The Snatching Away of the Son10-09-2013 - Posted by Andre Piet
Summary of a Seminar Study held on March 8, 2006 in Rijnsburg, the Netherlands
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the context of Revelation 12 the RC-explanation the protestant explanation Who is pictured by the woman? the woman and Joseph’s dream The explanation of the dragon and the beast the Son is… Christ the dilemma characterization of the male son flight into the wilderness Bozra or Petra who are “they”? the sign of Michael exchange of the guard the Ecclesia as rival does the son represent the 144,000?
Revelation 12 is between two chapters in which the famous period of three and a half years has a leading role. It is the notorious “great tribulation” that will come over the land of Israel. Chapter 11 refers to two witnesses who prophesy in the temple square for 1260 days. In chapter 13 we read of the beast that speaks blasphemies for 42 months. The woman in Revelation 12 is, in the RC-church, traditionally explained as being Mary. That association is quickly made: after all, she is the woman who brought forth the son (who would be the Messiah). But that is where the explanation stays stuck, because everything else that is said about this woman is impossible to apply to Mary. The traditional Protestant explanation says that the woman pictures “the church”. To this idea they come, because they believe that “the Church” exists from the time of Adam to the last day. The “church” brought forth the Son, who will shepherd all nations…. In addition that this explanation is not able to do justice to the many details (1260 days, flight to the desert, etc.), it is not true, anyway, that “the church” would have brought forth the Son. Indeed, it is exactly the other way round. The Son was there before the Ecclesia – He is the Head of the Ecclesia and the Firstfruit. The Ecclesia commenced, when Christ, as Firstfruit, rose from out of the dead. -Col.1:18- The “woman” is practically the standard reference in the prophets for Israel. The book of Hosea is completely based on that data. The LORD is the Husband and Israel His wife. He has covenanted with her a marriage covenant at Sinai. In many tonalities is this data elaborated upon by the prophets. Since the book of Revelation is the capstone of the prophetic books, we can assume in advance that where a woman is presented as symbol (“… there was a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman …”) this must refer to the people of Israel. -Hosea 3:1-5; Isa.54:4.5, etc.- A second strong indication for the identity of the woman is found in the fact that she is associated the Sun, the Moon and twelve stars. That recalls the dream that Joseph had, long ago. Father Jacob had no trouble with the explanation. He understood immediately that this related to the house of Jacob. -Genesis 37:9,10- The dragon with seven heads and ten horns is nothing, but a representation of “the old serpent, called the Devil and Satan …”. I.e. in his end-time “form” or “appearance”. The seven heads, seem, amongst others, to refer to the seven mountains (> daughter Zion in Babel), while the ten horns are ten kings, which also are named in Daniel 7. The dragon is directly connected with “the Beast”, i.e., the empire of the end time. -Revelation 17:8-12- The mention of the “male son” refers directly to Psalm 2. After all, Revelation 12 says: “that He will shepherd (rule) the nations with a rod of iron” which is derived from Psalm 2:8.9. It is about “the anointed one” (Hebrew: Messiah; Greek: Christ) Who was resurrected by God. -Rev.12:5, Rev.19:15- However, with the statement that the male son in Revelation 12 is none other than Christ, Himself, we encounter an important question: how can the details be applicable to Christ? For the male son, as soon as it is brought forth, is suddenly snatched away to God and to His throne. In addition, this event happens immediately prior to the flight of the woman (= Israel) into the wilderness. Christ’s ascension, in the remotest sense, does not harmonize with these details.
Characterization of “the male son” The above mentioned dilemma disappears, once we realize that the woman is a representation of a people (the nation of Israel), which makes it obvious that the male son also represents a people. But which people? The people that male son represents, must meet the following characteristics: (1) a people who are one body with Christ; (2) a people who will be snatched away; (3) a people who are to be snatched away in order to be protected from the wrath of the dragon; (4) a people who are destined for “the throne”; (5) a people who are “male”; (6) a people who come forth out of Israel. “The Ecclesia, which is His body” perfectly matches this profile. Let’s check Scripture: (1) 1Cor.12:12,13; Paul calls, in these verses, the complete body by the name, “the Christ”; (2) 1Thes.4:17; as soon as Christ (the Head) and His body are united (“born” Rev12:5), the united Head and body will be snatched away to their destination, to God and to His throne; (3) 1Thes.1:10; Note a: “… Jesus, which rescues us from (lit. out of) “the coming wrath”. The word for “rescue” (Gr. rhoumai) indicates bringing into safety. The snatching away is an evacuation. Note b: In 1Thes.1:10, it is not speaking of the coming wrath of God. It simply could not, because the “day of the wrath of God” will only come after the sixth seal (Rev.6:12-17); in other words, “after the tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29). The snatching away will come before the tribulation. The male son will be taken to safety before the unleashing of the wrath of the Dragon (“… the Dragon was angry with…”; Rev.12:17); (4) 2Tim.2:12, 1Cor.6:2; (5) Eph.4:13; (6) Gal.4:26 “the Jerusalem above (…) is our mother…”. Note: “Jerusalem above”, in Gal.6:16 is called, “the Israel of God.”
After the snatching away of the son (=Christ, including His body, the Ecclesia), the woman flees into the wilderness, where a place of safety is ready for her. In Jesus’ second sermon on the mount (Mat.24), He taught when “the abomination of desolation” would be set up in the holy place in Jerusalem, that then the very last moment has come for the faithful to flee to the mountains. From Daniel 9, we know that halfway through the ‘final year-week’, “the great tribulation” will begin, which is “… the day of Jacob’s trouble”. This period of tribulation for Israel will last 1260 days (or 42 months or “three years and six months”). -Mat.24:15-21; Dan.9:27- The place “of safety” in the wilderness, for the woman, is mentioned a number of times in Scripture. It is the place Bozra (=Petra or Sela) in the land of Edom. It is located in present-day Jordan, halfway between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Eilat. It now is an uninhabited city, all carved out of the rocks, and only accessible by a one and a half kilometer long and deep crevice (indeed, “narrow is the way which leads to life …”). Here is the thousands of years old city. Ready to serve as a hiding place for the faithful remnant of the Jewish people. -Micah 2:12(KJV); Isaiah 63:1; etc.- In many Bible versions it is not properly translated, but literally it says in Rev.12:6 (cf KJV and YLT): “… the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred sixty days.” Who are the “they” in verse 6? It can not be missed that it is the male son, already presented as a people! The Ecclesia is, as Christ’s (administrative-) body, destined for the throne and behind the scenes she will actively be involved in feeding (literally and/or metaphorically conceived) of the faithful remnant in the wilderness. After the description of the scene of the woman and the snatching way of the son, we read about the ejection of Satan (and its result) from heaven, led by the Archangel Michael. The idea is that once the male son is snatched away to God and to His throne (in heaven), Michael will begin with the casting out of Satan (1). The snatching away of the son runs parallel with Michael’s powerful work of expelling Satan from heaven. This is fully in line with what Paul describes in 1Thes.4; the snatching away will take place on the occasion of a command of the Archangel (2). -(1) Rev.12:7-12; (2) 1Thes.4:16- Scripture knows only one archangel: Michael (Jude 9). In Daniel 12:1, we read that Michael stands up, “at that time”. I.e., “prior to the time of great tribulation. In other words, Dan.12:1, 1Thes.4:16 and Rev.12:7-12 all refer to the time just before the great tribulation. At present, Satan is “the prince of the power of the air”. When the Ecclesia reaches her destination (the throne), then there will be a exchange of power. The Ecclesia upwards and Satan and his henchmen (“the world rulers of this darkness”) downwards. -Eph.2:2; Rev.12:7-12- The principalities and powers in the heavenly places know that the Ecclesia is destined to take their place in “the oncoming eons”. They consider the Ecclesia, therefore (in fact, rightly so), as being their rival. That’s why they fight against the Ecclesia. -Eph.6:11ff-
Is the male son the 144,000? There are also (much appreciated) commentators who believe that the male son is the portrayal of 144,000 (from Revelation 7 and 14). The reasons for this are, among other things: * the 144,000 come from Israel (“from all the tribes …”); * they are male (“… who were not defiled with women …”); * the male son can not bed the body of Christ, because Revelation is only about Israel and the nations. This explanation is flawed, because: a. The 144,000 are nowhere presented as a unity of head and body, as is the male son, in Revelation 12.; b. Also, we nowhere read that the 144,000 will be snatched away; c. In addition, the male son will be snatched away “to God and to His throne”, i.e., to heaven, while the 144,000 have an earthly task and destination; d. Furthermore, the 144,000 do not come into the picture until after the sixth seal (Revelation 6, at the end), i.e., after the appearance of the Son of Man. That is at the earliest after the 1260 days mentioned in Rev.12:6; e. That the Ecclesia could play no role in prophetic passages is an assumption that cannot be proven from Scripture. On the contrary: since the Ecclesia is one with Christ (the Head), it can not be otherwise, than when Christ will become manifested, the Ecclesia must also be manifested together with Him (cf Col.3:4).