The Metaphors of Revelation 12
by northwye @ 2013-10-11 – 12:53:50
In Revelation 12: 14 the woman goes to the wilderness where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the dragon. She is protected from the dragon. The dragon in verse 15, called a serpent, casts out of his mouth a flood to try to cause the woman to be carried away in the flood. The flood is the false doctrines which are spoken by the mouths of the huge number of false prophets (Matthew 24: 11). But in verse 16 the flood of false doctrines is not successful in defeating the woman and her seed – because in verse 17 the remnant still has the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Which theologies would teach that the woman of Revelation 12 is physical Israel? It would be dispensatiomnalism, as well as Messianic Judaism and the Hebrew Roots movement.
The woman is a metaphor. It is not literal, not Mary or Sarah, or any other literal woman. The woman in verse 5 is said to bring forth a man child, which sounds like Christ. Yet this woman of Revelation 12 remains a metaphoric concept, not Mary or some other lady of scripture, and not physical Israel, the lost sheep to which Christ was sent (Matthew 15: 24).
The woman of Revelation 12 cannot be physical Israel because physical Israel as a house, the majority in it, rejected Christ and became anti-Christ. That remnant in Romans 11: 5 of physical Israel which accepted Christ became the beginning of Israel reborn in Christ. The woman cannot be physical Israel because in Revelation 12: 17 her spiritual seed, the remnant, has the testimony of Jesus Christ. How can the seed of physical Israel, which as a house rejected Christ, have his testimony?
It is not necessary to know what every little detail of a heavily metaphoric chapter means – and in fact every little part of the metaphoric whole may not be necessary to understanding of the whole.
The wilderness is not literal. It is metaphoric for being outside of Babylon. Revelation 18: 23 says Christ and his bride are not in Babylon. Christ is not in Babylon after the falling away from sound doctrine of II Thessalonians 2: 3-4.
When Christ was in what the Catholics and dispensationalists call the capital C Church, which is a meeting, assembly or congregation of Israel reborn in Christ, he was the source of its light to the world. It in itself was not the light to the world, but Christ in it was the light. When that light left, then the capital C Church has no light. The candle in Revelation 18: 23 no longer shines “in thee.” The light has left. Another metaphor in Revelation 18: 23 says the voice of the bridegroom and the bride are heard “no more at all in thee.”
Isaiah 10: 17 says “And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;” Isaiah 49: 6 says “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” “Thee” is physical Israel. Then Isaiah 42: 6 says ” I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;”
Physical Israel, or most of the people, thought they were the light to the nations, the Gentiles. But these texts in Isaiah imply the light of physical Israel was Christ in them, not physical Israel without Christ. Christ says in John 8: 12 “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” In Isaiah, Christ in physical Israel making them the light to the world is partly veiled. But in the New Testament Christ clearly states that he is the light. And then he gives his light to those who are transformed in him. In Matthew 5: 14 he says “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”
Matthew 23: 37-38 says “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9: 27, “…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” This prophecy is fulfilled also in the New Covenant timeline.
The woman in Revelation 12: 6, 14 going out into the wilderness means she as Israel reborn in Christ has left what is now Babylon – the capital C Church in false doctrines – where the light no longer shines and the voice of Christ and his elect are no longer heard, but the voice of another Jesus is heard and another Gospel is preached. Out in the wilderness, out of Babylon as Revelation 18: 4 commands, the seed of the woman, the remnant, has the testimony of Jesus Christ in Revelation 12: 17, which is the light.
Also, it is confusing to equate the church with the Israel of God. It is confusing in one way because dispensationalism has made the church something equal to Israel. The church is not something which gives the elect its identity in Christ as does the Israel of God of Galatians 6: 16, the Body of Christ, or the elect of Christ. Israel was changed, but its still Israel as something which gives us our identity in Christ.