Who shall wear the starry crown?
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'the rest of the story'.
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
By Gavin Finley M.D.
The carol ' O Come Emmanuel' is a wonderful
ancient hymn of the first advent and the second advent.
It is sung by Susan Osborne, her website here.
This song can be downloaded from iTunes.
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Use the control box below as you wish.
Here is our scripture passage from Revelation chapter 12.REVELATION 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.
JOHN SAW THE TRAVAIL OF THE WOMAN OF REVELATION 12. SHE IS CLOTHED WITH THE SUN AND BATHED IN THE GLORY OF HER HEAVENLY FATHER. THE MOON OF GOD'S REFLECTED GLORY IN RELIGION IS UNDER HER FEET. THE WOMAN OF WONDER IS CROWNED WITH A GARLAND OF 12 STARS OF ISRAEL. HER TRAVAIL COMES DURING THE 1260 DAYS OF GREAT TRIBULATION, THE LATTER HALF OF DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK. THE BIRTHING AND THE FINAL DELIVERANCE OF THE BODY OF THE MAN CHILD COMES AT THE APOCALYPSE, THE UNVEILING OF MESSIAH, RIGHT AT THE END OF THIS AGE. THIS BRINGS TO TOTAL RESTORATION THE COMPLETE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL.In Revelation 12 we see a woman in travail, and destined to be delivered. Israel gives birth, the Head first, and then the Body. These are the two events in the birthing sequence of the manchild. And they span a period of 2,000 years.
Israel's Firstborn is Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach, the sacred Head of all of Israel's single chosen people, a single Elect. He made His first appearance as our Messiah on Palm Sunday 2,000 years ago. As the "Suffering Servant" heralded by Isaiah and other prophets of Israel He came to give His life for us at Calvary. As the "Firstborn of the dead" He arose from the grave. (1Cor.15) He was victorious over death. And so the Head of the man-child was born. But that event during the crucifixion week 2,000 years ago was not the end of the travail of the woman. The birth and resurrection of Jesus, our sacred Head, does not exhaust this prophecy of the man-child nor bring it to complete fulfillment. Because in Revelation 12 we see the final 3.5 years or 1260 days of this age. It is the time period of the Great Tribulation. And here in this time of confinement of the woman we can clearly see that the birth of the man child, while coming in very close to the time of deliverance, is still not complete.
The reason for this is the apocalyptic time context of the Revelation 12 scripture passage. The travail of the woman is very clearly connected to the final 3.5 years of this age. (Rev. 12:6 and 12:14) The travail and subsequent deliverance of the woman is also in direct association with the wrath of the ten horned beast who is not "revealed" until the final half of Daniel's 70th Week. This epic climactic final 3.5 year period of this age is described in the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel 7, Revelation 17, Revelation 11, and Revelation 13.
The birth of the Head, (here in a C-section).
THE TWO PHASE DELIVERYIn the normal birthing sequence the birth of the head comes first. Then the birth of the body must follow after that. Our Apostle Paul tells us that Christ was the Firstborn of the dead. (1Cor.15:20) Jesus was also said to be the firstborn of many brethren. (Rom. 8:29) Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach is our sacred Head. He was been delivered from death and the grave. This happened at His resurrection 2,000 years ago. As such our Messiah leads the way in the birth and the Resurrection of the man-child company. He is the "Firstborn of the dead".
OF THE MAN-CHILD OF REV. 12
The consequences to this for us, (and we are His followers), are glorious beyond anything we could imagine.
Because the next to be resurrected are the saints, "those who are Christ's", at His (second) coming. (1Cor.15:20-23) And the Man-Child is leading the way for all who follow.
20 "But now Christ is risen from the dead,
and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
23 But each one in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits,
afterward those who are Christ's at His coming."
THE DELIVERY OF THE MAN CHILD IS IN TWO PHASES.
PHASE 1 - THE DELIVERY OF THE HEAD -
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST, (OUR HEAD),
AND THIS HAPPENED 2000 YEARS AGO.
PHASE 2 - THE DELIVERY OF THE BODY -
THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST,
AND THIS WILL COME AT THE CLOSE OF THE AGE. So the resurrection of Christ the Head and the resurrection of the Body of Christ are two separate and pivotal events in holy history. These two resurrections, the past history resurrection of Christ and the future history Resurrection of the righteous dead mark the two phases of the birth of the Man-Child. These two epic events are 2,000 odd years apart.
Let us go through this again. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Man-Child. The body of the Man-Child is pressing into Him and following Him as He makes the breakthrough. And why? Because, He, our Messiah, is the Breaker spoken of by the prophet Micah in Micah 2.. The Man-Child company is also seen in the Body of Christ, the Remnant Church, or the Remnant Congregation of Israel.
Here is one additional point to establish. At the climax of this age the true remnant Church and faithful remnant Israel will be one and the same. They are the Commonwealth of Israel, united in Messiah as one single Elect, a "royal priesthood and a holy nation". (1Pet.2:9)
The Man-Child company or "those who are Christ's at His coming", both the quick, (the living), and the dead, are hidden in the mystical Body of Christ. They are yet to be delivered. These are the saints John saw in Revelation 7 and Revelation 20. Thee righteous dead are set to enter into the end-time birthing chamber and will emerge in their resurrected spirit bodies to join the living saints at the combined Resurrection-Rapture at the consummation of the age.
So contrary to what we may have heard by Latter Rain preachers, the Man-Child company has not yet appeared on the scene. They are to be gathered in the birthing chamber at the climax of this age. They have not yet been born. They have not yet come into the glory. The completion of the birth of the Man-Child is an event yet future. This epic deliverance awaits the consummation at the Resurrection-Rapture.
We come to understand the man-child of Holy Scripture when we recognize that we are in a vital blood covenant union with Christ. Jesus Christ is our sacred Head. He, along with the Body of Christ, are the Seed of Abraham. These saints who will be resurrecting at the last day and those who are living and raptured at that time, are in vital union with Christ our returning Messiah. These saints, both the living and the dead are all the Seed of Abraham and all of them enter into the glory together as one big happy family. Both Christ our Head and the Body of Christ are birthed out of The Woman/Israel. Both Christ our Head and the Body Christ were conceived in Christ to become identified in the Seed of Abraham. They both belong to one Seed, the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Gal.3:29)
It is most important that Christian believers understand that the Body of Christ has been conceived in Israel. The true Church emerged out of Israel on the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago and is currently hidden in the womb of Israel. John saw the woman in vision as she approached her final epic travail and deliverance. We refer here to the time of "Jacob's trouble" or the Great Tribulation. From Revelation 12:6 and 12:14 we know for a fact that the epic end-time travail and tribulation of the woman, God s covenant people, is a time period of 3.5 years or 1260 days.
THE DRAGON ENCIRCLES AND THREATENS THE WOMAN.
THE END-TIME DRAMA IS SHOWCASED IN THE CONSTELLATIONS
AND THIS EPIC STORY IS REFLECTED IN OUR ART AND LITERATURE.
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.REVELATION 12Revelation 12 is telling us a story of a transition, even the threshold of the end-time. There is no doubt that what we are seeing here is a drama of Biblical proportions. As John saw the woman she had clearly come into a time of tribulation and trouble. John's vision shows her in the midst of travail and about to be delivered. There in her place of confinement she had come to her time of trial. She was about to give birth. She is experiencing the birth pangs which lead on to her ultimate deliverance. But in spite of all this the woman of destiny is not cast down or fading away. Yes, she is under enormous pressure and tribulation. She is being threatened by an encircling enemy, a great red dragon, signifying Lucifer. But in vision John sees the woman standing with the moon under her feet and crowned with a victory garland of 12 stars.
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.
And the glory of God is all over her.
The One the woman is birthing is described as the 'man-child'. When John saw that the woman she had come into a time of trial, tribulation, and travail. She was being encircled and threatened and about to be engulfed by the Dragon. See also this article, The Woman and the Dragon of Revelation 12. This awesome prophecy of the latter days is not only told in Revelation 12 but also showcased in the northern constellations of the Lesser Sheepfold or Little Dipper. The lesser Sheepfold is being encircled by Draco.
So the story of this great end-time victory was written in the constellations and seen by the early patriarchs. The oral traditions here probably go back as far back as Adam. The Word of God was going out to man from "He who sits in the heavens". God was speaking to man before there was a written Word of God. The Holy Scriptures were first penned by Moses about two and a half millennia after the creation.
THE CONSTELLATION AND THE STORY OF ANDROMEDA.
THE WOMAN IS CHAINED BEFORE A RAGING SEA OF NATIONS.
THE SEA MONSTER BEAST EMERGES FROM THE NATIONS TO TAKE HER LIFE.
THE WOMAN HAS COME INTO HER TIME OF TRIAL AND TRIBULATION.
AND IN HER CONFINEMENT AND TRAVAIL SHE AWAITS HER DELIVERANCE.
Image by 19th century German painter Gustave Dore.PSALMS 19The Bible states that he heavens are declaring the glory of God. The constellation of Andromeda is a case in point, telling an awesome story. In this drama the woman has lost her freedom and her temporal/political covering. This is just as we see with the prophecies of lost Israel and Gomer. Like the woman of Revelation 12, Andromeda is in deep distress. She is at the end of herself in the dark night of the soul. The ancient patriarchs did not have the Holy Scriptures as we do today. But they looked up into the night sky and saw Andromeda. They saw the woman of destiny chained to the shore against a raging rising sea. Then they saw a beast emerging from the tumult. A sea monster was coming out of the sea to threaten the woman of destiny.
"The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world." Psalms 19:1-4
This is the picture the ancients saw in the night sky. And the story of Andromeda was carried in the oral tradition from early times. Way back before the flood, before the written Scriptures, holy men of old saw the end-time drama. Many interconnected themes were laid out for them in picture book style in the constellations. In those times, before the written Word of God the heavens were telling the apocalyptic stories. These themes were eternal and climactic prophetic truths in God. Indeed the heavens were declaring the glory of God. So as we see, some key elements in the drama of Andromeda are also seen in John's vision of the woman in travail. (Rev.12)
So here once again we see in Andromeda the woman in travail, a woman being held in confinement. She is threatened by a sea monster. And so the woman of Revelation 12 is another view of the woman we see pictured in the constellation of Andromeda. The early patriarchs gazed up into the night sky and saw Andromeda, the chained woman. And they wondered about her. Now, in Revelation 12 we are hearing the "rest of the story".
The constellation Andromeda.
"The woman" is the one we see showcased throughout Holy Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. (Gen. 3:15 --> Rev. 12) The prophet Hosea gives a huge amount of information explaining why this alienation from God happened, and will yet still happen to God's people right up until the consummation of the age.
We see the same theme and shadows in this great drama of of alienation and eventual reconciliation in the life of Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea. And the beast that comes up out of the sea is seen in the apocalyptic books of the Bible, both Daniel and the book of Revelation. The constellation and story of Andromeda presents the same imagery given to us by our Apostle John in Revelation 13. The beast comes up out of the sea. And the sea in scripture represents the heathen nations.
As amazing as this sounds a latter day Dominionist established church, given to self-delusion and to compromise and harlotry will be smitten with this beast and try to tame the thing. She will actually succeed in riding the monster, .... for a time. She will be trying to reign the thing in during the entire first 3.5 years of the 70th Week of Daniel. This first half of the final seven years of this age are the 3.5 years before the midweek Abomination of Desolation.
The beast/prince will not suffer this for long. He will break the 7 year covenant of Dan.9:27 midway through the seven years. Then, revealing himself as the Beast, he will commit the abomination that makes desolate. Jesus both spoke about this blasphemous act as well in the Olivet Discourse This ends the reign of the harlot system. And it brings in the 666 Beast economy and the Great Tribulation which lasts 3.5 years/ 1260 days.
The prophet Jeremiah also spoke about the coming drama at the climax of the age. He described the time of "Jacob's trouble". (Jeremiah 30:7) The prophet Daniel and many others described this great trial at the end of the age. (Dan.12) And Daniel told us specifically what will happen to precipitate these trials and tribulations. (Dan.9:27) Moses said the covenant people of God would come into tribulation in the latter days. And Jesus himself said that His covenant people would choose someone, a man of self, who would come to rule over them not in God's name and authority but in his own name. Such is the hidden and untold drama of the latter days. The modern and post-modern "seeker friendly" church does not want to bring up these things. And the commercial church finds that speaking of these things is not "revenue positive".
But speak of these matters we must. They bring up important issues that should concern all the covenant people of God. True saints will come to inquire about these matters eventually. They, at least, deserve to know what is coming. Then they can prepare themselves spiritually in the Word of God and in the Holy Spirit.
THE ANCIENT PATRIARCHS SAW THE CONSTELLATION OF DRACO, THE DRAGON.The ancients also saw Draco, the Great Serpent encircling the "Lesser Sheepfold". This constellation we know today as the 'Little Dipper'. In all these pictures we can clearly see the unfolding of an epic end-time drama. A woman is in travail. If she is to survive then something is going to have to happen. In the short term she is going to have to be given the means to escape from the dragon somehow. But there is more. And the time for her final deliverance is drawing near.
BACK IN THE TIME OF ABRAHAM THE NORTH STAR WAS A STAR IN DRACO.
THE CONSTELLATION OF DRACO IS ENCIRCLING THE LESSER SHEEPFOLD.
THE LESSER SHEEPFOLD IS THE ANCIENT NAME FOR THE 'LITTLE DIPPER'
Image by Dr. Gavin Finley.
Click on the image for more information.
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 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, the descendants 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 end-time 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 stars as they emerge from the lesser sheepfold. 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 comfort and exhortation."Fear not little flock
For it is your Father's good pleasure,
to give you the kingdom." - Luke 12:32
THE WOMAN IS GIVEN THE WINGS OF A GREAT EAGLE.During this time the woman will be given the wings of a great eagle. She will fly away to a place prepared for her. She will be in exile during those final three and a half years. (Rev.12:6 & 14) This 1260 day, time period will see the Bozrah exile will see the nurturing of the woman.
SHE FLIES OFF INTO THE WILDERNESS TO "HER PLACE".
THERE SHE IS "FED" OR "NURTURED" "AWAY FROM THE FACE OF
THE DRAGON" DURING THE LAST 3.5 YEARS OF THIS AGE
Again the woman of Revelation 12 is not just racial DNA Israel. Israel spilled out over her national riverbank and into the nations 2,000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost. Israel's Servant was told that He would be a 'light to the Gentiles'. (Isa.49:6) So the woman as we see her here in the end time drama is a picture of the wider 'Commonwealth of Israel'. (Eph.2:12-13) The Congregation/Church of Israel will be gathered together "as the sheep of Bozrah." But that is not the end of the story. At the final consummation of the age Messiah will return. And He will gather all His covenant people, the quick and the dead, as one single Elect at the Resurrection-Rapture which occurs at the Second Coming.
Art used by permission of Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
John sees a vision of the woman being given the wings of a great eagle. She then flies off to a distant place of safety away from the face of the Dragon. The prophet Micah brings us some extra details concerning this end time travail, exile, and ultimate deliverance of the woman of Revelation 12. The Bozrah scriptures fill in some of the rest of the story. The prophet Micah gives us a wonderful pastoral picture of the deliverance of the woman. God's covenant people are in exile at Bozrah as 'sheep of the fold' at the end of the age. The place the Bible calls 'Bozrah' in this prophecy is not the ancient ruin near the Dead Sea. But the Biblical name 'Bozrah' identifies this as a place under Edomite jurisdiction. The sheep of God's pasture will eventually be delivered from Esau's sheepfold in an epic end-time event we might call the 'Bozrah Deliverance'. See also Mic.2:12-13.
Here we view an aspect of the Second Coming of Christ that is rarely spoken about. There will be an exile of God's covenant people. They will fly off to some faraway place. The end of the age will see that long expected epic deliverance and the glorification of all God's covenant people at the last day of this age. Here is what we can piece together so far.
In Micah 2 we see the returning Messiah as "the Breaker". He has arrived at last and is in His sheepfold with His sheep. He is the Door of the sheepfold. And as the dawning of a new day approaches our Messiah, (as "the Breaker"), is breaking a Way through the wall of the sheepfold.
As the dawn approaches the sheep are gathered around Messiah. They are pressing in against Him as He breaks open a Way out of the sheepfold. And at the Resurrection-Rapture the Messiah breaks through. All His saints are right behind Him as they break through. This is the magnificent Bozrah Deliverance. All who are Christ's are glorified together to become one single Elect.
So the Woman of Israel will come to her time of confinement and deliverance.
And the Body of Messiah will follow the Firstborn/the Head to be born in new spiritual bodies.
Indeed all the chosen and Elect of Israel will follow Messiah to enter into the glory,
This will happen at the Resurrection-Rapture at the last day.
The End-Time Flight
into Exile at Bozrah.
Image by acclaimed Australian photographer Peter Walton.
Click on the image to go to the web-page article.
Here we continue with our scripture passage from Revelation chapter 12.REVELATION 12
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.
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.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE END-TIME DRAMA.We are not left to wonder about the outcome of this epic final contest. The woman will enter her time and her place of confinement. And she will bring forth her man-child. And during those final 3.5 years or 1260 days the final climactic 5th seal witness to Messiah will be seen by men and angels. Then at the 6th seal signs of a darkened sun and a bloody moon the sign of the Son of man will be seen in the heavens. The return of Messiah will be imminent.
THE WOMAN EMERGES FROM THE TRIBULATION VICTORIOUS.REVELATION 12
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.
Christ is the Head of the Church.
He is also Messiah, High Priest and King of the nation of Israel.
This bi-phasic sequence of events in the delivery of the Man-Child is not complicated. This is just as we see it in a normal delivery of a baby. The head is born first, and then the body. God is showing us the intimate unity of us all in Christ. He is the Head. And His Elect is the Body of Christ.
The Man-Child is delivered in the final remnant, a company drawn out from the woman. The woman is a picture of both national Jewish Israel and the the full Commonwealth of Israel. Our Apostle Paul speaks of this Commonwealth or citizenship of the saints in Israel in association with the Church. (Eph. 2:11-13) This is also spoken of elsewhere in the New Testament. (Gal.3:29, Rom.11) So the present day schism between the Church, (so-called), and Israel is not a permanent or eternal state of affairs at all. In fact the split is quite unnatural. The great divorce in Israel began with the breach of Jeroboam after the death of Solomon. But this division is not seen at the end of the age.
The man-child company are like runners on the final leg of a great and epic relay race.
They break the tape to bring in the victory. They run on behalf of all the people of God and on behalf of all the runners/saints who have gone before them. (Heb.11:39-12:2) This is the consummation that will be seen at the end of this age. And so the Man Child will be born.
And so here we see the final gathering and the final climactic deliverance of the woman. It is a magnificent story of a persecution. an exile, and then the epic breakthrough and rescue by our returning Messiah. This prophecy of the end-time deliverance is enormously inspiring and encouraging. It really should be addressed by Bible prophecy teachers instead of being blackballed. And it should also be clearly named for what it is, the Bozrah Deliverance.
The Apostle John, a prisoner of Rome, is in exile on the Island of Patmos. In vision he sees the woman, crowned with a garland or crown of 12 stars. The context suggests we are seeing her at the consummation of the age. We are seeing the full restoration of the Congregation/Church of Israel. The starry crown of 12 stars clearly represent the completed company of 12 Tribes of Israel.
This is a magnificent vision. A garland or a crown is a mark of victory and honor. John sees the woman clothed with the sun. This Biblical symbology goes back to the patriarchs. The imagery of the sun is an identification with the father. We saw this in Joseph's prophetic dream of the sun, the moon, and 11 stars bowing down to him. Joseph's father, Jacob, had no trouble interpreting Joseph's dream and the symbols of the sun, moon, and stars. Perhaps we too can discern what is going on as God, through John, brings us this vision.
The moon is an important symbol. Moonlight is the reflected light of the sun. The light of the moon is a feminine principle. We see it in Biblical imagery and in literature. The moon relates to the woman and her own reflections of herself from the greater Sunlight of God. The woman and the moon are telling us a story that relates to Israel and also involve the Church. But as John saw the woman of destiny the moon and the moonlight are no longer prominent in the picture. The woman is bathed in a greater Light. And the moon was at her feet.
The classic ancient Celtic and medieval imagery shows a woman outlined against the landscape in the pale light of the moon. But that is not what we are seeing here. In this final image of the woman we see the woman lifted up into heavenly places. And we see her in a different Light. John's vision of the woman sees her dazzling and glorious in the clear Light of the sun. Have we seen this vision of splendor before?
Solomon's epic love story gives a very similar picture. It is written in the Song of Songs. The woman in this case is showcased by the Shulamite. She has been through many temptations and trials. But in the passage below we see her at the victorious conclusion to the story.
SONG OF SONGS 6Quite clearly the Day of the Lord has dawned. The dark visions of the night have fled away. The woman is no longer just bathed in reflected moonlight. King Solomon and the Apostle John both combine to show us far more glorious picture. Solomon sees the woman of wonder arising as the dawn and making her emergence in the dazzling light of the sun. The rays of the sun are bursting out from within her as she shines forth in the Light of her Heavenly Father.
10 "Who is this who arises as the dawn,
Fair as the moon,
Bright and dazzling as the sun,
As awesome and magnificent as an army with banners?!"
John sees the woman of travail has now come into her final magnificent destiny. The moon is beneath her feet. And she is clothed with the sun. And in spite of being in great travail John sees upon her head a victory garland of 12 stars. This is showing forth the complete and total restoration of Israel. But there is more. The true Church, the remnant Church, is here. Here in this apocalyptic prophetic snapshot of "the Woman" we see the full and complete Congregation of Israel. The Bride of the Lamb, the Bride of Christ, even the Holy City not made with hands, has come into being at last. God's chosen Elect are finally all together as one. And all of God's covenant people are about to come into the glory.
Here we see just one more of the many untold elements to the end time story.
All these wonderful themes are laid out clearly for us in the Holy Scriptures.
Indeed, they can only find their ultimate and glorious fulfillment at the climax of this age.
And so up there in our future, we are players in this story.
We are the ones who bring in climactic end-time "final witness" to Messiah.
And so we shall take our place on the stage of holy history.
Grace and shalom, to all the saints
We have a similar conundrum with the question of the identity of the man child. Who is the man child? Is he Jesus Christ who was born out of Israel? Or is the man child the true Church or the completed Congregation of Israel that is gathered at the end of the age? Again, our Hellenized mindset forces us to select a box and try to jam the man child in that pigeon hole. But what if both are true? What if the man child embraces all of Christ, Christ the Head and Christ His body? Are we ready to embrace this expanded view?
It seems that our man-centered humanistic perspective is forever trying to put God in a box. Our Greek logical thinking imposes our own presuppositions on the Holy Scriptures. And so the messages God brings us are twisted and chopped up to fit in our theological boxes or our dispensationalist mindset. And so many of our religious arguments are caused by our ignorance as to the big picture of what God is doing and what He will eventually accomplish at the end of the story. Some of our theological problems are caused by our inability to enter into union with Christ. Many theologians are not saved, born-again Christians. But these are the men and women who are often setting forth Christian doctrine. Christ is central to all that happens in holy history. And He should be the Cornerstone and the basis of all our thinking, our feelings, and our actions. Obviously Christ's agenda is one of unity and integrity. His Kingdom and His policy is a unified whole. It is not split into compartments but is whole. He is the One who has been calling out a people, a single Elect company. He has been calling out a people from the beginning. Christ is the Firstborn. And He has many brethren. All are destined to come into unity in Him. All are destined to be glorified together at the Resurrection-Rapture at the last day. And so the man child is a picture of Christ and all His covenant people in glorified unity.
This should be simple. But when we complicate matters by putting theological dividers in where the Bible has not put any division we end up making it hard on ourselves. And we end up with what we see today. A confusing theological mess.
We are forever forcing the question, "Yes but the man child cannot be both Christ the Head and Christ the Body of Christ. It must be one or the other." But what if the Bible shows us that it is both? Shouldn't we go with what the Holy Scriptures have to say rather than the arbitrary theological pigeon holes of men?
We wrestle with the things of God even as Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God. We want our way of looking at things. We want to split hairs. We love our religious boxes and our dispensational periods of history. Arbitrary compartments which we as puny human beings have set up against the free flow of God's messages given to us in scripture. We want it our way and not God's Way. We try to grapple with life and truth and feelings without being submitted to Christ, the One who is the Prince of Peace. But apart from Him our conflicted thinking is apt to tear us apart. It is only "in Christ" that we find true unity, unity of soul, unity of thought, and peace in the heart of man. He alone will bring peace into our theology and into this world.
Our dualistic thinking has been with us a long time.
It came to us from the Garden of Eden and from our separation from God.
The world tries to make sense of reality.
But it cannot get down
to the unifying Principle of all things, who is Christ.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
We were designed to live in unity with God.
That is our "normal" state.
Our present Greek man-centered rationalistic humanism is abnormal.
Sin has separated us from God. And sin also
separates us from knowing ourselves and walking into the Light of God.
We have forgotten the ancient paths.
If we find them again God will be with us to lead us into a destiny
more wonderful than we could not ever have imagined.
We have been cut off from God. He is the key to
the reconciliation of all things.
We have lost our identity in God, our identity in Christ,
our identity in the man child,
and our identity in Israel. So when we read Revelation 12
and see that the woman is Israel and the man child is Christ
we think that is all there is to the story.
We then conclude that the prophecy does not involve us.
But it does!
So our pigeon-holing Greek logical thinking process is the software program or the browser that runs our minds. It causes us to "see", (or not to see), the message that is being delivered to us. It is a further refinement of the essential worldliness we inherited in the Adamic nature.
This mindset of Greek logic has been imposed upon us. We picked it up in our historical passage through the Greek culture. We in the west have been 'Hellenized'. Our Greek mindset tries to split up everything, right down to the atom. It works pretty well in the natural world. We rejoice in our deductive logical processes. There is no doubt this dissecting compartmentalizing proclivity serves us well as an investigating tool in examining the things of this world. But in the area of spiritual realities man centered objective Greek logic lets us down badly. When we try to use our precious rationalism to "process" the Word of God we come up short. We we do ourselves a disservice by trying to take our rationalistic scientific method and use it to dig and delve into the Bible. Using this humanistic approach to interpret the holy scriptures we invariably end up disappointed.
As westerners we are still Greeks in a way. We are forever inclined to box things up. We delight in splitting things up to bring them down to units we can deal with. But when we use this process to take on God and His covenant people then we have a problem. He is too big for our theological boxes!
So this is how we ended up in the confusing theological mess we are in today. We end up chopping Christ from His Congregation. We chop up the saints into "Old Testament saints" and "New Testament saints" and "Tribulation saints". Then in our pigeon holed theological minds we end up having to concoct separate covenants for all of them. Of course there is no scriptural basis for us to do this. But that doesn't stop us!
Another travesty is the way our theology has chopped up God's Elect. Read through the Bible and it soon becomes apparent that there was, is, and ever shall be only one Elect. The Congregation of God is a single company of saints stretching back from righteous Abel and running forward to include the last tribulation saint to be saved before the close of this age. Down through time God has called out one Elect. There is no "apartheid of the Elect" into "The Church" and "Israel" as we have it in our theology today. God's Kingdom is not divided. He only has one covenant people and one plan of salvation. It may be split into "Israel" and "The Church" down here on earth right now. But that is not how it will be in times to come. That divided state of affairs is not destined to continue forever.
Evangelicals have made it very hard on themselves. Some have set up different "ages" with up to seven dispensations. The big split has been between "Israel" and "The Church". Lately some have even gone so far as to say that God has a separate salvation plan for the Jews which is different from the salvation plan He has for "The Church". To Christians and Messianic Jews who are in Christ and who know the Holy Bible this is an unscriptural heretical teaching. We just end up chopping up God's Holy Covenant. We also end up alienating and cutting off the Jewish people who will be joining us in Christ at the end of the age. THe prophet Zechariah clearly tells us that the Jewish House of Judah will be saved. (Zech. 12) It will be rather late. The national salvation of Israel will come in the time context of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies at the Battle of Armageddon.
In the case of the Tribulation Saints we see another classic case of fundamentalist theology going to work and chopping up God's Elect. Our popular dispensationalism, (which is at the foundation of pre-trib rapturism), has actually said that the Age of Grace and the Age of the Church ends at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel. That is where they have placed their Rapture. The final seven years of this age they have virtually written off as a "wrath of God" zone. So any saints in there are an embarrassment to their theology. But flip up Revelation chapter 7 and chapter 20 and we see hundreds of millions of saints who the Bible says came out of the Great Tribulation.
The Tribulation saints are clearly shown to be a saved company washed in the blood of the Lamb. But ask a Bible teacher if these people belong in the Church and the amazing answer you will get is that these fine, true and tested saints do not belong to the Church! Their theological box is not wide enough to accommodate them!
This is a very sad state of affairs. Our dispensationalist theology has forced evangelicals to cut off a very wonderful body of holy people. Dispensationalists say that the Tribulation Saints do not belong in the Church. They chopped the Church off cleanly at the beginning of the final seven years of this age. For them the "Age of grace" has ended with their pre-trib Rapture. The door of Grace is shut tight. It is bolted and padlocked! According to them the 70th week is a wrath zone with "no grace", with no church, and no Holy Spirit. Does the prophet Joel agree with this? - Joel 2:28-32 He certainly does not! He tells us of an End-Time Revival right inside the 70th week. He tells of an epic outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming to a blockbuster climax at the last day!
Brothers and sisters, this dispensationalist theology is dangerous. Not only does it cut off the Tribulation Saints. It alienates and cuts off the nation of Israel from joining the church in the flows of grace as we come up to the close of this age. This theological doctrine has cut off the covenant people of God!
This is truly a grievous matter.
The Bible says that the Jewish nation will be saved! (Zech.12, Rom.11)
And those Tribulation saints could be us!
Do we understand this?
We speak out against "secular humanism". But our "religious humanism" is far more dangerous. It is a Trojan horse inside the Church. In our religious humanism and our manmade "dispensationalism" we have decided in our great human wisdom that there is a "Church Age" or an 'Age of Grace". And it stops not on the last day but 7 years short of the last day. Certain freemasons in clerical garb decided that the 'Age of Grace' should end at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel. This was where they placed their timing for the Rapture. They decreed that there would be "no grace" inside the final 7 years of this age. Did they have any scriptural basis to do this?
They should have taken their trowels and returned to their masonry. They can compartmentalize buildings into separate rooms as much as they like. But they had no right to divide up the House of God in that way.
In the case of the Man-child we see this same compartmentalizing process at work. The man-child is Christ, who is the Head of His Body AND the Body of Christ, or the remnant Church/Israel in unity. This is what is laid out in the body of scripture. But our religious humanism wants us to split up the unity of Christ and His Elect. We want to separate what God has joined together. Christ is our Head. And we ourselves as the Body of Christ are destined to come into unity with Him. This is the man child. But in our theology we want decapitate Christ. We want to cut off His Head and separate it from His Body. But they are one, even as the Man-child we see birthed in Revelation chapter 12 is one! We are all destined to come together as one in Christ Jesus.
When we look at the context of this account of the man-child in this scripture and others we see that God is trying to tell us an all encompassing story. The woman is Greater Israel, The Judeo-Christian people at the end of the age. The man-child born to her is a composite unity of Christ the Head, (who is "caught up to heaven" or resurrected first) and the Body of Christ, who is resurrected later.
This is a simple matter for us to understand. When a child is born the head is born first. Then the body follows afterward. Jesus, our sacred Head is the Firstborn from the dead. He has been resurrected. He rose from the dead right on the Feast of Firstfruits back in the year of His passion. The delivery/deliverance of the man-child has begun! But it is not over. The travail of the woman will continue until the whole body, the Body of Christ, is birthed at the end of this age.
In 1Corinthians 15, that great chapter of the resurrection, our Apostle Paul lays out the resurrection sequence. It is
1. "Christ the firstborn,It is also the sequence of glorification for the man-child. The man-child is the union of Christ our Head with His Body, the Body of Christ. And the Body of Christ is the resurrected remnant Church and remnant Israel combined or the Commonwealth of Israel that Paul refers to. - Eph. 2:12-13
2. Afterwards those that are Christ's at His coming". 1Cor.15:24
Theologians do us a great disservice sometimes. Many of them are not saved. In many cases they do not subject themselves and their theology to Christ who is the Living Word of God. Their Hellenized minds are not subject to His Holy Spirit. Instead they are dominated by dark angels of rationalism and a man-centered world-centered perspective of things. Then of course there is matter of being "politically correct". And so in this humanistic mindset they then proceed to take their deductive reasoning to the sacred pages of the Holy Bible like an ax. They then proceed to dismember the Word of God by chopping it out of its divine context. Then they try to jam the pieces into the little theological boxes they have crafted. For people trying to make head or tail of this it is so confusing that the laymen thinks of himself as dumb. He cannot make sense of it. But he is not dumb. He has been discombobulated by the confusing morass of disjointed theological pieces. And unless a person is in Christ and decides to go "back to the Bible" he is caught in middle of all this confusing mess. Unless a person knows Christ and is led by His Holy Spirit the option of thinking 'outside the box' is all but impossible.
We need to know what God has revealed to us in the Bible. And we need to be led by the Holy Spirit and find out the whole counsel of God as we seek to discover God's Word. But alas, Christ is not central to the teaching we get in many of our seminaries. Instead we get 'Higher criticism". It is a sad trail which eventually leads man down a dark low road. If he continues down that road he eventually comes to a place where he stops and asks the question, "Is God dead?".
This is so sad to see. Many theologians are caught up and boxed up in dualisms and theological boxes of their own making. Many useless arguments are based on the rationalistic mindset we inherited from the Greeks. Such dualisms as "The Church vs. Israel", "The sovereignty of God vs. free will", and others are arguments based on our present limited knowledge and our limited Greek reasoning process. If there are scriptures which support both then both are true!
Such is the reality with the woman of Revelation 12.
The woman is Israel. And the woman is also the Church.
God in scripture is telling us a grand and glorious story.
He is showing us a picture of the
reconciliation and reunion of remnant Israel with the remnant church.
This is what is going to happen. The Bible, not our
compartmentalizing Greek thinking process
should be supreme here. God has declared that He will gather
all of the ones He calls dear in
restored remnant Israel and in the remnant Church abroad.
At the end of this age all of the Elect will come into unity
in Christ our Messiah.
There will be a magnificent remnant Church or Congregation of Israel. In Revelation 12 God has shown us a woman with a garland of 12 stars coming into the glory. She was in travail and about to give birth.
But we must not forget to tell the "rest of the story".
When John sees her she is wrapped up in God and shining in His glory.