Saturday, 27 February 2021
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. Revelation 12:5
In the previous commentary, it was noted that the timeline of this could be speaking of the past, when Christ was born into the world, or it could be speaking of the future when Christ will be born into the nation of Israel as her Messiah. The latter view is surely correct. One’s view on the matter will shape how the rest of the vision is formed. One option against the first view is that no definitive structure of the dragon fits past history at the time of Christ’s birth. Therefore, it is most surely a future event when Israel is in the pains of labor concerning Messiah being born into the collective body.
The verbs of the verse support the latter view quite well. A more literal translation says, “and she brought forth a male child, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and caught away was her child unto God and His throne.”
The verb “brought forth” is aorist. The verb “is about” is present. And the verb “caught away” is aorist. He was brought forth at a set time. He is about to rule the nations, and he was caught away at a set time. With this understood, John begins the verse with, “She bore a male Child.” The Greek reads, “a Son, a male.” As Vincent’s says, “The object is to emphasize, not the sex, but the peculiar qualities of masculinity – power and vigor.” That is then evidenced in the next words, saying, “who was to rule all nations.”
The Greek, being in the present tense (noted above), conveys the thought of, “who is about to rule all nations.” This is well reflected in the 2nd Psalm –
“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” Psalm 2:7-9
In these words, Revelation 12 corresponds to the twelfth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet. The twelfth letter, lamad, pictures a shepherd’s staff, and it signifies “teach,” “yoke,” “authority,” and “bind.” In this chapter is found the “male Child who is to rule all nations.” In this case, and as noted in the psalm, it will be “with a rod of iron.”
Iron denotes strength, be it in binding together, in government, in hard service, in bondage, etc. A rod of iron then means that the rule of this Son will be firm over the nations with no chance of it being overthrown or subverted. With that thought in mind, John continues the verse with, “And her Child was caught up.”
As noted above, the verb is aorist. There is no reason that this cannot be speaking of a past event even though the previous clause is a future event. The Child of Israel, her Messiah, was caught up as is recorded in Acts 1 –
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11
Christ ascended at that time, and He will return again to Israel, even to the same mount from which He ascended –
“Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.” Zechariah 14:3, 4
Until His return, however, John finishes the thought with the words, “to God and His throne.” Jesus said to His disciples that He was going to His Father (John 14:12). He says a comparable thought several times elsewhere, such as in John 20:17. Upon His ascension, He returned to God. In this ascension, it is to the throne of God, as is evidenced already in Revelation. The throne is the position of power and authority. This is where He remains until He will come again.
Life application: Some commentators claim that this verse is speaking of the Church, and not Jesus, because “her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.” The idea is that the Church, not Jesus, will be raptured in the twinkling of an eye. Another support for this view is that in Revelation 2:27, Jesus grants authority to those who overcome (meaning those who make up the Church) to rule [the nations] with a rod of iron.
This is incorrect. The authority that is granted here is referring to the overall ruler of the nations (as is defined in Psalm 2 noted above). This rule belongs to the Messiah. Further, the Greek of the verse, “a Son, male,” dispels this. The repetition clearly identifies this One as an individual, not a corporate body. It is referring to Jesus and His right to rule.
Jesus, after His work on earth, was caught up to God. In like manner, the church will be gathered in the clouds. This verse then demonstrates that the church age is a distinct dispensation, and also that Christ will return again to rule during the millennium.
In other words, God is not through with the Jewish people and there is still a plan for them in the future. This future begins with the tribulation period of Revelation and continues through the millennial reign. In order to dismiss this, doctrine will suffer. Further, the analysis of the remaining chapters of Revelation will only become more and more convoluted as scholars must “symbolize” passages that would otherwise be taken literally.
God has a plan for the Jewish people, and Jesus will return to them. Their unfaithfulness in no way negates His faithfulness. This is a wonderful truth that extends even to us. Though we fail in many ways, if we are His, He will never reject us. This is the glory of God’s Christ. He is ever faithful and true. He is JESUS!
Lord, it is evident that even when we are faithless, You remain faithful. When we turn our backs on You, You still abundantly forgive when we turn and call on Jesus as Lord. Thank You for this. And thank You for being faithful to the people of Israel despite their disobedience. Great and splendid is Your working in and for the people of Your world! Amen.