In the next couple of blogs, I will be sharing with you something that has been close to my heart ever since the Lord opened my understanding to it nearly forty years ago in what I can only describe as an open-heaven encounter with Him. It wasn’t until later that I began to see how the Scriptures themselves spoke of what I had seen in the spirit during that time. Since that experience, I have come across many who have received a similar vision for what the Lord is going to do through His chosen, prepared sons at the close of this age.
I realize that not everyone reading this will see the unfolding of final events in the same manner as I do, and my purpose in sharing it is not to be contentious, but to simply share what I feel the Lord has shown me, hoping that some may be encouraged by it and receive a renewed vision as to their own role and purpose in the final days of this age.
For me personally, this expectation has been an anchor for my soul through difficult times. Even when the doctors held out no hope for me, the vision I received concerning the latter glory kept my hope alive. Whenever I was tempted to feel that the doctors were right and I was dying, I would remember what the Lord showed me and would repeat, “I shall not die but live and see the glory of the Lord in the land of the living.”
Twenty-two years after the doctors gave me only a few months to live, I am not only alive but totally healed and have a new liver. Even though I am now in my 70s and am often tempted to feel that I have outlived my usefulness, my hope is still kept alive by reminding myself of the vision and declaring, “I shall not die but live and see the glory of the Lord in the land of the living.” This is an excerpt from chapter 8 of my book, “Focusing in on End-Time Events.” I am posting this, at the risk of being misunderstood by those who haven't read the previous chapters which further lay the foundation for this belief.
In Revelation chapter twelve John is shown a vision describing four personages or people groups: 1) A woman with child, 2) The dragon with seven heads and ten horns, 3) The man-child who is born of the woman and 4) the rest of the woman’s descendants.
Who is the Woman?
The vision is introduced with the words “Now a great sign appeared in heaven.” Again, when the dragon is introduced, it says: “Another sign appeared in heaven.” (v. 3). One key to identifying the woman and the man-child she gives birth to is to understand that both she and the dragon are signs and therefore must be interpreted symbolically as signs. In verse nine it states that the dragon is Satan, but recognizing the symbolism represented in the sign, we see that it is not simply Satan but more specifically, Satan as he will manifest during the final three and a half years of the age. He is said to be Satan, but more specifically Satan with seven heads and ten horns having seven crowns on his heads. In Revelation 17:12 it explains the symbolism of the ten horns:
"The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.” (Rev 17:12)
Here we see that although the dragon is a symbol of Satan, it is not Satan acting in the past, but Satan as seen operating through the Antichrist and the ten kings during the final hour of this age. This is key to a correct interpretation because it reveals that the whole vision is of the future when Satan will appear in that particular form. Any interpretation that seeks to find fulfillment of this vision in history is not giving attention to the details of the symbolism in the signs.
If the dragon is a sign describing the end-time manifestation of Satan, then the woman giving birth is also yet future, since it is Satan in his final manifestation as the dragon with seven heads and ten horns that is seen waiting to devour the man-child as soon as he is born.
Then who does this woman represent who will give birth to the man-child three and a half years before the end of the age? The Catholic Church has traditionally interpreted her as Mary who gives birth to Jesus. That is why Mary is commonly depicted in Catholic art as standing on a crescent moon with twelve stars above her head. However, we see that the woman, upon giving birth to the man-child, is pursued by the dragon and is protected by God in the wilderness during the final three and a half years of this age (vv. 13-16). So, clearly it is not referring to the historical virgin birth of Jesus, since the woman is seen to be fleeing into the desert where she will remain during the Great Tribulation or the last three-and-a-half years of the age (v.14).
Neither is the woman representative of the Church, since the Church is mentioned in verse 17 as being the woman’s offspring.
“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 12:17)
When the dragon sees that he cannot devour the man-child, he pursues the woman. Because of divine intervention, he cannot touch her either. Then, enraged, he vents his fury on the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. And who are those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ? The Church of Jesus Christ. In the following chapter, chapter thirteen, we see a description of the dragon’s persecution of the Church:
“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” (Rev 13:5, 7)
While he is granted permission to make war on the Church, we see that the woman is protected by God and out of reach of the dragon. Who is this woman, and why is she protected from the dragon while the rest of her offspring – the Church, is given into his power?
The symbolism of the sign of the woman helps us discover her identity. In Revelation 12:1 it says that she is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.” Comparing this with Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9-10, we can see that she represents the nation of Israel:
“Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’ So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” (Gen 37:9-10)
Joseph had a dream in which the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to him. Jacob himself gives the interpretation of the sign of the woman in heaven. The sun is Jacob, the moon is Rachel, and the stars are the twelve tribes of Israel (including Joseph they would be twelve). So, the woman is representative of the nation of Israel. However, Paul says in Romans 9:6, “they are not all Israel who are of Israel”. He then goes on to explain that the true Israel are those who come through the promised line – not Ishmael but Isaac; not Esau but Jacob etc. Today there are many descendants of Israel, but it is only the elect Israel who are the true seed of Israel. Because of Israel’s failure to recognize their Messiah, God has turned his favor towards the Gentiles, resulting in many being born into the Kingdom of God. Because of Israel’s unbelief, the Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree which represents the family of Abraham. Because of God’s judgment upon Israel for their rejection of their Messiah, we can now say as Gentiles that we are one body along with the Jewish believers and Abraham’s seed.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:26-29)
This partial blinding of Israel will continue until the last elect Gentile of this age has come into the Church. Then all of Israel will be saved at the Second Coming of their Messiah:
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:25-29)
So, the suffering that Israel has undergone since their rejection of the Messiah has served to bring forth the Church, made up of Gentiles and a remnant of Jewish believers. It is not until they see the Deliverer coming out of Zion that all unbelief will be removed from Israel. Meanwhile God has not rejected Israel. They continue to be the beloved of God because his gifts and calling are irrevocable.
The 144,000 sealed of all the tribes of Israel are the elect Israel who are sealed for protection and divinely kept out of reach of the dragon, thus preserving their lives until Christ comes from Zion at which time, they will all be saved. Meanwhile their rejection is reconciliation of the world (Rom.11:15). While she has suffered in travail since her rejection of the Messiah, the Church has been coming forth.
Who is the Man-Child?
Many assume that the man-child being born to Israel is referring to Jesus, since it says that the man-child is destined to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and it is said of Jesus in Revelation 19:15 that He will rule with a rod of iron. However, the same is also said of the overcomers in Revelation 2:26,27:
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' — as I also have received from My Father.” (Rev 2:26-27)
This is a quote from a messianic Psalm:
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.” (Ps 2:8-9)
This was a promise given to the Son of God. Why would He in turn give it to the overcomers? Because He did not receive all authority and power in order to have it for Himself. He was already Almighty God with all power and authority. He emptied Himself and became the Son of Man, the Last Adam in order to recover all the authority the first Adam forfeited to Satan and much more, so that He could then give it to us, thus bringing many sons to glory. Since He already had all authority and power, He didn’t obtain it for Himself. He obtained it to give it to us. If we fail to overcome in the trials that are designed to prepare us to reign with Him, we will delay His ultimate purpose in redemption which is not only to save us from sin but also to conform us to His image. Even now, according to Ephesians 2:6, we are seated with Him in His exalted position in Heavenly places. But how many of us are already now reigning in life through Him?
So, while it is evident that Christ will rule with a rod of iron, the same is also said of the overcomers. While it is an individual that is depicted in the vision of Revelation 12, we have already seen that the vision uses symbolism. The woman is not one individual but a people. The dragon is also seen to not only represent the devil but also the whole Antichrist system. Would we not expect that the man-child would be representative of a company of saints as well?
Also, the use of the plural “they” in verse 6 implies that the man-child is not referring to just one individual. “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. 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.” (Rev 12:5-6). In the context, the subject of the verb “they should feed” (tréfosin) which is plural, would be the man-child. This would seem to imply, not only that the man-child is a group rather than an individual, but also that, although they will be caught up in spirit to heavenly realms, they will also be ministering on the earth during the last three and a half years of this age.
Another observation that would indicate that it is not referring to the birth of Christ is the timeframe of the vision. The man-child is born at a time when Satan appears as the ten horned dragon, which places his birth at the end of the age. Satan, in that form, is seen standing before the woman in order to devour the man-child as soon as he is born. But when he is born, it says that “her child was caught up to God and His throne.” (Rev 12:5). Jesus, the child, grew in wisdom and stature and defeated the devil at the cross before rising from the dead and ascending to the Father. The man-child, on the other hand, is caught up to God and His throne the very moment he comes forth before the devil is able to do him harm. When the man-child of Revelation 12 is caught up, the woman flees from the dragon into the wilderness where she is protected and sustained by God for one thousand two hundred and sixty days (v.6), or during the period of the Great Tribulation. There she is kept alive until the Deliverer comes out of Zion. So, the timeframe of the vision is limited to the last three and a half years of this age, rather than covering more than two thousand years, which is what would be required in order to make it refer to the birth of Jesus.
If the context of Revelation 12 is future, commencing just prior to the Great Tribulation, then who is the man- child? The man-child company seems to be those who overcome – those who have reached maturity prior to the Great Tribulation, which is designed to prepare the unprepared of the bride of Christ for the marriage of the Lamb. The man-child company will be kept from that hour since they already persevered under previous trials (Rev 3:10). They will be accounted worthy to escape all those things which will come to pass and stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36). They are those who have already learned to reign in life while on earth, and will now begin to reign from the heavenlies. With the assistance of Michael and his legions they will do warfare in the heavenlies and Satan and his angels will be cast down to earth (Rev 12:7-12). While only Michael and his angels are mentioned in this battle, the flow of the context would imply that this company of overcomers who will rule with a rod of iron; having already become accustomed to walking in ascension power while still on earth, will have begun to exercise that authority given to them in the heavenlies also. Jesus said to his disciples:
"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:18-19)
"Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 18:18)
These overcomers, while still on earth, took these words literally and by faith exercised that authority over all the power of the enemy, binding evil forces they could not even see, trusting that all the angels of heaven would back them. How much more so will they bind and loose now that they are in the heavenly realm, now being able to see the enemy under their feet and the angels waiting to carry out their bidding!
What a privilege granted to the latter day saints (not Mormons), to be living in the end of the age when those who keep His works to the end will be granted the privilege of standing before the Son of God, beginning to conquer from the heavenlies even before His Second Coming, where it is said after the dragon and his angels have been cast from the heavenlies: “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ have come.” (Rev 12:10). The man-child company will have already begun to reign with Christ from the heavenlies before the Great Tribulation. Far from being a pretribulational escape for an unprepared bride, stained and wrinkled by the flesh and the world, it will be a first-fruits company of the bride to be, the rest of whom will be made ready in the fires of the Great Tribulation prior to the Second Coming of Christ when the marriage feast of the Lamb will take place (Rev 19:7-16). It is high time that the Church of Jesus Christ awakes to the call. As Jesus said:
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)