.To return to work page.

 

The woman clothed with the sun

Query for the Month

of

September 2006

Next up-date: October 1st 2006 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!


Query:

Revelation 12:

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up to God, and to His throne. 

What does all this mean?

 

 Answer:

Throughout the Bible God’s church is described as a pure woman, as opposed to Satan’s impure one who is clothed in scarlet and covered with abominations. A little further on in the revelation given to John he wrote;

*************** (Begin quote)

Revlation 17:

1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, “Come hither; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters: 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

*************** (End quote)

The woman in our query is therefore a symbol of God’s pure church, and in this case she is clothed with the sun representing the presence of the Son of God.  It is written of that period, as of others, “But to you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall [be well protected].”  Malachi 4:2.

There is a great controversy going on between the two powers symbolised by these two “women” and in our verses we are being shown some of the background scenes in that war.  The church stands on the moon because it is her role to reflect Christ’s righteousness to those who have not yet made up their minds to join Him.  The crown on her head represents the twelve leading men of the time, the twelve apostles who were to be trained to go forth to all the world to tell the story of God’s love in human terms, for the baby she struggles to bring forth is the Messiah at His first advent. 

Thus we are looking at the fledgling church around 4BC.

The line of prophecy in which these symbols are found brings to light the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The dragon is said to be Satan in verse 9; he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death. Matthew 2:16. 

But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which Paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of Pagan Rome. The dragon is described as having seven “heads” or worldly manifestations, and Pagan Rome was the fourth of these. 

(They are, in their order: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome, Materialism (our present power), and finally, a different church system which after a short period will join with the papacy in a final display of satanic fury, the combination of which is likened to an eighth head!  See Revelation 17:10-11.)  

The ten horns on the heads of the dragon represent the religious powers of the world. “And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour [a short time] with the beast. [Right now the crowns are on the HEADS of the dragon, but soon they will change and be on the horns, Revelation 13:1.]  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the [dragon] beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is LORD of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:12-14.

In our query verses we are told that the dragon (i.e. Satan) brought with him one third of the angels from heaven to the earth where he set up his headquarters for rebellion. They are what the Bible calls “demons” or “evil spirits”, and they are still operating today, although keeping a low profile.  Luke 7:21.  The other two thirds of the angels, and the peoples of the universe, refused to co-operate with Satan and remained loyal to God.  See Revelation 5:11-13.  All that are left to make up their minds are the peoples of this world, and it is the church’s job to help in that polarisation.

Lastly, the query text tells us of the birth of the Son of man, and how He was to show that love is the strongest power in the universe, before He returned to heaven as our High Priest. 

The verses which follow (12:6-9) tell the sad story of how many of the Christian branch of the church then had to be sent away from Europe as Satan’s church prevailed in the war.  “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1,260 years]. And there was war [a war of words] in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not [against the truth]; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world [with his lies]: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:6-9. 

Another place in the Bible says that they left of their own accord.  “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has [p]reserved in everlasting chains [of rebellion] under darkness [willing ignorance] to the judgment of the great day.” Jude 1:6.  Even though they are actively working against Him, our loving God still maintains their lives, and will do so till they choose to give them up in the Lake of Fire.  The truth is that both facts are right – Satan was expelled from heaven by the rejection of his words – and he left when he could no longer influence anyone.  It is only on this earth that he finds satisfaction, and that is because the majority of the world’s population love his ways.

Most of the people of God scattered into all the other parts of the inhabited world, including Asia and the Pacific while the war of words continued, but it is written of those who stayed in Europe that they “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” even while they died for their faith and love.  Verse 11. 

Not mentioned in these verses, but described in other places in the Bible, eventually there came a revival and the church of God began to strike back with the full truth.  The result of this will be another exile! 

For then it is written;

*************** (Begin quote)

Revelation 12:

12 “Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them [the people of the universe, for the adversary has left you]

“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!  For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time [from now on].” 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth [this occurred finally at the cross], he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child [even more intensely].

[In a picture of what is to be, we are told] 14 And [at the end of time] to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle [symbolizing great speed], that she might fly into the wilderness [again], into her place, where she is [to be] nourished for a time, and times, and half a time [three and one half years, or forty-two months, 13:5-7], from the face of the serpent [another name for Satan in his role as tempter]

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water [many people] as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood [killed by them].

16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth [many people will die in the natural last day events]. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant [the very last] of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

*************** (End quote)

How will we cope with that?

Ezekiel, the mourning exiled prophet/priest in the land of the Chaldeans, was given a vision teaching a lesson of faith in the mighty God of Israel.  As he was upon the banks of the river Chebar one day, a whirlwind seemed to come from the north, “a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber.”  Ezekiel 1:4.  This was a symbolic picture of the Son of God showing His great power.

Ezkiel’s attention was drawn to a number of wheels of strange appearance, intersecting one another, which were being moved by four living creatures, later called “cherubims” or angels. Chapter 1:15-21; and 10:5-6.  The wheels were symbols of men and women on earth being led by the angels. 

High above all these was “the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire [blue] stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a Man above upon it.” 1:26. “As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.” Verse 13. 

“And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.”  Chapter 10:8.

There were wheels within wheels in an arrangement so complicated that at first sight they appeared to Ezekiel to be all in confusion.  But when they moved, it was with beautiful exactness and in perfect harmony.  Heavenly beings (angels) were impelling these wheels, and, above all, upon the glorious sapphire (the blue of mercy) throne, was the Eternal One; while round about the throne was the encircling rainbow, emblem of grace and love.

Overpowered by the terrible glory of the scene, Ezekiel fell upon his face, when a voice bade him arise and hear the word of the LORD.  Then there was given him a message of warning for Israel.  (See Chapter 2 for that.)

This vision was given to Ezekiel at a time when his mind was filled with gloomy forebodings.  He saw the land of his fathers lying desolate.  The city that was once full of people was no longer inhabited.  The voice of mirth and the song of praise were no more heard within her walls.  The prophet himself was a stranger in a strange land, where boundless ambition and savage cruelty reigned supreme.  That which he saw and heard of human tyranny and wrong distressed his soul, and he mourned bitterly day and night.  But the wonderful symbols presented before him beside the river Chebar revealed an overruling power mightier than that of earthly rulers.  Above the proud and cruel monarchs of Assyria and Babylon the God of mercy and truth was enthroned. 

The wheel-like complications that appeared to the prophet to be involved in such confusion were under the guidance of an infinite hand, as Belshazzar found out.  Daniel 5:5.  The Spirit of God who was revealed to Ezekiel as moving and directing these wheels brought harmony out of confusion, thus showing that the whole world was under His control.  Myriads of glorified beings were ready at His word to overrule the power and policy of evil men, and bring good to His faithful ones.

In like manner, when the Son of God was about to open to the beloved John the Revelator the history of the church for future ages, He gave him an assurance of His interest and care for His people by revealing Himself to him as “One like to the Son of man,” walking among the candlesticks, which symbolized the seven branches of the church. Revelation 1:12-20. 

While John was shown the great struggles of the Christians with the earthly powers from the very beginning of their persecutions, he was also permitted to behold the final victory and deliverance of the faithful.  He saw the church brought into deadly conflict with the beast and his image, and the worship of that beast enforced on pain of death.  Revelation 13:15.  But looking beyond the smoke and din of the battle, he beheld a company upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having, instead of the mark of the beast, the “Father's name written in their foreheads.”  Revelation 14:1.

And again he saw “them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.  Revelation 15:2-3.

These lessons are for our benefit. 

We need to stay our faith upon God, for there is just before us a time that will try us to the uttermost.  Christ, upon the Mount of Olives, revealed the fearful judgments that were to precede His second coming: “You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars  . . .  Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.”  Matthew 24:6-8.  While these prophecies received a partial fulfilment at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, they have a more direct application to the last days. 

We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. 

*************** (Begin quote)

Luke 21:

10 Then said He to them, [In the last days] “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: 11 and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

12 “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues [churches], and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony [you will need to witness for Me]. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer: 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

16 “And you shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And you shall be hated of all men for My name's sake. 18 But there shall not a hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess you your souls. 

*************** (End quote)

Prophecy is fast fulfilling.  The LORD is at the door.  There is soon to open before us a period of overwhelming interest to all living.  The controversies of the past are to be revived; new controversies will arise.  The scenes to be enacted in our world are not yet even dreamed of.  Satan is at work through human agencies.  Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution of the United States of America and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result.  A crisis is not far away.

But we are not to trust to ourselves in this great emergency.  In the visions given to Ezekiel and to John, we see how closely heaven is connected with the events taking place upon the earth and how great is the care of God for those who are loyal to Him.  The world is not without a ruler.  The program of coming events is in the hands of the LORD.  The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge. 

We often permit ourselves to feel altogether too much care, trouble, and perplexity in the LORD's work.  Finite men are not left to carry the burden of responsibility.  We need to trust in God, believe in Him, and go forward.  The tireless vigilance of the heavenly messengers, and their unceasing employment in their ministry in connection with the beings of earth, show us how God's hand is guiding the wheel within a wheel.  The divine Instructor is saying to every actor in His work, as He said to Cyrus of old: “I girded you, though you have not known Me.”  Isaiah 45:5.

In Ezekiel's vision God had His hand beneath the wings of the cherubim.  This is to teach us that it is divine power that gives us success.  He will work with us if we will put away iniquity and become pure in heart and life, clothed with Sun again. 

The bright light going among the living creatures with the swiftness of lightning represents the speed with which the work of God will finally go forward to completion.  He who slumbers not, who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, can carry forward His great work harmoniously.  That which appears to finite minds entangled and complicated, the LORD's hand can keep in perfect order.  He can devise ways and means to thwart the purposes of wicked men, and He will bring to confusion the counsels of them that plot mischief against His people. 

 Conclusion:

Although Christ was crucified under the urging of Satan, it was really the Son of God’s choice to die.  He said, “Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of My Father.”  John 10:17-18.

In this way He defeated Satan at his own game, because He came back from the dead.  “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, (which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our LORD, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”  Romans 1:1-4.

He has since gone to heaven and is working there while the Spirit is in control of the earth.

 

oooOooo


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Next query. To be discussed from October 1st, 2006.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your glorying is not good.  Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened.  For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 

What is the significance of this statement?

Like to E-mail me and give me your thoughts on this subject?


Send in your thought on this current query.

or to add your comment to the next one.

Pose a query for us to look at

To return to Homepage.

Look in the Spiritual "Dictionary"