THE WOMAN WHO BIRTHS THE MESSIAH
Revelation 12:1-6 Bible Search Tool
The woman is Israel. The sun, moon and stars depict glory and dominion, just as they pictured Joseph’s ultimate rule over his father, mother, and brothers (Gen. 37:9–11).
The woman is in labor, awaiting the birth of a baby. Much of the history of Israel is telescoped in these verses, with no indication that time gaps exist between events, or that the events are necessarily in chronological order.
A second sign in heaven is a fiery red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and a diadem on each head. The dragon is Satan, but since the description parallels that of the revived Roman Empire in 13:1, it may be Satan energizing that world power.
The dragon is ready to devour the Child as soon as He is born—fulfilled in the attempt of Herod the Great, vassal of Rome, to destroy the newborn King of the Jews. The male Child is clearly Jesus, destined to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. The record here jumps from His birth to His Ascension.
In the middle of the 70th Week of Daniel, a portion of the nation of Israel flees to a secret place of refuge in the wilderness (some think it is Petra). These people remain in hiding for three and one half years.
Revelation 17:1-18 Bible Search Tool
One of the seven angels invites John to witness the judgment of the great harlot. This is a great religious and commercial system with headquarters in Rome. Many believe that chapter 17 describes religious Babylon and chapter 18 the commercial aspect. Religious Babylon certainly includes apostate Christendom, both Protestant and Catholic. It may well represent the ecumenical church. Notice the description. The harlot sits on many waters, controlling great areas of the world. The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; she has seduced political leaders with her compromise and intrigue. The inhabitants of the earth have become drunk with the wine of her fornication; vast numbers have come under her evil influence and have been reduced to staggering wretchedness.
The apostate church is seen sitting on a scarlet beast. We have already noted in chapter 13 that this beast is the revived Roman Empire(and sometimes the head of that empire). The beast is full of blasphemous names and has seven heads and ten horns.
For a while the false church seems to dominate the empire. She sits in full celestial state, wearing the symbols of her vast wealth and displaying a golden cup full of her idolatry and immorality.
A name of mystery is on her forehead:Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. This is the church that has shed the blood of Christian martyrs down through the centuries, and is still doing it. She is drunk with their blood.
The angel offers to explain to John the mystery of the woman and of the beast. The beast that John saw was (the Roman Empire existed in the past); it is not (it broke up and did not exist for centuries); it will ascend out of the bottomless pit (it will reappear in a particularly diabolical form); and go to perdition (it will be utterly and finally destroyed). The revival of the empire and the appearance of its charismatic leader will cause the world of unbelievers to marvel.
The angel says that this calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. A traditional interpretation is that the harlot has her headquarters in Rome, which is built on seven hills.
Some commentators explain these seven kings as seven literal emperors. Others say that the kings represent great world powers:Egypt, Assyria,Babylon,Persia,Greece,Rome, and the future revived Roman Empire.
The eighth king has been variously identified as the head of the revived Roman Empire and the Antichrist. The exact meaning of this prophecy may never be perfectly clear until it is fulfilled. The ten horns may symbolize the future kings who will serve under the Roman beast. They will rule for one hour, that is, a short time.
The ten kings unanimously yield their power and authority to the Roman beast. In other words, ten countries (or governments) surrender their national sovereignty to him.
This ten-kingdom empire goes to war against the Lord Jesus when He returns to earth at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel. But they meet their Waterloo in this battle. Though He is the Lamb, He is also Lord of lords and King of kings.
The angel goes on to explain that the waters in verse 1 are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The harlot sits on the waters in the sense that she dominates vast segments of the populace.
It appears that the revived Roman Empire allows itself to be controlled, or at least influenced by the harlot church for a while. Then, however, it throws off this intolerable yoke and destroys her. The hated harlot is stripped, consumed, and burned by the beast on which she sat.
God is behind the scenes in all of this. It is He who causes the kingdoms to unite under the Roman beast and then to turn against the harlot. It is all to fulfill His sovereign purpose.
That great city is Mystery Babylon, ruling over the kings of the earth. But as we have seen, the woman has her headquarters in Rome.
Revelation 21:9-27 Bible Search Tool
One of the seven angels involved in the bowl judgments offered to give John a further, more detailed view of the New Jerusalem, which he called the bride, the Lamb’s wife. This may mean that the city is the residence of the bride.
Carried away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, John again saw Jerusalem descending out of heaven, radiant with the glory of God and sparkling like a costly gem. It was surrounded by a massive wall in which were twelve gates, graced by twelve angels and bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Three gates faced each direction of the compass.
The twelve foundations of the walls bore the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. This may have reference to the fact that they laid the foundation of the church in what they taught concerning Christ (Eph. 2:20).
With a gold measuring rod, the angel determined that the city was approximately twelve thousand furlongs (1500 miles) in length, breadth, and height. Whether shaped like a cube or a pyramid, it extended far beyond the bounds of restored Israel.
The wall was one hundred and forty-four cubits thick. The expression “according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel” means that the angel of verses 9 and 15 used units of measure employed by man.
The description of the wall (jasper) and the city (pure gold), while hard for us to visualize, is designed to create an image of magnificence and brilliance. In that, it succeeds.
The twelve foundations were adorned with twelve precious stones, similar to those on the breastplate of the high priest that represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
The twelve gates are twelve pearls, a reminder that the church is the pearl of great price for which the Savior sold all that He had (Matt. 13:45, 46).
Certain things are missing from the city. No temple is necessary because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are there. There is no sun or moon because the glory of God illuminates it, and the Lamb is the lamp.
The nations of the saved will enjoy its beauty, and the kings of the earth will come with their tribute to the Lord.
There are no closed gates because there is perfect security and freedom of access. There is no night there.
Nothing unclean will ever enter there, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.