“They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit”
It can be overwhelming. Before this Tolkien wrote, “it was a weary journey...there was no laughter or song or sound of harps...they knew that they were drawing near to the end of their journey, and that it might be a very horrible end. The land about them grew bleak and barren...” A lot of believers have this perspective as they look at sin’s effects in the world and in their own lives. However, the “desolation” is not the whole of the picture, especially for believers. Let’s sit at the feet of the apostle who himself saw the dragon in vision (Revelation 12:1-17; 20:1-3).
This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all...if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin...I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him Who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know Him Who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us...whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil...beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error...we know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 1:5,7; 2:12-19; 3:8; 4:1-6; 5:18,19).
Yes, John saw the dragon and his effects on the world. That wicked serpent has been lying and producing offspring in the world from the beginning (Genesis 3:1-15; John 8:44) – his work is not limited to the “end times” (did you notice that John said it was the “last hour” two millennia ago?). Throughout human history the desolation of the dragon has been wrought in every generation, every corner of the earth, every place in the human heart and mind. But this is not the whole of the story. As we walk through the Desolation of the Dragon in the waning of the year, may we walk in fellowship with the Father and the Son (and therefore each other). Let us walk in Christ’s victory over the works of the dragon. Let us walk in His light, His forgiveness. Let us walk in His protection from the love of the world, the false prophets, and the antichrists who rise up within the congregation and then go forth, cringing under the bright light of the truth of the Word of God. The song-less gloom is not the spirit of the saint redeemed and re-born in Christ, no matter how loudly the spin doctors of darkness tell us to be in fear.
Rejoice in the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, walking in the light by the power of the Spirit of truth, walking together as the Church, walking in victory over the Desolation of the Dragon at the waning of the year.