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Thread: Why distinguish the woman and her children

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    Why distinguish the woman and her children

    Apparently, the woman refers to Israel, the "Jerusalem which is above."

    Revelation 12:1-17
    And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. . . . And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    2 John 1:1
    The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth[.]

    Galatians 4:26
    But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

    Hebrews 12:22-24
    But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.


    Isaiah 54:1-3
    Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear;
    break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:
    for more are the children of the desolate
    than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
    Enlarge the place of thy tent,
    and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations:
    spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
    for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left;
    and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles,
    and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.


    Yet Revelation 12 says that when the dragon tries to persecute the woman, she gets away. So the dragon instead goes to persecute her children (which seems to be described in Revelation 13 with the beasts and such).

    Revelation 12:13-17
    And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. . . . And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.


    The question of the thread is this: If the woman represents believers and her children also represent believers, what is the point of distinguishing them, and in what way did the woman truly escape if her children still get persecuted?

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Revelation 12:4-9 should allow for a clear enough understanding.

    When was the woman with child - ready to give birth, and with Satan waiting to devour the child? Who is the male child appointed to rule all nations?
    Last edited by tabibito; 09-11-2015 at 04:25 PM.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

  3. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    Umm, I kinda feel like your post doesn't really answer the question.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    My response addresses the issue of whether the woman can be Israel. That section of Revelation 12 isn't concerned with the future, but with the past at the time of writing.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    The woman is Israel. I already proved it definitively. If you are disputing that part, you are simply incorrect.

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    Possibly tabibito has in mind the tales from Qumran...the following site might be of some assistance when considering the "War in heaven"...
    https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/divinit.../melcharticle/

    "The book of Revelation, probably written near the end of the first century C.E. in Asia Minor, contains another reflex of the war in heaven myth in chapter 12. The development of the traditions in this chapter into their present form seems to have been complex, and for the most part I am following here the redactional analysis of Adela Yarbro Collins.<16> She argues that the Christian redactor--probably John himself--combined the myth of the woman and the dragon (vv. 1-5 and 14-16) with the myth of the war in heaven (vv. 7-9). He added seams to connect the myths to each other and to the rest of the book (vv. 6, 13, 17), introduced a Christian hymn (vv. 10-12), and made other small changes. The two myths were Jewish rather than Christian in their original form, although Greek myth also has significantly influenced the first. In its present setting the story of the woman leaves us perplexed as to whether she represents the Church or Mary the mother of Jesus. But the pericope makes good sense if she is interpreted as Israel, the figurative mother of a Jewish messiah. Likewise, the war in heaven features Michael as the divine hero (as in the War Scroll and the piyyu<.t> by Qalliri, discussed below), although we would expect Jesus to take on this role (as in Revelation 19) if the narrative were composed by a Christian".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    The woman is Israel. I already proved it definitively. If you are disputing that part, you are simply incorrect.
    Well!!! There is a problem if the woman is symbolic of either of the nations Israel or Judah. OT symbolism has it that Israel was an adulterous and Judah was a harlot. The consequence: her offspring would be born as a result of harlotry and thus blemished = unacceptable as a champion of God.

    Imo, the best we can assume is that the woman is of the seed of Jacob.

    Consider Joseph's dream at Genesis 37:9. It is generally agreed that in the symbolism of the dream: Jacob=the sun, Rachel=the moon, and Jacob's twelve sons=the twelve stars. In Joseph's dream all of these did obeisance to him. In A.John's vision the woman is clothed with the sun (Jacob), which indicates that from her a nation and a king would arise (cp. Genesis 35:11), but more importantly all of God's promises to Abraham & Isaac would flow from her offspring (cp. Genesis 35:12). The moon (Rachel) is under her feet, which I take to mean the redundancy of Israel & Judah. Upon her head is a crown of twelve stars (Jacobs sons). Presumably, the twelve stars as her crown represent Jesus' twelve disciples, the spiritual sons of the woman (cp. John 19:26).

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian View Post
    The question of the thread is this: If the woman represents believers and her children also represent believers, what is the point of distinguishing them, and in what way did the woman truly escape if her children still get persecuted?
    If it as you say, the woman is believers and the children are believers, then it makes sense to preserve the woman. She could have more offspring! In any case, in the vision, the woman is separated from her offspring by God. Taking your idea that both the child and the woman represent believers consider Cyprian's actions during one of the persecutions. He fled to safety leaving his congregation to fend for themselves! He justified his actions by reasoning his congregation would need him when the persecution ended. His death would be of no assistance to them.

    Some hold that the woman represents the church and the child its congregation ie: the administration and those that receive ministration.
    Last edited by apostoli; 09-16-2015 at 05:38 AM.

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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    An alternative view, taught mainly by preterists, is that the woman refers to Jewish Christians and the children refer to gentile Christians. But yes, I was thinking that the woman refers to the church as an entity, or the "administration" as you say. Here is another potentially relevant passage that points to the apostles as the woman:

    John 16:19-22 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? . . . A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

    But in practical terms, the main problem I have is this: What sense does it make to say that the administration was led into the wilderness? You will note that according to the passage, the dragon first tries to battle the woman with his direct physical powers. It is only after the woman flies to the wilderness that he tries to persecute her a more indirect way, by shooting water out of his mouth.

    Also, you brought up the war in heaven. I think the war in heaven probably refers to the fall of the pagan religion within the Roman Empire.

    Ephesians 6:12-19 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places . . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

    Revelation 12:7-11 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

    Luke 10:17-18 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

    As a side note, Cyprian didn't need to justify himself. Jesus specifically said that when you are persecuted your first choice should be to flee.
    Last edited by Obsidian; 09-16-2015 at 04:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    An alternative view, taught mainly by preterists...
    I assume I rank as some shade of preterest. For instance: i hold that Luke 21:7-28 as predictions fulfilled (including the parousia of Christ, which I take as representing the end of the temple cult and the ascension of Christian). But that said I acknowledge the forcasts of Revelation which I understand to have been written by A.John towards the end of his life (late 1st century), so as with A.John and the early Christians I hope for the glorious appearance...and the coming of a new heaven and new earth...

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    An alternative view, taught mainly by preterists is that the woman refers to Jewish Christians and the children refer to gentile Christians.
    Amoungst theologians there is acceptence of multiple fulfilments of prophecy, and thus multiple interpretations of particulars. Daniel is a case in point. But that said: at a personal level I reject the idea you attribute to "mainly preterists". I hold that since the Temple cult arose (from the time of Solomon (if not David) all bets were off concerning Israel and Judah (cp. 1 Kings 9:1-9), so I attribute nothing to the Jews apart from being of the seed of Abraham (I use the term Jew in the same way as A.John = those who ministered to the Temple., or those bound to the Temple). John 4 also inclines me to reject the view you related. I find Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman most enlightening! Though Jesus told her "salvation is of the Jews" (vs24) he also predicted the termination of all centers of worship, including Jerusalem and the Temple (vs20-24). But of more importance to me is the Samaritan woman's expectation and profession of the coming Messiah. Jesus directly told her "I that speak to you am he" (vs25-26). What fascinates me about this event is Jesus never made such a direct admission to any Jew, including the disciples! (when Peter made his admission, Jesus attributed it to revelation and had the disciples pledge they would tell no man that he (Jesus) was the Christ (Mt 16:13-20 contrast Mt 26:63). The other thing that fascinates me is that John 4 tells us of Jesus' first mass conversion of a people. They were not gentiles, nor were they Jews aligned to the Temple, but Samaritans! (vs29,30,35-42).

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    But yes, I was thinking that the woman refers to the church as an entity, or the "administration" as you say. Here is another potentially relevant passage that points to the apostles as the woman:

    John 16:19-22 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? . . . A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
    I think appeal to Galatians 4:19 would be more focused "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you..." The analogy of the travail and child birth is so common in scripture it borders on the mundane and so I'm inclined to by-pass the reference in Revelation. Still, assuming it has validity, we would have to determine how the depiction of the sun, moon & stars applies to the "administration" and not the entire church.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    But in practical terms, the main problem I have is this: What sense does it make to say that the administration was led into the wilderness? You will note that according to the passage, the dragon first tries to battle the woman with his direct physical powers. It is only after the woman flies to the wilderness that he tries to persecute her a more indirect way, by shooting water out of his mouth.
    Note that she is only in the wilderness for a 1,260 days (the prophetic standard of three and a half years).

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    Also, you brought up the war in heaven. I think the war in heaven probably refers to the fall of the pagan religion within the Roman Empire.
    From Daniel, possibly the collapse of the Roman empire by the end of the 5th century CE. It is interesting that thereafter the Church took on a leading secular as well as religious role from this time forward and that Islam arose shortly thereafter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    Ephesians 6:12-19 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places . . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
    Interestingly, once Christianity took over secular administration of the "civilised world" what is called the dark ages prevailed. In the same period Islam was a shining light but the fanatics eventually put out the flame. Must be a North African thing, the same thing almost happened in Christianity with the rise of christian fanatics like the Agonistae/Circumcellions in the 4th century (earlier and later?).

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    Revelation 12:7-11 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
    This has always confused me. Imu, the war in heaven was suppose to have happened in pre-history with Satan doomed to tread the earth and the fallen angels locked up in Tartarus. It is said that A.John's vision incorporated lots from ancient Jewish/Canaanite myth in its symbolism. Reminds me of a book that I'd read my kids when they were young, when you got to certain pages you didn't necessarily go to the next page, but there was a choice to branch to a different page. Same story different view of the battle field so to speak. A never ending story so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    Luke 10:17-18 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
    Given Mt 15:17-21 I'm not impressed with Lk 10:17 (except their power stemed from the name of Jesus cp. Acts 4:6-18). Now Mt 10:18 is very interesting. If the 70 had been familiar with Enoch, the "war Scrolls" of Qumran, or the like (which is more than likely), Jesus just made an admission of his pre-existence (cp. John 8:40 & 58).

    Quote Originally Posted by Obsidian
    As a side note, Cyprian didn't need to justify himself. Jesus specifically said that when you are persecuted your first choice should be to flee.
    Well!!! Cyrian lived in an era and place where people sought out and provoked their martyrdom. Church history informs us that in North Africa the Roman authorities bent over backwards to facilitate the "christians" but it was a difficult proposition when you had fanatics vandalising temples, cemeteries and public property, attacking public officials and soldiers (the police) and directly provoking the authorities in a myraid of ways, so the authorities would attack and kill them. Then when the authorities reacted we read of christian women throwing their children into rivers to drown as an act of mercy, and christian virgins throwing themselves off roof so they wouldn't be defiled. These are eye witness Christian accounts not secular accounts. They are the reason the RCC have church laws against suicide, iunnecessarily seeking out martyrdom and are generally sceptical about supposed martyrs.

    The Church annals record that in North Africa there were bands of "christians" who would terrorise local communities demanding they be martyred, if they weren't they'd beat the villagers. There is a funny Roman secular story recorded in he annals. The fellow who tells the story says that whilst travelling he was bailed up by a group of these "martyrs" brandishing clubs. They demanded he take out his sword and kill them for being "christians". He agreed on one condition: first they had to let him tie them up. They agreed. After binding them, he recommenced his journey, laughing at their curses as he went... Whether this story is true or just good for a laugh at the local tavern is anyone's guess but Church history does record that such bands existed.

    Cyrian did have to justify himself! You may not be aware that at the Council of Nicea of 325CE a huge amount of time was spent working out arrangements to appease the Novationists (Europe) and Meletians (North Africa) and other groups who refused admission to their churches to anyone who had intentionally avoided martyrdom during the persecutions. Cases such as that of Cyrian are discussed in the literature.
    Last edited by apostoli; 09-17-2015 at 07:30 AM.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apostoli View Post
    I assume I rank as some shade of preterest. For instance: i hold that Luke 21:7-28 as predictions fulfilled (including the parousia of Christ, which I take as representing the end of the temple cult and the ascension of Christian). But that said I acknowledge the forcasts of Revelation which I understand to have been written by A.John towards the end of his life (late 1st century), so as with A.John and the early Christians I hope for the glorious appearance...and the coming of a new heaven and new earth...
    Luke 21:7
    So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

    Luke 21:7 (Mark 13:4 likewise) doesn't state the question in full, which is why the detail is so difficult to ascertain. However, Matthew does record the full question:

    Matthew 24:3
    Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”


    The question addresses three issues, each of which is addressed by the answer - When will these things be? (seemingly, the issue immediately at hand - destruction of the temple) ... What will be the sign of your coming? ... What will be the sign of the end of the age?
    Last edited by tabibito; 09-17-2015 at 11:42 AM.
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