Eternity Caught In A One-Act Play
"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery. And another portent appeared in heaven; behold a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
-Revelation 12: 1-6
In the 169 words of this RSV-CE translation of the vision St. John received from Christ, the Evangelist presents the entire history of salvation from the fall of Lucifer to the Final Judgement. With four characters, God, the woman, her son, and the dragon, the reader is given everything that is central to the mystery of our salvation in a one-act play. These six verses, in fact, represent the precipitating event for the drama that unfolds in the remainder of the book. It is an amazing passage and one worthy of our deeper study.