In Language Nations, I shared my vision of the 144,000 saints who, operating in councils of twenty-four, would be the political leaders and overseers of the 6,000 provinces, or language nations, of the promised global kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. But as I noted, the case I presented for the vision was vulnerable, considering that an extrabiblical witness was admitted. I followed that short route partly to avoid a long digression from the immediate interest. I had, however, also hoped to revisit the subject and present a more purely biblical explanation, which is what I will do in this article. This would necessitate our consideration of some events that wind up the present Christian dispensation.
Some have put the end time Rapture of the Church at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the Revelation: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter (Revelation 4:1). The thought is that, since the two preceding chapters of the Revelation showed the apostle John receiving seven messages contained in the Seven Letters addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor (Revelation 2,3), which are believed to be prophetic of the Gentile Christian era, or the “Seven Church Ages,” his being told to “come up hither” indicates the faithful saints being caught up in the Rapture. While that’s indeed brilliant and creative – qualities the Revelation generously accommodates and invites (Revelation 13:18; 17:9) – it is also flawed and might not hold through the Revelation. The Rapture is the greatest immediate even that the world is in anticipation of and it is unlikely that such a vague and fleeting scene as that in Revelation 4:1 is all that will be used to represent it in a book as detailed and graphic as the Revelation.
This thought of a Revelation 4 Rapture is strengthened in the minds of its proponents by the “fact” that the book makes no further reference to the Church until the “Lamb’s wife” is set to take her millennial position in Chapter 19. That’s not actually so. Those who hold to that idea are missing the Revelation’s picture! We obviously wouldn’t be able to do a detailed analysis of the whole book here, but suffice to say that the Seven Letters and messages that John received were addressed to Gentile churches, and the apparent silence on the Church after their delivery indicates a change in its economy as it has been known through the Church ages. This silent period of the Christian Church in the prophetic timeline of the Revelation, during which the change occurs, is comparable to something similar just before its ‘official’ establishment. I am speaking of our rightful hesitation to see the Christian Church in the Gospels; we believe it was actually established on the Day of Pentecost in Acts. The change among the “called out ones” – which is what “church” means – at that former time was from the Mosaic order to the Christian dispensation. But in the last days captured in the Revelation, it is the promised shift in the centre of attraction of the Christian Church from the Gentiles back to the Jews (Acts 15:14-17), the Sun-clothed Woman of Revelation 12!
Let’s take a look at the scene of Revelation 12:“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: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 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: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 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” (Revelation 12:1-5).
Superficial reading has identified this “man child” who is “to rule all nations with a rod of iron” as Christ, primarily because such dominion is predicted of Him in the Psalms (Psalm 2:6-9) and elsewhere in the Revelation (Revelation 19:11-16). But as we know, Christ also promised the same privilege to every believer who overcomes by Him: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 2:26). The ascription of iron-rod rule is therefore not sufficient to identify the Man Child as Christ.
To narrow down the options, it is unlikely that the sound symbolic language of the Revelation would represent the “Church,” which it calls “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelations 21:9), with a man child. The Church can only be fittingly considered a man relative to the headship of Christ, as in Ephesians 4:13-15 and with regard to Ephesians 5:3: “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
To further isolate the Man Child, we will admit the book’s own testimony: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” This is not only Revelation 1:1, it is Revelation 101: The Fundamentals of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. To fail it is to spoil our proper progress through its study program. The book is futuristic and, therefore, the birthing of the Man Child and its subsequent translation to Heaven could not have symbolized the experience of Christ, which was well behind at the time of John’s Patmos vision. Neither could it have symbolized any other event that preceded the vision. And, mind you, the futurism of the book is particularly as regards its projected scenes, or its essential message; it may expound such by making verbal references to the past.
Furthermore, we see that the child escapes the ploy of the Dragon to devour it as soon as it is born. It is caught up to Heaven without experiencing death. Not so with the Christ; the Dragon made a grab for Him and got Him, that the requirement of our redemption might be met. If the Man Child must be killed and resurrected before its ascension, the Revelation would have portrayed it, as it does other such events (see Revelation 11:7-12).
(To be continued next week.)
God bless you always.
In the King’s Service,
David Oligocene Olawoyin.