Jesus Heavenly Birth
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48. Jesus Heavenly Birth
Revelation 12.1-5

"A great sign appeared in Heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven, an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who 'will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.' And her child was snatched up to God and his throne." (Revelation 12.1-5)✞

Woman Clothed With The Sun

Baby JesusGiving birth for humans is a special moment both for the mother and father and for the family. Here, the writer describes the great significance of Jesus' birth in graphical terms. In this passage, the mother is called the "woman clothed with the sun, with the moon, and the stars." These represent God's faithful people who are waiting for the Messiah. "A crown of twelve stars" over her head indicates the number of the tribes of Israel or the Twelve Apostles. God sets apart the Jews for himself, and that nation gives birth to the Messiah, born in Bethlehem in Judea. Another modern Christian view is that the woman is the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, and this image is often portrayed in Christian art as a woman in a blue robe with the stars over her head like a halo.

Jesus Historical Birth

So let us compare this Revelation episode with what we know of the historical birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Jesus' earthly birth by the Holy Spirit's action was as a "male child" born to a devout young Jewish woman named Mary, who was a virgin. King Herod immediately tried to destroy the baby, Jesus. Herod saw Jesus as a threat to his throne but was motivated by Satan portrayed in Revelation as the "enormous red dragon," who wants to kill the baby.

Cosmic Significance

Holy Family in BethlehemThis heavenly pageant pictures Christ's quiet birth in Bethlehem, which means "the house of bread" in Hebrew and the "house of meat" in Arabic. Bethlehem is also the birthplace of King David. Today, it is a Palestinian town on the West Bank. In its time, Bethlehem has the same cosmic significance as Jesus' birth in Heaven. Interestingly, this Revelation narrative corresponds to a strange myth in the ancient world that a horrible monster pursues a goddess pregnant with a savior and is saved only by miraculous intervention. She bears a son who then kills the beast. On the other hand, the story of Jesus is no myth but a historical fact with a cosmic significance.✞

Seven Headed Dragon

Red DragonRevelation describes the coming of the seven-headed dragon. The birth of the male child Jesus occurs, but he is protected. The "dragon" in Greek "Therion" refers to one of two beasts in Revelation. The abyss dragon gives the first beast "out of the sea" authority and power. The second beast referred to as the "false prophet" comes "out of the earth." The dragon has seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns, representing his power and the kingdoms of the world over which he rules. The stars that plunge to earth with the seven-headed dragon are the wicked angels or demons who fall with Satan. The "dragon" is the symbol of all the forces of evil upon the earth. The phrase "a male child, who "will rule all the nations with an iron scepter" may equally mean "a male child, who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron."

Christ's Ascension

Child Chased by DragonRevelation 12.5 describes how "Her child is snatched up to God," which is probably a reference to Christ's ascension. The woman finds spiritual rest from the dragon in the desert, which is the afflicted's traditional refuge. Because God aids the woman's escape, we can be sure that he offers security to all other true believers. God keeps each one secure.

"Jesus Heavenly Birth"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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