Christmas and the End Times

I’m sure you are thinking what a strange post title.  “What could Christmas and the End Times possibly have in common?”  In our stylized Western way of thinking about Christ’s first coming, not much.  But  if you carefully read the Bible, God has woven pictures of what is to occur during his second coming into the nativity story.

A Revelation Christmas

Revelation 12 gives us just such a picture of the relationship between Jesus’ first coming and his second coming.  The Chapter begins:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she *cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. (Rev. 12: 1-2 NASB)

First please notice God’s Word calls this a great sign.  Not an average sign or a mediocre sign, but a great sign we should pay close attention to.  The verse tells us that the sun, moon and stars are involved in this sign, so “spiritualizing” it as something happening before God’s throne only is not correct.  The sun, moon and stars are physical objects and the clear reading of scripture is that they should be read as physical objects.  The meaning of this sign is something that occurred in the skies.

In our last post, Did Daniel Provide the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh for the Magi?, we have seen that this sign was associated with a group of conjunction events in 2 -3 BC that in totality probably made up the “Star of Bethlehem.”  In that post we learned that the “woman” was the constellation Virgo, part of what westerners call the zodiac.  The Bible refers to these constellations as the Mazzaroth and God’s plan of redemption is symbolically written in these 12 pictures in the sky!  You can read more about the Mazzaroth in the post The Fig Tree or in the book by Tim Warner The Mazzaroth.  On Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah) 3 BC, the sun was “in” Virgo or was “clothing” the constellation and the new moon was at its feet.  The astronomer Thorley has shown there are exactly 12 stars encircling the head of Virgo!  Additionally on that night, September 14, 3 BC, the King Planet Jupiter was in conjunction with what the Jews called the Messiah Star Regulus in Leo the Lion (of the tribe of Judah!)

The symbolism here is awesome.  The twelve stars can be nothing else but the twelve tribes of Israel, her crown.  The sun in Virgo is Jesus within his mother’s womb and the new moon at her feet is the church who reflects the light of the sun!  The moon (church) is dark (a new moon) because it has not yet come into being.  (The symbols of the sun, moon and stars are also explained in the creation story found in the post Declaring the End from the Beginning.)

virgo

Now that we understand the symbols, it is clear that the woman is Israel crowned with the 12 tribes.  In a very limited sense she is also Mary but she is not primarily Mary.  Mary was not crowned with the 12 tribes. The woman is Israel who has given birth to Messiah.

The Dragon

The next character enters the story in the next verses:

Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. (Rev. 12: 3-6 NASB)

In Rev. 12: 9 we learn that the Red Dragon is Satan.  We see he swept a third of the stars and threw them to the earth.  Thes are the fallen angels.  We also notice the Dragon has 7 heads.  These are the seven world empires that Satan has used to try to destroy God’s redemptive plan.  They are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and Islam.  (My new book due in stores in early 2015 Are We Ready for Jesus? explains these “heads” in great detail.) These are the same seven heads that appear on the Beast in Rev. 13  since it is a reflection of Satan.  Here the crowns are on the heads of the Dragon.  In Rev. 13 on the Beast, the crowns move to the 10 horns which are the 10 kings which will initially rule the Beast Empire before giving their authority to the Antichrist.

We notice that the Dragon was anticipating the birth of Messiah and was waiting to devour him.  This is the spiritual picture of Herod’s pursuit of the Christ child.   Matthew’s gospel records the physical record of this encounter:

Now when they (the Magi) had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”  So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”  Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:  “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourningRachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said,  “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”  So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matt. 2: 13-21 NASB)

A story of unbelievable horror linked to a story of unbelievable glory and beauty.  In Revelation we learn the death of the innocents was not just the act of a madman but rather Satan was the force behind it.

The Prophetic Meaning

The hint that this event was prophetic is found in the next passage in Revelation:

And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.  Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she ha(s) a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Rev. 12: 5-6 NASB)

This passage is where the historic changes into a future view of events.  Prophetically we call this a near/far fulfillment; the passage applies both to the near event (first century) and the end times.  The key to this understanding is the word translated “had.”  The actual word in the Greek is present tense “has” but this confused the translators of the NASB.  They translated it “had” and left a note that the actual word was “has” because they probably failed to see the near/far fulfillment.  The time the woman is in the wilderness should catch prophecy students attention as well: 1260 days.  This is the reign of the Antichrist.  This is a picture of the flight of the righteous (Israel and the Church.)  We discuss this flight in THE SIXTH SIGNPOST: THE ABOMINATION and in Midpoint of the Tribulation: Earth’s Perspective.

Mary and Joseph’s flight to Egypt then is a prophetic picture of the flight of the righteous out of Israel at the Midpoint of the Tribulation.  The important factors in the prophetic aspect of the story are that they are provided for in their flight, Angels assist them and that in the wake of their escape, Satan kills the innocent in his rage.  We can expect all these things to occur in the final fulfillment.

At Christ’s first coming, the Holy family was provided for by means of the Magi’s gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  We should expect to be provided for as well.  Both the Magi and Joseph were alerted by angels that they were to flee.  As a church we should be alert to warnings to flee.  I fully expect that when the time comes, Angels will assist us.  Additionally, many innocents will die at the hand of the Antichrist just as the babies in Bethlehem did.  At the end of the 1260 days, the righteous return to Israel after the one seeking their lives (Herod) has died.   After Jesus destroys the Antichrist, the righteous will return to Israel as well.

Revelation continues the story with the spiritual view of the flight of the righteous in subsequent verses.

And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.  But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev. 12: 13- 17 NASB)

 At the beginning of the passage we see that two wings of a great eagle are given to the woman.  The word translated “eagle”  is the same Greek word translated Vultures in Matthew 24: 28.  In Vultures and a Corpse we show how this word actually means “angels” throughout the New Testament so this re-enforces the angelic assistance that will be given the righteous.  Also notice that the 1260 days is restated here as “time, times and half a time” as per Daniel’s prophecy in Dan. 12.  This proves the end times application of these verses.

When the woman (Israel) initially goes into flight, the Christians will have responsibility to care for her.  It will be our great privilege to do so and to help show them who their Messiah truly is!!  We discuss this in depth in my new book and briefly in HOUSEHOLD SERVANTS on this site.

Jesus was a refugee.  He understands what it will be like for us as we flee from the wrath of Satan.  His nativity story is a picture of what lies ahead.

17 thoughts on “Christmas and the End Times”

  1. I believe the woman is the kingdom of God. The birth is when Jesus is given the kingdom, not his birth 2000 years ago. This is the same woman in Micah 5:3. When we read this section carefully, Jesus has already come out of Bethlehem and gone forth to God before the woman is in labor. Notice after the birth is when the remnant of Israel returns. This is at the time of the end.

    Psalms 2:7 “You are My Son, TODAY I have begotten You.” The context of this chapter is Jesus’ second coming, not his first.

    The stars are the 12 tribes of Israel. Exodus 19:6 Kingdom of priests.

    Clothed with the sun. God’s people are the light of this world.

    This where it gets interesting. The moon under her feet.

    Psalms 110:1 God says to Jesus, “Sit and my right hand, til I make your enemies your footstool.”

    The moon is the footstool in Rev 12. The moon is the enemy of Jesus. Who is the moon? Islam. Allah is the moon god. The crescent moon is thee symbol of Islam.

    Notice in Rev 12:5 when Jesus is “caught up” to God. Does this ring a bell? When Jesus is raptured, could that be the time he brings us with him? It seems likely.

  2. I enjoyed following along with your wisdom and discernment you have written here on this page.
    I do have a question I would ask you to help me with.
    I’d like to know if the holocaust is in this prophecy you spoke of. It seems that the years that it lasted and number of those that were killed matches prophecy in Revelation…also you mentioned the fleeing and the death and the coming back again of Isreal, after “the king” Hitler dies,.. this seemed to me as you were writing, to all line up as being fulfilled in the holocaust. Surely such a dramatic event in the history of Israel has it’s place in the Scriptures of God’s Prophecy, do you agree?
    Please help me understand what you think of the holocaust upon the Jews.
    Thank you kindly.
    Susan

    1. Was the holocaust a “foreshadow” of events that will happen in the near future. Yes. I am not aware of specific prophecies that Solely foretell the holocaust. If you have one you think does, send the specific verses and I’ll check them out.

  3. All Glory to God

    The Lord has made a clarification to my earlier comment regarding the sign of Rev 12. I had said that I thought the wilderness represented the 144,000 sealed bondmen. It is the earth (that swallows up the water spewed by satan) that represents the 144,000 sealed bondmen. The seas represent the gentile nations and the earth is Israel. Israel (Non-apostate) is represented as the earth. Remember the 144,000 sealed bondmen represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

    The Lord reveals to me that immediately after the rapture there will be a determined effort by the forces of darkness to explain away with lies the rapture and that the disappearances have nothing to do with the gospel (the woman). This will fail (for the elect) because of the arrival of 144,000 sealed bondmen who are to take over the evangelizing work of the church. The 144,000 bondmen are an after-shadow of the 12 apostles of Christ. After this failure, the persecution of the tribulation saints will begin (Rev 12v17).

    God bless

    Curtis

    1. Thank you for your opinions Curtis. In my unfinished second book, REVELATON DECIPHERED: KEYS TO REVOLUTIONARY UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIME OF THE END, I discuss five “keys” which assist in prophetic interpretation. If any of these “keys” are out of whack with what the Bible teaches, one’s understanding of prophetic passages will be out of whack as well. One of those “keys” is proper theology of the 70th Week of Daniel, including the timing of the Rapture at the seventh seal. If you try to impose a false Pre-Trib Rapture on the Book of Revelation, all sorts of misinterpreation occurs. For instance you mention that the 144,000 who are sealed in Rev. 7 are evangelists. No where does scripture say this. It says they are God’s servants but they aren’t even saved in Rev. 7 (or Ezek. 9 where the first picture of this sealing occurs). The 144,000 aren’t saved until Revelation 14 which is after Jesus’s Second Coming.

      So my strong advice is to begin with the book ANTICHRIST BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD by Alan Kurschner to get a solid background on the order of events in the 70th Week of Daniel.

      1. All Glory to God

        I said I would no longer comment so you’re free to delete this. I do this for the sake of people who may read this. You say the 144,000 don’t get saved until after the second coming? so what are they doing in the Great Tribulation? Rev 9v4 “…that they should not injure the grass or any green thing, BUT THE MEN WHO HAVE NOT THE SEAL OF GOD ON THEIR FOREHEADS”…this presupposes that there are people existing who have this seal. The only people mentioned as having the seal of God on their foreheads are the 144,000 sealed bondmen.

        You say there is nowhere in the scripture that mentions them as evangelists. The Lord has pointed me to Dan 11v33 “….and they that are wise AMONG THE PEOPLE (Jews) shall INSTRUCT the many”.

        The wilderness (in the sign) refers to the two witnesses. Elijah and Moses are noted as the prophets who fled to the wilderness when faced with persecution. They will witness (evangelize) in Jerusalem for a 1,260 days and during those days no one will be able to lay a hand on them.

        I do not advocate a pre-tribulation rapture. I believe the rapture happens sometime just after the AntiChrist breaks his agreement with Israel.

        I can prove all these things scripturally (as I have been shown these things) but I will wait for your permission to do so.

        Curtis

        1. Curtis, the event you are looking at in Rev. 7 involves two groups of people, the Jews who remain on the earth during the Wrath of God which occurs during the final, seventh year of the 70th Week of Daniel, and the Christians who are resurrected and raptured. The Christians will not remain on the earth. God then is protecting these two groups from the Wrath to come that begins with the first trumpet judgment. This is why it mentions the grass or any green thing. This is burned up at the hail, fire and blood which falls in the first trumpet. Here is the order of what happens:

          The actual sealing of the Jews happens in the 4th year of the 70th Week (from what I can tell) in Ezekiel 9. This is pictured in Rev. 7 as well.
          Then the Great Tribulation rages for 2.5 years. Those days are “cut short” as Jesus tells us.
          Then the Celestial Earthly Disturbance (sun, moon darkened, stars fall, heavens shaken) happens in the 6th year of the 70th week at the 6th seal.
          Then at the seventh seal (almost the end of the 6th year), Jesus leaves to get his bride, this is why there is silence in heaven.This happens “after the tribulation of those days.” Matt. 24:29, after the angels gather the resurrected saints with those who survive they are caught up together in the air.
          At this point God will pour out his wrath on the same day as the Rapture. we learn in Luke 17 this is just like “in the days of Lot.” Fire and Brimstone then fall on the earth immediately after the church is safe in heaven. The Jews are already sealed.
          Then at the second coming at the end of the seventh year, the Jews repent and Israel is saved in one day as Paul tells us in Romans 11.

          Understanding this order of events is crucial to understandin other passages like Daniel 11 and Rev. 12, etc. Again, I recommend the book by Alan Kurschner. Read that first, then discussion of these items will be easier.

  4. Nelson, your posts are always insightful and show great thought has gone into them. But my own research leads me to conclude that Jesus was born on September 27, 6 B.C. – when on the Feast of Tabernacles, the Sun hovered over the star Spica in Virgo, somewhat like what you show in your artwork above. I agree Virgo the Virgin is the woman clothed with the Sun in Revelation 12:1. But I believe Leo is the crown of “12” stars – but there is no consensus on how many stars Leo has. 9? 15? How many did the Jews think were in Leo? Would planets in Leo at the right time be counted? Hard to say.

    The Hebrew word for virgin is Bethulah. The Hebrew word for bread is Lehem. Since the star Spica is the wheat in Virgo’s hand, I suggest that Spica is the bread of the Virgin, and that Jesus is the bread of life, and “Bethulah-Lehem” is the celestial Bethlehem where the 3 magi (Persian astronomers) would have known they would find the birth of the Messiah.

    They would have calculated when the Sun would overlap Spica at the Feast of Tabernacles at the right point in their future…

    1. Thanks for reading David,
      There certainly have been a lot of opinions on the birth date of Jesus. I know a least a dozen myself. This is one of those Biblical events where the Bible gives us clues and it’s fun to do some Biblical detective work. I also think it might not be possible to fully know with certainty if a theory on this topic is correct, so I try to hold any Jesus’ birthday theory loosely.

      That said, let’s test your theory. I guess the first question I must ask about your theory is: was the moon at the foot of the virgin on the date you give? If not, it wasn’t the sign as Rev. 12 clearly states the sun was in Virgo (Jewish month of Tishri) with the moon at her feet. The second question I’d ask is: was the sign repeated on the night the magi visited the Messiah and his mother and did it stand still? This is also a Biblical necessity. If both of these are yes, then your theory can join the dozen or so others that contend for the star of Bethlehem.

      Nelson

      1. Nelson, I just stumbled on your reply. Thanks for testing my theory, which concludes that we can calculate the timeline of end times events including that the Second Coming is on Tabernacles in 2019 (10/14/2019) and that Christ’s historical birth was on Tabernacles on September 27, 6 B.C. In response to your questions, yes, after looking back at the astronomy for September in 6 B.C. everything does line up the same way then too, including the Sun “clothing” Virgo in light and the moon at Virgo’s feet during Yom Kippur and Venus falling from womb level to feet from Yom Kippur to the Feast of Tabernacles, as is the case in October 2019.

        1. David, although we agree on may things, I don’t agree with using astronomical signs for determing the return of Christ. In fact I don’t agree with date setting at all. I consider it dangerous. I believe in watching for the signs given to us by our Lord. Once the Abomination of Desolation occurs then we will know with fair accuracy. If that evil sign occurs next spring your date of 2019 will be close to correct. If not, it will be another incorrect guess in a long line of incorrect guesses.

          I also think the evidence is better for a birth of Christ in 3BC, however, even that is speculation.

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