Wednesday, September 7, 2011

another case of the text not saying that

There are time I read something, and I wind up asking "How on Earth did they find that in there?" I gave an example of it a few days ago, but that was from a Sojrone, and that's par for the course for them. This one is from what I think is the other side of the political aisle.

The Dominion Process

Perhaps many of the events mentioned in the Bible as being signs of Christ’s return are instigated by the church.Take for instance Satan’s reaction to the dominion authority of the advancing church.

"Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Revelation 12:10-12

According to this verse, many of the subsequent events in the Book of Revelation are due to the fact that the church has taken the initiative and cornered the devil, and like a frightened animal, he comes out fighting because he knows his days are numbered.

So, which of those verses says what this writers says it says?

First, context.

Revelation 12

1And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and
the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; 2and
she was the child; and she crieth out, travailing in birth, and in pain to be
delivered. 3And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great
red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven
diadems. 4And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and
did cast them to the earth: and the dragon standeth before the woman that
is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered he may devour her
child. 5And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all the
nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and unto
his throne. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a
place prepared of God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two
hundred and threescore days. 7And there was war in heaven: Michael and
his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and
his angels; 8And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any
more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he
that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was
cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. 10And I
heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the
power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for
the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our
God day and night. 11And they overcame him because of the blood of the
Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not
their life even unto death. 12Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon
saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that
brought forth the man child. 14And there were given to the woman the two
wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness unto her
place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from
the face of the serpent. 15And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the
woman water as a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the
stream. 16And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her
mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17And the dragon waxed wroth with the woman, and went away to make
war with the rest of her seed, that keep the commandments of God, and
hold the testimony of Jesus:

So, again, where is anything said here about the church "taking the initiative" and "cornering the devil"?

The woman mentioned at the first part of the passage seems to represent Israel. Her son seems to be Jesus. Then there is the account of a war in Heaven, and in a blow against the no pre-emptive war people (as if the concept of war in Heaven isn't enough to deflate the extreme pacifists out there), it seems that Michael and his angels start that battle, and even win, casting the dragon from Heaven and to Earth, along with those angels on his side.

The only mention of the church, except maybe at the end, is from the voice John heard, the words the dominionist writer refers to. 11And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. Where are the concepts of "taking the initiative" and "cornering the devil" here?

When the devil realizes he has been defeated and cast out of Heaven, who does he persecute? The woman mentioned at the first part of the passage, Israel. And when he couldn't harm her, he turns his attention to who are called "the rest of her seed, that keep the commands of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus". These are Christians, though if it means the whole church or Jewish believers or some other subgroup of Christians, I'm not sure. May be something worth studying into.

But some things are pretty clear in this passage--the devil's hatred is primarily directed at Israel and at Christ. He was not cast out of Heaven by the church cornering him or taking the initiative, but by angels taking the fight to him and his. Even after being cast out of Heaven, he wants to harm Israel. The church is at best a bit player in this passage.

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