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A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven

Revelation 12:1-2 (NIV)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
I just ended chapter eleven of Revelation with my last post, and to be honest I did not feel like I did a very good job of it. For example: If someone asks you a question, stick with the most direct answer. There in my problem lies.
Seeing as my last couple of posts were focused on the last few verses of Revelation eleven, I told you that we are looking at statements there that paint a picture of the end. What then do we do with Revelation chapter 12, and how does it fit. I believe this is added explanatory information for the most part. Do not get me wrong, it is all good, and should have an impact on our Christian lives, for God is desiring that you understand, and there is a special blessing upon those that read the book and attempt to understand it.
What if I am wrong? What if the things I suggest make no difference or, are irrelevant?
Truth is, I could be, but this Jesus, the King of Majesty, came, lived, died and rose again, showing himself to over 500 people. Rather overwhelming evidence, and because he is the truth, and I follow him, I plan on being caught up to meet my Jesus in the air, right before all hell breaks loose (All hell breaking loose = the tribulation years.) So, in a way, much of the Revelation is irrelevant, unless it impacts you somehow, or – God expects us to stand in behalf of those that refuse him, and enlighten those who have been taken captive by the devil and do not realize how close the end really is.
Is the end times lead up impacting people as we speak? You can bet your last dollar it is. What has just been dancing across our news the last few days? Algeria, where armed Muslim activists have taken hostages and killed many, as well as killing non-Islamic citizenry. Many believe that the Algerian Muslim militias will join with Boko Haran, the African wing of Al Queda that has control in Nigeria, Chad, and the Sudan, and then another aspect of prophecy will be fulfilled.
What does scripture tell us to expect in the very near future? That a ten nation coalition will rise against Israel and God will wipe them out with a fire storm on the mountains surrounding Israel. NO ONE will come to Israel's aid. (Has anyone noticed that our United States President has, in the last few days, said, “Israel does not know what is good for it!” That could mean a lot of things, but the implications are Israel is supposed to do what President Obama says, and I can tell you from scripture that is not going to happen.)
As noted in my earlier post I have been reading a book I picked up at Barnes and Noble. I was hunting for something else, which I found, but I stumbled across this and thought I would check it out. The book is “The End Times in Chronological Order, A complete overview to understanding bible prophecy.” The authors name is Ron Rhodes.
Here is the major problem that I am having. The author refuses to look past tradition and accept that Islam and a forth coming Islamic leader fill with precision all the holes that kept me lost for years. By taking the traditional position the author struggles to explain so many things, such as, the two witnesses lying in the street after witnessing for 1260 days, as though it is the Jews that are scorning them. I had a discussion about this very thing recently, and said, if you consider the timing, something drastic will have taken place in Israel that will allow the Jews, not only access to the temple mount but the ability to rebuild the temple once again. Under no circumstances is Islam going to give this area up without a fight and all the world will be focused on this area. Into this mix God tosses the two-witnesses. Having the ability to burn up anyone that would think to harm them I believe you will find them also serving somewhat of a protective role during the building of the temple. Given what may be seen as support, why would the Jews disdain them during their deaths, ignoring Jewish sanitary laws, and leave them in the streets to rot? The Jews would not, but the author Ron Rhodes would like to have me believe this because it makes his assertions fit better, and he then can continue to refuse historical evidence and common sense.
This is what I mean if I say you are pounding square pegs into round holes. Insert Islam into those holes and suddenly it all makes sense and it fits.
Jesus told us that many would be deceived. How easy that becomes when you do not take the time to investigate for yourself. If you are willing to allow people to do your thinking then you will be taken captive. Here again is another place where Islam fills the hole nicely. Islam is looking for Isa ben Mariam, Jesus the son of Mary, not God. A Jew, a priest, a Muslim, one who bows to the beast, acknowledges that there is no god but Allah, and he is the enforcer of Sharia. He will perform all the mighty miracles and refute the belief of many, causing them to follow Allah and worshiping the beast instead of Jehovah. Islam fits the deception.
Enough of that, back to the study at hand.
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven
Revelation 12:1-2 (NIV)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
This has little application to end times events, nor does it fit into a chronological pattern. How it stands out is that the birth is of the King triumphant, cloaked as a lowly child, that will soon catch us away, and will come again the second time with the armies of heaven to end the tribulation and sin on the earth. He also happens to be what the book of Revelation is all about, my Jesus Christ, the one who gave his life for me. He came out of Israel, Mary to be precise and her lineage is traced in scripture.
“A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. ..”
Who is being described? Israel
Isaiah 11:1 KJV And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
Isaiah 65:9 KJV And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
Isaiah 66:7-9 KJV Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (8) Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (9) Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
Zechariah 6:12 KJV And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
“ a woman “
From the MacArthur commentary: “Not an actual woman, but a symbolic representation of Israel, pictured in the OT as the wife of God (Isa_54:5-6; Jer_3:6-8; Jer_31:32; Eze_16:32; Hos_2:16). Three other symbolic women appear in Revelation: (1) Jezebel, who represents paganism (Rev_2:20); (2) the scarlet woman (Rev_17:3-6), symbolizing the apostate church; and (3) the wife of the Lamb (Rev_19:7), symbolizing the true church. That this woman does not represent the church is clear from the context.”
“clothed with the sun,...”
The word for clothed is periballō and it means to put on or surround. The sun represents God, in all his manifestations. So Israel either put on the sun or they were supposed to. It seems that what they put on were a mountain of other rules and traditions. If they had put on God then perhaps their reception of the Messiah, when he arrived, would have been warmer.
“..with the moon under her feet...”
I perused just about every commentary I have, and almost everyone had a different take on what this meant. One that grabbed my attention said, that the moon reflects the light of the sun therefore she was clothed in light. That works for me, but I also had a strong pull toward the moon representing the nation of Israel for this is part of dream that Joseph had and shared with his brothers.
You have to remember that John wrote to the early church, of which the majority were Jewish converts that continued to relish their Jewishness and really wanted all new believers to conform to the Jewish ways. So John spoke in terms that they understood.
The second aspect of this would be the prophetic patterns that Jews looked for. To the Jew prophecy was pattern, and God laid out consistent patterns for them throughout Jewish history. Revelation is filled with this type of symbolism. Because of their education in the synagogues, Jewish boys learned, by memorization, the law and the prophets (the Torah and the Tanakh). Jesus quoted so many of these during his short tenure here on earth, and the Jews he spoke to understood explicitly what he said. That understanding is an aspect of their rejection, and God's anger that we see in the Revelation.
“.. a crown of twelve stars on her head..”
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary states: “The garland of twelve stars is a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, or perhaps to the twelve apostles (Rev_21:12-14). The stars recall Joseph's vision (Gen_37:9-11), which signified the preeminence of Joseph over his brothers.”
“..She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.”
Again from MacArthur's commentary: Israel, often pictured as a mother giving birth (cf. Isa_26:17-18; Isa_54:1; Isa_66:7-12; Hos_13:13; Mic_4:10; Mic_5:2-3; Mat_24:8), had agonized and suffered for centuries, longing for the Messiah to come and destroy Satan, sin, and death, and usher in the kingdom.
This aspect makes me think of the old prophet that anxiously awaited the birth of the Messiah.
Luke 2:25-35 LITV And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was righteous and devout, eagerly expecting the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was upon him. (26) And it happened to him, having been divinely instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord. (27) And by the Spirit he came into the temple. And as the parents were bringing in the child Jesus for them to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him, (28) even Simeon received Him into his arms. And he blessed God and said, (29) Now, Master, You will let Your slave go in peace according to Your Word; (30) because my eyes saw Your Salvation, (31) which You prepared before the face of all the peoples; (32) a Light for revelation to the nations, and the Glory of Your people Israel. (33) And Joseph was marveling, also His mother, at the things being said concerning Him. (34) And Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, Behold, this One is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against; (35) yea, a sword also will pierce your own soul, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
How does Israel possibly justify its unbelief and rejection if they awaited the same birth that Simeon did? They had read the same prophets, memorizing them. The only thing that explains they way they rejected Christ is the hardness of their hearts. They refused to believe!
Another witness was Anna, the prophetess.
Luke 2:36-38 LITV And there was Anna, a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in many days, having lived seven years with a husband from her virginity; (37) and she was a widow of eighty four years, who did not depart from the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. (38) And coming on at the very hour, she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke concerning Him to all those in Jerusalem eagerly expecting redemption.
At least two were paying attention and believed that the Messiah had come. I have to wonder if they would have reacted differently thirty years later, for Israel seemed to be looking for a warrior King to come and save them. Jesus told James and John, when they wanted to call fire down upon a Samaritan town, that that was not the representation of why he came at this point. They were to show a dove like manner, peaceful and calm. He will come as a warrior soon enough, to destroy those who rejected him.
The fact that two heard the voice of the spirit, leading them to the Messiah, leads me to believe that any could have known this. Wise men, from another nation knew and came to find the promised King. Israel, clothed in the sun, by in large was blind, choosing not to see.
This is not a foot race that I am on, but I feel a strong compulsion to write, in the hope that someone finds this Jesus, the King of Glory, who is coming back soon to gather his family back to himself. After that the end comes.
It is the end of things that greatly disturbs me, for it is filled with not only the wrath and judgments from God, but the wrath of people as well. Sure you can still come to him, but the age of grace is over and there is no escaping the hell that will happen here on earth. Everything I see leads me to believe that new believers will lose their heads. The man scripture calls the beast will demand of you an allegiance, either to Allah (most likely) or to the God you serve. For a time, here in the United States many Christians will be thrown into the FEMA concentration camps scattered across the US (there are over 600 of them). But the day will come when even in this nation they won't tolerate your existence anymore.
Scripture tells me that those that accept the mark that the beast (The beast will be some sort of global leader, and it is possible that President Obama, by presidential order that he is so fond of will also demand its acceptance) demands, and worship the beast, will be thrown into the same eternal torment that Satan and his angels get tossed into. Determine now that you will not fall into that trap, for you will seal your eternal separation from God.
Run to him. To many he has shown up in your dreams, calling you to come to him. His name is Jesus, the Son of God, the risen one from the dead, and his love for you, a love that overwhelms you as he speaks, is everlasting. He has called to you since the beginning of time, and he knew the path you would take to get to him. Open your mouth and accept him as your savior and redeemer. He paid the price for your freedom with his own life. Jesus, this day I receive you into my life. Change me and give me a life in your kingdom. ...He will!
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