Friday, October 18, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 291

The scriptures read are Ezekiel 41-42, Psalm 89:1-18 and Revelation 12.

Ezekiel 41-42. More temple measuring. If you wish to see it on video, here it is. (Warning: whoever uploaded this had some problems with pixilation.) And here is one on chapters 42 & 43.

Psalm 89:1-18. A toe-tapping version of this psalm with a beautiful video.

Revelation 12. We have a damsel in distress and a dragon. Later in the book we will have a hero with a sword on a horse who will defeat the dragon, a royal wedding, a bejeweled kingdom and everyone in the kingdom lives happily ever after. One wonders if the traditional elements of fairy tales were derived from Revelation.

How do the 4 schools tackle this obviously symbolic section?

The Historicists tend to see the woman as the church, the male child as the church's children, the dragon as Imperial Rome because this is a flashback as it were. God protects his children which is why they are taken to heaven. The war in heaven is Christianity's conflict with heathenism in the days of the Emperor Julian the Apostate. The wilderness is the decline in true piety following the church's acceptance as the official faith of the Roman Empire.

The Preterists split on their interpretations. One group sees the second half of the book recapping the events of the first but from a different point of view. The other group sees this chapter as a transition from the fall of Jerusalem to a focus on Rome. Both groups see the woman as Old Testament Israel and the child as Christ. The dragon with seven heads and ten horns reveals a kinship with the beasts in Daniel and represents the latest evil empire. The child escaping the dragon is actually Jesus' ascension. Michael the archangel might be a stand-in for Christ (though symbolically, not in the sense that, say, Jehovah's Witnesses identify them as one and the same.) The other angels might represent the apostles and the war in heaven is the spiritual conflict between light and darkness, truth and error. The escape of the woman into the desert is the Christians who escaped from Jerusalem in response to Jesus' instructions to do so. (Matt. 24:15-28)

The Futurists usually see the woman as Israel (though to some she is the Virgin Mary or the church) and the child as Christ. The dragon is Satan. The appearance of Michael in this vision connects this passage with the vision in Daniel 12. While Satan cannot accuse the saints in heaven he can and does go after the Tribulation saints on earth.

The Spiritual school thinks the woman is the the faithful remnant of Israel or the church. The child is Christ. The dragon is Satan. The victory in the war in heaven is Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection. The blood of the Lamb disarms Satan of his ability to accuse Christians of sin because it has all been paid for.

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