Summary: There are 2 things that happened behind the scenes of 2013. You'll see those same two things next year...
Have you ever been given a backstage pass to a concert? Or maybe you watched a video that explained to you all the things that happened behind the scenes of your favorite movie. When you watch a concert or go to a movie, you’re hardly aware of all the things that happened – the directors, the producers, the people who are working the cameras and the microphones and the lights, the special effects crew, the actors and actresses and what they do to get ready – so many things happen behind the scenes that we don’t see as we watch the movie or the activity on the stage.
The same thing is true for the birth of Christ, or the “nativity” as we call it. It seems like a peaceful event – it’s night time, there’s the stable, Joseph and Mary are there, the baby Jesus is lying in a manger, sleeping in heavenly peace. Silent night. All is calm. But behind the scenes, all is not calm, all is not bright. How do we know this?
The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of what happened behind the scenes of the birth of Christ. This morning, we are going to take a look at that. And as we do, we will gain a fresh perspective on the birth of Christ. This part of the Bible also gives us a behind the scenes look at our lives today. God pulls the curtain back, and let’s us see what is really happening in the spiritual world that is just as real as the physical world in which we live. Let’s take a look, let’s go behind the scenes, and may God bless us as we do.
We find ourselves in the book of Revelation chapter 12. This book is a very unique book in the Bible. The Apostle John is the writer. He had been banished to an island by the Roman government – a prison sentence – because he would not stop talking about Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. There he was, all by himself on that island, and then Jesus appeared to him. Jesus wanted to encourage John and the other Christians who were experiencing persecution, so he gave John a behind the scenes look at what was happening in the world. The first 11 chapters of Revelation are filled with signs and pictures that symbolize things and teach us about God.
In verse 1 of chapter 12, Jesus pulls back the curtain, and this is what John sees behind the scenes: “A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” What was the sign or symbol that John saw? A woman. Now, who does this woman symbolize? Lots of people think that this was just the Virgin Mary, because the next verse says, “She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” Was this Mary? Yes, but not just Mary. Later in this chapter the Bible pictures her being chased by the Devil, and all of her offspring being persecuted by the Devil. Who is this woman? It’s the Christian Church. It’s Eve, and all the Old Testament believers and New Testament believers and you and me. For unto us a child is born, the prophet Isaiah says.
What else do we see behind the scenes… “Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.” What is this? Other parts of the Bible tell us that this symbolizes the Devil. Behind the scenes of the Nativity, the Devil was there. He’s pictured here as a very powerful creature: “His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.” And what was this powerful creature, Satan, doing behind the scenes at the birth of Christ? “The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.” Satan was doing everything he could to destroy God's plan of salvation. He knew that when Jesus was born into the world, the end was near for him. He knew that Jesus would take away our sins, and save us from hell.
And so behind the scenes, Satan was doing whatever he could to stop that from happening. Remember all the things the Devil did to stop God’s plan of salvation? Before Jesus was born, Satan tried to destroy God’s chosen people with foreign nations like the Babylonians and the Assyrians. After Jesus was born, Satan was behind the scenes, using King Herod who sent his soldiers to Bethlehem, to kill all the baby boys, but Jesus escaped. We don’t always see Satan in the life of Jesus, but he was always there, behind the scenes, trying to derail God’s plan of salvation.