OK. Be prepared to call me a geek. I deserve it. Why? Probably for many reasons, but let me give you one more: I am a giant Star Wars fan. It’s true. I grew up in the 1970’s/80’s and like many people during that time I was a big fan of those big movies. Now, the latest three movies were good, but for my dollar you just can’t replace “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi.” Ewoks excluded, those were awesome movies.
Now, as long as I am clearing the air about this, you need to know how deep my Star Wars fixation went in my early days. I woke up every morning in my Star Wars underoos in my Star Wars wallpapered bedroom, walked past my collection of Star Wars toys to grab my Star Wars lunch box and head off to school where at recess, someone was probably going to be called “Chewie.” Yes, it ran that deep.
What is the fascination about these movies? Is it the special effects, the colorful characters, the imaginative settings, or the deep voice of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader? Yes . . . but I believe there is an even deeper reason for our love for these classics: the storyline.
Now, I realize by saying that I have probably lost all credibility in your mind. After all, the scripts of these (now 6) movies are some of the most basic in all of entertainment. The writing is not necessarily witty or clever or deep. However, there is a key component of these storylines that make them so appealing to all of us (in my humble opinion.) When you boil it all down, the Star Wars movies are a clear battle of good vs. evil. The good guys wear white, and the bad guys wear black. The good guys have one color light saber, and the bad guys have another. The good guys are country boys (real people), and the bad guys are either disfigured or machines. It is clear cut, and in a world that often appears to be more gray than black and white, we love the chance to cheer for the good guy (why do you think we like comic books and superhero movies so much?)
If you are like me and you like stories with clear moral lines drawn, then you will love the story of Revelation 12:1-13:1. In this one chapter, God flies over the top of history to give us a “Star Wars” like good guys vs. bad guys story that George Lucas wishes he could copyright. In this story there is a woman who symbolizes God’s people, Israel. She exists in the world and is about to give birth to a Son, Jesus, who will one day rule the earth. While she is preparing for the birth of the child, a war breaks out in heaven. In this war, an evil dragon, Satan, fights against the good angel Michael, and is defeated. The defeated dragon falls to the earth taking a number of storm troopers, (uh, I mean) angels/demons with him. Though the dragon was defeated in heaven, he hopes to prevail on the earth, but every effort he takes ends in defeat. He tries to eliminate Jesus, but cannot. He tries to accuse the followers of Jesus, but because of Christ, the accusations do not stick. He tries to eliminate Israel all together, but God protects His nation.
This is a classic interaction! On a cosmic scale, we have the all time greatest good vs. evil story . . . and good triumphs at every turn. What makes this story even more amazing for us is that it is all true. Though it may read like science fiction (I have posted it below), it is all true and unfolding history. What is great is that this is a story with no cliff hanger. At the end of the day, we will not hear that the dragon is our father. Our Heavenly Father is the One we belong to, and He will win the day. That is why we should stay with Him. Satan is regularly defeated and he does not take it well. He is quite angry and stands on the edge of our lives beckoning us to come over to the dark side. However, knowing how the story ends, that would be a stupid move. Anyone who saw Anakin become Vader in Episode 3, had to be thinking, “That is not a good decision young man. One day, you will regret dawning the black cape. It does not end well.” Reading Revelation 12 ought to be encouragement to us to stay the course with Christ knowing His victory is assured and Satan’s defeat has already been decided.
In the world in which we live, to our eyes, we often see more gray than black and white. Reading passages like this correct our vision and remind us that on the cosmic stage, the war among the stars has already been won. This Christmas, we reflect upon a cosmic victory won for us in Christ Jesus.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.