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In Revelation chapter 12, John sees a vision of a woman 'clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars' (Revelation 12:1). Note the similarity between t...
Almost all the commentators interprete the Son of Rev. 12:5 as refering to Jesus Christ. But the context shows that this is not the case. Let us consider the context. I believe from ch. 8 on wards all events will take place in the future. So taking up of the Son in Ch. 12 will take place in the future, while Jesus' ascension has already taken place some two thousand years ago. And in ch. 5 it is all ready shown Jesus, the Lamb, as being in heaven. Let us compare here the events of 1 Thess. 4:16 & 17 with events in Rev. 10 to 13. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16 & 17). Here the Lord's coming will not be to the earth, but in the air only. Three thing will happen before the rapture of the believers. There will be shout, the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. 1 Cor. 15:52 says that this trumpet is the last trumpet. Immediately after the trumpet the rapture of the believers takes place. Between the 6 th trumpet (Rev 9:13) and the seventh, the last trumpet (Rev. 11:15) those three things happen. In Rev. 10:1-3 these three things are mentioned. There is a loud vice of a mighty angel. And when he cried as roar of a lion, seven thunders uttered their voices. After these things events of two witnesses mentioned in ch. Eleven, and then seventh, the last trumpet is sounded. Immediately after the last trumpet, in ch. Twelve taking up of the Son takes place. In 2 Thess. 2:7 is mentioned the appearing of the antichrist, tthe son of perdition. But his appearing is restrained at present by someone whose identity is not mentioned, but all commmentators belive him to be the presence of belivers in Christ. But these belivers are referred to as 'He', a collevtive reference to the new humanity in Jesus Christ, and Jesus being the head of this new humanity (Compare with the new man of Eph. 2:15). As soon as this 'He' is taken out of the way, the antichrist appears on the world scene. In the book of Rev. Ch. 12, as soon as the Son is taken up, in ch. 13 the beast, antichrist appears. Thus it is apparent that the Son of Rev. 12:5 is not Jesus Christ, but the believers in Jesus Christ. This woman is Israel and rest of her offsprings are the Israelites. Consider Rom. 11:12 & 15. As per these verses we can safelynsay these things. For the time being, rejection of Israel has become a richness of salvation for the gentiles. But when the time of God's favor for the gentile is over God will pour down the spirit of grace and supplication upon the Israelite community (Zech. 12:10) as a symbol of their acceptance by God. And as per the Rom. 11:15 their acceptance will cause the rapture of the believers in Christ. So believers in Christ will not suffer the plagues of the seven bowls. The wilderness of Rev. 12:14 is not any one place but they are people and nations who are not in Christ but "worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of waters" (Rev. 14:7). Consider the parable of sheep and the goats in of Mt. 25:31-46. The salvation of the sheep here is not because they believed Christ, but because they helped Jesus' brothers in times of their need (Also compare Mt. 10:40-42). When Jesus comes He will reward these people and nations with His favor. So by the sounding of the sixth trumpet three and half year ministry of those two witnesses will start. By the sounding of the seventh trumpet the believers will be raptured and three and half year rule of the antichrist willhappen. By the end of this period Jesus Christ will return and usher His millenium rule.
I would like to underscore a few more details about Revelation 12. In Bible prophecy, God’s Church is symbolized by a pure woman (Jeremiah 6:2). In Revelation 12:1, 2, 5, this woman is clothed with the sun, moon, and stars; the light of God (Matthew 5:14). The sun represents the light of Jesus (Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2). The moon under her feet represents the types and shadows of the Old Testament sacrificial system. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so was the sacrificial system was reflecting the light of the Messiah to come (Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 10:1). The 12 stars above her head symbolize the leadership of the church: 12 tribes in the O T and 12 apostles in the N T. The one who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron is Jesus (Psalm 2:7-9; Revelation 19:13-16). Revelation 12:4-5 -The dragon is Satan, who at the time of Jesus’ birth was working through the pagan Roman Empire. Satan through Herod, was trying to murder baby Jesus (Matthew 2:16). After His resurrection, Jesus ascended up to heaven and to God’s throne (Acts 1:9-11), where He was beyond the reach of Satan. Revelation 12:6 The woman (God’s church) fled into the wilderness (remote places of earth) to hide from Satan's persecution. During the Dark Ages, God’s people fled into caves and remote places of earth, including America's shores, to seek religious freedom and protection from papal persecution. The 1260 days refers to the period of persecution during which millions died for their faith. During this time period, God’s church was alive but was not identifiable as an official organization. The 1260 years of tribulation is also referred to as 42 months, and three and one-half times, or years (Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5; Daniel 7:25). Using the Jewish calendar, which had 360 days in a year, all three add up to the same amount of time, 1260 years. And we know that one prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). History shows that the papacy was the power which persecuted God's Church for 1260 years. The period began in A.D. 538, when Emperor Justinian was decreed Bishop of Rome, "head of all the holy Churches and of all the holy priests of God." The persecution period ended February 15, 1798, when Napoleon’s general Berthier took Pope Pius VI captive. At least 50 million Christians died for their faith during this period of persecution. Revelation 12:13 talks about Satan's persecution against God's Church. Revelation 12:17 finally talks about the end-time period when Satan will be at war and try to destroy God's Church "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Knowing that Jesus at the cross defeated Satan, we have nothing to fear. All of us can overcome Satan through the blood of Jesus and by sharing our testimonies (Revelation 14:12).
To have a good understanding of the book of Revelation, some background information is essential. God inspired the Apostle John to write the book at that point for a very special reason. The book was written in answer to the worrying question of what is going to happen next? When is Jesus coming back? These questions were being asked by the church at that juncture because the original apostles were dying. John was one of the last. The church was under intense persecution as the Dark Ages rolled in. In the mind of John and others, it was important to know what was going to become of the ministry for which they had dedicated themselves so selflessly. They knew for certain that God was in control but the evidence belied this fact! Then God stepped in to give assurance and hope to the church. Whilst evidence might be pointing to a total wipe out of the church and victory for the forces of darkness, God wanted to show them that He was in control and He would come out victor. In fact God had already won and defeated the devil who “knew that he had but a short time”. Before I explain the symbolism used here, let me also point out that Revelation is not written in sequence in terms of time. The chapter in question would appear to run backwards and forwards, but the message is simple, God loves His church, He died for it on the cross and ultimately He will come down and abolish evil. God Has already started doing this in heaven by defeating the devil and “throwing him down to the earth”. Here is the abridged explanation of the chapter: 1.The woman clothed with the sun is the church of God, whose origins are the children of Israel in the wilderness. 2.The 12 stars are the spiritual 12 tribes of Israel, of course they are symbolised by the physical 12 tribes of Israel. Who gave birth to the Man Child, Jesus Christ. 3.When Christ was born, and the devil through Herod tried to kill Him. We all know that God intervened and His family hid in Egypt. 4.When the Child is “caught up to heaven” the woman (church) suffers persecution in the wilderness for “1260 days”. When Jesus ascended to heaven, persecution of the church started and intensified for a period of time “1260 days”. 5.The important thing to realise here is that the period has an end. In my view this period of persecution of the church ended with the Protestant Reformation. The bible was almost completely extinguished by those who purported to be working for God when in fact they were agents of satan in his quest to destroy Christians and Christianity. 6.The chapter does not leave in doubt as to the identity of the dragon. 7.To me verse 10 & 11 are the most important: “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now x the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers 1 has been thrown down, y who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for a they loved not their lives b even unto death.”
We know that the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) were all present at the Creation. (Genesis 1:2, 26) Adam named the animals, but God named the stars and planets. He has throughout history used the signs and wonders in the heavens to demonstrate Himself and bring glory to Himself.“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). When God created the stars He let us know the reason. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14). Also Job 38:31-38. Some examples are the Star of Bethlehem, the darkening of the sun at Jesus' death and the signs that will come in the future at the end times. These signs will constitute the beginning of what the prophet Joel called “the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD” (Joel 2:31). We also know that God controls earthquakes, lightning, storms, fires, etc particularly from the last chapters of Job, but also God had an earthquake occur at Jesus' death too. It is interesting that on August 21, 2017 America will experience a total solar eclipse that only goes over the continental US basically cutting it in half. Because of God's blessing us with knowledge about space, we know the past and future paths of these eclipses. The last one occurred June 8, 1918 with totality crossing over Cape Canaveral, FL (interesting). The month before, the President proclaimed a national day of fasting, prayer and repentance to Almighty God on May 30-- http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=24410 Will there be a revival of repentance this time? We should all be praying for God's mercy. God is merciful to give signs and warnings for people to come to repentance. Amos 3:7, Ezekiel 18:32, Matthew 24:37-39 God desires that people repent of their wickedness and acknowledge the one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord of all creation before He is pressed to send dreadful woes on the earth. So we are to be looking for the heavenly signs and on September 23, 2017 the constellation Virgo will resemble Revelation 12's prophecy that supposedly has never occurred before in human history. It corresponds to the Jewish Shabbat Shuva. Rosh Hashana ends the day before and Yom Kippur, the holiest day, happens the following Friday night into Saturday. We are to be wise and prepared for His return. We are to be sharing the gospel for the workers are few and the time is short. Jesus will return from heaven the same way He left. (Matthew 24, Matthew 25:31-46,1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) Just as all those prophecies concerning Him came true from the Old Testament, the prophecies given about the future will, I believe literally, come true. Acts 1: 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” We are to be Bereans studying the Word daily and knowing personally and serving our Lord Jesus. God is sovereign and in control of all the details. Hallelujah!
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