Summary: A Sermon based on Revelation 12 that presents the nativity story as a cosmic drama depicting the real war of good against evil

The Real War Against Christmas

Revelation12:1-17 (see also Psalm 2:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12)

I. A Cosmic Drama

1. Our text this morning is from the book of Revelation

2. The word “revelation” in Greek means “to show – to reveal – to unveil – to manifest – to cast light upon for understanding”

3. The book of Revelation is best understood as a drama – drama at the cosmic level

4. The stage is the whole of creation – heaven and earth – sky and sea

5. As hard as it is to believe, the book of Revelation was not intended to be difficult to understand – it is meant to be understood

6. We may not be able to understand everything in the book of Revelation – maybe we are not supposed to – but the main themes of the book are clear

8. Apocalyptic literature is a literature of symbols – it is not allegory!

9. Many of the images are “window dressing” – simply part of the scenery

10.Don’t get overwhelmed or trapped by the details

11.Look for the primary truth of the main symbols

12.Our SCRIPTURE READING is Revelation 12:1-17


II. The Nativity Story As You Have Never Heard It Before

1. The major theme of this drama is the spiritual conflict between good and evil that envelopes the whole of creation

2. Paul reminds us that the people of God are involved in spiritual warfare (Eph 6:12 - KJV)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

3. These verses tell us of the age-long conflict between the forces of Satan and the people of God

4. This conflict is presented in the form of visions or symbols (signs – signified – Rev 1:1)

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John”

5. If you want to understand the book of Revelation you have to understand the symbols, the code words that are used

6. The use of symbols does not mean that they are not “true” – Jesus spoke in parables – declaring truth through fictional stories

7. As we read the book of Revelation, we must not press the symbols into a wooden literalism that destroys the symbol

8. For example - the “great red dragon” is NOT a “great red dragon”

9. We have to ask “What does a great red dragon represent?”

10. The symbol of the dragon represents something much worse than a mythological creature that flies and spits fire

11. The opening verses of Rev 12 are clearly pointing us to the events surrounding birth of the Promised Messiah

12. There was a lot more going on than the naked eye could see!

13. This is a retelling of the nativity – a “behind the scenes” account at the cosmic level

III. The Cast of Characters

1. The Woman (vv. 1-2)

a. The symbol of the woman is controversial and greatly debated

1) There is fear among Protestants of venerating Mary, the mother of the Messiah

2) That fear causes some commentators to argue that the “woman” is a group, i.e., Israel

3) I think that we need to give Mary her due respect – not worship

4) Luke tells us that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said,

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you . . . Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”

5) The description of the pregnant woman giving birth is clearly meant to be Mary

b. But the image is larger than one person

1) The woman is representative of the people of God – OT &NT

2) Gal 4:4 tells us that “in the fullness of time God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law”

3) Jesus was born a Jew – in fulfillment of all the prophesies of the OT beginning with Gen 3:15 (cf. Gal 3:16)

4) Today Jesus does not belong just to the Jews

5) The very purpose of His coming was to destroy the walls that divide mankind and create “one new man in Christ”

6) Today “there is no Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free; for we are all one in Christ”

c. The woman who gave birth is Mary, who represents the people of God – the remnant of believers

2. The Great Red Dragon (vv. 3-4)

a. The dragon is described in terms of evil intent - malevolent power,wisdom and authority (red – heads – horns – crowns)

1) The dragon is clearly identified for us in vs 9 as “the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”

2) Verse 4b tells us that at the birth of the Christ child the Devil attempted to destroy him –

“the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born”

b. This reminds us of the “normal” nativity story in the gospels and tells us something about how the devil works his evil in the world

1) The devil does not come to us as a great red dragon - I wish he did - it would be easier

2) He comes as Herod appearing before the Wise Men

3) He says, “God search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and worship him” (Matt 2:8)

c. The devil comes to us in many disguises – never as himself!

1) Remember Jesus once said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”

2) Paul tells us that Satan sometimes appears as an “angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14)

d. We must be on guard and alert

1) 1 Pet 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeing whom he may devour”

2) The devil is a “liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44)

3) He is the Satanas – the Adversary / Diabolos - the accuser Apollyon - the destroyer

4) He is a master of disguises

3. The Church (vv 9-12 & 17)

a. Satan is a defeated foe

b. He could not destroy the child

c. He could not overcome heaven

d. He is angry and he continues to fight – “he knows his time is short” (v 12d)

e. The church – the NT people of God – Jews and Gentile – people of every tribe and nation – the church bears the brunt of the death throes of Satan

f. But we overcome – we “conquer the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, that we love God more than we love our own lives” (vs 11)


1. READ 12:17

2. The battle against Christmas is real

3. But it’s about more than the word “Christmas” or nativity scenes

4. It is a real battle against principalities and powers

5. It is the ultimate cosmic battle of good against evil

6. It is the battle for the souls of men

7. How can we fight the battle if we don’t believe in the reality of the adversary?

8. Elisha and the Syrian army (2 Kings 6:8-19)

9. 2 Kings 6:17 (ESV)

He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.