THE ELECT OF GOD - THE MAN-CHILD AND THE REMNANT OF HER SEED
It is clear that Revelation, chapter 12 is written from the perspective of the end of the age shortly before the return of Christ to establish his Heavenly Father's government on earth. What is not so clear is the identity of the man-child to whom the woman gives birth and the identity of those spoken of as the remnant of her seed. Almost all commentaries on this subject say that the man-child and the remnant of her seed represent two different major events that are separated by an enormous amount of time. However, there is evidence that suggests these two events actually occur during the last few years before Christ's return.
The prophecy contained in chapter 12 seems to describe the following two groups of people:
Before reviewing this prophecy in detail, it is necessary to read the entire 12th chapter of the book of Revelation in order to see that these verses most likely present the chronological order of events that will take place shortly before and during the last 3½ years before Christ returns.
Revelation 12:1-17 KJV
“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“ (v1)
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered“ (v2).
“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“ (v3).
“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“ (v4).
“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“ (v5).
“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“ (v6).
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven“ (vs.7-8).
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him“ (v9).
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night“ (v10).
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death“ (v11).
“Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitors 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“ (v12).
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child“ (v13).
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent“ (v14).
“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood“ (v15).
“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“ (v16).
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ“ (v17).
THE WOMAN AND THE CHILD
There are many great and awesome truths hidden in the symbolism of Revelation chapter 12, some of which will only be known to those who have and ear to hear what the spirit says to the churches.
Revelation 12:1-6 KJV
“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” (v1).
The English word translated as woman in verse 1 is from the Greek word gune, which means a woman; especially, a wife. The woman seems to be is symbolic of the church as a collective entity, which is noted in the scriptures as the bride of Christ. See Matt.9:15; Mk.2:19-20; Jn.3:28-30.
The prophet Joel was inspired to record the following concerning the Day of the Lord and the Father's earthly children who are symbolically Christ's bride:
“Blow the shophar in Zion, observe a fast, call an assembly, gather the people together, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and even infants who are nursing. Call the bridegroom from his apartment and the bride from under her canopy” (Joel 2:15-16 Para.).
In his letter to the Elect at Rome about being dead to the penalty of the law, the apostle Paul uses the marriage contract as an example to show that the Elect are to be symbolically married to Christ:
“Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God” (Rom.7:4 KJV).
In the Revelation to John we also see Christ depicted as the bridegroom and the Father's earthly children depicted as his bride:
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev.19:7-8 KJV).
Beginning in Revelation, chapter 21, verse 9 and through verse 5 of chapter 22, John is shown the Sovereign Father's holy city which is inhabited by the elect who are symbolically the wife of Christ:
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife” (Rev.21:9) . . .“And there shall be no night there; and they [the Father's children] need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev.22:5). See also Rev.22:16-17.
The English word sun in verse 1 is translated from the Greek word helios, which means the sun and by implication, light. This could be symbolic of being clothed in the light (i.e., spiritual light, which is the understanding of God's truth and way of truth). Being clothed with the sun could also be symbolic of strength; thus, when the church is unified, it possesses enormous spiritual strength. However, the more logical explanation is that the sun is symbolic of Christ who is the giver of spiritual light to the church and is who is prophetically referred to as the sun by the prophet Malachi:
“For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness [Christ] arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal.4:1-2 KJV).
Christ the Illuminator
There are three text in the New Testament that clearly show Christ as the giver of spiritual light and specificity the spiritual light of the church:
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light [Christ], that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light [Christ]. That was the true Light [spiritual light], which lights every man that comes into the world. He [Christ] was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (Jn.1:6-10 KJV).
Notice that it is Christ who was the Creator God that made the world who is the spiritual light that illuminates the world with spiritual light. During Christ's ministry he confirmed that he was indeed the one sent by the Sovereign God to give spiritual light:
“Then Jesus spoke again to them again, saying, I am the light [spiritual light] of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light [spiritual understanding, the presence of Christ within, and eternal life]” (Jn.8:12 Para.).
“I [Christ] must work the works of him [the Sovereign God] that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” ( Jn.9:4-5 KJV). See also Jn.12:35-36.
Those who are truly the Sovereign Father's earthly children are also called a light. Notice what Christ said to his disciples and what the apostle Paul said to the church at Thessalonica and Ephesus:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt.5:14-16 KJV).
The Sovereign Father's earthly children as spiritual lights, are to proclaim his awesome plan through Christ for the salvation of mankind and warn the world to pay attention to what is revealed in order to avoid the second death from which there is no return.
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1.Thess.5:4-5 KJV).
“For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness [spiritual darkness], but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever does make manifest is light. Wherefore he says, Awake you that sleeps, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light” (Eph.5:8-14 KJV).
Notice again that the Elect are spiritual lights who understand things of the spirit and that it is Christ who is the giver of this spiritual insight and understanding. It is through the spiritual light of Christ that the Sovereign Father's earthly children are to illuminate the world with the Father's good news message of salvation, his truth, and his way of truth.
The English word moon is translated from the Greek word selene, which is derived from the word selas (brilliancy; through the idea of attractiveness), which means the moon.
The Hebrew word for moon literally means the wanderer. The prophecies show the Sovereign Father's children in the end of the age as having an understanding of his truth and way of truth, being fragmented in organization, and scattered throughout the world.
With the understanding that the elect in the end of the age are scattered throughout the earth and that Christ illuminates the church with spiritual light and the church is to illuminate the world with spiritual light, it makes sense that the moon under the woman's feet is symbolic of the Sovereign Father's truth and way of truth that is being reflected to the inhabitants of the earth through the woman who is symbolic of the scattered elect who comprise the church.
The Crown of Stars
An important point is that the crown worn by the woman is not a crown with twelve stars, but a crown composed of twelve stars; the crown itself is twelve stars.
The English word crown in verse 1 of Revelation, chapter 12 is from the Greek word stephanos, which can mean a wreath worn on the head as a badge of royalty, a prize for someone who is victorious in an athletic event, or a symbol of honor.
The crown that the woman wears is easily symbolic of both royalty and victory, because those of the Father's earthly family are presently his royal priesthood and kings within his holy nation. Moreover, those who live in harmony with the Father are victorious over sin.
The Sovereign Father's earthly children who gain victory over their human nature will be crowned with many things after Christ returns, including a crown of righteousness, immortal life, and glory. See 2.Tim.4:8; Jms.1:12; 1.Pet.5:4; 1.Jn.5:1-4; Rev.4:4, 15:2.
The Twelve Stars
The symbolic meaning of the twelve-star crown upon the head of the woman could easily refer to the twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of national Israel (spiritually) and/or the twelve symbols in the Zodiac in the heavens that picture the sequence of God's entire plan for the salvation of mankind.
All of this symbolism can easily apply to the collective church, because it is the collective body of the Father's earthly children who are his witnesses for his plan for the salvation of mankind and his truth and way of truth. Moreover, it is his children who will implement the next phase of his plan for the salvation of mankind through national Israel after Christ returns.
Although a number of scriptures tell us that the glory of the Father's children is to be as stars (Dan.12:3; Matt.14,33), more than likely the stars represent the twelve apostles to whom Christ promised to set on thrones over the tribes of Israel (Matt.19:28; Lk.22:28-30).
The sun, the woman, the crown of stars, and the moon are not only prophetic of the future ordered structure through which the heavenly Father's eternal truth and way of truth will be proclaimed to mankind but also the method through which mankind is presently being shown the Father's eternal truth and way of truth.
The Messiah who is the head, the caretaker, and the spiritual illuminator of his Father's earthly family and holy nation is illuminating the church with God's truth and way of truth. And the church as a spiritual light to the world are reflecting the spiritual light to the world like the sun's light is reflected by the moon.
Remember that Christ said, "The night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world“ (Jn.9:4-5 KJV). This prophecy speaks to a time at the end of this age when the work of the Father's earthy children is finished and the spiritual light reflected through them ceases to illuminate the world. When this happens the world in plunged into total spiritual darkness and the full wrath of God is poured out on those who have refused to pay attention to the warning from the Sovereign Father's children of spiritual light.
The Woman Gives Birth
Verses 1 to 3 of the first chapter of the Book of Revelation show that the things revealed in the prophecies of this book will come to pass quickly and that the time of their fulfillment is near. Moreover, Jesus could not have been this man-child because he was born long before this revelation. This means that these prophecies had not yet been fulfilled at the time they were revealed to John. Therefore, the man-child could not have already been born at or before the time of the revelation of this prophecy to John.
Because the majority of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are going to be fulfilled only a few years before Christ returns, we can assume that the birth of the man-child must also occur shortly before the return of Christ.
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered“ (v2).
Verse 2 reveals the time of the fulfillment of this prophecy as the end of the age; in that, the collective church of the gospel age of salvation (the body of Christ) has travailed for centuries waiting for the time of the end when it would be empowered by God to help close the final chapters of God's plan for the salvation of humanity. See Dan.11:31-35; Jn.14:12-14; Rev.11:1-6.
Although biblical prophecy indicates that the entire church will be proclaiming the Sovereign Father's true good news message during the end of the age, it seems clear that the man-child to be born of the woman comes out of the empowered portion of the church that will go forth to proclaim the Father's message of good news to the world. The only people who seem to be empowered in a major way to proclaim the gospel just before Christ's return are those who are called the Philadelphia Church in Revelation 3:7.
The Promise To Philadelphia
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things say he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens“ (Rev.3:7).
The individual in this prophecy who has the key of David has absolute authority over its use and the door which it opens like the prophetic Eliakim noted in Isaiah 22:15-25.
Revelation, chapter 3, verse 8 seems to show that the Church of Philadelphia represents a grouping of the Sovereign Father's earthly children who are to do a great work in the end of the age, and that it is Christ who has the key to open to them the knowledge and power they will need to do this great work.
Christ says the following to the Church of Philadelphia in verse 8:
“I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name“ (Rev.3:8).
The English word translated as man in verse 8 is from the Greek word oudeis, which does not mean a man in Greek. The Greek word for man is anthropos (man-faced, i.e., a human being). Oudeis means none nobody, or nothing.
The English word strength in verse 8 is translated from the Greek word dunamis, which means force (literally or figuratively); specifically, it means miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself).
Christ specifically says that, at the time the open door is set before them, the Church of Philadelphia has little force (i.e., miraculous power). Historically, this has been the condition of the entire collective church since the demise and disappearance of the early church as a powerful unified entity.
The inference in verse 8 is that, because of their small amount of spiritual power, the Church of Philadelphia cannot open this door on their own. However, when this door is opened for them, absolutely nothing can shut it except Christ.
The Red Dragon
“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. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth . . .“ (vs.3-4).
Many scriptures show that, after the dragon (Satan the Devil) comes to earth with the evil spirits who serve him, he will establish an alliance of nations called the Beast. Because the seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns symbolize Satan's spiritual and physical empire, we can safely assume that verses 3 and 4 take place either during Satan's effort to establish the Beast alliance of nations or very shortly after it has already been established. See Dan.7:7,19, 23-24 and Rev.13:1-2.
“And his tail [Satan] drew the third part of the stars of heaven, . . .“ (v4).
Stars are often symbolic of the angels. In this verse, the stars refer to the evil spirits who are under the authority of Satan. Notice that Satan takes a third of all the angels to leave their heavenly habitation and forces them to the earth.
This event occurs before the woman (the church) gives birth to the man-child and before the war in heaven that is spoken of in verse 7, which results in evil spirits being forced to earth by Satan.
“And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born“ (v4).
This event occurs between the time Satan gathers the rebellious spirit-beings under his control and forces them to earth in preparation to do his bidding and the time of the war that occurs as he attempts to regain access to the Sovereign Father's heavenly realm.
We are not told what task the woman's child is being born to perform. But, Satan clearly wants to stop the man-child before he can begin to perform this task. If the man-child's task is to proclaim the true gospel or to help prepare the collective church to rule the earth, it is understandable that Satan would want to stop this from happening, because when the true gospel has been proclaimed to the world, Satan will be removed as the ruler of this earth and lose his freedom for a thousand years prior to being destroyed by fire. See Rev.20:7-10; Ezk.28:18-19.
According to the Book of Revelation, the major persecution upon the Sovereign Father's earthly children will begin to occur shortly after they and the Two Witnesses begin to proclaim the true gospel message accompanied by great signs and wonders.
The Mysterious Man-Child
“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“ (v5).
Most have been taught that the birth of the man-child in verse 5 is speaking of the birth of Jesus Christ; however, this cannot be so, because this prophecy is clearly meant for the time just a few years prior to his return as conquering King. Verse 5 has nothing to do with the personage of Jesus Christ, but it has everything to do with a key individual who has a very important task to perform just prior to Christ's return.
Because of the brevity of the information about the man-child, it is difficult to make any concrete statement about his identity, function, or mission. This should not come as a surprise, because there are a number of individuals who have been foreordained to perform certain tasks in the end of the age who are noted in the prophecies without having their tasks fully explained. See Hag.2:23; Zech.6:9-15. What is clear is that this individual will know what he is to do and that his appearance on the world scene foreshadows the end of human rule on earth.
Most likely, the prophecy concerning the man-child will not be fully understood until it has been fulfilled or until God deems it necessary for his saints to understand it. Although Christ promised that the holy spirit will guide, teach, and reveal future events, there is a long list of prerequisites that must be in place before the holy spirit will perform these functions. Moreover, no time frame is indicated as to when one will be guided into an understanding of prophetic events.
A notable prophecy at the end of Daniel tells us that some truth is sealed until the end and that it is the wise who will understand. If, as many believe, the wise are all of the elect, what kind of wisdom are six of the seven churches noted in the Book of Revelation exhibiting? Clearly, not all of the elect will understand everything about prophecy or the deep things of God's word while they are in the flesh. Moreover, not all of God’s children need to understand all prophecy in order to obtain salvation.
From the tone of the New Testament, the apostles and the early church thought early on that Christ would return within their lifetime, but they later understood that he would not. The point is that we are only allowed to understand what we need to understand at the time we need to. Most likely, the identity of the man-child is in the category of prophecies that will be revealed to those who need to understand them at that specific time.
The man-child is only shown to be taken to God and his throne. There is no mention of his being returned to earth; therefore, we can only speculate about anything concerning the man-child after he is taken up to heaven. Keep this in mind when reading the following.
The 24 Elders
Revelation 4:4-11 and 5:1-11 picture an event that may be similar to Paul's experience. One thing that makes this event especially interesting from the perspective of the church during the end of the age is that the 24 who are before the throne of God are called elders, have crowns, and are dressed in white. The English word elder is translated from the Greek word presbuteros, which is never used to describe a spirit-being; it is always used in the Bible to describe men who are in positions of leadership. These men in white (symbolic of righteousness) have crowns (symbolic of authority) and are redeemed (purchased and saved) from among men by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).
Perhaps Revelation chapters 4 and 5, picture 24 spiritual leaders of God's people at the throne of God in the same manner as the apostle Paul being caught up to paradise—to God’s throne—where he heard some remarkable things that he was not allowed to repeat (See 2.Cor.12:2-4).
Although the 24 elders are spoken of before the first four seals are shown to be opened, this event concerning the 24 elders fits well into the chronological order of the end of the age, because it seems to occur just before the sealing of the elect of God for their protection from the events that will follow the opening of the seventh seal.
One must remember that the things which are shown in the Book of Revelation are in a vision. Although some of these events seem to be without a consistent chronological flow of events as they progress toward Christ's return, some of these events clearly follow each other. Therefore, it is likely that the first four seals and their riders have been open and active since the demise of the early church. And the events that their opening caused will intensify as Christ opens other seals. See the section concerning the Four Horsemen for a detailed explanation of the first four seals.
It is also possible that the 24 elders have something to do with the structure of the church in the end of the age. If so, the vision of them being before God the Father and Jesus Christ seems to have something to do with their being given spiritual insight and knowledge. This was done with the apostle Paul to help him carry out his responsibilities in preaching the gospel and ministering to the elect of God. If Revelation, chapters 4 and 5 give information about events surrounding the future church leadership, these 24 elders may also be very instrumental in doing the greater work that Jesus said will be done just before his return (Jn.14:12).
The 1,260 Days
“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 [3½ years]“ (Rev.12:6).
Because the woman is symbolic of the collective church, it seems that those who personify the church are the ones whom Christ will protect from Satan (Rev.3:10-11). Remember it is the Philadelphian church and/or its spiritual leader(s) whom Christ empowers and for whom he opens a door so they can proclaim his Father's good news message to the world (See Isa.22:22).
The English phrase they should feed her in verse 6 is translated from the Greek word trefoosin, which does not imply an entity (i.e., 'they'), it seems to simply set forth the idea of being nourished or sustained during that time.
From the warning to the seven churches in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, it seems safe to assume that the woman's male child comes forth from the seventh church that escapes to the wilderness. The wilderness is symbolic of a place or a condition of refuge where these elect of God are to be cared for during the last 3½ years before Christ returns. This empowered grouping of the elect will be protected (given refuge) during this 3½ years while they carry out their task of proclaiming the gospel. While the worthy individuals of the church are being protected, the other six-sevenths of the church are being punished by Jesus Christ and persecuted by the Antichrist in order to bring them to true repentance and salvation.
War In Heaven
Revelation 12:7-17 KJV
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; 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: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels [his demons] were cast out with him“ (vs.7-9).
Verses 7 through 9 seem to be tied to the events in verses 3 and 4; in that, the evil spirits under Satan's control are a part of a war shown in verse 4 that will occur in the dimension of time and space known as heaven between the forces of good and evil. During this war, the great red dragon (Satan the Devil) is defeated and cast out of heaven along with the millions of evil spirit-beings under his control.
The Ones Who Overcome
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them . . .“ (vs.10-12).
When this announcement is made, human rule on earth is about to come to an end and the Kingdom
of God is about to be established in Jerusalem (Psa.72:8-11). The voice also states that it is the blood of Christ that empowers one to overcome Satan.
“Woe to the inhabitants 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. And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child“ (vs.12-13).
Satan is angry because he no longer has access to the Sovereign Father's realm of existence, which means that he has but a short time before he will be punished for his rebellion against God. Because he has been denied what he wants and is about to be punished for his disobedience, he comes to earth in a rage to take out his anger on God's physical creation and the church that gave birth to the man-child.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time [3½ years], from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 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“ (vs.14-16).
Those of the collective church who are faithful to God and worthy to come under his protection are taken to a place where they are protected and cared for. We are not told where this part of the church is taken or how she is protected; we are just told that it will be done.
How does Satan persecute the church? He persecutes the church through those whom he influences and controls as part of his religions and political systems.
The flood may symbolize the civil and religious authorities and/or the military arm of the Beast alliance of nations. Satan sends forth this flood (a great number of people) to destroy the elect of God; however, the earth (perhaps a cataclysmic event or perhaps other people) help the elect to escape whatever or whoever is sent to destroy them. It is at this point in history that Satan will have lost his power to harm this particular group of people who symbolize the purity and righteousness of the collective church.
“And the dragon was angry with the woman [the church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ“ (v17).
There is a clear distinction between the woman, her male child, and the rest of her children. This is yet another proof that the woman represents the collective church—the physical and spiritual source from which the elect spring (See Gal.4:26). It is clear from many scriptures that a few of the woman's children will be found worthy of her protective care, but the rest of her children are worthy of punishment at the hands of Satan.
Because Satan will have been frustrated in his attempt to destroy those who speak out against him and his religions and governmental systems as they proclaim God the Father's good news message with great power, he will turn his attention toward those of the church who are left unprotected.
There are a great number of individuals who are considered to be the Sovereign Father's children during these end of the age events who are not found worthy of being protected by Christ. These individuals will suffer great persecution at the hands of Satan and his servants for 3½ years before Christ returns. These are the six prophetic groupings of the Sovereign Father's earthly children who are symbolized by the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 as needing to repent of their sinful attitudes and behaviors. These will be tried by the fire of persecution in order to bring them to repentance and save them from the second death.
Philadelphia To Accomplish A Great Work
There are a number of very important things spoken of in Revelation 12:7-17 that dramatically affect all of the Sovereign Father's earthly children during the last 3½ years before Christ's return:
PERSECUTION FOR 3½ YEARS
In the books of Daniel and Revelation there are some very specific things said about the last 3½ years of persecution that will come upon the elect of God as they proclaim the true gospel message.
War With The Elect Of God
Daniel 7:20-25 KJV
“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom“ (vs.20-22).
Daniel shows a great religious/governmental system, guided and empowered by evil spirits, coming into existence during the time of the end. This great religious/governmental system seems to win its war against the elect of God; however, this apparent victory is only temporary because the elect of God will return with Jesus Christ and the heavenly host and conquer the Beast:
“And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations“ (Rev.13:5-7 KJV).
During the time of the end, the elect of God are persecuted and are engaged in an ongoing battle with this beast power because they are proclaiming the gospel message that is in opposition to the beast's spiritual/political system of government. Moreover, the elect are announcing that the Kingdom of the true God is coming to destroy and replace the Beast's system of religion and government.
“This he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time“ (vs.23-25).
This religious/governmental system is different from all others that have come before it and it has more influence and power than any religious, political, or governmental system that has ever existed on earth. Moreover, it exerts its tremendous influence and power over the whole earth as it seeks to eliminate all worship of the true God during its last 3½ years before the return of Christ.
Daniel 11:31-35 KJV
“And forces shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white [righteous], even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.“
Here, we see in Jerusalem a time when a temple for the worship of the true God exists along with the sacrificial system, which is performed in accordance with God's first covenant with national Israel. It is important to understand that these events will take place in the end of the age when the true gospel message is being proclaimed with great power. It is during this 3½ years that great persecution will come upon the elect of God.
Daniel 12:1-7 KJV
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book“ (v1).
Daniel is told that during this period of time there will be trouble the likes of which have never been seen before and will never be seen again. This is a time of unimaginable mental distress upon people and tremendous physical destruction upon the earth.
Those who are righteous like Daniel will be saved. However, being saved does not necessarily mean that one will be spared from all persecution or the effects of the physical devastation that is to come upon the earth during this time. What is clear from the scriptures is that those who are faithful to God's calling will be spared from the second death and enter into the divine Family and Kingdom of God as his dear children:
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt“ (v2).
Verse 2, speaks of two distinct types of resurrections. One that is to eternal/immortal life and one that is to the second death (i.e., eternal death). See our study papers concerning the various resurrections.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased“ (vs.3-4).
Daniel is told that the wise (the righteous) will receive an everlasting reward in the Kingdom of God and that what he has been told will take place during the time of the end of human rule when there is a tremendous increase in physical and spiritual knowledge.
“Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?“ (vs.5-6).
Notice that the being standing in the midst of the river is asked how long these events will last. The answer is that this time of trouble will last 3½ years (see Rev.12:7), because it will take this long for the following things to be accomplished:
“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished“ (v7). See also Rev.13:5-7.
At the end of the 3½ years of persecution, Jesus
Christ will come with his holy angels and collect those who have remained faithful
to God's calling throughout their lives. He will then return to heaven with
the elect of all ages to make preparation for his return to conquer the earth
and establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
By B.L. Cocherell
File b2w5 7/07