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The Greatest Gift of All


small wooden crate fashioned to hold a small baby, filled with hay and swaddling cloths, bathed in sunlight rays.

There is no greater, complete and perfect gift or promise given to us than that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so in this last month, the final of a 12-month year, I want to focus on that promise. It is December and we are preparing our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth, the fulfillment of God’s promise. His priceless gift of life to those who will believe! Number twelve stands for God’s perfect order; complete, perfect governmental authority and cosmic order……with completeness in its entirety. 


I think twelve is the number found more than any other number in the bible. We only have to look: Israel is made up of twelve tribes, represented by twelve beautiful stones found on Aaron’s breastplate. Twelve spies sent into the promised land, twelve cakes of unleavened bread and twelve Apostles each representing one of the twelve tribes. The list goes on and on.  It has been such a blessing to me as I have looked, dug and followed up on how number twelve is spoken of in so many different ways. I must conclude, twelve is seriously significant to God……. remember, Jesus was twelve years old when he went off on his own to the temple, just beginning to reveal something of who he was.  We can take great comfort in its meaning of perfect order because God has established His perfect plan; it is in place and His perfect authority is unquestionable.


I see twelve, rather like a diamond with many facets. Reflecting so many meanings and understanding, all different, relevant and amazing so much that could be covered.  However, I must choose one and so I will turn to Revelation chapter twelve. It is in this chapter,  the Apostle John shares his vision, and in it is found the story of God’s plan to restore perfect order, perfect authority and government in the world as Jesus has victory over evil in its entirety. Isaiah, hundreds of years before, had prophesied this  in Isaiah 9.6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”


The writer, Apostle John captures the birth of this child Jesus Christ, His glorious victory against satan’s desperate attempt to annihilate Him and if not Him, then His church. We must always remember when reading Revelation, it was written to encourage and comfort God’s people revealing His victory over evil. It was not written to confuse or to give us a blueprint for the future.  In my bible this chapter has a heading, “The Woman and the Dragon” and in Revelation 11:15 it says they were heralded by the sound of the 7th Trumpet with voices saying,  “The Kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Messiah and He will reign forever and ever.” and this is followed by John’s vision. A vision that reveals three characters …..the woman, the dragon and the man child. The woman is wearing a crown of twelve stars, representing first of all the people of God in the old covenant and the twelve tribes of Israel. She is waiting to give birth to the Messiah, the promised one who has been sent to save, to rule the Nations, the one spoken of from Genesis to Revelation. As He is born, He is caught up into heaven, up to God and is snatched from the jaws of the enormous red dragon who is waiting to devour Him. Satan believed that he had won when Christ was crucified, but no, he was defeated and he was hurled to the earth.


John describes this as a war that took place in heaven as the angel Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, defeating the great serpent and hurling him to the earth ……..and then it was done! Satan had been rendered a defeated foe. (Revelation 7:12)

He may be defeated and ejected from the heavens but he is enraged and goes after the woman who flees into the desert. The woman here represents the church and her twelve stars, the twelve apostles. She is the Church which as we know is born out of Christ, a Jew from Bethlehem, heir to the throne of David, descended from the tribe of Judah. He is the promised Messiah, “Immanuel” God with us, revealing the Kingdom of God. Her flight is not random, she flees to a place prepared for her by God, where He nourishes and feeds her for a period of time, which perhaps represents the gospel age. A time when satan having failed to defeat Christ goes after the church, that is us; you and me. It is the battle we fight until we go to be with the Lord or He comes to be with us, but let us always remember that God has prepared a way for us and He will strengthen and sustain us no matter what comes our way, but it is a battle.

 

Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Satan is enraged and will fight tooth and nail to steal and destroy where he can. He is without any moral consideration and will attack in any way, he is able to kill and destroy but for those in Christ, he has no power. God’s ultimate plan has rendered the evil one powerless, his rebellion against God has been dealt with at the cross and as we come to Christ, we are no longer part of this rebellion. We are no longer following the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 1:7) We are redeemed, washed in the blood of Christ, part of His glorious Kingdom.


Revelation 12:10

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation,  the power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.


Take heed, take heart; for the only power that satan has over our lives is that which we give him. He will lie to us, accuse us and tempt us. He will do all that he can to undermine our faith, render us helpless and harmless but in Christ we have overcome. John, in his vision of an enraged red dragon going after the woman is warning and comforting the church, for satan will unleash his anger on believers but God through Jesus Christ has made provision for our safety and protection.  In Christ we are more than conquerors for Revelation 12:11 says “And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony.” We spoke of that last month. We are not working and waiting for victory, but working because victory has already been won and we stand in that place where we shall ultimately triumph no matter how much persecution we must endure in this life. 


The number twelve almost wants to burst with meaning. As I said earlier it is so prominent and relevant in the scriptures. You will find it everywhere. Here in closing is a picture of God’s awesome provision. Exodus 15:27 “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” The Israelites were tired and thirsty. They had been grumbling and after trials plus bitter water at Marah they finally came to Elim.  Oh! what a sight to behold, not one spring but twelve and seventy palms. Great big trees that can reach massive heights, as much as 80 feet, bearing fruit, giving shade and offering a place of rest. The psalmist describes the righteous as one who flourishes like a palm tree and one that will grow like a cedar planted in the house of the Lord, flourishing in His courts. (Psalm 92:12) Elim, means place of strong trees and can also mean the realization of fullness of life, strength, and cleansing. Truth for the whole man; and a realization of victory (twelve being a number representing fullness in the spiritual.) A picture of God’s supernatural provision of living water, peace and rest found only in Christ.


As we complete our year may we celebrate, thoroughly and joyously! Count every blessing and give thanks. It is a time of great joy for it has brought such a great promise. God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, has come to earth to fulfill God’s perfect plan, for the redemption of mankind, to restore what was and to give life in all its fullness. A life of security in Christ, fellowship with God the Father and His son Jesus through the power and wonder of God the Holy Spirit. It was no ordinary day, when Christ was born. The child born of a virgin promised in Genesis, experienced by the early disciples, left a testimony that, when believed, transforms man from death to life with the promise of everlasting life with God. 


God bless each one of you and may you be strengthened in all your being as you meditate on God’s word, spend time in His presence and share your testimony as you relish your place of wonder and victory in this world. We are His mouthpiece, His voice speaking life and hope into a darkened world.  Be Blessed, be strong for the Lord God loves you with an everlasting love.


Wishing you all a blessed and happy Christmas.

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