KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
studies in end-time revelation
THE HEAVENS DECLARE Part 5
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Ps. 19:1-4). "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (the signs of the Zodiac) in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33).
The names of the constellations with their stars reveal the divine truth that was later written in the Bible. The written scriptures began with Job some forty-one centuries ago, but the truth of God was recorded in the starry heavens from the distant dawn of creation, untold ages before Abram journeyed from Ur of the Chaldees or Moses trod the burning sands of the Sinai. This is the great truth of Psalm 19. The first six verses speak of the truth recorded in the heavens, while the next five concern the truth written in the scriptures. The star-studded heavens at night and the blazing sun shining by day are in fact GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY visible from every land and nation over the world. Over the whole earth and from ships on the far-flung seas people can peer at this marvelous book and seek to discover the lost meanings now almost forgotten by mankind. Day by day and night by night they beam down upon us from the Father of lights--our heavenly Father's Lesson Book--describing His character and the unspeakably glorious plan of creation and redemption which from the dawn of history He has ordained for the world.
As Kenneth Fleming has pointed out in his book GOD'S VOICE IN THE STARS, the word Zodiac comes from a primitive Greek root "zoad," denoting A WAY or A PATH or GOING BY STEPS. In this connection it is used of the way along which the sun appears to move through the stars in the course of twelve months. This course is repeated every year as the apparent position of the sun returns to almost the exact spot that it occupied on the same date a year before. So the path through the sky in which the sun travels (or appears to travel) is called the Zodiac and is divided into twelve segments.
The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God- a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven- this fact being attested to by the faithful testimony of the scriptures "which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15).
In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a velvet case, the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk our foreordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration, and now fulfilled spiritually in God's elect. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised Seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book of Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality pictured by each sign in our progressive transformation into HIS likeness.
It is a blessed day for any man when he discovers that what the Bible calls "heaven" is in fact and in truth the REALM OF THE SPIRIT. It is not a place on some far-away planet, nor a figment of man's imagination, but a realm of reality where saints of Cod may dwell here and now. These things are hard to utter, because the vast majority of Christians cling tenaciously to the dark understanding of the carnal mind, and it is almost impossible for them to believe that heaven is an abiding and eternal reality. It is even harder for them to comprehend that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS W-I-T-H-I-N M-A-N, and that in spirit we possess the fullness of its more excellent glory. To most of the Lord's people the outer, physical, and natural realm, including the supposed golden streets of that great "city in the sky," is the realm of REALITY while the spiritual realm, the unseen Kingdom within, is the realm of shadows, mists, visions, dreams and UNREALITY. But just the opposite is the truth. The natural man (and most believers are pathetically natural) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.
If you would understand the scope and magnificence of the mighty working of God in your life, my beloved, consider the message of the radiant constellations of the illimitable heavens above and know that all the power and glory and wisdom and working so marvelously illustrated in their shining configurations is in fact and in truth wrought out in the deepest recesses of your own being. If you will give prayerful consideration to the statement of our Lord that the Kingdom of the Heavens is within you, you cannot avoid the conclusion that man is a copy in miniature of the universe, and everything that exists or takes place in the vast expanses of the cosmos, also exists and takes place in the inner constitution of man. The powers and forces and laws that make up the nature and constitution of man are the same as the powers and forces and laws that on an infinitely larger scale are called the universe, and every reality in the heavens expresses itself in the consciousness of man, and reflects itself in the experience of man, enabling man to know the universe by himself, and himself by the universe.
Scientists are probing into two unseen worlds. One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the eye and the other is a world too small to be observed by the eye. I want to give you three words in this connection, together with their meanings. First, we find the word MICROCOSM. This word means a little world: anything regarded as a world in miniature: man, viewed as an epitome of the universe. This word comes from two words in the Greek. One is MIKROS which means little or miniature. The other is KOSMOS meaning world. Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD. The word MACROCOSM, on the other hand, means the great world, or the universe. It also comes from two words. One is MACROS meaning great and the other is KOSMOS meaning the world. We noted above that the word MIKROS carried the meaning of "man viewed as an epitome of the universe." This word EPITOME means, among other things, A CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of something. The word MICROCOSM then gives us the meaning that man is a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE! Thus, man is the CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of all the universe, or man is all the universe in miniature. After the original creation, God then began to move to bring the whole vast creation into fellowship and harmony with Himself. In order to accomplish this God made man in the image of the creation, but also in the image of Himself. Man is therefore the bridge or connecting link between God in His spiritual existence and the creation in its visible and material constitution. God put both Himself and the whole universe into man in miniature--a microcosm of the macrocosm! His purpose is that by and through man all things shall be brought into subjection to the mind of the Lord. We read in Hebrews that we do not as yet see all things put into subjection to man, but WE DO SEE JESUS who was, we may safely say, as the second man and the last Adam, a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of God, the universe, and all mankind. In other words, what was done in and through the singular Man, Jesus the Christ, will also be done in and through corporate man, but on an enlarged scale, for Jesus said we would do even greater works than He did. There is no stagnation in God, for He continually moves ahead. And as He moves we move with Him, advancing according to His pre-determined plan. What wonders lie ahead of us in this majestic pathway!
The seventeenth century German mystic, the simple shoe cobbler from Golitz, Jacob Boehme, penned the following words which are just as revolutionary and up-to-date as the space age. "Now, dear reader, observe: If you want to know about Heaven and what Heaven is and where it is, you do not need to cast your thoughts many thousands of miles off, for that place, that heaven thousands of miles away, is not your Heaven. The true Heaven is not a created place but an uncreated place, and it is not found in a particular place but everywhere, even in the very place where you are standing and going. For when your spirit within yourself is able to penetrate inward through and beyond your own flesh and life, and is able to catch hold of the innermost moving of God, then you are clearly in Heaven. Moreover, if your eyes were but opened, you should see God everywhere in His Heaven, for Heaven is found everywhere. For instance, when Stephen saw Heaven open and the Lord Jesus at the right hand of God, his spirit did not suddenly transport itself into outer space, but rather Stephen's spirit had moved inward, within, into the innermost place where Heaven is found everywhere. So you must realize that this world with all its physical properties is in union with the vast vistas of the heavenly spaces above the earth. There is only one Heart, one Being, one Will, one God, All in all.
"I urge you to open the eyes of your spirits and your hearts, for I want earnestly to Show to you the true and proper way to the gates of God's Heaven. Behold! God is the True, the One, the only Being out of whom you yourselves were created, and within whose Life you are living even now. Therefore, Oh child of man, when you behold in your flesh the depths of the universe, the stars and the complexity of the earth, and all that is in heaven and earth, you are in fact truly in the presence of God. For He is All, and in Him you live and have your being; and that same God reigns and rules over you as well, because He is your King and Creator It is from this God that you receive even your senses and your ability to have consciousness and to know and think and express yourself. Don't you see? You are a part of Him, and your entire being is a derivative of Him. You are His offspring, you came from Him, and you truly exist in Him. If this were not true, you would never have been.
"And so little children, if you now want and desire to draw near by faith to the Life of God, Listen! You must enter inward to the depths within yourselves wherein Christ dwells- not without. For within you there exists an eternity, even as there is an eternity within Him. So you must go in to the depths of the hidden secret place within you, to the very depths of the Eternal Willing in the Father. For it is within this Will or Desire that Wrath and Love eternally struggle against each other, and in which Love is the eternal victor out of the fiery dark wheel of selfishness, through the eternal cross in God's Heart, into regeneration bursting forth as the eternal glorious light of God's nature. His nature is Light, Gentleness, Mercy, Wisdom and Love forever, and it is expressed to us by His Voice, the Word, the Son, our Lord, Saviour, and God. And out of this eternally immense depth of God's Desire, there forever streams forth the Light and Love which is the uncreated glory. And this is the true Heaven.
"For in this depth within you, God eternally rules in Holiness in His uncreated Heaven. And His Willing within you expresses itself as the willing to all goodness, not wrath, and this willing ever reigns in everlasting dominion, the Sovereign God of Love in victory through the eternal cross on which was slain the Lamb of God before ever a single atom was created. And when you comprehend this, that is, the tragedy which forever occurs in the eternal depths of the Heart of God, and when you know that our God is safe forever, True forever, Merciful forever, and the Being of Love forever (because He forever dies to Himself on the cross in His own heart to all wrath and selfish desire), then my brothers and sisters, you will have crossed through and penetrated into the very and holy heart of God.
"And when you comprehend this, you shall know that within this Heaven within you, you are in Christ Jesus, always in union with God. And since you are in oneness with Him, you also shall experience in your flesh, soul, and spirit the same eternal struggle in which you shall forever die to wrath and to self, and through the cross, always being crucified with Him, you shall eternally flash brilliantly with the fire of new Life and Love, as you by faith, hope, and love replace wrath with love, evil with good, and the negative with the positive in all aspects of your life. You too shall, as He did, surely fill the gap and take up the office of High Priest with Him ever living to make intercession for others; and then you shall walk on this earth bringing peace into the midst of the storms that shall always come in this life as long as the present world remains. And when this is done, then Gad, whose very being is for others and who has now forever made you to be His Sons for others, shall truly reign and control in oneness with you in your regenerated being. Then my friend, you shall be as God is who Himself is heaven, earth, stars, the molecules and atoms. All in all, and for all. Hallelujah! Amen!" --end quote.
In Andrew Jukes' book, THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, he says, "And when I think of the change which can be wrought in us, --when I see that man contains all worlds, and is indeed the hieroglyphic of the universe,- that not only the seen and unseen matter and spirit, time and eternity, but hell and heaven, and the life of each, as well as the life of earth, ALL ARE IN HIM (MAN)..." What a powerful statement! Hieroglyphic writing was an early form of Egyptian writing, consisting of pictographic inscriptions in the form of symbolic characters. According to Webster hieroglyphic also means a figure or symbol having a hidden meaning. Man is a figure or a symbol CONTAINING A HIDDEN MEANING. Therefore all that God is, is in man, and all that the universe is and is to be is in man. In other words, God has put His complete self IN THE NEW CREATION MAN, and in Himself lies the destiny and development of the universe.
WHERE DO WE BEGIN?
The twelve signs of the Zodiac as originally ordained by God were a prophetic outline of the progressive unfolding purpose of God in creation and redemption. In order to decipher this wondrous Heavenly Scroll, we must discover just where to begin reading the names of the constellations and their starry hosts, for God is said to have both NAMED AND NUMBERED them. This means that there is a divine order as well as naming. These signs are in the form of a circle. Now a circle has no beginning and no ending. Where is the beginning and where is the end of this circle through which the sun is constantly moving? When we endeavor to read the story of the signs, obviously, if we begin at the wrong place, our efforts must yield a meaningless result. Where are we to break into this circle and say, "This is the commencement," and at what point are we to say, "This is the end, the conclusion." Modern astrology begins with Aires, the ram or lamb. But how do we know that that is the place to begin? Since everything else about the Zodiac has been corrupted by pagan mythology perhaps this is corrupted also. The fact is, it is! So how are we to know where to begin?
What I am about to say may surprise you, but the ancient Sphinx in Egypt actually holds the key to the riddle and unlocks the mystery of the Zodiac. All have heard of the Sphinx. Most people know that it was a figure with the head of a woman and the body of a lion. But what this creature actually stood for, or was intended to represent, has been lost from history and has always been an open question. It is what is spoken of as the unknown and insoluble mystery-- "the riddle of the Sphinx." Neither the ancient religion of Egypt, nor mythology, nor yet astrology has the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx. When Napoleon was in Egypt he was told that if he could solve the riddle of the Sphinx he would know the way to eternal life. After the nations had lost the original meaning of the signs of the Zodiac, they invented a mythological meaning out of the carnal imagination of the thoughts of their own hearts. How clear that just as the truth of the Zodiac antedated the mythological interpretations of those signs, just so the truth contained in the great Sphinx lies far back beyond even the knowledge of ancient Egypt! And it is intricately connected with the truth of the Zodiac. Confirmation of this is found in one of the very old Zodiacs dating back to 2000 B.C. or before. It is called the Zodiac of Dendereh and was found on the ceiling of an ancient portico in Egypt. In this Zodiac there is placed between the signs of Virgo and Leo a picture of the Sphinx. Its woman-like face gazes upon the sign of Virgo, and its lion-like body and tail point to Leo, telling us that we begin with the Virgin and end with the Lion. Furthermore, by the very formation of the Sphinx with its woman' s head and lion's body --IT BINDS TOGETHER IN ITSELF THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE GREAT CIRCLE OF SIGNS. The head of the Sphinx, the woman, is Virgo the virgin, whereas the body and tail of the Sphinx, the lion, is Leo the lion. The circle is thus seen to begin at the woman (Virgo) and to end with the lion (Leo). The word "sphinx" is taken from the Greek word SPHUNGO which means "to bind closely together." It is, therefore, designed to show where the two ends of the Zodiac were to be joined together and where the great circle of the heavens begins and ends.
There is yet another point of utmost importance. A comparison of the prophecies in the heavens with that which was afterwards written in the scriptures clearly shows that Virgo is the starting point in the divine promise concerning the Seed of the woman in Gen. 3:15, and Leo is the only point at which we can logically conclude with the climax of scripture in the triumph of the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Rev. 5:5. The great drama of redemption started with the sign of Virgo in the promise of the Seed of the woman in the first book of the Bible. In the promise of the triumphant Lion in the last book of the Bible we reach the final scene in the last act in the great tableau of history. Oh, the wonder of it!
The first sign, as we have noted, is Virgo. The sun occupies Virgo for forty-three days, passing through it from September 14th to October 29th. This group of stars is associated with the picture of a young woman with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other hand. In Hebrew she is called BETHULAH, which means "virgin," just as VIR-GO, from Latin, means "the virgin." Everywhere her name is the same. However, you can study the stars in Virgo until you turn blue and they would never look like a woman! But the picture which has gone with them down through the ages, in every nation and culture of the world, is the picture of a woman. The fact that the signs of the Zodiac bear little resemblance to the pictures associated with them should mightily confirm the faith of all who know the living God. The fact that every single ancient culture which had any knowledge or tradition concerning the stars recognizes the same twelve star groups and the same names and pictures! Cultures as far away and diverse as China, Egypt and the Indians of Central America ALL gave the same pictorial meanings to the constellations. There is only one explanation to such an incredible phenomena- there was one original Source who identified the constellations with their meanings BEFORE THE DISPERSION OF THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. And GOD, my friend, is that Source!
The greater wonder is that MOTHERHOOD attends the virginity of this glorious woman. The wheat and the branch in her hands denote fruitfulness --offspring. It will not be difficult for any man to see that this is a picture right out of the Bible--A VIRGIN BRINGING FORTH A SEED! In that long ago Eden the almighty Father spoke the first promise of a Redeemer to the erring man and his wife when He gave the blessed assurance, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between THY SEED and HER SEED; IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). This "seed of the woman" is the first prophecy of the coming into the world of the Saviour who would "bruise the head of the serpent." Historically this is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, living, dying, and rising again in triumph over death, hell and the grave, opening up the wellspring of eternal salvation to all who would believe. Spiritually it is the Son of God birthed in us, brought forth unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ out of our own "virgin" relationship with God.
"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present YOU as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ" (II Cor. 11:2). To be a virgin means to be pure, undefiled and separated unto our Lord. God is creating the desire in a people in this hour to be truly VIRGIN in their desires toward Him. We have known what it is to be conformed to the course of THIS WORLD. Then we have known what it is to trust Christ as Saviour while remaining entangled in all the wretched defilement of a corrupt babylonish church system. But God is calling forth in these days a glorious body of Christ who, because of the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be VIRGIN- reserved only and completely for her glorious Lord, unto intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. How lightly we sometimes take the purposes of God in us! It is one thing to be washed in the blood, freed from all our past sins, and quite another thing to truly be VIRGIN in our desires to keep ourselves only unto Christ in the spirit, purged from all the aspirations and dictates of the carnal mind and the outward sense realm. As we follow on to know Him separation comes from everything of the flesh, the world, and the devil, and from every vestige of entanglement with that vile harlot system of religious Babylon, the abomination of the earth.
Glorious indeed and full of wisdom and creative design is the fact that your relationship to Christ as a "virgin" is ordained to forerun your manifestation to the world as a "son." As in the natural, so in the spiritual; the virgin relationship bears the feminine characteristics of modesty, gentleness, tenderness, love, sensitiveness, dependence and obedience, whereas the sonship relationship bears the characteristics of the masculine nature. Aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. Hence the Lord calls the CHURCH a virgin, but to the OVERCOMER He says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My SON. To HIM will I give POWER over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron. To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with MY FATHER in His throne" (Rev. 21:7; 2:26-27; 3:21). The mighty, eternal and indisputable truth is that THE S-O-N IS ALWAYS BORN OF THE V-I-R-G-I-N! Just as the blessed firstborn Son was born of a virgin, so is it through the vehicle of a PURE AND UNDEFILED SOUL (virgin) that the MIGHT AND DOMINION OF THE SPIRIT (son) is manifested, expressed and revealed. This is a true principle in God that I hope no earnest saint of God who reads these lines will miss! I cannot emphasize too forcefully, or too carefully, that the power and glory of SONSHIP will never come forth from the man or woman of God who has not first become truly VIRGIN in their soul life.
Now since we have seen that HISTORICALLY the virgin bringing forth the Son is Jesus born of Mary, the virgin of Nazareth; and SPIRITUALLY it is the Son of God (spirit) birthed (brought into manifestation) out of the transformed life through the virgin soul; let us go on to see that PROPHETICALLY it points to the manchild of Revelation 12, that glorious company of the many-membered Christ, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD, birthed out of the mother Church, the pure virgin bride of Jesus Christ, for whom all creation is in deepest travail and who shall deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption.
Hannah Hurnard relates how in the Jewish religious writings there is a tradition from earliest times that the twelve tribes of Israel represented, down here on earth, the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the great Bible in the Sky. Each tribe had the privilege and challenge to manifest one of the heavenly lessons in a special way. The names of the twelve sons of Jacob show which sign each son represents. The name Reuben means, "Behold a son." In Gen. 49:3-4 we find the tribe of Reuben does seem especially to represent the FIRSTBORN SONS OF GOD who have been aroused from the sleep of death. Jacob said of the tribe of Reuben, "Reuben, thou art my first born, my might and the beginning of my strength and the excellency of power." What an overwhelmingly awesome fact this is! We are, in Jesus Christ, first-born sons, God's first-fruit company, destined to assist all the younger brothers and sisters in God's vast creation to grow up into the full stature of Jesus Christ, restoring all into God again. This is the fullness of the SEED OF THE WOMAN who shall bruise the very head of the serpent!
THE SEED OF THE WOMAN
A hundred years before Christ an altar was found in Gaul with this inscription: TO THE VIRGIN WHO IS TO BRING FORTH. According to the first promise of God in Gen. 3:15 there is coming the "seed of the woman." This is an unusual term. Always elsewhere in the scripture we are told that someone is the "seed of a man"--that it is a man that brings forth and begets. All through the record we are told that a person was the son or daughter of this man or that man. But in Genesis we have this unique and singular example of someone who is to be the seed of a woman. This is clearly VIRGIN MOTHERHOOD, and hence one born of a miracle, one begotten of divine power, the Son of God. His great task is to be bruised in the heel by the seed of the serpent, and yet He is to bruise the serpent's seed in the head and thus destroy him. That was the original revelation.
The seed of the woman has been generally accepted as fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, as conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, triumphing over death, satan, hell and the grave by His death and resurrection, which is surely correct beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet there is always in God's economy a larger fulfillment or a further fulfillment, the harvest from the original seed planted, and there is a constant unfolding of the many-faceted wisdom and truth of God until it becomes resplendent with the glory of its eternal increase and revelation. We do not belittle the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled this promise of Gen. 3:15, but let us not stop there and fail to see the further unfoldings of fulfillings, for the truth is like a pebble dropped into the ocean of knowledge that begins with a small ripple but continues with ever-widening waves until it reaches the vast shores of infinite wisdom.
The Virgin holds a sheaf of wheat and that seed of wheat Christ appropriates as a symbol of Himself. It seems a most singular thing that in that long ago Eden the Lord God told the serpent that THE SEED of the woman would bruise his head. Why did He not say that the MAN that should come from the woman would bruise the serpent's head? Why did He refer to that man as HER SEED, the seed of the woman? It will be a great blessing to your heart to understand the vital truth that "seed" is not only the product of some other life before it but seed is also that which possesses the power to REPRODUCE ITSELF and its kind many thousand fold from generation to generation. Seed is thus that which stands for INCREASE.
On a certain day some Greeks approached the disciples of Jesus with the request, "Sirs, we would see Jesus." This request was promptly carried to Jesus by Andrew and Philip, to which our Lord gave this strange and very remarkable reply: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 12:23-24). In this cryptic statement Jesus likened Himself to a seed, a grain of wheat, which was to fall into the ground and die. He would be sown as a seed into the earth and be raised again Not only would He be raised in glorification, but in centuries yet to come THIS SEED, which was Jesus Christ, would produce a vast harvest of many sons of God in His exact image and likeness. NO SEED is raised from the earth as just a singular seed, there is always an increase, the natural law of progression being "first the blade, then the ear, then the FULL CORN IN THE EAR." Only one seed was planted in the earth, and the Christ who came out of that Palestinian tomb was not the harvest- merely the blade breaking the ground. The multitude that will appear in the time of harvest will be THE SEED of THE SEED, the increase, every one bearing the image and likeness of that CHRIST SEED which was planted in death.
I am certain that the Lord's reply was an enigma to those men to whom He spoke. The Greeks looking for Jesus could hardly be expected to comprehend a mystery so deep and eternal. They made their earnest request, "Sirs, we would see Jesus," and He responded with His mysterious dissertation. We are not told whether Jesus ever consented to have these Greeks interview Him, but in answer to their request He gave the oblique reply, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." His message to them was simply this: If they saw Jesus at that time they would see only one seed, one grain in the image of God--the man Christ Jesus. But there would be more, much more to CHRIST than appeared to them that day! A whole universal field of ripened grain was to follow in His likeness, born of that original seed, imbued with the very same life, raised in the same resurrection, who would be the "sons of God" and "the Christ" even as He is a Son of God and the Christ of God. The many sons would form ONE CHRIST, Head and body, each having the seed of life in himself.
THE SUN-CLAD WOMAN
The risen and ascended Lord descended in a vision of glory on the lonely isle of Patmos, and there meeting His startled disciple John, gave him a communication concerning the Church, commanding him to write it in a scroll and send it to the seven Churches in Asia. With wondering eyes John stood transfixed as in spirit he saw a great wonder in heaven, "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:1-2,5).
In the book of Revelation there are three great wonders mentioned- the great wonder of the sun-clothed woman (Rev. 12:1), the great wonder of the great dragon who stands before the woman (Rev. 12:3), and the great sign or wonder of the seven angels with the seven last plagues (Rev. 15: 1). The word "wonder" or "sign" comes from the Greek word SEMEION which means an "indication" or "mark" or a "signification." A wonder is something that arrests, and surprises, and astonishes. A wonder is something unexpected, unprepared for, unprecedented, and surpassing all our experience. The whole world is full of wonder to a child. But a wonder is more than that. It is a symbol, a prophecy of the reality that it represents. The purpose of a wonder is to call attention to a person or thing as special or supernatural, to so get the attention as to declare something important and special as indicative of a particular circumstance or time and as confirmation of truth.
The "great wonder" that John saw in heaven was not heaven itself, wonderful as heaven itself was. It was a WOMAN--a glorious woman--giving birth to a remarkable man-child. Who is this woman, and where is she today? Some have said that she signifies Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. Others have said that she stands for the nation of Israel. But according to the scriptures this woman can neither be Mary, the mother of the Lord, nor can she be the fleshly nation of Israel. This is a vision of things destined to transpire after John's experience on Patmos (Rev. 4:1), not a history of events which had already taken place. So it cannot be Mary bringing forth Jesus, her firstborn Son. Furthermore, there is nothing in the history of Mary corresponding to the other events in the drama- the persecution of the woman by the dragon; her flight into the wilderness after the ascension of her Son; the flood of water cast out by the serpent to destroy her; and the war made upon "the remnant of her seed." The woman in Genesis is destined to bring forth the "seed" that will crush the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15); the woman in the New Testament is the body of Christ, the Church (II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-32); and now this woman in Rev. 12 reveals the things at the end time.
John the Revelator, in his marvelous vision on the isle of Patmos long ago, saw the ultimate seed coming forth, when he saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, a crown of twelve stars upon her head, and she brought forth a manchild who was caught up to the throne of God to rule all nations with a rod of iron. In order to fully understand this awesome scene, one needs to understand the mysteries of the heavenlies, that is in the Word of God. When understood by the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Bible reveals that the physical heavens in their every aspect are only a type of a revelation of God's spiritual heavens here in the earth, which spiritual heavens We are.
The sun is a type of Jesus. Just as the sun is the light of the world, so Jesus is the light of God's Kingdom. In the light of HIS GLORY we enter the DAY of the Lord. "At midday, O king, I (Saul of Tarsus) saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me...and I said, Who art thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest" (Acts 26: 13-15). "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST" (Phil. 1:6). "Ye are all the children of LIGHT, and the children of the DAY: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" (I Thes. 5:5). We are children of THE DAY and not of the night! We are of the Day because the light of Christ, the blessed "Sun of righteousness" has dawned upon us and risen in our hearts. Therefore anytime you find the term sun in the New Testament it is never talking about the literal sun, but Christ the light of life. When John saw this woman clothed with the sun, his vision indicated that this woman is clothed with all the light and truth and glory that her husband Jesus had while He was here. Nothing is clearer in the book of Revelation than the fact that the OVERCOMERS who are to rule the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:26-27) are birthed out of the CHURCH to whom the letter is addressed and unto whom it was sent (Rev. 1:4, 19-20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14).
Norene Nichols has shared some interesting and edifying insights into this important theme. "The garblng of the woman of Rev. 12 is unusual in that she is CLOTHED WITH THE SUN. On the surface one might refer to this as being clothed in light or understanding which it is, but there is much more meaning lying under the surface of these words than most of us realize. With the help of the Lord may we ponder this matter a little further and see some of what is involved. In the Greek there are two words used for CLOTHED, one is ENDUO and the other is PERIBALLO. In this particular case the word PERIBALLO, is used, and realizing that every word is important in respect to where and how it is used by the Spirit of God in the scriptures, we know that PERIBALLO is distinctly illuminative. ENDUO means to GO INTO CLOTHING which infers that the clothing is of a certain size and specification into which a person must fit. In other words, a person up to a particular size could fit into a certain garment, but over that size it would be impossible to get into it. On the other hand, PERIBALLO means to CAST AROUND ABOUT which would infer some sort of a garment that can be put on and cast around a person and made to fit the person rather than the person fit the garment. "For instance, Lk. 24:49 speaks about 'being ENDUED (endue--clothed) with power from on high' referring to the infilling of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Here the word used means to be CLOTHED with power in the sense of GOING INTO CLOTHING, or having the garment of a particular size into which the person must fit. We have seen much in times past of people who claimed so much because of the enduing of power, when in reality they fitted as best they could into that garment. Thus · have seen many trying to do great wonders and signs in a garment they are in but which is too big for them, into which they have not grown up, and which drags in the dust realm (carnality), bringing a reproach and criticism from many looking on.
"On the other hand, the word PERIBALLO used of the sun-clothed woman infers that this full-grown woman has a covering of the sun that is CAST ABOUT her in such a manner that the garment fits her rather than her trying to fit into the garment. This woman is a mature woman--matured in God, matured in love, matured in understanding--and God grants her the clothing that fits her maturity. Her clothing is comprised of one thing: the sun. The sun is the light and warmth of our solar system and rises upon the just and the unjust alike. It is no respecter of persons. The planets revolve around it and are benefited thereby. Thus this woman is clothed with the light (understanding, revelation) and warmth (effect, blessing) of Him who is 'the Sun of Righteousness.' She does not withhold her light and warmth from anyone either just or unjust, but beams alike upon all. In other words, her light of understanding is dispersed abroad, not by words, but by BEING, EVEN AS THE SUN SPEAKS NOT BUT IS WHAT IT IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE. She claims nothing for herself--no position, no gifts, no power, no ministry--but simply IS what she IS by the grace of God. The sun does not have to say, 'I am the sun!' It is that by reason of its being, and this woman is what she is by reason of her being who she is, and as a result, her light and warmth are shed abroad without stint" --end quote.
Not only is this woman clothed with the sun, but she has the moon under her feet. The moon is a type of the fleshly Israel under the law. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but only reflects a small portion of the light of the sun in the earth, so the fleshly people of God under law had no light of their own, but reflected by their laws, self-effort and carnal works, ceremonies, rituals, sacrifices, ordinances, feast days, tabernacles, temples, priesthood, etc. a faint glimmer of the glory of Christ in the earth. Any time you find the word moon in the New Testament it is never talking about the literal moon, but it is talking about the realm of reflected spiritual light cast back by types, shadows, symbols, rituals, external ordinances, commandments, etc. None of those things possess any light of their own, they merely figure in a feeble way the life and reality of the SPIRIT.
When John saw this woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, his vision indicated that this woman is being clothed, not with the dim light or revelation that the fleshly Israel had, or that the old-order carnal church system has even to this day, which stands in carnal programs, static creeds, empty rituals, lifeless ceremonies, and outward ordinances, but she is being clothed with all the blazing spiritual light and truth of her husband, Christ. Having the moon under her feet means that she has come through all the types and shadows of the law, and the external ordinances religion imposes on the outer flesh man, with all their reflected glory. She is lifted up to a higher plane of light and truth, of experience and being, of reality, life and glory!
There is yet another remarkable feature about this sun-clad woman--she wears a crown composed of a certain number of stars upon her head--TWELVE. Twelve is the number of DIVINE GOVERNMENT, and wonder of wonders! the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has much to do with the establishment of divine government in the earth, and otherwise. This may seem like a strong and exalted position for a woman, for we often think of divine government only in terms of the masculine, the promised kings and priests who shall rule and reign with Christ. Nevertheless, what is a King without a Queen? So in the eventuality of God's plan this woman becomes that Queen that is described in Psalm 45 who stands on His right hand, the place of power and authority, attired in gold of Ophir. Ah--she is the true QUEEN OF HEAVEN! She brings to that dominion the feminine characteristics of tenderness, gentleness, sensitiveness, concern, nourishment and love, counterbalancing the masculine qualities of boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion exerted by the sons of God. What a Kingdom!
This crown of twelve stars, as nothing else, positively identifies this woman as Virgo, the virgin of the Zodiac. The astronomer, Professor Thorley, has shown that there are exactly TWELVE STARS surrounding the head of Virgo as we view them from the earth. If one will look at Norton's Star Atlas, twelve visible stars will be seen around Virgo's head. They are, according to astronomical terminology: (1) Pi, (2) Nu, (3) Beta, (4) Sigma, (5) Chi, (6) Iota--these six stars form the southern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. Then there are (7) Theta, (8)Star 60, (9) Delta, (10) Star 93, (11) Beta, (12) Omicron--these last six form the northern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. The apostle John saw the scene when the sun "clothes" or "adorns" the woman. This surely indicates that the position of the sun in the vision was located somewhere mid-bodied of the woman- between the neck and the knees. The sun could hardly be said to clothe her if it were situated in her face or near her feet. This "clothing" of the woman by the sun in the heavenly constellation of Virgo occurs for a twenty-day period each year. And here is a fact of surpassing wonder- at the time of the new moon at the feast of trumpets (John's vision of the sun-clad woman appears under the seventh ~ in the book of Revelation) THE SUN, IN ITS RELATION TO VIRGO, IS IN THE UTERINE POSITION AND THE MOON IS SEEN UNDER HER FEET! Coincidence? NO WAY! Thus, the description of this wondrous woman in heaven by John on Patmos is graphically confirmed to be the very same woman portrayed from antiquity in GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY --Virgo, the virgin!
The woman with a crown of twelve stars is a great WONDER IN HEAVEN. In other words, the manifestation of the glory and power of God upon this virgin bride of Christ PRECEDES THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD, for the woman is manifested to the heavenly sphere, though it is quite evident that she is right here on earth at the time. Paul spoke of this wonder of the woman in heaven in these words, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known BY THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10). We have rejoiced to see that she is clothed with the sun and has conquered the moon, but let us take into further consideration that her head is crowned with twelve stars and she is crowned BEFORE the manchild is ever born, not afterwards. She has authority given her BEFORE he comes to birth, and she is a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, and her dominion is not given because her child is born as the manifested sons of God, but is given her of God BEFORE the sons are manifested, while they are still hidden in the womb. There shall be manifested great anointing, power and glory upon God's true virgin end-time Church ere the sons of God arise to reign and restore all things back into the life of God again.
Again I would share some beautiful insights from the pen of the late Norene Nichols. "Before considering the crown of stars, let us delve a bit into the meaning of the word 'head' upon which the crown rests. It comes from the Greek word KAPHALE which comes from the root KAPTO which means TO SEIZE, or that the head is the part most readily taken hold of. How apt! Is it not the head or the MIND that satan seeks to captivate and take hold of? By the same token, it is the head or mind that the Spirit of God wants to seize and lay hold of that the mind of Christ might be fully manifest therein. There can be no spiritual nor bodily changes in anyone without there being a changing of the mind and thought patterns (consciousness). Have you not read that we are TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF THE M-I-N-D??? What a battle has been waged to keep the mind in subjection to bondage and darkness and ignorance, but contrariwise, there is also a battle whereby liberty comes to the mind to bring it enlightenment and renewal. It is thus upon a renewed mind that the crown rests.
"Furthermore, from this same Creek word we get another form--KEPHALIS, which is translated as VOLUME, 'Then said I, Lo, I come (in the VOLUME of the book it is written of me,) to do Thy will, O God' (Heb. 10:7). The word VOLUME means a HEAD or KNOB which is placed on the end of the roll upon which the scroll is rolled. Is not this interesting? In other words, the inference is that the head, or mind, is to be inscribed and ingrained with truth. Has He not promised that He would write His laws in our hearts and MINDS? Therefore the crowning can only take place upon the head that is girdled with truth, filled with truth, open to the Word of God, a mind that is a channel for HIS THINKING and His inscribings.
"Another form of this same Greek word is KAPHALAION which! .means SUM, especially a sum of money, though it also means a sum of knowledge. How does this fit into the fact that it is upon the woman's head that the crown rests? If the head or mind is renewed and ruled by the mind of God (truth), then it also stands to reason that the head is the SUM. A sum of money in the natural is a medium of exchange, and its spiritual counterpart is FAITH which is the spiritual medium of exchange. Not only is the Head to be filled with truth, but that truth generates faith which looks not at the things which are seen (sense realm) but at the things which are not seen (spirit) and CALLS THEM INTO EXISTENCE. Therefore this woman is a woman of faith, and her faith tops or heads all impossibilities. Here is a mind of faith! And furthermore, KEPRALAION not only means a sum of money, but it means also the SUM OF KNOWLEDGE. 'Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the SUM...' (Heb. 8:1). Paul proceeds then to sum up the vast knowledge he has been giving regarding our High Priest, as related to Melchizedek, which priesthood has been so misunderstood and therefore not-understood. He brings that knowledge to a head, to an understandable amalgamation of truth and revelation" --end quote. My beloved, God is in these days SUMMING UP or CROWNING His divine truth and revelation upon the HEAD or MIND of His elect, in consciousness and in faith. What a work!
. J. PRESTON EBY
P O BOX 371240
El Paso Texas
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