Reared in the 70’s and 80’s, I grew up in the Star Wars generation. Starting in 1977 with the original movie and carrying on through today with the Force Awakens. As a culture, we can’t get enough of this galactic battle that spans generations. Starting with young Anakin Skywalker and ending with his grandson Ben Solo (Kylo Ren). The movie transitions through different times and characters, but the war is ultimately good versus evil. The main villains are Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) and his master Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine). These two use the “dark side” of the force to gain control of every aspect of the galactic republic. This includes political and military power, as well as control of the lives of its citizens. Most scenes of the cities life depict a life of corruption and filth. Thieves and bounty hunters abound characterized by immorality and greed. The “good side” of the force (the Jedi), once influenced and protected the republic, are now seemingly defeated without hope and hiding to protect their own lives. The emperor, and his second in command (Vader) with the dark side of the force are all united and committed to the utter destruction of good.
This all is seemingly familiar with the first century church in the book of Revelation. At the time of the writing of Revelation, the church has suffered years of physical and intense persecution under Roman emperors and their generals (second in command). This includes the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple. Furthermore, the church was under attack with the infiltration of false teachers and leaders causing dissension and spreading false doctrine. Rome and her territories have taken on the “spirit of Babylon”. Wealth without measure, an infrastructure and army like none other seen on the face of the earth before this time, and emperors that demanded to be worshiped and crushed anyone that dared opposed them. The church is in hiding, seemingly defeated with and no chance of escape. The Dragon and his second in command, the Beast, are engaging in full assault on Christ’s church. They have used every weapon at their disposal which includes government oppression, false religion, persecution and seduction. Their favorite weapon of choice is deception; they work hard to convince the church to believe the lie; there is no hope! Why resist when resistance is futile? In Star Wars, before battling, Darth Vader tells Luke “You underestimate the Dark side of the Force” and tells him he will meet his destiny trying to cast doubt in Luke’s mind. The Dragon will also stop at nothing to accomplish his purpose; seeking out destruction of the people of God.
Revelation 17 starts out with the angel carrying away John to the wilderness where he witnessed judgement of the great prostitute who had immoral relations with the kings of the earth. The kings handed power over to the beast and wage war on the Lamb. We see in Luke chapter 4:1-12, where Jesus fasted in the wilderness 40 days and was tempted by the devil and was offered the kingdoms of the earth. If I ended here, it would be a dark and untimely ending. But Glory to God, we know how it ends. In Star Wars, the emperor is killed, Darth Vader is turned back to the light and the era of darkness ends. In Revelation, we see the glorious and victorious Lord Jesus Christ! “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14). We know the ending…Christ’s church will be victorious. In the meantime, Paul instructs us to put on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). We have been given the Gospel of Peace! Preach it to yourself, apply it and proclaim it to others.