Sermons

Summary: Evil, Victory, Worldly seduction

SEE EVIL CLEARLY

Rev. 12-18

INTRODUCTION

I don’t know if any of you have ever had to go to the eye doctor and have those drops put in your eyes that dilate your pupils. Anyone ever had that done? Me, too. Once as a child and once as an adult.

When I was a child I was diagnosed with astigmatism which caused me to have a lazy eye, a slightly crossed eye. They dilated my pupils, did tests and gave me glasses. Glasses in the 60s were a little like tennis shoes. You could have black or white Chuck Taylors, high top or low top (I always got Chuck Taylor high tops—black). With glasses you could have black plastic rims or brown plastic rims. I chose the black. (They matched my tennis shoes). But I hated them. Here’s a picture (show picture).

They helped me see things clearly, even after that horrible dilating stuff wore off. But I lost six pairs between my 8th and 9th year. And mom finally gave up.

As an adult I had my pupils dilated last year. The doctor asked how long I’d gone without glasses and I told him about 45 years. He did some tests, told me I still had that astigmatism and prescribed bi-focals. When I put them on it was like 3D, high def television. “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” Seeing clearly had removed “all the obstacles in my way.”

If there’s one thing the devil, our enemy wants to do, it’s to keep us from seeing him clearly. He wants to disguise his true identity. And because each of us have a “sinful astigmatism” (yes, I made that up) of the heart we’re easily deceived when, as Paul says in 2 Cor. 11:14 “satan masquerades as an angel of light.” The word for masquerade is similar to the word hypocrite, “someone who wears a mask.”

Satan knows if we ever saw him unmasked we would run in terror. We’d be overcome with disgust. We’d recoil at his real appearance in terror.

So “satan, the serpent of old, the great dragon who’s been thrown out of heaven to earth because he was not strong enough to take God’s place in heaven, even with the help of one-third of the angels he lost the war, was cast to earth, and so were those angels who followed him.” (Rev. 12:9)

Read Revelation 12:1-9.

In Revelation 12-14 John rips back the veil on the spiritual realm and the

l. Angel of Light is “Unmasked”

“Behind satan’s mask is a blood red, murderous grotesque dragon. He spreads his leathery wings, malice and hate drip from his jagged teeth and he sears his enemies with fiery, sulfurous breath.” (Matt Proctor)

He is huge and hideous and intimidating. We jump back in revulsion. There is nothing subtle or hidden in his appearance here. The absolute “evil one” has been unmasked. When you see this picture of the devil, even a child would recognize this creature is wicked to the core.

My wife collects manger scenes. She has crystal ones, Precious Moments ones, she even has an Eskimo one (show picture). But what if I did this—inserted a horrible dragon in the middle of the manger scene. The birth of Jesus is a familiar, heartwarming story, until I put something hideous in the middle of it. Something that towers over the happy faced Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. An evil monster in the loveable nativity changes it from a Normal Rockwell picture into a Stephen King novel. What does it mean?

In Revelation 12 we sense a shift in the book. For the past six chapters we have witnessed mayhem on planet earth, but now the camera points upward to the heavens. And we discover that wars and rumors of wars also take place in an invisible world as large as the cosmos itself.

In Chapter 12 John suddenly sees “a great and wondrous sign” in heaven, a large pregnant woman wearing a crown of 12 stars preparing to give birth “to a son who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” (Rev. 12:5). The baby described here as in Psalm 2:9 is “the Messiah.” Who is the lady? She’s too big to be little Mary. She is probably Israel, the Messiah’s mother nation and the 12 stars represent her 12 tribes (Gen. 37:9)

Matt Proctor in his devotion on Revelation writes a description better than I ever could. Listen:

“So we are at the nativity, Christ soon to be born. But suddenly a great red dragon appears—so large his tail sweeps a third of the stars from the heavens—bent on killing the almost-born child. “The reptile is a crimson gash, violating the sky,” and we cringe, anticipating the baby’s bloody, violent end. The child is born, the dragon lunges, we hold our breath…and at the last possible moment the child is rescued by God!

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