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The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church

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  • the_starkman <keith_starkey@hotmail.com>
    The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church The above title is an article by Michael J. Svigel found at www.bible.org via the following link:
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 24, 2002
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      The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church

      The above title is an article by Michael J. Svigel found at
      www.bible.org via the following link:
      http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/rev/rapture.htm

      The premise is that though there may be passages in the book of
      Revelation which assume a rapture, Svigel considers only one passage
      to clearly elucidate the very event of the rapture itself:
      Revelation 12:5 "So the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who
      is going to rule over all the nations with an iron rod. Her child
      was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne" (New English
      Translation).

      In regard to the chapter 12, Svigel begins with a brief introductory
      examination of the type of literature, the perspective of the
      passage, the structure of the passage, and the function and meaning
      of the symbols in the over-arching context of apocalyptic
      literature; he gives a hermeneutic for the Woman, the Dragon, and
      the Male Child; the Child being the main focus. Svigel notes, "To
      be sure, many commentators identify the male child as the none other
      than Jesus Christ. Certainly, a first reading of the passage lends
      itself to this interpretation. However, the following considerations
      each lessen the likelihood that Jesus Christ alone is in view here
      while at the same time strengthening the notion that the child
      symbolizes the entire body of Christ, the New Testament Church."

      The considerations Svigel refers to are as follows:
      * Identifying the male child as the body of Christ is more
      consistent with the symbolism of Revelation 12:1-6
      * Identifying the male child as the body of Christ best explains
      the allusion to Isaiah 66:7.
      * Identifying the male child as the body of Christ takes seriously
      the language of Revelation 12:5.
      * Identifying the male child as the body of Christ best harmonizes
      with the quotation of Psalm 2:9 found at the beginning, middle, and
      end of Revelation.

      The center of the argument is found in an exegesis of John's usage
      of Greek for the Male Child being snatched up to heaven; it is
      argued that the best usage of this word incorporates the entire body
      of Christ, not Christ's ascension to heaven, as recorded in Acts.

      Svigel concludes:
      "If the male child represents not simply the individual, Jesus
      Christ, but the unio mystica, the believers of every generation of
      the Church who are ejn Cristw'/, then Revelation 12:5 is the only
      explicit mention of the rapture of the Church in the Book of
      Revelation. While other passages may, in fact, imply a rapture (i.e.
      Rev 3:10) the event itself is not described. Revelation 12:5, which
      stands at the heart of the Apocalypse and which brings together the
      two allusions to Psalm 2:9 found at the extremes of the Book, seems
      an appropriate place for the rapture of the Church in a book that
      was written to "show his servants what must happen very soon."

      I am interested in this concept from a relationship perspetive, not
      a chronological perspective. The idea of this portion of the text
      of Revelation substantiating a rapture at this juncture contributes
      that much more to the heart and soul of the original purpose of the
      book; to convey something of the heart of God in regard to His
      desire for relationship with mankind. These are my studies, anyway.

      Thanks very much,

      Keith R. Starkey
    • Alan Fuller <rocsy@yahoo.com>
      Keith, I read the article with some intrest, but these thoughts occured to me. The woman was in heaven. The dragon was in heaven. So wasn t the baby born in
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 3, 2003
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        Keith,

        I read the article with some intrest, but these thoughts occured to
        me.

        The woman was in heaven. The dragon was in heaven. So wasn't the baby
        born in heaven? It doesn't say he was snatched up to heaven, but to
        God and his throne.

        It appears the woman goes to earth in 12:6, and the dragon in 12:9.

        Could 12:4 be an allusion to Daniel 8:10?

        Did the baby drop from heaven to earth? That's the only way I think
        it could represent a rapture of the church. Or does a baby born in
        heaven represent the church? If it is supposed to be in heaven how
        does it represent the rapture?

        Alan
      • Keith Starkey
        Hello Alan, I think the allusion to Daniel 8 is not a stong one; the horn that comes out of the broken large horn tramples the hosts, but the dragon in
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 3, 2003
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          Hello Alan,

          I think the allusion to Daniel 8 is not a stong one; the horn that comes out
          of the broken large horn tramples the hosts, but the dragon in Revelation
          doesn't trample on or throw people (hosts) out of heaven. He MAY have had
          1/3 of the angels head over to his side, but that wouldn't qualify as
          pertaining to this passage. Further, the Dragon may have trampled over some
          of the angels he fights, but this still wouldn't qualify the interpretation
          regarding the baby. The scene John sees is a SIGN in heaven. Babies are
          obviously not born in heaven; the reality (or literality) of the scene, if
          any, has to be on earth's side.

          Rev 12:6 doesn't say the woman came to earth at this point, it says she fled
          to the desert; she was already on the earth. (Surely she wouldn't flee from
          heaven to earth for safety!)

          Further, the baby (who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter) is
          caught up to God and His throne, as you noted. Caught up . . . from heaven
          to a throne? I think we'd be reading more into this than what seems
          reasonably clear: the woman surely is Israel; the baby surely the Christ;
          the dragon surely Satan; the offspring the disciples of Jesus (Rev 12:17
          "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against
          the rest of her offspring--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the
          testimony of Jesus.")

          Thanks very much for you input, Alan,

          Keith R. Starkey

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        • Alan Fuller <rocsy@yahoo.com>
          Keith, Thanks for your clarification, but I have to disagree with the location of the woman and the man child. 12:1 says the woman is in heaven. 12:3 says the
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 3, 2003
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            Keith,

            Thanks for your clarification, but I have to disagree with the
            location of the woman and the man child.

            12:1 says the woman is in heaven.
            12:3 says the dragon is in heaven.
            12:4 says the dragon is before the woman as she was ready to give
            birth.

            I don't think we can escape the fact that the man child is born in
            heaven. Heaven is spoken of as God's throne, but in Revelation we
            are told that His throne is in heaven (4:2).

            I can accept that what John sees is a sign, but if the catching away
            of the man child is supposed to represent a literal physcial catching
            away of the church, then I would expect the symbolism to show that.
            If earth wasn't mentioned at all then perhaps the symbolism would be
            consistent. But since the earth is mentioned, and all the events are
            represented in heaven until 12:6 I don't see how the catching away of
            the man child could represent a rapture of the type dispensationalism
            teaches.

            You say:
            >> the baby surely the Christ;<<

            In saying this you seem to contradict one of the main points of Mr
            Svigel. He says;

            >...the preponderance of evidence in favor of the interpretation that
            the male child represents not Christ alone, but the body of Christ,
            the Church. The "snatching up" of the male child, then, would
            be
            equated with the catching up of the Church described in 1
            Thessalonians 4:17. <

            Much of his argument rests on the idea that the man child represents
            primarily the church.

            >>the woman surely is Israel;<<

            Svigel seems to depend a lot on Gen 37:9 for this interpretation.

            Exactly what Israel meant isn't clear since Joeseph's mother had
            already died (35:19). He may have meant her sister Leah, but
            regardless Israel's interpretation wasn't literally fulfilled in the
            OT. Only the brothers bowed down later (43:26-28).

            So I would say that it is a mistake to interpret the woman as
            Israel. The heavenly Jersalem is identified as the mother of us all
            in Galatians 4:26. Since the new Jerusalem is seen as the bride of
            Christ and the offspring of the woman are identified as christian in
            Rev 12, I think the symbolism is more in line to show the woman as
            the church and the mother of all christians.

            Thanks,
            Alan
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