Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Dragon of Revelation 12, and the Incessant Attack on Christmas

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 (Revelation 12:1-4).

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the church became embroiled in a theological war between the modernists (the children of the enlightenment) and the fundamentalists (believers in orthodoxy). And what doctrine do you suppose was contested most vigorously? The Virgin Birth.

The modernists said four things: A virgin birth (a) has never happened before (b) has never happened since (c) could not be observed empirically (d) could not be repeated scientific setting. In other words, they took the tools of empirical observation, applied them to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, and rejected it.   

But this is exactly the limitation of the naturalistic sciences. Science can only study that which is "inside the box" of the observable world. But the Lordship of our Sovereign God extends to both the natural/material and supernatural realms. Science is limited by definition.

But conversely, God is not limited in any way. As I have so often preached to my congregation, if Genesis 1:1 is true “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth…” then absolutely everything else in the rest of the Scripture is possible. 

When science says it doubts the Virgin Birth because it cannot be repeated in a lab, Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantinga says it’s a lot like a drunk driver insisting on looking for his lost car keys only under the bright streetlight, on the grounds that the light is better there![1]

But now we must ask, Why does the wicked seven-headed dragon attack the Virgin Birth so strenuously and aggressively?
The answer is that the Virgin Birth of Christ is the one domino--that if Satan could cause to fall--would destroy the whole of Christianity. If the Virgin Birth is not a fact rooted in the dusty hills of Palestine in the city of Nazareth 2,000 years ago, then our Bibles are not inerrant, because Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:35 expressly say that it was so. Furthermore,

  • If Christ was not born of a Virgin, then the full deity and full humanity of Christ would be impossible. 
  • If Christ was not fully divine, then His sinless life would be impossible. 
  • If Christ sinned even one time, He could not have laid down His life on the cross for our sins as an atonement of satisfaction and propitiation. 
  • If Christ did not lay down His life for us, our forgiveness and renewal would be impossible.
 In other words, tipping over this one domino would ruin the entire Christian faith.

If it could ever be proven somehow that Jesus was not born of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, He would not be worthy of our worship. But if He is—truly man and truly God—as I proclaim to you today that He is, He is worthy of our eternal praise. Amen. 

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. 

[1] Quoted in Tim Keller. The Reason for God. 86.

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