The Man-Child

The Book of Revelation is a book of mystery, in which John tells about the past, present, and future (1:19). To interpret the book, we have to use literal and symbolic interpretation. There is much to learn in this book, but at present, we only want to study Chapter 12.

The traditional interpretation of this chapter is regarding Christ, His birth, His death, and ascension. But with that kind of interpretation, we soon run into difficulty, because you have to shift from symbolic to literal, and that should not be done when the thoughts are in the same setting. It might fit our personal interpretation, and it might sound logical, but that is not sound Scriptural interpretation. Are you willing to take a new look at what John is writing about? If so, let us proceed.

1. Revelation 12:1

As we look at this verse, we first have to decide what kind of interpretation we are going to use to interpret John’s writing. As you look at it, it speaks about a woman being in heaven. The woman is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet. We soon decide that trying to interpret it with a literal interpretation does not work, for no literal woman has ever been in heaven, with a literal moon under her feet. So we have to go with symbolic interpretation.

A woman in Scripture many times refers to a church. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul said, “...I have espoused you to one husband...” In Revelation 19:7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife (the church) hath made herself ready.”

So, the woman in this verse would have to refer to the church. This woman is clothed with the sun. The sun symbolizing true righteousness, as in Malachi 4:2, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.”

This woman (church) has the moon under her feet. Now, the moon has no light of itself. It reflects the light of the sun. In Hebrews 10:1, “For the law (Moses’ law) having a shadow of good things to come...” A shadow reflects something or someone reflecting that light. So the law (in this reference, Moses’ law) is the moon under the woman’s feet, indicating it no longer was in effect.

This woman has a crown of twelve stars on her head. Stars in the Bible have a very familiar meaning. In Genesis 37:9-10, Joseph has a dream, and in the dream, he sees the sun, moon, and eleven stars. His father did not hesitate to understand the sun represented himself, the moon represented the mother, and the eleven stars, his brethren. Daniel, in his writing, used stars frequently. Therefore stars can represent special people or individuals. The stars in Revelation 12:1 represent the twelve apostles appointed by Christ (Luke 6:13).

In interpreting this verse we have to use symbolic terms to interpret the woman, the sun, the moon, and the stars. This sets the stage for interpreting the rest of the chapter that is in this setting. To switch to another kind of reasoning would not be consistent biblical interpretation.

2. Revelation 12:5

We will come back to the other references but we need to skip down to verse five, as we are dealing with the man-child. Here is where most switch to a literal interpretation, saying, the man-child refers to Christ. As I said, this should not be done.

I will show another setting where most individuals switch interpretation, and we quickly say they can’t do this. This is in Luke 16:19-31, referring to the Rich Man and Lazarus. Hell in verse 23, they say, is literal fire. But when they get to Abraham’s bosom (in the same verse), they say, this refers to heaven. We tell them, “No, you can’t do this. It either has to be all literal or all symbolic.”

So in Revelation 12:5, many switch to a literal interpretation saying, this refers to the birth of Christ. But how can a symbolic woman give birth to a literal man? This kind of interpretation is not consistent. If the woman is symbolic, then she gives birth to a symbolic man-child. Now, we have to prove what the man-child could represent from Scripture.

3. Isaiah 66:7-8

If you will look at Isaiah 66:10, you will see that God is talking about Jerusalem. Now, let’s consider verses 7-8, “Before she (Jerusalem) travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. 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.”

In this setting, the “man-child” and “children” are used interchangeably. So the man-child can refer to children, and children can refer to offspring that the woman (Jerusalem) gave birth to.

4. Back to Revelation 12:5

We have shown from Scripture that a man-child can refer symbolically to the offspring or children. So what could the man-child refer to in this verse? The children born on the day of Pentecost and shortly after or the 144,000, if you please, who were the first fruits from Israel (Revelation 7:2-8, 14:1-5). This was what the woman (church) gave birth to, a new family. It was still the church, but with new children, family.

5. Revelation 12:2

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.”
The woman is with child, ready to be delivered. If the reasoning is true, when did the woman become pregnant? Please keep in mind we are dealing in symbolic terms. This is not a natural pregnancy but a symbolic pregnancy.

In Daniel 9:27, it says, “And he (the Messiah) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” From this, it was foretold that Christ would preach (minister) for three and half years. In that three and half years, He taught the church of Israel, the new covenant. He sowed the seed (the Word, Luke 8:5, 11) that impregnated the woman (the church).

In verse one, the woman is clothed with the sun, (true righteousness of God), the moon under her feet (Moses’ law coming to an end), crowned with twelve stars (the twelve apostles having been appointed), so everything was in order for the man-child (the New Testament church) to be born.

6. Revelation 12:3-4

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.”
To answer this, we have to study the prophecy of Daniel 7 — this will be covered later in much greater detail in Chapter 31 of this book with references to Myers History. You will find that the Roman Empire was to be the last empire (the fourth empire) to rule the earth. In Revelation 12:3-4, the dragon (the devil, verse 9) is interwoven with the Roman government to destroy the man-child (children) as soon as it was born. The traditional teaching has been taught for so long, it is hard to clear the mind and think otherwise. But Satan tried to destroy the new family of believers as soon as it was born.

In Acts 12:1-6, especially verses 1-2, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” Then Herod arrested Peter intending to kill him after Passover. You want to remember, under Roman rule, Israel could not put anyone to death. They had to seek the approval of the government to carry out that sentence. So Satan was very busy trying to destroy the early church when the children (new family) were being born.

7. Revelation 12:5

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.”
With this verse seemingly so solidly supporting Christ and His ascension, why would we want to think in other terms? Consistent biblical interpretation tells us that if one part is symbolic, then it all has to be symbolic. We are not to read as we think (former assumption) but think (with an open mind) as we read. Could this refer to someone else? Could this refer to the new children born to the woman (the church)?

Turn to Revelation 2:26-27, “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...” So you see, someone else will rule with the rod of iron also. It is the overcomer. As you check with other Scriptures, you will see the overcomer will not be the supreme ruler but we will reign with Christ (Revelation 20:4-6). Christ will be the supreme ruler but we will carry out His commands.

But Revelation 12:5 says, “...a man-child was caught up to God, and to his throne.” Again, it seems to support the traditional view that Christ ascended to heaven. But remember, all along the way, it has been shown, these verses support a consistent interpretation of the new children (the new covenant family) that began on the day of Pentecost.

Turn to Hebrews 12:18, 22-23. “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,…But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenlyJerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

This assures us that when we accept Christ as our Savior and live obediently, we are symbolically caught up and become part of the heavenly body. We can look forward to being a part of God’s eternal kingdom because we are part of His family now. We are referred to as His sons, His children, the saints.

We could explain the war in heaven but that is another Bible study. Suffice it to say, if the woman is symbolic, and the sun, moon, and great red dragon are symbolic of things occurring on earth, then the war has to be symbolic also.

In conclusion, I hope the reader will be able to see we have to study carefully, hold fast that which is true but be willing to change if the suggested change is supported by the Word.

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

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Answers to Your Bible Questions