THE MALE CHILD OF REVELATION 12 IS THE CHURCH — TIME TO FILL YOUR LAMP

the-woman-male-child-and-dragon-1

The argument that many are engaged in at the current time is whether or not the “male child” of Revelation 12:5, is Christ or the Church?  The answer, the right answer, from powerful scholars throughout the ages is simply this:  He is both.And the implications are astronomical!

THE RAPTURE AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING ARE DISTINCT EVENTS

Because the male child is both, as Gary Huffman and I argue in THE REVEALING: UNLOCKING HIDDEN TRUTHS ON THE GLORIFICATION OF GOD’S CHILDREN, the “great sign” of Revelation 12 proclaims there is a rapture of the Church, and it happens at least 3.5 years (1260 days) before the visible return of Christ.  In a separate post, I provided what I believe is incontrovertible evidence that the Bible teaches the two events (the Rapture of the Church and the visible, “Glorious Appearing” of Jesus Christ at the end of the age), are distinct events.  Here is a link to the extensive chart I built to make this case plain.  CLICK HERE —> Comparison 1 Thess 4 with Matt 24 9-1-2017 for the PDF.

In this post, I want to provide evidence from several excellent sources, that the male child of Revelation 12 is both Christ and the Church – the united head and body in its mystical union.  If so, the passage goes on to make plain that the male child is “plucked up” (harpazo, the same Greek word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17) before the woman flees to the wilderness. (The woman is Israel – an interpretation seldom debated).

Let’s review the passage once more:

Rev 12:1-6 1Now 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. 2Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4His 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. 5She 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. 6And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

Quoting from our book The Revealing, interpreting the meaning of “the Great Sign:”

There are three characters in this passage.  There is a woman, there is a male child, and there is a fiery red dragon with seven heads and ten horns.  No one disputes that the dragon represents the devil or Satan.  And almost no scholar doubts that the woman represents Israel.  After giving birth to the male child, the woman flees into the wilderness to a special sanctuary prepared by God for her safe keeping (tradition contends this is Petra or Mount Seir). The passage also indicates that the dragon stands ready to devour the male child as soon as he is born.  While the woman is preserved by fleeing into the wilderness, the male child is protected from the dragon – he escapes his clutches – through a very special “airlift” rescue.  That is, the child is “snatched away” (in the Greek, harpazo– pronounced har-pod-zho), the same word (Strong’s G276) used by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up(snatched up) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Revelation 12:5 states that the child will rule the nations with a rod of iron.  Surely then, the child is Jesus, for Psalm 2 testifies that the Messiah will rule with a rod of iron. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” (Psalm 2:9)   However, if we must make note that Revelation 2:27 has Jesus promising the Church at Thyatira they will rule the nations with a rod of iron – with Him.  Therefore, we mustn’t  jump to the conclusion the male child is just Jesus.[1]  When it is snatched up, at the Rapture, the Church and Christ are united – they become one. Thus, a full account of the Scripture demonstrates that the Church will reign and rule with Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:12) – and this includes the “rod of iron” descriptor.

Consequently, we are left with a most definite impression that the male child who is plucked up to heaven is not Jesus Christ (who ascended visibly into the clouds as witnessed by the Apostles), but rather the Church of Jesus Christ who becomes fully one with Him.  If so (and as we will see, many commentators insist this the male child comprises the Church and its “snatching up” comprises the Rapture), it begs the question whether the astronomical event (the arrangements of stars, planets, sun, and moon) which transpires on September 23, 2017, signifies the very moment when the rapture of the Church will occur.

The “$64,000 question” about whether this means the Rapture truly occurs in two weeks less two days, I will leave for the end of this article.  My point here: demonstrate the male child is unquestionably Christ, the Head, and His body the Church.  THAT the rapture occurs separately from the woman fleeing to the wilderness, holds enormous consequences dictating vital events transpiring in the last days.

WHO ELSE TAUGHT “CHRIST AND THE CHURCH COMBINED” COMPRISE THE MALE CHILD OF REVELATION 12?

Gary at Unsealed.org, a terrific prophecy news website providing analysis and commentary, did all of us a wonderful favor.  They assembled an amazing list of scholars that, unlike what good friends of eschatology, Jack Hibbs and Joel Richardson have stated, concur on the identity of the male child as both Christ and the Church united.

Allow me here to provide a very brief summary of ten scholars that Gary at Unsealed.org identified, along with one or two sentences regarding their commentary concerning the identity of the male child:

  • Theodore Beza (b. 1519), student of John Calvin, co-author of The Geneva Bible Commentary, stated: “That is Christ the head of the Church joined with his Church (the beginning root and foundation of which is the same Christ) endued with kingly power and taken up into heaven out of the jaws of Satan (who as a serpent did bite him on the cross) that sitting on the heavenly throne, he might reign over all.”
  • Hanserd Knollys (b. 1599) early Baptist scholar, author of many books, including his Commentary on Revelation said this: “The man child brought forth was Christ, and his saints, the spiritual seed of this mystical woman, the church of the firstborn written in heaven, { Hebrews 12:22-23} the Jerusalem, that is above, which is the mother of us all. {Galatians 4:26} This child was prophesied of. { Psalm 2:6-10} And also her spiritual seed, the saints. { Revelation 12:16-17} Christ and his saints shall have the dominion over the nations, Daniel 7:27-28 and { Revelation 11:15}.”
  • Matthew Poole (b. 1624) expressed firm conviction that the male child was neither Christ alone, or (as some were then arguing) the first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great (c. 320 AD).  In his Latin commentary on Revelation, Poole stated, “It was prophesied of Christ, Psalm 2:9, that he should break the nations with a rod of iron. It is applied to the servants of Christ, who overcome, and keep Christ’s words to the end, Revelation 2:27. So as it is here applicable to believers, whom the church should bring forth, who shall judge the world, as the apostle tells us; and I had rather thus interpret it, (rather) than concerning Constantine the Great.”
  • Matthew Henry (b. 1662) also stated the identity of the male child clearly and described the Rapture perfectly without using that term.  We read from his massive six-volume commentary, “She was safely delivered of a man-child (v. 5), by which some understand Christ, others Constantine, but others, with greater propriety, a race of true believers, strong and united, resembling Christ, and designed, under him, to rule the nations with a rod of iron; that is, to judge the world by their doctrine and lives now, and as assessors with Christ at the great day. Care was taken of this child: it was caught up to God, and to his throne; that is, taken into his special, powerful, and immediate protection.”
  • John Nelson Darby (b. 1800) the progenitor of Dispensationalism (the successor to Restorationism), certainly saw in Revelation 12:5 a powerful affirmation of the Rapture.  Said Darby, “If the mighty man, the mystic man, the man-child of Revelation xii. is to act [in judging the world with a rod of iron], He must first be complete (of course He is so, essentially so, in Himself, but as Head over all things to the Church which is His body). The head and the body must be united before He can act as having this title before the world; because the mystic man as a whole cannot take it until the Church is taken up to Him. For not until then—until the Church, the body, is united to the Head, Christ, in heaven—is the mystic man in that sense complete; and therefore, the Church must be taken up before Christ can come in judgment…”
  • William Kelly (b. 1820), an Irish theologian of the nineteenth century and member of the Plymouth Brethren, argued the same, “On this principle then I cannot but consider that the rapture of the man-child to God and His throne involves the rapture of the church in itself. The explanation why it is thus introduced here depends on the truth that Christ and the church are one, and have a common destiny. Inasmuch as He went up to heaven, so also the church is to be caught up.”
  • G. H. Pember (b. 1845), whose works have become popularized in our day thanks to Chuck Missler and Tom Horn, states firmly that Revelation 12:5 speaks of the Church and its Rapture.  Moreover, the Rapture must occur before the Nephilim reappear during the time of Great Tribulation!  Says Pember, “We may mention our conclusion that the birth and rapture of the man child refer to the completion of the mystic Christ — of which the personal Christ is the Head and His Church the body — as manifested by the sudden translation of all waiting saints, whether dead or alive, to meet their Lord in the air.  It thus appears that this long-expected event will precede Satan’s banishment from heaven, and, therefore, also its results…and the revelation of the Man of Sin. Like Enoch, the Church of Christ will be called away,  before (the) earth is, for a time, abandoned to the Nephilim, before the fearful woes of the end.”
  • Charles Stanley (from the nineteenth century, not the popular preacher in Atlanta present day!), who was a powerful evangelist in England during the nineteenth century, likewise confirmed the identical viewpoint in his book, The Great Tribulation or Time of the End, “Now the church is associated with Christ in this, as it is written in Revelation 2:26. ‘And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end; to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.’ And when Christ comes to exercise this judgment, the church comes with Him (Rev. 19:14-15). So that the full ascension of the man child is complete, when the church, His body, is caught up to be with Him where He is: and to come with Him when He comes.
  • Harry Ironside (b. 1876), a significant personality in the evangelical movement in the twentieth century, wrote explicitly on the topic and declared one’s understanding of Revelation 12:1-6 crucial to rightly understanding the outline of the end times.  A lengthy quotation from Ironside:

This, clearly enough, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is soon to reign over all the earth, and undoubtedly He is primarily the Man-child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and the special object of Satan’s malignity. But we have already seen, in Rev. 2:26–28, that when He reigns He will not reign alone. . . . Is there then any incongruity in understanding the man-child to represent both Christ Jesus our Lord and His church? Surely not, for He is the Head of the body, the church, which is the fullness, or completion of Himself, so that the title, ‘The Church’ is applied to both head and body viewed as one in 1 Cor. 12:12. . . . We may then, on the authority of Scripture itself, safely affirm that the man-child represents the one New Man who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron—Christ, the Head, and the church, His body.[5]

  • Chuck Missler (b. 1934) remains alive today as one of the revered sages of Bible prophecy, continuing his ministry to the blessing of the Church.  Chuck said this about the identity of the male child:

For many, many years as I read verse five I recognized of course that the woman is Israel… the man-child is who?  Jesus Christ.  And her child was caught up unto God and to his throne.  And I just took for granted that was an allusion to what?  The ascension, right?  It was G.H. Pember I believe, back probably in 1914, he was the first that I encountered at least, that saw this as possibly alluding to something else.  Not the ascension, but the rapture.  Her child, the Body of Christ, was caught up to God and his throne.  That could be an allusion to the ascension, no problem.  It also might be an allusion to the Body of Christ caught up in the rapture because the word ‘caught up’ there in the Greek is, guess what?  Harpazo.  Snatched.  The same word that occurs in First Thessalonians chapter four.

The article from Unsealed.Org lists a total of 25 scholars that agree on the identity of the male child.  There should be no doubt that Revelation 12:5 is teaching the Rapture of the Church, that it is a separate event occurring before the woman flees into the wilderness, and before Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven.

More Recent Commentaries Confirm the Same Truth

In addition to the scholarship of the ten scholars cited from the great study at Unsealed.org highlighted above, here are three commentaries we identifiedTHE SIGN IN THE HEAVENS – IS THIS A SIGN OF THE RAPTURE – FULL VERSION in The Revealing, that also confirm the perspective championed here:

  • From the Faith Life Study Bible: “In Revelation, the number 12 is associ­ated with the 12 tribes of Israel and also the 12 apostles as the Church’s foundation (Rev 21:14). Thus, the woman could symbolize the faithful people of God. The Messiah is born from God’s people, Israel, and His work continues with God’s people, the Church.”
  • Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, on Revelation 12:5, voices the same opinion:

And she brought forth a man child – Representing, according to the view above taken, the church in its increase and prosperity – as if a child were born that was to rule over all nations. See the notes on Revelation 12:2.  Who was to rule all nations – That is, according to this view, the church thus represented was destined to reign in all the earth, or all the earth was to become subject to its laws. Compare the notes on Daniel 7:13-14[2]

  • Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, regarding Revelation 12:5 agrees. The male child is the “mystical Christ”, i.e., “his members, who are called by his name.” Reading this statement in context:

And she brought forth a man child…. Not Christ, literally and person­ally considered, or Christ in his human nature, as made of a woman, and born of a virgin, which was a fact that had been years ago; but Christ mystically, or Christ in his members, who are called by his name, because he is formed in them, and they are the seed of the woman, the church.[3]

RECENT PAPER OF DR. MICHAEL SVIGEL, DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

Finally, allow me to quote from a recent paper of Dr. Michael Svigel of Dallas Theological Seminary, who has provided us with an extensive exegetical study, connecting Revelation 12 with Isaiah 66, among many other key matters.

Attached here is a PDF of the 46-page paper by Dr. Svigel if the reader is eager to study this topic more thoroughly.

One key point I will share at this juncture concerns an intriguing, albeit complex, bit of grammar.   Svigel surfaces the fact that when John the Revelator depicts the male child, he has either made a grammatical error in Greek or he is doing something intentionally that was expressed by his choice of words (an intentional mismatch of a noun and adjective in English terms, regarding agreement of the gender of these words). John uses the neuter case when identifying the modifier “male.”  What is it that the Holy Spirit has inspired in the text as a clue to properly interpreting the scripture?  It is technical, but see if you can follow along with Dr. Svigel’s argument:

John may intentionally have the neuter pronominal adjective ἄρσεν (instead of the masculine) irregularly modify the masculine υἱὸν. As observed above in the textual comparisons of Revelation 12 and Isaiah 66, the unusual grammar reflects the actual wording of the Isaiah text, where both the mention of ‘male’ and the corporate plural of ‘son’ (or ‘child’) occur in synonymous phrases expressing Jerusalem bearing in travail. That John has not made a careless grammatical blunder is clear from 12.13, where the masculine τὸν ἄρσενα is correctly used. On the other hand, some do not see a grammatical incongruity in the use of ἄρσεν, but view it as a noun in apposition to ‘son’, further describing it. . . . But this still leaves unanswered the question why the neuter occurs in 12.5 and the masculine in 12.13; in addition, the substantival use normally would be articular, as in 12.13.  Thus, John’s use of “poor grammar” in Revelation 12:5 is intended to point the reader back to the images of Isaiah 66:7, which reads: “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy.” The next verse demonstrates that the woman and child are not intended to represent individuals, but rather assemblies: “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons (two sons?).” The passage switches from the singular “son” to the plural “sons,” and describes the birth of “a land” and “a nation.” Therefore, given the symbolic parallels between the description of the woman of Revelation 12:1 and Israel of Genesis 37:9 as well as the intentional verbal allusion to Isaiah 66:7, where the woman is clearly the nation of Israel, “Zion,” the conclusion that best fits the evidence is that when the scene of Revelation 12 opens up, the woman primarily represents Israel of the Old Testament in travail.

He goes further to clarify what this means in terms of the nature of the male child;

To take the male child, then, as only an individual man, Jesus of Nazareth, would be to break consistency within the symbols of Revelation 12:1-7. It is acknowledged that such an inconsistency is certainly the prerogative of the author, but it fails to come to grips with the fact that John is not composing the passage ex nihilo (i.e., without a context), but (is) describing a vision we believe actually occurred. Thus, the elements of the vision could be mixed; that is, the woman and the dragon could symbolize corporate entities while the male child is an actual human being. However, an interpretation that understands the male child to be a corporate entity does not contradict the context of the passage; it does, in fact, better suits the context.

A further note.  Whereas, Isaiah 66:7-8 is normally associated with the birth of Israel in a single day, it may more likely refer to the birth of a nation, “a peculiar people, a holy nation,” i.e., the Church (1 Peter 2:9) being born in a single day.  The fact that the nation is born before the woman (Israel) experienced birth pangs (perhaps meaning the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble?) certainly increases the likelihood that the Holy Spirit was inspiring the authors to “encode” the mystery of the Church and its destination within these passages, and their linkage as Dr. Svigel points out through his exegesis.

Conclusion

Recently, I wrote an article for the September issue of Prophecy in the News Magazine.  Attached is the longer version of the article for your review here.  The article takes up the subject of whether or not September 23, 2017, at the conclusion of Rosh Hashanah (The Feast of Trumpets), will culminate in the actual Rapture of the Church.  I encourage readers to take the time to read that article, for in it I explain why the Rapture could happen in 12 short days, but, certainly has brought forth a teaching from the stars that has been, for the most part, lost to the present day evangelical church.  That is, Revelation 12 teaches us the Rapture is a distinct and imminent event.  We will be caught up into the clouds BEFORE the woman flees into the wilderness at which time there is 1,260 days before the LORD returns visibly to the world.  And as Gary Huffman and I write in The Revealing, before the Church takes on its new duties to administrate God’s cosmos, replacing the “powers and principalities” that occupy the second (and possibly the third) heaven today, the Rapture must happen FIRST.  This truth, given all the debate about when the rapture occurs, is one that we need to hear, acknowledge, and incorporate into our beliefs about the last days.

For, and this is the crucial point, if the male child is the Church, the rapture will occur before the Glorious Appearing, perhaps 3.5 years, perhaps 7 years, perhaps longer.  But it will not happen at the same moment as Post-Trib believers assert (well meaning though they be).

Here’s our article.  Enjoy.  Please share this article with your friends and family.

THE SIGN IN THE HEAVENS – IS THIS A SIGN OF THE RAPTURE – FULL VERSION

It is time to put oil in your lamp… which means it is time to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be expectant.  “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.” (Matthew 25:6)

For there is a crown awaiting all those who eagerly await the coming of the LORD.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2Timothyy 4:8)


 Notes

[1] Note the King James Version capitalizes Child, presuming the child is divine.  The seventeenth-century translators therefore presumed (mistakenly I believe) that Jesus is the “exclusive” male child in Revelation 12.

[2] Retrieved from http://biblehub.com/commentaries/revelation/12-5.htm.

[3] Ibid.

[4] See http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/article/5721   (Click to Site)

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