For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
The Consummation of the Mystery of God
The role of the "male child" in the end times.
The book of Revelation is essentially a book of revelation - the revelation of Jesus Christ. When we read it we must never forget that this is the issue. But it is a revelation that must always be increasing. It is not that God simply revealed his Son to us in the past, as a complete and closed event, but that He began to reveal his Son to us, and will continue to reveal Him until the end, until we reach a full knowledge of the Son of God.
Time is running out
The apostle says in chapter 10: 1: "I saw another strong angel come down from heaven ..." This is a special angel, because some of its characteristics are the same as the Lord Jesus Christ. So, although we cannot say with certainty that it is the Lord himself, we can say that he is representing the Lord.
«in his hand he had a little book that was open; and he put his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land ... ». The land and the sea represent the created world. Putting his feet on each one of them means that the angel is taking possession of both of them on behalf of the Lord.
«... and he cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars ...» (v. 3). Who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah? The Lord Jesus Christ. The angel cries out with the voice of the lion, because what he is going to express is the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. "And the angel that I saw standing on the sea and on the land, lifted up his hand to heaven, and swore by him that lives for ever and ever, that he created the heaven and the things that are in it, and the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that time would be no more "(10: 5-6).
Do you remember the words of the Lord, the sense of urgency in the book where it says: "Certainly, I am coming soon"? Time is running out, and He is coming. What time is that referring to? Of course, it does not refer to chronological time, but to the determined time for the Lord to establish His eternal purpose.
When will this happen? Verse 7: "... in the days of the voice of the seventh angel." Here we are given a key. He not only says that he is coming soon, but He also says how it will happen that the Lord will come soon. That time determined by God so that his plan is fulfilled and his Son Jesus Christ returns, will end when the seventh angel begins to sound the trumpet.
The consummation of the mystery of God
What is this mystery about? All the work of God that is in progress today, which is being set in motion directly from the throne and which the Lamb of God is doing when He undoes the seals and begins to direct the course of history, can be encompassed in the expression “ the consummation of the mystery of God”. The mystery of God is being consummated, and we are part of that.
Let's see what this mystery is about. Ephesians 1: 9: "... granting us to know the mystery of His will ...". The word mystery means something that is hidden in secret in the heart of God, and that is inaccessible to any creature, including the human race, unless He Himself reveals it.
When we contemplate the things that God has created, we marvel, but we do not know why, unless God tells us why. And God has made known this mystery to the body of Christ, to us, who are His children, because we have a special place in this mystery.
«... granting us to know the mystery of his will ... to gather all things into Christ». When? «... in the dispensation of the fulfillment of time». What did the angel say? «... that time would be no more». A dispensation is a period of time, a divine administration with a specific purpose. That dispensation is what we are living in today, and it is the dispensation of the fulfillment of the times, that is, the one in which all the mystery of God is being carried out until it is completed.
God has purposed something for this time. This is the present work of God: "To gather all things into Christ." It is the mystery that explains all the works of God from the beginning to the end of time. It is the mystery of the ages. What is it? His Son Jesus Christ.
"... the mystery of God will be finished ..." (Rev. 10: 7). If God's purpose is to gather all things into Christ, it means that when the mystery is finished all things will be gathered together in Christ, and He will be the head of all things.
«... but we still do not see that all things are subject to him» (Heb 2: 8). When you look at the world, you see that things happen in a disorderly way; every man does what he wants; It seems that in the world, war, pain, suffering are what prevail. Men come and go, but there is no nation that obeys the Lord today in this world.
The throne of the Lord is in heaven; but the governors of this world do not obey Him. And yet, the Father is working towards this end. One day, all the kingdoms of this world will will come to be the possession of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the end of this dispensation, what will happen? "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and He will reign for ever and ever "(11:15). There the mystery of God is consummated. The purpose of God is that finally all human dominion should be suppressed; that there be only one head, one Lord, who rules over all and in all - our Lord Jesus Christ.
The mystery of Christ
We need to understand something else, because God has prepared a means to achieve that end. Truly, the Lord Jesus has the authority to descend from heaven right now and suppress all dominion and sit as King and Lord to rule over the earth. He could do it, but He does not. Why not? We must know and understand the reasons that allow Him to descend and come to reign.
In chapter 11, when we are shown the seventh trumpet, it is like a vision from afar; we do not see how those events are set in motion. But, starting from chapter 12, the vision gets nearer, and now we can see the events that will ensure that the kingdoms of this world come to be of the Lord and his Christ.
And here we see something fundamental. If the mystery of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, he also has a mystery. And that mystery is the one that appears here, and it is what concerns us at this present time.
"There appeared in heaven a great sign: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" (12: 1). The woman who appears here is a sign, and also a mystery. This has to do with the fulfilment of that mystery, so that Christ becomes the head, and everything else is suppressed and subjected to Him.
Who is the woman? She is the church, the bride of Christ. She is called to play a fundamental role in the fulfilment of this mystery. And she appears "clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." The symbols associated with this woman represent her heavenly character. She is clothed with the sun. The church was created to express the glory of Christ. It is a heavenly vision, it is the church according to the thoughts of God.
The Father reveals the Son, and the Son reveals the church. The Father had a mystery hidden from the ages: that mystery was his Son. And the Son also has a hidden mystery: that mystery is the church.
And he also says: «... with the moon under her feet». Now, let’s consider, what are the sun and the moon? In chapter 1 of Genesis we are told that God made two great lights: the greater luminary that is the sun, to govern the day, and the lesser luminary that is the moon, to rule in the night. Night is the time of the shadows, and the day is the time of the full revelation of the nature of things.
The sun represents the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reality. The sun has its own light. The moon does not; she simply reflects the sunlight. So, this woman represents the work of God throughout time, because there is an Old and a New Covenant; one covenant that is a foreshadowing and a figure, and one covenant which is the reality.
That is a mystery now revealed, that of the two peoples He made one. Gentiles are co-heirs and members of the same body, and sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. So this glorious church that appears here sums up all the work of God in the world.
«... and on his head a crown of twelve stars». The number 12 represents the number of the people of God. In the Old Covenant, the people of Israel were made up of twelve tribes, and in the New Covenant, the new Israel is founded on twelve apostles. This is the church in the eternal purpose of God.
The pregnant woman
Verse 2 tells us something fundamental. This woman, glorious as she is, full of the riches of Christ, was pregnant, and crying out in labor pain. There is suffering in her. Glory is accompanied by pain. It is the suffering of childbirth. And the more intense those pains become, the more her anguish is accompanied by joy, because she knows that through that pain, a child will come into the world.
To understand this woman, let's go to an example from the Old Testament, in the first book of Samuel, chapter 1. The book before the book of Samuel is Ruth, and before Ruth there is another book that is the starting point of the story of Samuel - the book of Judges.
The last verse of the book of Judges is the summary of it. «In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what they thought best "(Judges 21:25). The book of Judges tells the story of a great tragedy: "But Joshua died ... and all that generation were also gathered to their fathers. And there arose after them another generation that didn’t know the Lord, nor the work which he had done for Israel "(Judges 2: 8, 10). The powerful establishment of the nation of Israel, that had been so glorious, commanded by God himself, all that had been forgotten, and the new generation did not know about it and they didn’t know God.
Then all of Israel fell into a deep spiritual depression. God raised up a judge from time to time to free them; but even those judges were not people who could meet God’s standard. However, if we look closely: at the beginning of this book there is a woman: Anna. She is a woman who cannot have children, and she suffers. When we look at the situation in Israel at that time, this barren woman represents the nation of Israel itself: a nation that is unable to bear fruit for God.
Anna represents that nation, but at the same time represents the pain that God had because of that nation. Because Anna's pain in having a child is God's pain in bearing fruit through His people. Anna cries out, but it is God who cries out through Anna. There are men and women who are like her, who see the need that God has, and who groan for what God groans for: God's desire to produce fruit for the glory of his Son, Jesus Christ.
But Ana's cry attracts God's attention to her. And God gives her a son. Anna offers up her son, brings him to the temple as a child and hands him over to the priest. And that child grows up in the temple.
«Young Samuel ministered to Jehovah in the presence of Eli; and the word of the Lord was scarce in those days; visions were infrequent "(1 Samuel 3: 1). The Scripture says that when there is no vision, the people perish. But God called Samuel when he was just a young man.
"Samuel was sleeping in the temple of Jehovah, where the ark of God was; and before the lamp of God had been extinguished, Jehovah called Samuel; and he answered, "Here I am" (1 Sam 3: 3-4). The lamp that burned in the temple could not be extinguished. That lamp represented the testimony of God in the nation. If it went out, it would have meant that the nation had perished in the sight of God.
It was about to die out, but before it went out, there was a child, conceived through the pain and anguish of a woman. And that child was used by God to keep the lamp burning.
"And Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, and he did not let any of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, knew that Samuel was a faithful prophet of Jehovah. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh; for Jehovah manifested himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord "(1 Samuel 3: 19-21). Thus God appeared again in the midst of His people.
The male child
Now, in Revelation 12, the woman is pregnant, crying out in labor pain. She is going to give birth to a child who is like Samuel. He is a child who will come to continue the purposes of God.
But now, what is it that the church gives birth to? Some people say: 'Well, that child is the Lord Jesus Christ.' But the woman is not Mary - it's the church. And the church also has to give birth. And what does the church give birth to?
"Another sign appeared in heaven: here is a great scarlet dragon, which had seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads seven crowns; and its tail dragged the third part of the stars from the sky, and threw them on the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, in order to devour her son as soon as he was born "(v. 3-4).
This dragon is the great dragon, the ancient serpent, which is called the devil and Satan. Why does he stand in front of the woman? Because that child has a purpose, a destiny appointed by God - it will be taken up to God and to his throne.
The dragon has seven heads and ten horns. That tells us about his worldwide power. And he will do everything in his power to prevent the mystery of God from being consummated on earth. And here comes the important thing. The key to this being achieved, so that Christ is finally established as the supreme King and Lord, and all things are submitted to him, is the child that is born of the woman.
Verse 5: "And she gave birth to a man child, who will rule all nations with a rod of iron." The dragon wants to destroy him, but when he is born, "her child was raptured up to God and to his throne."
Let's go to Revelation 3:21 to see this a bit more fully. "To the one who overcomes, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne ..." Here the Lord is saying something else. Not only is He sitting on the throne - He wants us all to sit down together with him. You and I, we have been called to sit with Him on his throne.
«To the one who overcomes ...». Of course, there is a condition, a requirement - you have to overcome. That's why the dragon is there, because the child before ascending to the throne has to defeat the dragon, and then ascend the throne.
"My children, for whom I am again in labor pain, until Christ is formed in you." The child that is born of the woman is Christ formed in us. The woman gives birth to children for God; the church carries in its womb the children who will sit down to reign with Christ. Christ will reign through His church - the children of God, who must mature and reach the stature of the perfect man.
So, can we see what the Lord is doing at this time? This vision of Revelation 12 is for the church. God wants to show us something that’s in His heart; He wants to form his Son in us.
This is something we must remember, because it is the Lord who wants to come to be formed in his church, and that is why the son has to be born. Remember, there are labor pains in order for that to happen; there must be a heart that is broken by the desire of God’s heart. «Because the love of God constrains us, considering this: that if one died for all, then all died ...». For what? "... so that those who live will no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them" (2 Corinthians 5: 14-15).
Who do you live for, brother? Who do you have a family for? Who do you have everything for? Is it for the Lord? Did He not die and then rise again to be Lord of all?
And here is another warning. The biggest mistake that someone who goes to war can commit is to underestimate their enemy. Our enemy is formidable. He has dominion over the kingdoms of this world. And not only that: powers superior to everything imaginable are at his service and operate in this world to carry out their evil plans, and are hovering over the church breathing threats and death over the children of God. Let us not forget, this is a battle that has not ended. A soldier should not relax in the middle of a battle. The one who relaxes could die at any time. Let's not let the enemy gain an advantage over us.
But let's now see the victory of the male child. "And she gave birth to a son, who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (12: 5). What does the Scripture say about Jesus Christ? That He will rule with a rod of iron. But here it tells us that the child will also rule with a rod of iron.
The kingdom of God is going to come to earth through the church. These children must be trained on the battlefield, in the middle of tribulation, in the midst of enormous pressure. So, when will the time come to an end? The Lord needs the church, and that is the male child who rises up to reign.
Here is the key. The male child rises up, is put on the throne and as a consequence of that: " the great dragon was cast out, the old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth »(v. 9). That means that he loses his position of dominion, and is finally thrown to the earth by means of that male child. «... and his angels were thrown with him».
"Then I heard a great voice in heaven, saying: Now has come the salvation, the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ; For the accuser of our brethren has been cast out, who accused them before our God day and night "(12:10).
"The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ ..." (11:15). But now we have a much closer vision. So then, the coming of the kingdom of God also means the definitive expulsion of Satan from this world and all his associated powers. All that must happen through the church.
The keys to victory
Verse 11 gives us the key to how to overcome in the battle to which we are called. How have they overcome? "And they have overcome him through the blood of the Lamb ..." (12:11). That means the precious blood that cleanses us from all sin. But why is the blood mentioned here? Because we are absolutely powerless to justify ourselves before God.
We will never have merit, we will never have anything that we could present before God to be received, welcomed and loved by God. The blood means that God, freely, receives us in Christ Jesus.
In a more practical application, this means that we can not come to have fellowship with God unless we come dressed in that mantle of righteousness that he wove for us. Not our good works, but with His righteousness.
This is something very subtle. Because it is so easy to begin to think that the Lord chose us because he found something in us, that he loves us because he finds that we are different, more obedient or perhaps more faithful, or because we react better to his word. But it will never be for that. The day we lose sight of the blood of Christ, and forget that we are justified only by the value of that blood, and we are loved only by the grace of God, that day we will begin to lose everything.
The second element is: «... the word of their testimony ...». What is our testimony? What do we confess? That Jesus is the Christ. What was Peter's confession? «You are the Christ, the Son of the living God». That is the confession that defeats Satan.
"Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church "(Matthew 17: 17-18). What rock? Peter? No, but Peter's confession, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. «... and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. "
All the power of Hades can crash against the Rock, and it will not move it, because it is the unshakable Rock of the ages, it is the unconquerable Lord Jesus Christ. Satan can defeat us as many times as he wants if we face him in our own strength; but if you present yourself in Christ, you will never be moved.
That is our victory. It is not just a confession. It is the fact of living in that confession. If we say that Jesus is the Christ, we mean that He is the Lord, the owner, the King. That He rules, that He has dominion. It is not enough to say: "Jesus is the Christ". We must live out this life under His authority.
He is the head of the church. And to ensure that He is the head of the church, there should not be other heads in it. We are not interested in ecclesiology; we are interested in Christ the Lord. We love Him. We want Him to be the head of all things, and he must start in His house and through his church. That’s why we are in this world - for Christ to be head over all things.
«..and they didn’t love their life when faced with death». This is the work of the cross; the imperative need for the cross to work in our lives. The way to the throne, the road to the kingdom, the pathway to maturity and fullness, is the way of the cross. It is the way of Christ's righteousness and not our own; the way of Christ's kingdom, and not our own. And it is the way of the cross of Christ that takes us to the throne.
What is the cross of Christ? «... they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death». Death is the end of ourselves. If you die today, all your personal plans come to an end. There is nothing else - death has come.
To bring Christ's victory to this world, there is only one way – to belittle our lives even unto death. The angel of the church in Smyrna is told in Revelation: "Behold, the devil will drive some of you into prison ... and you will have tribulation for ten days." The tribulation is limited; but there is tribulation. But something else is said: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
The crown of life lies beyond death; it is the end of ourselves; But death must work in all aspects of our life, because it is to belittle our lives "unto death". To die means to accept the work of the cross, that we are left to one side, that we are not taken into account. In the life of the church, if someone wants to stand out, they must learn that it is not a place to receive glory.
It is good for us to love and encourage love, but in order for Christ to reign and be formed in us, we must despise our own lives. Death has the power to liberate the life of God in us. If you want to know what lies beyond death, you have to go through death.
Here is a glorious mystery. Each child of God is like a seed that has a resurrection life within it. But that life is not manifested or released until it dies. When the resurrection life is released, it is the life of the kingdom, it is the life of authority, it is the life of the throne. And then Satan is subdued and defeated.
We are for Satan like those explosive land mines planted in a field. Satan is walking over us, and he thinks that he will overcome us, and he is trampling on us, but it happens that within us there is power, and instead of dying, the life that is in us explodes in power, and Satan is defeated.
Believers should not fear death, because death will liberate the life that is hidden within us. You have resurrection power; the same life that resurrected Christ from the dead is within you, and if death comes upon you, then you must know that it is simply going to release the life that is hidden within you.
Synthesis of a message given in Callejones (Chile), 2008.