Greek Apocalyptic Sermon “The Third Nativity” Rev 12:1-6, 13-18 -- By: Gerald L. Stevens

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:1 (Spring 2017)
Article: Greek Apocalyptic Sermon “The Third Nativity” Rev 12:1-6, 13-18
Author: Gerald L. Stevens

Greek Apocalyptic Sermon
“The Third Nativity” Rev 12:1-6, 13-18

Gerald L. Stevens

Gerald L. Stevens is Professor of New Testament and Greek at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.

I want to speak to you this morning about the third nativity. We’re very familiar with two nativity stories in the New Testament. Most of us are not aware that the New Testament actually has three nativity stories. We’re very familiar with Matthew’s nativity story. Matthew has the magi and all those other elements that give us the famous props and scenes for Christmas plays. We’re also very familiar with Luke’s nativity story with the famous hymn, the Magnificat of Mary, and the other wonderful songs representative of God’s poor who sing out to God that his righteousness will defend them in their day of need. So we know well the stories that give us those manger scenes and angels declaring glory to God in the highest to the shepherds. These stories become a part of our pageantry and the pomp and circumstance of our Christmas season. So, we’re very familiar with two of the nativity stories in the New Testament. However, we are much less familiar with the third nativity story. In fact, some may never even have heard this story.

Indeed, the New Testament does have a third story of the nativity. That third nativity, however, is wrapped up in apocalyptic. This mysterious apocalyptic style obscures the message for a hearer untrained in apocalyptic ways. The third nativity in the New Testament is in Revelation 12. I invite you to turn in your Bibles to this twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation. Here in this chapter you have another Christmas story, just not as familiar to you as the other two Gospel stories. With chapter twelve, John has composed another word for us for Christmas season. Listen again to what John wrote.

And a great sign appeared in the heaven. A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head, a crown of twelve stars. She was with child, and she cries out agonizing to give birth. And, another sign was seen in the heaven. Behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads, seven diadems. His tail dragged a third of the stars of heaven, and he threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was going to give birth in order that when she gave birth, he might devour her child. She bore a male child who is going to shepherd all the nations with a rod of iron. And her child was snatched to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she has there a place prepared by God in order that she might be nourished one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

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