“…He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a Son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days”.
Revelation 12:4b-6 NLT
The devil wasn’t at all happy about the impending birth. Her offspring was someone or something that he was very much afraid of and he had to destroy it, come what may. The description in John’s Revelation account seems to fit with the expectation that one day Christ will return, His second coming, and He will rule and reign together with His people. Perhaps the rule all nations with a rod of iron is a reference to the prophecy in Psalm 2:9, “You will break them with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots”. But it is possible that the “baby” in our verse today applies to the rule and reign of Christ, an event that started with His birth two thousand years ago and is still in process. Or did John’s vision once again run the video of an event that had already happened, the birth of God’s Son, Jesus, Himself? The devil was waiting for something to happen, so are we still looking to a future event at this point? A future event that will see the establishment of the Kingdom of God, ruled by Jesus, His second coming? The traditional view is that the birth event described by John was the first coming of Jesus, and the mother of the baby was the Jewish nation. But how does this fit in with the 1,260 days being assigned the label, ”The Great Tribulation”, which is yet to come? Whichever interpretation we choose to believe, however, is is clear that John’s vision was of something very significant. Once again, the verses in Revelation seem to generate more questions than answers.
We continue to read John’s account and see that the child was “snatched away” into God’s presence, where the devil couldn’t get to Him. The child in fact was brought into the very presence of God, which indicates that they had a close and special relationship. Of course, the most plausible explanation in this context is that the child was, and is, Jesus, God’s Son. But God also has a special relation with His children as well, those people who were adopted into His family, of which the first born was Jesus. We read in Hebrews 2:11, “So now Jesus and the ones He makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters”.
Do we pilgrims consider ourselves brothers and sisters of Christ? Sadly, many Christians look with suspicion at those in other denominations, but the reality is that we are all part of God’s family. Once when Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people He was told that His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to talk to Him. His response, recorded in Matthew 12:48-50 was, “Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”” Unfortunately, we so often get caught up in worldly thoughts and behaviours without addressing the real issue about our heart attitudes. We pilgrims aspire to be siblings of Jesus, so the solution is clear – we must do what God has asked us to do – His will. Do we know what that is? Perhaps a good place to start is Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect“.
Dear Father. We confess our desire to be Your children. Please help us to discern what Your will is for each one of us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.