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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," September-December 2008

Revelation Chapter Twelve Explained

We teach that the material in Revelation chapters 6-20 is to be regarded as further “parables” from Jesus on the nature and course of the whole period of time between the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and Christ’s future second advent. Chapter 12, especially, hones in here. Now let us see now how this perspective plays out with the details of the text of chapter twelve itself.

First, the background and an overview:

The message of Revelation chapter twelve was especially fitted to help the first century Christian church deal with the tremendous and important changes that had occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Jerusalem. The epicenter where Christianity all began was now destroyed. Christianity was now decentralized, and its headquarters being shifted elsewhere. What would happen now to the predominately still new “Jewish” church, as Christianity would ever-increasingly become a religion of the Gentiles?

The experience of the Jewish Church, henceforth, we are told her in this chapter, would be like that of Israel’s earlier wilderness sojourn following her exodus from Egypt. This wilderness experience of the early Jewish Christian church would mean something altogether different now, however, than it did for ancient Israel.

 First, they were spiritual over comers (vs 11), delivered, nourished, and protected (vss. 13-16).

Second, they were fruit-bearing, having generated many offspring that were the Gentile believers (vs. 17).

The early new covenant Jewish church and Gentile believers in the Messiah are all ONE BODY in Christ! Thus, Revelation chapter twelve is teaching that the old-covenant Jewish church (the true remnant of faith in verse one) had brought all three together, she was, in a faith-sense the Mother of them all: (1) the Messiah; (2) the new-covenant Jewish church (the woman in the wilderness); and now (3), the worldwide Gentile community of believers (the remnant of her seed) (vs. 17).

The adversary of all three of these new entities is Satan, who is also presently dethroned from his former position in the heavenlies (vss. 9-10), while still, as yet, engaged in combat with the church triumphant now on earth (vs. 17).

Now some further detailed explanation.

The opening material of Revelation chapter twelve is talking, symbolically, about the old covenant Jewish church that brought the Messiah into the world (vss. 1-4).  The “third part of the stars of heaven” mention here refers to the Jews who survived the Babylonian captivity, who yet did Satan’s biding through their rejection of their Messiah. Please see Zech. 3:1-10 and 13:8-9 for the deep-structure background for this imagery.

As a result of the Babylonian captivity and subsequent events leading up to the judgment of 70 A.D., old covenant Israel was reduced to a remnant that was finally carried forward in the obedient Christian Church.

The appearance of the “man child” of verse five refers to the first advent of Jesus Christ, His ascension, and, most importantly, to His subsequent everlasting messianic enthronement at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Eph. 4:8ff.).

The woman fleeing into the wilderness from verses six onwards draws from Zechariah 14:5-6, and parallels Matthew 24:14-22. This refers, not to some yet future speculative events relating to Christ’s second advent, as dispensationalism falsely teaches, but rather, in apocalyptic symbol, to the Christian Jews’ escape from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. After that comes the Gentile gospel age, symbolized by the 1,260 days of verse six, and the “time, times, and a half” of verse fourteen.

The time frame details of Revelation chapter twelve are now further explained.

Revelation chapter twelve comes in the middle of two other chapters (chapter 11 and chapter 13) that both, as well as chapter 12 itself, have also time designation indicators for this present gospel age. There are then, in the Book of Revelation, a total of four of these “three-and-a-half-year” time frame symbols, and all four are located in chapters 11-13.

Here they are: (1) the holy city trodden down of the Gentiles 42 months in 11:2; (2) the two witnesses prophesying for 1,260 days in 11:3; (3) the woman in the wilderness for 1,260 days and “time, times, and a half” in 12:6 and 14; and, (4) the beast given power to continue 42 months in 13:5.

Now, the above expressions for what is commonly thought of as a three-and-a-half year period are all ideational correspondents to the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week, and refer to the now present-day Pentecostal age lying between Christ’s resurrection in the first Christian century, and the time of His future second advent. The ideation here, of course, ties in closely with the obscure time frame mystery of Daniel 12:11-12 which is there said to be "sealed" unto the time of the end (Daniel 12:4, 9).

Here is our attempt to further explain this unsealing by deciphering the expression "time, times, and a half" found both in Daniel and the book of Revelation. We do this by asking and answering three basic questions.

First question: what is a "time"?

Answer: The "time" is the period of the calling of the Gentiles mentioned in Daniel 12:11 and Revelation 12:6. Daniel 12:11 mentions 1,290 days, while Revelation 12:6 has only 1260 days; why the discrepancy of 30 days?

Answer: Because in Daniel the extra 30 day intercalated month is added: the prophetic time, and the solar time, however, are still the same. An intercalated month added does not materially alter the length of a time frame in the big picture of calculating time. Lunar and solar calculations of time in the ancient world were reconciled by the periodic use of adding an extra month. The time is more scientifically measured by the sun, rather than by  the moon, however, so regardless of which method was used, the passage of time remains a constant.

Second question: so if the "time" of Revelation 12:6 is the 1,260/1290 days of Daniel 12:11, then what is the "times" (plural)?

Answer: plural means more to come. There is not only "time" or 1,260 days (which "days" expression we take to prophetically stand in for "years" as per the precedent set in Ezekiel 4:6) there is also more time to be added, signified by the expression "times."

Third question: how much more time, then, is to be added to the base formula of the "time" or the 1260 days (years)?

Answer. A half. The formula is "time, times, and a half." It means more than only one unit called "time." The plural "times" indicates that there is to be added to it the dimension of "a half." The solution is "time" made plural, "times," by the addition of "a half."

Translated, the numerical value of the whole expression means this: time, or 1,260 years, plus a half more of that time, or 630 years, equals 1,890 years. This, by the way, is the same length of years as the formula for the "42 months" expression explain in the last chapter, which please see for full details.

Now let's bring this to completion. The "time, times, and a half"  expression of Revelation 12:14 is a commentary on the 1,260 days mentioned in Revelation 12:6. The background invisible grid being imposed is the elongated concept of the last half of Daniel's 70th week, which corresponds to the 1260 days, as half that week. The actual length of unfolding time, as concealed by this revelation, however, is the 1,890 years, or the "time, times, and a half" as explained above.

Now adding 1,890 years to the event of the exodus and exile highlighted in Revelation chapter twelve, which beginning event was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., brings us to the decade of the 1960's. And why is the decade of the 1960's so important as the culmination of an age and a transition era? Because during this time we see the triumph of dispensational premillennial salvation history teaching in the world-wide evangelical Christian church, which has subsequently resulted in a greast "antinomian" apostasy directly paving the way for the final judgments of the biblical end-time.

During this whole time leading from the first Christian century up to the the present era of great apostasy, the fortunes of Jewish Christianity have been an exile--a wilderness sojourn to heaven--, to those Jews who have found, within this present age, as the early Church once did, the fulfillment of their messianic hope in Jesus Christ.

God has some better thing than a restored Judaism of old covenant shadowed glories, for, for the Jew, too, it is heaven that is the goal, and not some wistful messianic age to come, that has, in fact, already arrived. Abraham look for a city which has foundations whose maker and builder is God. Now, however, in these days of Scofield/Darbyite dispensational apostasy we are taught that racial (?) Jews regaining the land of Palestine is the ultimate preoccupation and goal of prophecy.

Overcoming the world, the flesh, and the devil is the issue, friends (Revelation 12:11), and we don't have to be in some future dispensational Jewish millennial kingdom set up after the second coming to have that happening.

Are you an "overcomer"? 

Heart holiness makes it possible for us all to be one--and heart holiness is precisely what the current Scofield/Darby dispensational apostates are all so much against. The anti-Christian perfection sinning religionists crowd are all to eager to aggrandize the sinning Jews, and in the hub-bub of it all nobody experiences the true messianic redemption from sin that was prophesied, and is now possible within the context of this present age.

Oh, the irony of self-fulfilling prophecy, when God foxes men's gizzards to prove to them His sovereign ways! When we can understand this, friends, then our antinomian mentality gets block busted, and we are profoundly ready for the great awakening change.

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