Jesus' Heavenly Birth
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45. Jesus' Heavenly Birth
Revelation 12.1-5

"A great heavenly sign appeared, 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 to give birth. Then another heavenly sign appeared, an enormous red dragon with seven heads, 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 JesusHuman birth is a special moment for the mother, father, and family. Here, the writer describes the immense significance of Jesus' birth. In this passage, the mother is a "woman clothed with the sun, moon, and stars." These represent God's faithful people waiting for the Messiah. "A crown of twelve stars" over her head indicates the tribes of Israel or the twelve apostles. God set apart the Jewish people for himself, and that nation gave birth to the Messiah, born in Bethlehem in Judea. Another modern Christian view is that this represents the Virgin Mary. Christian artists portray Jesus' mother as a blue-robed woman with 12 stars like a halo over her head.

Jesus' Historical Birth

JesusWe can compare this episode with what we know of Jesus Christ of Nazareth's historical birth. 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. Herod saw him as a threat to his throne but was motivated by Satan portrayed in Revelation as the "enormous red dragon," wanting to kill him.

Significance of Jesus' Birth

NativityThis heavenly pageant pictures Christ's quiet birth in Bethlehem. The name "Bethlehem" means "the house of bread" in Hebrew and the "house of meat" in Arabic. Bethlehem was also King David's birthplace. Today, it is a Palestinian West Bank town. In its time, Bethlehem had the same cosmic significance as Jesus' birth in heaven. This Revelation narrative corresponds to a strange ancient myth that a horrible monster pursues a pregnant goddess saved only by miraculous intervention. She bears a son who then kills the beast. On the other hand, Jesus' earthly story is no myth but a historical occurrence with a cosmic significance. ✞

Seven-headed Dragon

Red DragonRevelation describes the seven-headed dragon's coming. The male child Jesus' birth 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, the "false prophet," comes "from the earth." The dragon has seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns, representing his power and the world's kingdoms over which he rules. The stars that plunge to earth with the seven-headed dragon are possibly the wicked angels or demons who fall with Satan. The "dragon" is the symbol of all evil earthly forces. The phrase "a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter" may equally mean "rule with a rod of iron."

Christ's Ascension

Child's FaceRevelation 12.5 describes how "God snatches up her child," a reference to Christ's ascension. The woman found spiritual rest from the dragon in the desert, which was the traditional refuge of the afflicted. Because God aids the woman's escape, we know that he offers security to all other true believers. God keeps everyone secure.

"Jesus' Heavenly Birth"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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