Star Wars (the back story of Epiphany)
Star Wars - Dr. Gregg Strawbridge
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.
The War in Mythology - Epiphany marks the manifestation of the light of God’s revelation in the Incarnation. Behind the vivid story of the star and the Magi, there is the diabolical Herod who seeks to devour the child on earth. Above that is a heavenly war as the Dragon seeks to devour the Child of the woman. The same story is known to the pagans of old in they “pictures” before the Word (C.S. Lewis). In the Greek myth of the birth of Apollo, when the child’s mother, the goddess Leto, reached the time of her delivery, she was pursued by the dragon Python who sought to kill both her and her unborn child. Only the tiny island of Delos welcomed the mother, where she gave birth to the god Apollo. Four days after his birth, Apollo found Python at Parnassus and killed him in his Delphic cave. In Egypt it is Set the red dragon who pursues Isis, the pregnant mother of Horus. When the child is grown, he too kills the dragon. These stories were living myths in the first century.
The War in Heaven - The Rev. 12 provides a prophetic vision of this war. It provides an “archetypical” representation, as well as descriptions of the short term historical fulfillments. In this case, we have the sign in the stars (literally) of the arch-picture of the Woman (Eve) seeking to birth the Seed. This happens over millennia (from Eve to Mary). She is clothed with the “sun, moon and twelve stars,” symbols of Israel (Gen. 37: 9). The long labor of Israel gave birth (through Mary) to The Seed, Jesus who is incarnate and ascends (12:5). The great red dragon seeks to devour the Child. The imagery shifts, then (12:6) to speak of the Woman as the Church who flees to the wilderness for 3 1/2 years and is nourished by God (as in the Exodus manna). The archetypical pattern of the great war is found in vs 7, where Michael (probably Jesus) and the angels defeat the dragon and his angels.
The War on Earth - On earth, over history the Woman (Eve/Israel) seeks to give birth to the Seed, while the dragon seeks to devour, such as in the slaughter of the Hebrew boys by Pharaoh, Haman’s plans to kill all Jews, the slaughter of the children by Herod, and finally, the futile killing of Jesus. The celestial angelic battle is the first battle of the fall of Satan (as an archetype) and this battle is official and historical at the Cross. Christ provided for the judicial Victory of God on the cross. Then (actually) the great dragon was thrown down to deceive the whole world (oikomene). Thus, in the first century as a result of the work of Christ, Shatan (Heb., the accuser/prosecutor, Ps. 109:6) is sent out of the heavenly court, once for all. Therefore, “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.” (12:10). Meanwhile back in history, the dragon persecutes the woman (Church), the believing Jewish church (Acts 3:7). Yet the Church is protected in the dispersion for a time by “the two wings of the great eagle” (Rome). The Church enjoyed some peace from the dispersion after Stephen’s martyrdom until AD 44 (Acts 9:31). Then, the deceiving serpent seeks to destroy the Church by false doctrine (water from the mouth of the serpent, Rev. 12:16, likely the Judaizing heresy). The “earth came to the help of the woman” (possibly, the earthly powers suppressed the rage of the Judaistic false teachers, e.g., Acts 18:6 Gallio). As a result, the dragon sought “the rest of her seed” (the Gentile Church). This sets the stage for the next series of beastly incarnations, leading to the Neronian persecution of the Church.
The Gospel in the Stars. The Dragon is between the Virgin and the Pole Star (God's throne in the far north). The Dragon is pointed toward the Virgin. The moon, the holy bride-people, is under the Virgin, supporting her feet. She is enthroned on Israel. That is, the Godly line is supported by the whole nation of the Church. The Sun clothes her. God is her light. Over her head are the twelve stars (constellations). Immediately overhead is the Lion of Judah. Then, in astrological order: The Lion is Judah, the Crab is Issachar, the Twins are Zebulun, the Bull is Ephraim, the Lamb i
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more
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