Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Ascended Rule of Christ

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.  And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne    (Revelation 12: 5)

Our salvation depended upon six mighty saving actions of God in Jesus Christ.  The Incarnation (God becoming human) inaugurated it at Bethlehem.  The Cross achieved it.  The Resurrection confirmed it.  The Ascension celebrated it.  The Gift of the Spirit drove it world-wide.  And the Return of Christ at the end of the age will consummate it!

In this passage of Revelation, who is ‘She’?  No, it’s not Mary.  It’s the age-old Church of God – frequently portrayed as a woman and stretching back to the beginning of the Bible – hounded and persecuted (v. 6, 13-17) by the powers of evil.  The description that she was clothed with the sun, moon and twelve stars (v.1) is a reference back to Genesis 37:9, and to Joseph’s dream of his mother, father and his eleven brothers.  The woman, then, is ‘Israel’ – and it was out of the ordeals and ‘birth-pangs’ of God’s people that the Christ-Child finally emerged (v.2).

The threatening ‘dragon’ (v. 3) is Satan (v.9) - the opposer and would-be murderer of the Christ-Child (v.4).  But the Child was ‘snatched up to God and to His throne’ (v.5).  This refers to Christ’s triumphant Ascension – the completion and triumph of His saving work on earth.

The pressures on the Church will continue until the end of time, but now there is a Man in heaven looking after our interests - once crucified, now raised and ascended …. and coming back to reclaim us at the end of time!