It was not entirely unexpected. Rommel had been arguing for months that the Germans needed to bring up the heavy artillery, but the German high command had denied his request. Rommel was on leave with his wife at the time of the invasion, and by the time he got back, it was too late. Had the Germans attacked with full force immediately they would have wiped out the allied forces on those beaches. But Satan’s henchman hesitated, and that twelve-hour hesitation cost him Normandy.

Normandy was the beginning of the end for Hitler. Rommel saw it coming and tried to advise Hitler to surrender. He was given poison to take and committed suicide on October 14th of that year. The end was in sight even though there was much hard fighting ahead as the allies forced their way off the beaches and across the mainland. Many days of terrible suffering and deep discouragement were yet ahead before the allies defeated Hitler. But the seeds of victory were sown in blood on the sands of Normandy.

CHRISTMAS WAS SATAN’S NORMANDY!

Revelation 12 tells us that Satan thought he was ready. He stood poised to devour the child through his human henchmen. But they hesitated, and he lost his chance. When you look at Christmas through heaven’s eyes, it is hardly an idyllic scene. Gone are the reflective, peaceful feelings of our modern nativity pageants. Instead, what God saw was a killing field. Bethlehem was a beachhead. God’s invasion of Satan’s territory had begun, and the counterattacks would be brutal. God saw all this as He watched from heaven that first Christmas Day. God also knew what we now know. He wins. We can find our security in Him and Him alone.