Isn’t it strange, we have already seen two Final Judgments in Revelation. The first one was in 6:16-7:17 and the second we just read about in 11:15-19. How could this be, if we should read the Apocalypse literally and chronologically? How many ends does the world have? Obviously one. But what do we do with, until now, two “End of the World” being described? The only satisfying solution to me is that they’re both describing the same event. But if this is the case, then the book of Revelation is not to be read chronologically, but cyclically. Further proof for this is Chapter 12.
Vision 4: Revelation 12-14
We just had a vision of the Last Judgment and the consummation of all things in Revelation 11:15-19 at the sounding of the seventh trumpet at whose time the mystery of God was fulfilled (Rev. 10:7). But the vision which we get in Chapter 12 is very strange if the Apocalypse is to be read chronologically.
Chapter 12 describes the birth of a male child who is to rule all the nations. A great sign appears in heaven, which is a woman clothed with the sun, has the moon under her feet and is crowned with twelve stars, recalling Joseph’s dream (Gen. 37:9). The twelve stars symbolized the twelve sons of Jacob who make up Israel, the people of God under the Old Testament. The woman here is the faithful remnant of Israel which lived close to God and was waiting for the birth of the Messiah. Satan, knowing that what God promised in Genesis 3:15 was about to come to pass, goes after the woman to destroy the child which is born of her. The woman gave birth to a child who was destined “to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5). This is clearly the Lord Jesus Christ, but what does the birth of Jesus have to do with the Final Judgment and consummation we just read about with the blowing of the seventh trumpet? Obviously, we cannot read the visions of the Apocalypse chronologically. We clearly see that they present huge problems to us, such so that you would have to go from the Final Judgment and at once to the birth of Christ, which is very strange. It is strange only if one insists upon reading the Apocalypse chronologically, rather than cyclically.
The Male Child is then “caught up to God and to his throne” before the Dragon was able to destroy Him. This is a reference to Christ’s Ascension in which He was seated at the right hand of God (Rev. 3:21; Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55; etc.). While the Male Child is caught up to the throne of God, the woman, still symbolizing the people of God, but now out believing Jews and Gentiles, flees to the wilderness, which is a place “prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days” (Rev. 1:6). 3,5 years was also the time of her persecution (Rev. 11:2) and testimony (Rev. 11:3, 7), but it is also the time when the Church is in the wilderness. This clearly is based upon the 40 years of wilderness wandering of Israel in which God provided for their needs. The Lord provided manna for Israel the whole time they were in the wilderness, caring for them and bearing them on His wings, but the day they entered Canaan was the day that the manna stopped (Josh. 5:12). The wilderness symbolizes also that this is a time of trial, as Israel was tried by the Lord. It is a time of difficulty, not easiness. Even though all these things are true, the wilderness is designed by God for the good of God’s people, even if it...