We briefly looked at the reasons why this child, the Mediator, ought to be truly man.† But He also had to be truly God; not another God, but the true and almighty God, so that He could sustain, in his human nature, the infinite wrath of God against sin, and endure the punishment.† Although the punishment only lasted a short while, it was infinite in greatness, dignity and value.† If the Mediator had not been God, he would have been crushed under the weight of Godís wrath.† Godís wrath required a punishment that was equivalent in nature to sin, which is eternal and infinite.† Jesus Christ is a Mediator of such excellent merit that it was not necessary for him to remain eternally in death to deliver an eternal redemption.† We, on the other hand, had no way of escaping eternal death even if our lives were spent on attempting to redeem us.
When Jesus foretold his death and resurrection by relating his prophesy to the temple, ďÖ destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three daysĒ (John 2:19), he told the Jews that he will break down all Satanís authority and be the firstfruits of all who will be made alive (I Corinthians 15:22, 23), He was referring to this temporal period of his punishment as the climax of his humiliation.†
It was necessary, therefore, that the man who would stand in for the sins of man, would have the ability to not only suffer the punishment, but to come forth from death after having rendered satisfaction to Godís wrath in all respects.
John 10:17, 18 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again.† 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
It was further required that the Mediator ought to deliver such a satisfaction that it was completely acceptable to the Father and sufficiently meritorious that the Father would not look upon the sins of man any longer.† The dignity of such a person had to be of infinite value, meaning it had to be someone very special who would perform this redemption.† The only Person was God, the Creator Himself, who foreordained and provided the means of manís redemption;
Deuteronomy 32:15 Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.
II Samuel 22:47 "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior.
Psalm 18:46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior.
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 27:9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Psalm 42:11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 85:4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
Psalm 89:26 He will call out to me, 'You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'
Isaiah 43:3, 11 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.† 11I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
Isaiah 45:15 Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel. 21Declare what is to be, present it--let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.
Isaiah 49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 62:11 The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'"
Hosea 13:4 "But I am the LORD your God, [who brought you] out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.
Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Acts 13:23† "From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised."
Before the woman is portrayed as the mother of the Messiah, she is the church or one might say Mother Israel, whose Redeemer-Husband will fill her house, the holy city, with children.† The prophet Isaiah prophesied about the woman in
Isaiah 54:1 Ė 8† "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. 2Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes 3for you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5For your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. 7For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer.
The twelve-starred crown on her head identify her as Godís covenant people, the elect, who have appeared as Israelís twelve tribes as we saw in Revelation 7:4 Ė 8 and will appear as the heavenly city-bride founded on the twelve apostles and entered through gates bearing the twelve tribeís names.† We see the number twelve being used in several instances to depict Israel, the most famous, perhaps, is the history of Joseph.† When Israelís sons first numbered twelve, the people of God appeared in Josephís dream as sun (Jacob), moon (his mother Rachel) and eleven stars, his brothers, bowing to him and through whose suffering their lives would be spared.†
Genesis 37:9† Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.Ē
Genesis 50:18 - 21 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said. 19But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.† 21So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
So, the woman in Johnís vision represents Godís covenant people, the elect, the church; those whose names have been recorded in the book of life before creation.
With all his cunning, Satan could not prevent the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah, who will rule over all the enemies of God with an iron scepter.† Psalm 2 speaks about the Messiah ruling with an iron scepter and it refers more specifically to his enemies and in general to the whole world.
Psalm 2:5 Ė 12 Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying. 6"I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.† 7I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. 8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. 10Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
But how can ruling with an iron scepter be compassionate towards the church and also dashing Godís enemies like pottery?† Christís iron rule has no effect on those who love him because it is like a law prohibiting something that a law-abiding citizen would never contemplate doing.† If one has no propensity to steal a car, the law against auto theft and its consequential punishments bears no threat.† Christís brothers and sisters have no fear of his iron scepter because they love him and revere him as their God and Savior.† Those, however, who hate Christ, fear his rule having their consciences testify against them, tormenting them day and night.† Even though they might appear to enjoy life more than believers do, their enjoyment is temporary.† Even in this life, their mourning is without hope and their repentance without faith leaving them only with their fear of punishment and death, driving them to utter despair.
Christís rule also refers to his rule of all nations in general since he will move the hearts of kings for the sake of the church, so that only those things will befall the church that God wills in his Divine wisdom.
Although Johnís vision here depicts the snatching up of the child as a single act, Christís birth, suffering, crucifixion, death, and resurrection are all contained within this one motion.† We see Satanís attempts to kill the Messiah in Neroís infanticide, the many instances where Satan attempted to frustrate Christís work or tempt him to rebel against the Father as Adam and Eve did.† Satanís failure to devour the Child left him with only the woman, the church, to pursue.† The apostle Peter wrote about Satan in this manner and admonished us to be self-controlled and alert.
I Peter 5:8 †Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Alertness will keep us from becoming complacent and self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.† Let us read more passages of this chapter to put it in perspective; we can discern from these passages the weapons with which we can defend ourselves from the onslaught.
I Peter 5:5 - 11 Ö All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.† 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.† 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.† 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.† 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.† 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Johnís vision tells us that the child is taken into heaven to Godís throne fulfilling prophecy that the Messiah would sit on Davidís throne:
Isaiah 9:6, 7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Having the Christ sit at the right hand of the Father in his glorified body is comforting to every Christian because our brother has preceded us with his glorified body into heaven and by that we know that we, too, will be raised up with glorified bodies and that we, too, will be living in the presence of God in heaven in our bodies.
Matthew 19:28† Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Let us read some passages from Scripture in which the Apostle Paul explains this mystery.
I Corinthians 15:42 - 55 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.† 44It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.† 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.† 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.† 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.† 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.†
50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.† 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.† 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."† 55"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
Sitting at the right hand of the Father means to be equal with the Father in power and glory and to be that Person through whom the Father works immediately and governs all things.† Christ sat at the right hand of the Father from the beginning but his ascension brings his glorious, physical body into the presence of God to prepare that place for us where we may be also, as followers of Christ, with bodies of equal likeness, as Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 19:28 and Scripture further testifies in I Corinthians 15:49.
The glory and sitting of Christ at the right hand of the Father consists in the following:
Colossians 2:9, 10† Ö in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
In Him also exists the excellency of gifts, such as wisdom, power, glory, majesty, and others which are far greater and more in number than those which either the angels or men received.
Philippians 2:9 Ė 11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What comfort do we receive knowing that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father?† He intercedes for us. He gathers the elect into his congregation, governs, and preserves them by his Word and Spirit.† He defends his congregation against its enemies. He glorifies his congregation and removes all its infirmities, even though it suffers, as his elect are sojourners in a hostile world.†
He rules us through the ministry of his word and Spirit; gives us resting places; makes his word effectual in the conversion of the elect; raises up at length from the dead; delivers us from our infirmities; glorifies us; wipes all our tears from our eyes; places us on his throne; and makes us kings and priests forever.
That is our comfort when we read about Johnís vision, fitting perfectly with the prophesies and other declarations of Scripture, that the new-born child was safely snatched up to God and his throne where He intercedes for us and, as our king and our head, our flesh and brother, grants us every good, even eternal life.
Since Satan could not overcome the child, he now turns against the woman, the church.† But she flees into the desert and, like the Israelites, faces a struggle and exposure to the elements until her time comes to enter into the promised land.† This vision refers to the church of our time and the womanís stay in the desert reflects on Christís congregation as foreigners in this world.† Just as the Israelites traveled through the desert and found only bitter water at Marah, so the woman suffered in the desert and so the congregation of Christ finds itself in a hostile world with water, which is bitter to the Christian, to drink.†
God sweetened the water at Marah by commanding Moses to throw a piece of wood into the water.† He sweetens the bitter water of this world here on earth with the ministering of his word and Spirit to our thirsty and hungry spirits, longing to be out of the desert and with our Savior.†
The prophet Elijah was fed by many ravens in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, in like manner the woman is nourished and preserved by the Lordís intervention.†
The time the woman spent in the desert, 1,260 days, depicts the period the church is in today: between Christís ascension and his Second Coming.† We know this because this era is characterized by persecution of the church by its enemies Ė holy city, heavenly woman Ė but also protection of the church by its God Ė measuring of the sanctuary and refuge in the wilderness.† The additional ďtime and times and half timeĒ makes explicit allusion to the period of the saintís persecution under the fourth beast in Daniel 7:25.† Therefore, the time period symbolizing the womanís stay in the desert, encompasses the churchís ongoing experience of suffering and safety, bold testimony and bitter trial, alienation in the desert but nourishment from God, from the time of Jesusí ascension to heaven until the trauma that precedes his glorious return.
John saw in his vision the birth of the child and its snatching up to God and his throne as a split-second maneuver but the process included many attacks of the devil to thwart the one thing that Jesus had to accomplish, namely, to suffer humiliation, shame, punishment, torture, and death; and to be perfectly obedient until death; and to take up his life again.† Jesus willingly and obediently emptied the cup for the sake of the elect and Satan knew that he would be finished unless he can somehow derail Godís purpose to redeem for him those whose names He recorded in the book of life.† What a foolish thought, but he tried nevertheless.
This war is not the primeval conflict before Adamís fall, when Satan and other angels who had been created good inexplicably turned against their Creator.† This war that John sees in his vision was fought when Jesus suffered and died on the cross outside Jerusalem and then rose from the dead.
Because Jesus is God, his divinity knew that He would survive this ordeal and succeed in redeeming the elect.† His humanity, however, suffered great anxiety because of his immanent torture and death and it is precisely where Satan launched his attack: against Jesusí human nature.† He knew that if he could get Jesusí human nature to fail, to succumb to temptation, or that his elect, even one of them, would succumb, he would prevail.
Because of the dignity and majesty of God, the archangel Michael was commanded to defeat the dragon.† He is revealed in Daniel 12 as the protector of Israel.
Daniel 12:1† "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered."
The following passage, although not pertinent to this study, identifies Michael as an archangel.
Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
It is interesting to note that in Daniel 12:1 the elect are secure in Godís providence, which emphasizes Jesusí terrible struggle with his torture and death because it defines his mission and only perfect obedience to the Father will do, regardless of the wickedness of Satan and his henchmen.†
Jesus was obedient to the end.† He suffered whatever Satan could throw at him in his panic to win this battle against Jesus.† But he was not strong enough and he lost his place in heaven.† Jesus paid for the rebellion of Adam and his posterity and restored that which was corrupted.† Jesus paid with his life but instead of remaining trapped in death, as a mortal would have been, Jesus took up his life again and removed the sting of death, opening up the grave to believers so that its horror and destruction of the body is removed, becoming a passage to glory for the elect.† To unbelievers the grave is a dungeon, a place of horror from which they can only come forth to follow the beast into the abyss.
Never again would Satan be able to stand in the council of God and lodge accusations against those for whom the Lamb has suffered so greatly and shed his blood.† The dragonís banishment from heaven to earth marks the coming of Godís kingdom and of his Christís authority.
At the seventh and last trumpet heavenly voices celebrated the final coming of Godís kingdom, when all opposition to Christís rule will be eradicated from earth.†