“He rules the world with truth and grace” and with the sound of the seventh trumpet, Christ will appear at the end of history to make that rule known and complete. He will “make the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and the wonders of his love”—and the kingdoms of the world will “become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev 11:15).
“Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of the covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail” (11:19). Like the seven trumpet blasts that took down Jericho’s walls, the seven trumpets prepare the world to receive her King. The curtain that separates heaven’s space from earthly space is now gone. God will remove “the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Isa 25:7-8).
It is impossible at this point to take a chronological approach to Revelation. So, it makes sense that chapter 12 presents the Christmas story from a cosmic perspective.
Revelation 12 reveals that Satan is the real mastermind behind persecution. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). “In fact,” says Greg Beale, “the troubles of the persecuted saints occur now not because Satan is too powerful for them but because he has been decisively overthrown … the main point of chapter 12 is the protection of God’s people against Satan because of Christ’s decisive victory over Satan through his death and resurrection.”
John first sees “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars” (Rev 12:1). Portraying the covenant people of faith through whom the promised Messiah would come, “she was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth” (12:2; cf. Isa 54:1-8). The anguish of giving birth, however, is suddenly escalated when a hideous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns appears (Rev 12:3). John tells us that he is the “ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (12:9). His crowns betray his blasphemous claim to world domination. He is the real evil Grinch that wanted to devour Christmas—and he continues to try to steal it to this day.
And the more Satan thought of what Christmas would bring, the more he thought, “I must stop this whole thing. Why, for year after year I’ve put up with it now! I must stop Christmas from coming … but how?” And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore. Then Satan thought of something he hadn’t before. “Make it a holiday, a festival, a party with lights! A shopping spree, a perfect tree, a big guy with frostbite! Sing Santa Baby, Jingle Bells, any song will do. Just keep them singing, All I Want for Christmas is You. They’ll be glad when Christmas is finally over.”
There’s an ancient dragon in the manger. So be sure to tune in next week!