A Spiritual Battle – Michael, the Real Christmas Angel
By Jack Popjes
What did the first Christmas look like from God’s perspective? Jack takes a look at the heavenly “invasion” and the spiritual battle that continues on.
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An Ordinary Christmas?
That first Christmas was so ordinary. Yes, even a bit “Ho hum”. We have heard the familiar story over and over again. We have sung about it repeatedly and watched numberless Christmas plays – almost to the point of boredom.
It was all so very human, so very common. Look at these every day, commonplace elements: a busy family bustling about; a worried husband doing his best to prepare a bed, making do with the best of what is left; a young pregnant woman feeling worn out from days of travel; tired donkeys resting while their owners sleep; some simple shepherds watching for ewes about to give birth.
It was all so human, so earthy, so predictable, and so utterly normal. All is calm; peace on earth.
What do you think this looked like from a cosmic, God-oriented view? The birth of Jesus was an invasion – a one-man invasion, or rather a one-God invasion, with nothing like peace and calm about it!
A Different Look
Check out the elements listed symbolically in Revelation 12. There’s nothing simple and human about these!
Instead of a humble pregnant peasant girl, here is a woman, symbolizing the nation of Israel, about to give birth to a King who would rule the nations with immense power, symbolized by an iron scepter.
Instead of tired donkeys, here is a ferocious dragon, symbolizing Satan, ready to devour the Child as soon as He is born!
Instead of wondering shepherds silently kneeling near a manger, here are armies of angels and demons at war.
Instead of Gabriel leading an angel chorus chanting praises, here is Michael leading his angel armies to victory in heaven, and violently evicting Satan and his armies.
A Spiritual Battle
This war continues on earth. We, God’s people, are His armies, battling in prayer against enemies in the spiritual realm. We struggle against every kind of opposition to spread the Good News of God’s love and the gift of His Son. We work hard to evangelize the world and disciple the nations.
We all know churches that reach out to the community to bring people the Good News.
We have heard of Bible translators and other missionaries who reveal God to people as by giving them His Word in a familiar language.
We read dozens of stories of the newly translated Word coming to people groups for the first time.
It is all so very human, so very common. Look at these every day, commonplace elements: Jack, a young man and his wife Jo, train to be translators, they leave home, spend years learning the language and the culture, write letters home, receive cheques from supporters, figure out an alphabet, endure loneliness, train others, suffer tropical diseases, check manuscripts, teach, translate, get older, and on and on, until finally the Word is published, joyous celebrations are held, and new churches are grown.
During the past seventy years, it has been done over a thousand times. It is all so human, so earthy, so predictable, and so utterly normal.
What do you think this looks like from a cosmic, God-oriented view?
No, it doesn’t look like just one more translation program, but like an invasion into Satan’s territory.
An angelic army backs up the small team of human liberators fighting their way through the defenses of the occupying forces.
Fierce battles break out and Satan counterattacks as he sees his traditional hold on hidden peoples and cultures begin to loosen.
Violent conflicts erupt in unearthly places for the souls of men and women, who, for the first time, are beginning to catch a glimpse of a spiritual world they never knew existed.
Then, as their ferocious age-old enemy is beaten back, the newly freed people groups move from fearing demons and evil spirits to trusting a loving heavenly Father.
Michael, The Real Christmas Angel
Gabriel is a mere messenger. The great archangel Michael is the real Christmas angel. He is the commanding general of God’s invading armies in the continuing cosmic battle that started at the first Christmas. And all humans have a part in this battle.
Now that is exciting! Just as God chose Mary to give birth to the Living Word of God so that He would be revealed to all mankind, so He chooses us to bring the Living Written Word to all the people groups of the world.
Most of what we see around us with our physical eyes is transitory. The only things permanent and eternal are the Word of God and the souls of people.
That is why we look around with the eyes of faith. We continue to work and to struggle, knowing that what we do in God’s power here on earth has significant, eternal consequences in the permanent world inhabited by God and His angelic armies.
Celebrate the Great Invasion this Christmas.
Jack Popjes and his wife, Jo, worked in Brazil for 24 years, completing the linguistic, literacy and Bible translation program among the Canela people in 1990. They traveled for two years in a mini-motorhome throughout North America, speaking at hundreds of churches, conferences, and promotional events. Jack then served as president of Wycliffe Canada for six years and of Wycliffe Caribbean for three years. Wycliffe USA published three books of his story-based columns. He is now writing volume two of a four-volume autobiography. Jack and Jo have three married daughters and eight grandchildren.
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HopeStreamRadio has been a huge blessing to me. Since I moved away from an area that had a lot of good Christian radio I have been looking for a station that I could listen to and be encouraged by. HSR has filled that void and it has also been exciting to be a part of the team that contributes to HSR.Mike from MS