By Gavin Finley MD
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
The story of God's people in the latter days is a magnificent yet untold story. It is far too dramatic for most western churches to speak about publicly. It is a story of great adventure and the divine romance. The Daniel 9:27 covenant involving the sovereign land of Israel will be confirmed. At that epic moment in time the trumpets will blow. This will initiate the 70th Week of Daniel, the final seven years of this age. This is the time God has determined for crucial and very necessary dealings with His covenant people and with the people of this world. This seven year period will finish up on the final, climactic, wrap-up Day of Reckoning or Day of Atonement. It will be the final day of this present age.
After this awesome day of reckoning the Day of the Lord will open up and the wrath of God will be unleashed. God will loose the evil angels. (Ps.78:49) The angels of destruction will hover over the wicked. There will be no escape. They will be plucked up as weeds. The grim reapers will be at their work. And the end time harvest will have just begun. In that dreadful visitation of horror the angelic reapers will be gathered over the wicked as eagles over their prey, and as vultures over the dead. That final awful harvest will carry off the wicked to their doom.
The Day of the Lord will see the final judgment of the wicked. This awesome time will also see the spellbinding deliverance of God's covenant people. Messiah will be delivering His saints from their foes. He will be rescuing those in Jerusalem and those in exile out at Bozrah at the ends of the earth.
Messiah's second coming will see the transformation of His saints. They will be glorified into new spiritual bodies, the sort of bodies we saw with the resurrected Christ. This is the glorification of the saints that will be seen at His coming. (1Cor. 15:23) At that time He will gather all of His Elect from the four winds of heaven. All of them will be there from all around the earth and from both sides of Calvary in time. They are one single Congregation or Church, even the remnant of Israel. And they are destined for one single grand party in the mansions of glory. These are the called, the chosen, and the faithful. From the early patriarchs to the last tribulation martyr God's Elect and Chosen people will all be there. They will be gathered from across space and time. This will be the final epic glorification of the saints.
The history of this present evil age is slated to come to an awesome climax. The seven year time period has been set. The end time drama of the age has been determined by the Sovereign God, the Holy One of Israel. And the acts of the play have already been written. The court scenes of heaven that control the events of the Apocalypse were seen by John when he was caught up into the Day of the Lord. It has been written for us in the Book of Revelation. So all these things will surely come to pass. Further details have also been revealed to us by the prophets. And Jesus Himself spoke of the climax of this age in the Olivet Discourse.
This latter day drama has been written about extensively in the Bible. And YHVH-God has also illustrated the very same epic end-time deliverance story in the constellations of the stars. This great contest of the ages is at present a mystery yet to be revealed. But it will not be a mystery forever. The Revelation of Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach, will surely come. And the ying and yang, the humanistic "balancing" of good and evil will end. This great drama of the end time is slated to be played out before men and angels. Every human being and every angel will be seen clearly for who he or she really is. The superficial will be stripped away. And the deeper character and reality will be revealed. All things, both the good and the evil, will then be clearly seen for what they really are. They will be unveiled for all to see. This is the Revelation. And it will all unfold during those final seven years of this age.
So does the Dragon like this? No, not one bit. Lucifer and his angels of selfism who currently rule over the children of disobedience hate the Messiah and read His coming. And they want to keep men in the dark about it. The dark angels stir up the men they own down here on earth. And the nations rage against the righteous rule of Messiah. King David wrote a song about this. It is in Psalm 2.
And so we see the woman of Revelation 12 that John saw. The woman is God's covenant people, in the time of the Great Tribulation, the final seven years of this age. The woman includes the Church, the royal Jewish house of Judah, and indeed all of Jacob or greater Israel. All of YHVH-God's Elect are in trouble together in the crucible of the Apocalypse. It is the time of "Jacob's trouble". And all of God's people alive at the end of this age are there. They are encircled by a great dragon even as Andromeda before the sea monster of the nations.
REVELATION CHAPTER 12
1. Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8. but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." 13. Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. -Rev.12:1-17 NKJV
WHO IS THE WOMAN OF REVELATION 12?
The identity of the two characters presented in Revelation 12 has been a subject of much speculation and discussion throughout the history of the church. The Dragon of course is Lucifer, Satan. As for the identity of the woman well that has been a problem. Is it the Church? Or is it Israel? Or is it both as all Israel is restored in the end-time as the Commonwealth of Israel? ?
Of course it was not difficult for those early Jewish Christians in the early church to see themselves as the Woman of Revelation 12. At that time in holy history the church was predominantly a Hebrew company. Throughout the Old Testament Israel was likened to a woman, the one betrothed to YHVH the God of Israel. But as the Gospel went out to the gentiles/nations/heathen and the centuries rolled on the church took on a more gentile character. So identifying the woman of Revelation 12 as the 'ekklesia', the 'congregation of God' or the 'saints' in both national Israel and in the church became increasingly difficult. Even before the Council of Nicaea the church was losing its identity in Israel. But at Nicaea it started to become as much a pagan company as it was the (Gr. ekklesia), the 'called out assembly', the 'congregation' or 'church' of God in Israel. The Jewish nation as a whole had rejected their Messiah. As a national people the Jewish House of Judah seemed unwilling to embrace the Gospel. This was as our Apostle Paul had lamented about. (Rom.11
But fortunately that was not to be the end of the story. Our God is full of surprises. One of His many names, as the prophet Isaiah had spoken to us, is "Wonderful'. - Isa.9:6 In Hebrew the word 'wonderful means "SURPRISE!!!"
Christian Bible students have always known that the whole Jewish nation was prophesied to be saved in the end of the story. They have known that national Israel will repent and receive Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach as their Messiah. They are destined to be saved spiritually and nationally. This will be very late in the history of this age. It will be in the time frame of the 6th seal and at the Battle of Armageddon. Their day of national redemption and salvation will surely come. -Zech. 12:1-13:1, Joel 2:28-32
So all this separation between Israel and the "The Church", (whatever that might mean in the church-politics of the time), has made things very difficult. Church saints have forgotten their Hebrew roots in Israel. They do not read their Bibles. They only know what priests tell them. They do not "see" Christ is the promised "Seed of Abraham". - Gal.3:29 To them He is just the tortured and victimized Christ of the medieval stained glass pictures of the European cathedrals. The American churches have helped but not to the degree that Biblical evangelicals had hoped. Many Christians just see themselves as part of a "new testament church". With their citizenship in the nations and having sworn oaths of allegiance to gentile kings and princes Christian believers still find it hard to see themselves as identified in Israel. But Bible clearly teaches us that we are. - Gal.3:29, Rom.11, Eph.2:12-13,
By the time of the dark ages the medieval world had seen the dichotomy between "the church" and "Israel" well entrenched. An irreconcilable partition between "Christians" and "Jews" had been built into the church walls as it were. This false dichotomy was instituted theologically as lock-tight dispensational compartments of "law" and "grace". As the church saw it the Jews were "people of the law". Christians, on the other hand, were the "people of grace". Thus with church approval the Jews could be alienated among the nations. And they were. This continues to be the case. This false dichotomy built on half truths has led to some bad blood between the Jewish nation and the established church or the so called "Christendom" of Europe. Jews see no reason to consider "the church" as their long lost family nor give Christians any reason for us to see our identity in Israel. Without a true spiritual vision all that people can be expected to see are the national and racial divides.
This is a difficult matter to explain and to reconcile in Jewish minds apart from the indwelling Christ and the guiding of His Holy Spirit. National Israel does not yet understand that Israel is more than a national DNA identity. Of course in their present state of national unbelief hey do not recognize Christ as the Seed of Abraham. The "Seed of heaven" comes into Jewish and gentile hearts alike to make them "new creatures" in Him.
Christendom as well does not understand it for that matter. We have given the Jewish nation quite a lot of grief through the church age. Our Jewish brethren continually remind us of the crusades, the inquisitions, the pogroms, and the holocaust. At this point in holy history there is very little understanding of the true Church being restored to Israel and true Israel being in the church or "Body of Christ". Both houses of Israel are in "partial blindness" until the end of the story and the "fullness of the Gentiles are brought in". - Rom.11:25
Messianic Jews are helping to bring some understanding here as well. They believe that Jesus/Yeshua is the Savior and coming Messiah. But they do not lose their Jewish identity as they come to Christ. God has a purpose in this. The next and final chapter of holy history will iron out the whole issue of the Church and Israel. They will both come together under Messiah.
We have good news here of an eventual world peace centered around Messiah in Jerusalem. There is to be an eventual reconciliation between the two houses of Israel. Judah knows who they are but they do not yet recognize their Messiah. Joseph recognizes their Messiah but have lost their identity in Israel. As we can readily see, both houses of Israel are in partial blindness.
Fortunately help is on the way. At the end of this age our coming Messiah will come to rule. He will establish His two offices, the royal kingdom office of Christ/Messiah as 'King of Kings' and the holy priestly office of Christ/Messiah as our 'Sacrifice Lamb' and 'High Priest'. The burden and authority of the Jewish Gate of Judah is in seeing the establishment of God's righteous rule or His Law. This is the stick of Judah. - Ezek 37
The burden and authority and anointing of Joseph is different but is also one of the two witnesses to our God. The burden of Joseph is to see the Bread of Life shed abroad into all the world. This is in the stick of Joseph. Ezekiel saw both sticks come together as one stick. These are the dual offices and dual anointing of Christ/Messiah in the Order of Melchizedek. He is coming again. And when He does He will set things right. And then when all is said and done the Remnant of Israel, the Remnant of the Church will sit down at the same table together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And the Holy One of Israel will be at the head of the table.
What scriptural evidence do we have that the true church is identified with Israel? Christians are shown in Galations 3:29 that if we are in Christ we are Abraham's Seed and heirs according to the promise which was given to Abraham. That promise was of a "melohagoyim" a a 'multitude of nations' or 'multitude of gentiles'. Right back at the beginning when our father Abraham made covenant with YHVH, (the God who is, always has been, and always will be), Abraham saw a huge myriad company as numerous as the stars. - Gen.15:5 This clearly shows us that Israel overflows out beyond the DNA riverbed of national/racial Israel. It is a company of people whose identity is primarily based on faith and the receiving of the promised Seed of Abraham. And who is that Seed? It is Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach.
In Ephesians 2:12-13 we are not told directly but we can faithfully infer from the text that when we are born again in Christ we come into the covenants, the Commonwealth and the citizenship of Israel.
This truth that born again Christians come into the flows of Israel is hard for us. But it is here in our Bibles. Yet after reading this we still do not seem to get the message. When asked the question, "Who are you?" we continue to reply that we are "gentiles". In effect we are saying that we are heathen. Clearly we are not listening to what God is telling us in His Word. We are still not 'getting the message'. We look at ourselves in the mirror of the holy scriptures. The scriptures tell us that we are 'grafted in' to the olive tree of Israel. - Rom.11 The scriptures tell us that we once were gentiles but now have come into the Commonwealth or Citizenship of Israel. - Eph 2:12-13 Then we turn away and forget what we saw. - James 1:23-24
As Christian believers we still continue to forget who we are in Christ. Christ/Messiah is the new man inside us. It is HE who is now giving us our new identity and citizenship. We are certainly no longer to be identified as 'heathen' which is what the word gentiles means. Theologically we still believe that after being saved we are still gentiles. But tell a Christian that he is a heathen, which means precisely the same thing and he will become very upset, even angry.
Like our Jewish brethren over on the other house we in the Church continue in partial blindness. - Rom.11:25 We are like the man or woman in that proverbial story. Something has happened to us but we can't remember what it was. We have lost contact with our family and our friends. We don't know who we are. We are lost. And we have amnesia.
In spite of all this confusion and misunderstanding and ignorance there are some hopeful signs that the healing may have started. Messianic Hebrew Christians do recognize "born again Christians" as their brethren. And evangelicals identify Messianic Jews who recognize Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah as our brethren. Helping to heal the breach further is some good scholarship in the scriptures coming out nowadays. So all this is very hopeful. We know from the scriptures that there is only one "Elect", one "ekklesia" or "called out people" of God. There is no apartheid of the Elect. That only exists in our man-made masonic hyper-dispensationalism. And all that boxing up and compartmentalization is for the sake of maintaining the current church-Israel status quo and ensuring "political correctness". Such divisions in the Elect are certainly not supported by scripture. A word study through the scriptures of the word "elect" or "chosen" will soon bear this out.
So the woman of Revelation chapter 12 relates to both Israel and the Church. Israel was always thematically represented in the old testament scriptures as a woman. She was a woman who could be true to her husband YHVH, the God of Israel. Or she could be unfaithful to Him. We saw this drama played out in by Hosea and his wife Gomer very clearly.
The church too sees herself as a woman, the "bride of Christ". And this is true as well. So this is a good start in our understanding and identification of the woman John saw in Revelation 12. The crucible of the end-time will do the rest. In the times to come it will longer suffice for the church to claim all the spiritual blessings for herself whilst attributing all the end-time dramas, judgements and trials to "the Jews". The saints of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in the church every bit as much as they were, (and are today), in the DNA nation of Israel. Jew or non-Jew, every person 'born again' in Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach are part of God's Elect. We need to face the scriptural facts here.
Let us now ask ourselves the big question. Who is the woman of Revelation 12? If the woman of Revelation 12 is the "congregation of God" drawn from both Jewish and gentile peoples in both old and new testament times then there is only one conclusion we can come to. We, as members of the Church/congregation of Israel are that woman! And the adventures she will go through in the times to come as we see them in Revelation 12 are our adventures!
THE MESSIAH RETURNS AS THE "BREAKER" TO DELIVER HIS SAINTS IN THE GLORIOUS 'BREAKOUT AT BOZRAH'.
12. I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee;
I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;
I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah,
As the flock in the midst of their fold:
they shall make great noise
by reason of the multitude of men.
13. The breaker is come up before them:
they have broken up,
and have passed through the gate,
and are gone out by it:
and their king shall pass before them,
and the LORD on the head of them.
-Mic. 2:12-13 KJV
The image above shows a stone sheepfold of the type seen in biblical times. Here the sheep would be confined by their shepherd for their own protection during the hours of darkness. As the dawn approached the shepherd would come into the sheepfold among His sheep. They would gather around the shepherd as he prepared to open a way for them to be delivered from the stone enclosure. As he opened a way out for them they would crowd up alongside him pushing against the gateway with a lot of force. -Mat.11:12 When the breakthrough came the whole flock would pour out of the sheepfold through the breach. They would follow on the heels of the Shepherd as he led them out to find pasture. This is the magnificent pastoral picture of the Messiah as "the Breaker". This detailed picture of the deliverance of the elect at the second advent is given to us in Micah chapter 2.
Image by Dr. G.W. Finley.
THE ENDTIME DELIVERANCE OF THE 'LITTLE FLOCK' BY THE RETURNING MESSIAH AS SEEN IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE LESSER SHEEPFOLD OR 'LITTLE DIPPER'.
This very same prophetic story was also seen by the patriarchs in the stars back in ancient times. -Psalm 19:1-3 The huge constellation of Draco shows the Dragon trying to encircle and cut off the people of God. The sheep of God's pasture are enclosed in the Lesser Sheepfold. The handle of the "little dipper" or "tail" of the constellation erroneously called Ursa Minor or "Little Bear" by the Medo-Persians and Greeks tells another part of the story. Of course the constellation is not a bear because a bear doesn't have a long tail! The stars of the so called bear's tail or the handle of the little dipper are actually a stream of stars representing the sheep streaming out from the sheepfold. These stars are actually showing us the passage of the "Breaker", the Messiah, as He delivers His elect in a "breakout". He then proceeds to lead His sheep out of the fold directly away from the encroaching Dragon and out to pasture. The "breakthrough" at the sheepfolds of Bozrah is the action of Messiah alone. As the Breaker it is our Messiah who brings the final deliverance at the end. This is a very detailed yet untold story of the end-time drama. Even our father Abraham saw it laid out there in the stars as he looked up from the city of Ur where U.S. soldiers now pass by in Iraq. It tells of an incarceration of God's people in some degree of safety in the final 3.5 years of this age. We know that their confinement is under the auspices of Edomites since Micah and Isaiah and Amos speak of this place as Bozrah, a city of Edom or the house of Jacob's godless and violent brother Esau.
All three of these pictures God has painted in the stars and in the poetic imagery of the holy scriptures tell the same story. They tell of a confinement of God's elect and then a glorious breakout at the very end of the age by the returning Christ.
This is the Bozrah story of Isa. 63
as well as the Bozrah story of Micah 2:12-13.
Up in the heavens the constellation of the lesser sheepfold, gives us the details of the endtime deliverance. The "lesser sheepfold" was the ancient name for the "little dipper". As Polaris, the north star upon which all the other stars turn, our Messiah is at the head of the procession of a line of stars as they emerge from the lesser sheepfold. At the head of the line He has, as we might expect, a "handle" on things! In fact as Polaris, the "north star" He is at the very center of events. As the "turning star" the whole cosmos appropriately revolves around Him. At the second coming He is at the head of His people leading them out of the lesser sheepfold/little dipper in a glorious deliverance. The scriptures also bring us this additional word of exhortation."Fear not little flockGrace and shalom to all who love His appearing.
For it is your Father's good pleasure,
to give you the kingdom." - Luke 12:32