THE COMING REMOVAL*
By †LT. -COL. A. KENNEY-HERBERT
[* From Who Are the Woman and the Man-child?.]
[Note. Because Greek lettering is not available I have indicated (in seven places) with ellipsis ... indicating where Greek words are used throughout this writing.]
Rev. 22., in my opinion, has proved one of the great enigmas of the study of prophecy.† I do not remember any authority whose interpretation does justice to the details of the picture.† The reason is not far to seek, for this subject belongs to that section of Bible study, which, perhaps more than any other, has been obscured by the dogmas of traditional interpretation.† These dogmas have been so frequently enunciated that they are now generally accepted, without any further verification, as unquestionable.
Without attempting at this stage to identify either the Woman or the Man-child it is evident that the removal of the child, by rapture to the throne, is a most important detail.† Now the great majority of futurists hold that the whole Church will be raptured before the great tribulation.† To them this dogma is so vital that to question it, in any way, is almost heresy.† Another section, on the authority of Matthew 24: 29-31, places the parousia, or bodily presence, 1 Thess. 4: 13-17, and consequently the rapture which is dependent on it, after the great tribulation.† Either of these preconceived ideas stands in the way of an impartial interpretation of this passage: for this rapture does not include the whole Church on the one hand; on the other hand it takes place before the great tribulation.† If the student has the courage to disregard the dogmas of tradition he will face this question - Who are represented by the Woman and the Man-child of Revelation 12?
Being a sign, a pictorial allegory, it is not to be supposed that any particular woman is intended.† As Mystery Babylon, a mother, a city, and a system is represented by a woman, this woman must also represent a mother, a city and a system, for the two are contrasted in every possible way.
As a mother, she is
the mother of those (a) who
keep the commandments of God and (b) who have the
testimony of Jesus Christ.† That
is to say she is the mother of those who are included in the blessing of
Abraham (Gal. 3:
14-18), and is identified with the on high
As a city and a bride, she is seen in Revelation 21. descending from God out of heaven (the throne).
As a system, she represents all those of her children, who shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.† Her crown and her foundations are the twelve apostles of the Lamb.† But at this epoch she is to be seen partly in heaven, and partly on earth.† In spirit, we may dwell in her by faith, now, just as we hope to dwell in her through the eternal ages: "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem ... to the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12: 22, 23).
The Man-child is to rule all nations with a rod of iron.† The reference must be, either to Revelation 19: 15, where this is said of the Lord; or to Revelation 2: 26, 27, where such rule is promised to the overcomer of the Thyatiran assembly.† Some have held that the Lord is indicated.† If so the details recorded in Revelation 12: 1-5 are singularly inapplicable to the facts of the Lordís birth, or of any other period of His life.
Our Lord was never snatched away from Satanís power to the throne of God.† When His earthly work was done, He ascended,
as a conqueror, to Whom all power had already been
committed.† (2) His mother did not fly to
the wilderness for 1,260 days.† (3) War
in heaven did not follow the birth, neither was Satan cast down, for Paul describes
him as now controlling the darkness of this age from the over heavens (Eph. 6: 12).†
(4) This child is called ... [in the
Greek by ... (See Greek.)], a word never
applied to the Lord by the Holy Spirit.†
(5) If this birth is rightly connected with Micah
5: 1-3 it could not have been fulfilled when our Lord was born, for they
had not then smitten the judge of
Now it was a foundation doctrine, common to the myths of ancient paganism, that the Queen of Heaven was the bride of her own son who had died and had risen again to be her husband.† I cannot think that an interpretation, which might give some colour to so foul a doctrine, can have been intended.† As this suggestion misses the mark in so many details I am compelled to reject it.† Consequently there only remains the alternative solution implied by Revelation 2: 26, 27.
1. Both before and after birth the child is called ... [See Greek], but at birth ... [See Greek ].† This distinction is important.† We are ... [See Greek] in virtue of the new birth, but we become ... [See Greek] by obedience to the Spiritís leading (Rom. 8: 14, 17).
2. The birth takes place immediately before the Great Tribulation, and it divides the living seed of the Woman into two parts.† The one is raptured, the other remains.† This second part is called ... [See Greek] which, by derivation from ... [See Greek] primarily means "left."† This word occurs in 1 Thess. 4: 13.
3. Who can "the brethren" of Revelation 12: 10, the overcomers of Revelation 12: 2, and those who "tabernacle in heaven" of Revelation 12: 12 be but the man-child who has been raptured?† Now compare Revelation 13: 6 and 13: 7.† The beast blasphemes those who tabernacle in heaven, for they are out of his reach, but he overcomes the saints who are within his power.† Who can these be but the ...?[See Greek]
This Man-child, therefore, must represent the overcomers of all the assemblies.† "He that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers" (Rev. 2: 26).