[Mr. Gibson-Smith's article may arouse differences of judgment on details, but it is worthy of the most careful study.- D. M. PANTON.]


0n the right interpretation of this chapter, more than any other, depends the correct interpretation of the book of Revelation.


As the sun and moon are the chief lights in the natural world, so Christ and Moses are in the spiritual. The Woman being clothed with the righteousness of Christ and having the Mosaic Dispensation under her feet, is at once seen to be the Church of Jesus Christ, there being no other company of people in this world of whom this is a true description.


Israel has rejected and will reject Christ, until He returns therefore she cannot be the Sun-clad Woman, seeing she rejects the righteousness of Christ. She, too, is referred to in the Old Testament under the symbol of a Woman, but never as a Sun-clad Woman. Of Israel it is said- "Before she travailed she brought forth" (Isa. 66: 7): the Sun-clad Woman is travailing in pain until she is delivered of the Man-child. This can mean nothing less than the growth of a body of overcomers within the Church. This body of overcomers within the Church will not be content with the Laodicean Standard of life and worship accepted by the majority of their fellow Christians, hence the travail pains will not cease until these two bodies are separated. These overcomers, like Joshua and Caleb, follow their Lord wholly. They will be the First fruits raptured. This Man-child is caught up to God and His throne before the Great Tribulation. The Sun-clad Woman must go into the wilderness. This Man-child is raptured in the twinkling of an eye right up to the Throne of God. Our Lord was not raptured to the Throne in the twinkling of an eye at His birth; via Egypt, Calvary and the Tomb lay His pathway, taking over 30 years before He reached the Throne; hence He cannot be this Man-child, neither could John prophesy the birth of Christ after 65 A.D., for that would be an absurdity. The rapture of this Man-child takes place when the Dragon has seven heads and ten horns, an event yet future.


The Woman goes into the wilderness for three and a half years, the duration of the Great Tribulation. The heat of the Great Tribulation will ripen these saints for the great Harvest Rapture and Resurrection, which takes place just before Armageddon, and is described in 1 Thess. 4: 14-17 and 1 Cor. 15: 51-53.


As of old, the First fruits were taken to the Temple of the Lord, while the rest of the harvest went to the barn (Lev. 23), so here the Man-child First fruits go right up to the Throne, while the Harvest saints, by far the greater portion, meet the Lord in the air. There is no doubt in the writer's mind that these First fruits return with their Lord as He meets the Harvest saints. "Then shall the Realm of Heaven be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to meet the Bridegroom and the Bride" (Matt. 25 : 1). "The Bride" is added by the DX, the Latin and Syriac versions, etc. The omission may have been due to the feeling of the later Church that Jesus as the Bridegroom ought alone to be mentioned (Moffat). (It will be helpful at this point if the reader can also read "The Bride of Christ and the Ten Bridesmaids", leaflets by the same Author).


When our Lord returned to the Father's Throne, the Dragon was not cast down to the earth, but remained the Prince of the Power of the air, accusing Christ's people even until now. Before this Manchild is caught up, the Dragon is cast down; he then persecutes the Woman, knowing that she is destined to follow the Man-child and occupy with Christ and the Man-child the very region from which he has dominated mankind since the Fall. "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, for the Devil is come unto you, having great wrath, knowing that his time is short". The darkest period of man's existence begins now - the greatest of all delusions will now be spread abroad that they may believe the greatest of all lies, and so be ushered to their well-earned doom, seeing they loved unrighteousness and hated the truth (2 Thess, 2: 7-12).


But to the Woman were given "two wings", another way of saying God's protection is sure to her and the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Israel rejects the Testimony of Jesus Christ until the Lord returns, hence only Christians are here meant. The Flood of troubles during the Great Tribulation will prove the greatest of all blessings to the commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Israel rejects the Testimony of Jesus Christ until the Lord returns, hence only Christians are here meant. The Flood of troubles during the Great Tribulation will prove the greatest of all blessings to the Church. She was not ready when the Bride left earth for the Throne, but now many of her number will win the Martyr's crown, for we see them in Rev. 7 : 9-17: for "these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The reader must not confuse this vast multitude out of all nations with the 144,000 sealed Israelites, Rev. 7: 1-8, who also pass through the Great Tribulation into the Millennium under special Divine protection; neither must we confuse them with the 144,000 of Rev. 14: 1-5, for these are from among "Men", being the First fruits unto God and the Lamb, and therefore may be identified with the Man-child or Bride. The Sun-clad Woman, or the Harvest Saints, are reaped later, Rev. 14: 12-16; this being the point of time when 1 Thess. 4: 15-17 and 1 Cor. 15: 15-52 and Rev. 14: 14-16 find their fulfilment, and not before.


Let the reader clearly understand that all these groups are Overcomers of varying degrees, and they all have part in the First Resurrection, and live and reign with Christ a thousand years. This is the Resurrection from among the dead unto which Paul strove that he might attain (Phil. 3: 11, context 10-14). The First Resurrection commenced with the resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor 15: 23, followed by the Old Testament First fruits, Matt. 27: 52-53. The next in order of time is the Man-child, Rev. 12 and Rev. 14 : 1-5, the Bride, closely followed by the Wise Bridesmaids, Matt. 25. Only these are raptured before the Great Tribulation. The Sun-clad Woman or Harvest Saints need the Great Tribulation to make them fully ready to reign with Christ. Thus it is seen that the First Resurrection covers a period of at least 2,000 years and includes every Overcomer of whatever degree. Rev. 20: 4-6 is the last and most solemn utterance concerning it in the Bible.


Now let us most earnestly repeat that the First Resurrection is not a free gift to every believer in Christ. It is an attainment to which every believer may attain after he has received the free gift of Eternal Life from Christ, consequent upon faith in His death and resurrection. All Overcomers are believers, but all believers are not overcomers. Only Overcomers live and reign with Christ during the Millennium. What then happens to the believer who shows no desire to overcome, and will therefore not be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from among the dead ? Luke 20: 35. He will rise at the last or general resurrection, when all that are left in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation, John 5: 28-29. The Lord makes it perfectly clear in John 5 : 24. (1) Spiritual Resurrection - "Hath everlasting life" (v. 25). (2) First Resurrection - "and they that hear shall live," "and now is." We live in the period of the First Resurrection (v. 25-29). (3) The Last or General Resurrection - "All shall hear His voice." the good to life the evil to damnation. Note the mixed character of this resurrection. The Great White Throne judgment, Rev. 20: 11-15, is of a mixed character, with the Book of Life as the determining factor. The believer goes into life because his name is in the Book of Life, and Christ has bestowed upon him the gift of Eternal Life. (See the "First Resurrection and The Great White Throne Judgment" by the writer, also "Firstfruits and Harvest", "Overcomer and the Throne."