Author: James Dowell
This is a follow up to my first article on the opening 4 verses of Revelation 12. Unlike the last article where we looked entirely at empirical evidence, this time we’re going to take a look at scripture, in both the English and the Greek, to determine what’s actually being stated in verse 5, which will require us to take a cursory view at verse 4 as well. For the sake of clarity, we’ll take a look at verses 4&5 as we open up this article.
Revelation 12:4-5 “4And 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. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”
Curious phrasing, is it not? Bible scholars have agreed that verse 5 is talking about Jesus Christ (Pslam 2 makes this fairly clear), which I’m not going to dispute; however, I will state that it would appear, in my humble opinion, that this view doesn’t take into account the larger picture.
Before we begin, it must needs be stated that the word “rapture” does not appear in any of the New Testament texts; however, the Greek root word from which we get the word rapture, “harpazō”, does. To clarify, the biblical definition for “harpazō” is the following: 1. to seize, carry off by force; 2. to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly; 3. to snatch out or away. There are also several incidences of a type of “rapture” occurring throughout both the Old and New testaments of the bible. (There are at least 7, which I find amusing given the context.) I’ll touch on the obvious ones, to show that the premise is indeed biblically sound:
Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”
2 Kings 2:11-12 “11And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” (What’s curious about this one is that, if you read the entirety of the 2nd chapter of 2 Kings, it’s made clear that Elijah knew that God was coming for him.)
Acts 1:9-11 “9Now when [Jesus] 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.”
Revelation 11:11-12 “11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
So right there are four “raptures” in which men of God are quite literally taken up unto heaven. The verse that Christians today use to justify the existence of a rapture of the church, be it pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or somehow at the very end of the tribulation (which wouldn’t even be necessary if Christ is returning to earth, but I digress) is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Emphasis added on “caught up”; care to take a guess as to what the Greek root word is for that specific phrase in that verse? If you said, “harpazō”, you’d be correct. In fact, in Revelation 12:5, “harpazō” is the same root word for “caught up” found in that verse.
Regarding the rapture, please also see 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
Okay, I hear you thinking in your mind, so the child is “raptured”, but respectfully, who is the child? I would postulate that there’s a dual meaning for this word, based on phrasing found throughout the entirety of the New Testament, in addition to what the definition for this word (huios) is in the Greek lexicon: “properly, a son (by birth or adoption); (figuratively) anyone sharing the same nature as their Father. For the believer, becoming a son of God begins with being reborn (adopted) by the heavenly Father – through Christ (the work of the eternal Son). In the NT, hyiós (“son”) equally refers to female believers (Gal 3:28); emphasizes likeness of the believer to the heavenly Father, i.e. resembling His character more and more by living in faith; highlights the (legal) right to the Father’s inheritance, i.e. as the believer lives in conformity with the Father’s nature (purpose).”
Born again believers are redundantly called children of God (by adoption, no less) throughout the whole of the New Testament:
Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 4:7 “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Romans 8:17-19 ” And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”
Ephesians 2:18-22 “18For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Epehesians 5:1 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;”
And the woman? Specifically, the Greek for “she brought forth” in verse 5 is the word “tiktō”, which means: to bring forth, bear, produce (fruit from the seed): of a woman giving birth; of the earth bringing forth its fruits; or (metaphorically) to bear, bring forth. Compare this with what’s found in Genesis 3:15, after the fall of man, where God is addressing the Serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Israel brought forth Christ and His disciples, and thus, by extension, any believers in Christ.
Regarding verse 4, the Devil, in the New Testament, is described as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
I would submit to you that since we are redundantly called children of God, in Christ Jesus, and heirs of God through Jesus, that the child mentioned in Revelation 12:5 refers to both Jesus and those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into His promise; we make up the body of Christ, after all. And why are we “caught up unto God, and to His throne”? 2 Corinthians 5:10 “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” This isn’t the great white throne judgement, this is the judgement seat of Christ. I would also go so far as to say that Revelation 12:5 is describing the rapture of the church before the great tribulation, which is a simple matter of mathematics. Verse 6 states: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” A thousand two hundred and threescore = 1,260, which is 3-1/2 years. (Mind you, Daniel’s 70th week is a week of years, and given that he was in Babylon at the time he was writing his addition to the Old Testament, a year in the Babylonian calendar was 360 days.) Continuing onward:
“7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10And 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. 11And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14And 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.” Emphasis added. A time, times, and half a time is another 3-1/2 years; given that this happens immediately after Satan is forcibly thrust down to the earth, this would appear to fit with the abomination of desolation, when Satan enters the antichrist and goes from being called the man of sin to the son of perdition. The real takeaway from this is that a seven year period is described immediately following verse 5, which would mean that the rapture of the church directly precedes the 7 year great tribulation, if it doesn’t kick it off, entirely.
Does the rapture of the church coincide with the sign of Revelation 12:1-2? This sign is supposed to come to fruition on September 23rd of this year. Now, I know what you’re thinking; Christ Himself stated, regarding his 2nd coming in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” It should also be noted that this September 23rd comes at the the end of a Jewish holiday known as Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets, and/or Yom Teruah in the Torah. But this isn’t just any Feast of Trumpets, this is a Jubilee Feast of Trumpets; it’s been 50 years since the Israelis took territory including Jerusalem during a defensive engagement with 5 surrounding countries back in June of 1967 during the Six-Day war. But that’s not the fun part; there’s a Hebrew idiom dating back at least as far as the 1st century for Rosh HaShanah: “No man knoweth the day or the hour.” Incidentally, the final trumpet blast on the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah), according to Hebrew tradition, is also known as the last trump; also incidentally, Yom Teruah means “Day of the Awakening Blast.” The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and all Jewish Holidays happen on the full moon of a month, except one: Rosh HaShanah is the only one that occurs on the first day of the month, specifically Tishrei (curiously, the 7th month of the year); the reason for this was because of the observance of lunar cycles dating back to the time of Christ. The Hebrews knew that there was a 2 day window for which they could observe the sliver of a new moon, and the new month could not begin until at least 2 witnesses had reported to the High Priest that they had observed it. The observance for this period of time begins at sundown on September 20th. The point is that no one would know which day, nor at what watch (hour) it was to be observed; only God, sitting outside of time, could observe it. I find it very, very curious that this lines up with the prophesy of Revelation 12:1-2. But wait, we’re not done! Where Rosh HaShanah falls either on September 21st or the 22nd, the 23rd is marked on the Hebrew calendar as Shabbat Shuva, which literally means, “Return!”, and begins at sundown on September 22nd.