Monday, December 21, 2009

Comsic Christmas: Quail-man and the Battle for Heaven

Am I the only one that watched Nickolodean's Doug? I know I'm not. I am probably the only one who will admit it. If you won't admit it, let me explain the show. It was about a kid growing up in a normal town, with normal parents, a normal sister, and a blue best friend. Granted, Doug was a bit of a loser, but so was I.

One interesting feature of the show was that every event usually occurred in two different realms. The first realm was his own personal life. Perhaps he is fighting with his sister or tying to talk to a girl he likes. The main point is usually how he overcomes these obstacles. But . . . the same events occur in another realm, in his head. Everything he does in real life affects the storyline in his head.

For instance, let's say he is struggling against a bully in his real life. In his head he becomes a superhero, named Quail-Man, and the bully grows into a huge monster. They begin to fight. The rest of the show cuts between these two realms, and whatever happens in real life is translated into some crazy outcomes in his imagination. If he gets embarrassed in front of a group of people by a bully, then in his head the monster grabs Quail-man and throws him into the moon. If Doug somehow manages to get back at the bully, Quail-man will descend from space and deal a blow back at the monster.

The place where the real drama is happening is in reality, the image in his mind is just an illustration of how he feels about it. I believe that is what we have here in Revelation 12. The story operates on two levels. The first level is what is happening on earth. The image of the son showed us that Jesus is dealing a death blow to Satan through his death on the cross, resurrection, and exaltation. But . . . Jesus' atoning work also affects events in heaven. It gives the archangel Michael the power needed to sign an eviction notice for Satan. Michael is able to cast Satan out of heaven for good, and the Devil is no longer allowed to accuse the saints. Isn't that a great truth?! Because Christ died for sins, Satan can no longer accuse us!! Instead of an accuser, we have an advocate!

Unfortunately, in some views this great truth gets lost, because it doesn't fit in their chronology. Some see a defeat or fall of Satan and take this back to the beginning, to Satan's supposed fall from heaven. He wanted to be more powerful than God, and his pride caused his fall. However, iss that what this passage is talking about? I don't believe that an honest reading of this passage in context would lead to that conclusion. It seems clear that this event is linked with the Jesus' work on the cross. This defeat was enacted by Christ's death and resurrection, and did not take place before the fall of man.

Some dispensationalists believe this fall of Satan happens at the mid point of a 7 year tribulation period. Others put this fall at the beginning of the tribulation, saying that the appearance of the saints in heaven drives out the presence of Satan. In this view, salvation in Revelation 12 is watered down from redemption to being saved from the plagues during the end-times. What a travesty! This beautiful passage about the joy of our salvation is destroyed in order to save a system. This passage is an artistic description of our salvation from sin and accusation because Christ has taken our penalty. It is a wonderful picture of the gospel.

The preterist comes closer, but still distorts the point. Michael becomes an image for Jesus and his angels are images for the apostles. They carry forward the message of the gospel and bind the dragon and reduce his power. They cite John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." So, this becomess a historical earthly event, taking place under the power of apostles preaching the good news. However, I believe that this passage is even more significant than that. It is nothing short of the utter defeat of Satan at the hands of Christ It describes our accuser being tossed out of heaven, because of our advocate's nail scarred hands.

What do you think? I will flesh out some implications of this next.

Logical Point of Interest:

Please don't let your system crush beautiful passages of Scripture. I am not sure how all the chronology here fits, but I refuse to re-explain this passage, because it doesn't fit nicely in my boxes. I urge you to do the same.

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