Summary: Third in the series
This week, we finish up the third message in Revelation 12, "The Woman, The Child and The Dragon. So far, have identified the Woman as Israel, as seen in the imagery of the Woman clothed with the sun, moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars being identified with the dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:9-10, and other factors. The Dragon is unilaterally recognized as Satan, and is fiery red to vividly describe his murderous, bloodthirsty intent upon mankind, specifically Israel and the church.
I remember a few years back, late one night, I watched a science fiction TV show about an alien spaceship headed for earth. The question that arose was "are they coming in peace, or coming to destroy us?" The spaceship sent a message that could not be identified, and the Pentagon determined that the ship was so large that it was obviously powerful enough to cause great destruction to the earth. The debate raged back and forth between scientists and the military; if they come in peace, and we fire upon them what would their response be? If we do not fire upon them while we have the chance, and they come with evil intent, would they destroy us or perhaps even enslave us?
In the end, with a short period of time left, the Pentagon responded with missiles flying, and shortly after the launch the message was decoded: we come in peace, if you do not try to destroy us. The missiles were ineffective, and the show closed with a huge bolt of energy being sent down upon the earth; the earth was destroyed by an alien race that sought peace, but defended themselves.
Of course, as we have discussed in the past, aliens to not exist. They are a mere figment of the imagination at best, and a Satanic deception at worst. But such stories as above, and often found in science fiction works, provide a great morality play; the Star Trek TV shows of the 1960's often addressed political and social issues through that forum. What we see in the story above is the catastrophic result of the wrong choice. We will see a similar thing this week as we discover two specific topics in God's Word: the Rod and the Retreat.
The Child and the Rod of Iron
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 (NKJV)
As we have discussed prior, the Woman is the nation of Israel; the Jewish nature of Jesus Christ is plain and obvious. We can see that His lineage, his keeping of the Law, his coming for His people then for the Gentiles and the overwhelming amount of Jewish imagery in the gospels all point to this fact. In verse five, we see three particular facts: the delivery, the dominion, and the dynasty of Jesus.
Delivery: We can see in verse five that the Woman bore a male Child. No matter how much Satan tried in murderous fashion--from Cain and Abel to the murder of infants at the birth of Moses to the murder of infant boys by Herod-- Satan failed to stop God from His plan of redemption in Jesus. The birth of Jesus Christ is a unique event, unparalleled in human history. His birth was prophetic in nature (Isaiah 7:14), and a thread which connects Jesus to both Abraham (Matthew 1:1-16) and Adam (Luke 3:23-38) reflecting His Jewish heritage.
Dynasty: Jesus will one day rule the nations from the throne of David, and when He does, he will rule with a rod of iron. This is a reference to the return of Jesus Christ and the subsequent Millennial Kingdom. We will touch on this topic today, but cover this doctrine in full when we get to Revelation 20 in our study.
The idea that there is either no Millennial Kingdom or that we are currently in the Millennium as some believe takes much liberty with the Word of God. The belief with some is that the number one thousand is used in a figurative sense in Revelation 20, but that is hardly the case; a mere reading without presuppositions would lead one to believe that the thousand year reign is literal.
The number thousand in Koine Greek is the term chilioi, which means "thousand". Those that hold a symbolic view point to only Old Testament passages (Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, etc.) but is used in a figurative sense of (thousand vines, thousand generations, thousand pieces of silver); the only use of the term chilioi in the New Testament is in Revelation and in this passage: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8, NKJV). The Old Testament passages are hyperbolic in nature; a large number of vines and pieces of silver (indicating prosperity) or the permanent nature of the commands of God (thousand generations). However, 2 Peter 3:8 refers to the omnipresence of God and that time does not constrain Him. The term is used six times in Revelation 20 (v 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7); it appears to emphasize that this is a literal thousand years. There is a beginning of the thousand years when Satan is bound and thrown into the bottomless pit (v 3) , and it ends upon his release (v 7). So then the text itself, taken at face value, appears to be literal.