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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael L. Smith

The Man Child

Updated: Apr 7

There are different views and various interpretations written but I believe chapter 12 is the theological key that unlocks the Book of Revelation. This study will focus on the second half of the chapter which begins by stating: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels” (Revelation 12:7 KJV). To properly interpret these passages we have to begin by examining verses 12:1-6 where John saw “a great wonder in heaven.”

The “great wonder” the Apostle John saw was a woman giving birth to a “man child.” The woman was clothed with the sun and had the moon under her feet and upon her head was a crown with 12 stars. Now, many modern theologians view the woman as Jerusalem and I agree, for she is the “mother of us all” (Galatians 5:26) but Bible scholars differ in their views and their interpretation of the “man child.” Some believe the “man child” is Christ while others believe the “man child” is the Church. To exegesis the passage correctly and identify the “man child” we must examine the text using prophesies found in the Old Testament just as the original audience did. We must “combine spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NASB). In other words, we must compare scripture with scripture.

Let us begin by examining the Book of Isaiah where the prophet prophesied about the birth of the man-child. “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? Saith thy God. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees” (Isaiah 66:7-12 KJV).

When we view Revelation 12:7-12 through the eyes of Isaiah prophecy, we will see that these verses clearly describe Jerusalem giving birth to the Church (the man child) which was “borne upon her sides” and “dandled upon her knees” yet notable Bible scholars, Duvall and Hays states: “Satan attempted to destroy Christ (the man child).” [1] There is no biblical evidence that identifies the man-child as Christ and for Duvall and Hays to derive such an interpretation required them to violate every principle of biblical interpretation outlined in their book “Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible.” After all, it was Christ revealing the vision to John and His birth, death, burial, and resurrection had already occurred. Furthermore, it was the Church that was born “in one day” and that day was the Day of Pentecost when “about three thousand souls” were added to the Church (Acts 2:41). The Apostle Peter confirmed the Church as the “nation,” the “holy nation” which was spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah (1 Peter 2:9). It is a historical fact that the Church was born in the city of Jerusalem on the Jewish Holy Day Pentecost.

If we interpret Revelation 12:7-12 correctly, we will conclude that Jesus showed John a vision of Jerusalem giving birth to His Church and the spiritual war Satan waged against her. A war he continues to wage against Christians, her spiritual children today. When we view the Book of Revelation through the prism of the Old Testament as the original audience did we will see that the “things which must shortly come to pass” have already passed and we now await a glorious future with the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise God!

[1] J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 323.

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