Revelation 12:5
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.
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(5) And she brought forth . . .—Translate, And she brought forth a man child, who is to shepherd all the nations with (it is, literally, in) a rod of iron. There can be no doubt that this man child is Christ. The combination of features is too distinct to admit of doubt, it is the one who will feed His flock like a shepherd (Isaiah 40:12), who is to have, not His own people, but all nations as His inheritance (Psalm 2:7-9), and whose rule over them is to be supreme and irresistible. But the fact that this child is Christ must not cause us to limit the meaning of the vision to the efforts of the evil one to destroy the infant Jesus; for it is also the Christ in the Church which the wicked one hates: and wherever Christ dwells in any heart by faith, and wherever the preachers of the gospel in earnest travail for their Master, seek to lift up Christ, there will the foe be found, like the fowls of the air, ready to carry away the good seed. Though the basis of the vision is in the historical fact, the power of the vision reaches over a wider area, and forcibly reminds us that as there are irreconcilable principles at work in the world, so all these, when traced to their original forms, are the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the devil.

And her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.—The efforts of the evil one to destroy are thwarted; the child is snatched away and placed out of the range of the dragon’s power. The prince of this world might instigate Israel to take Jesus Christ and with wicked hands crucify and kill Him, but the eternal divine life of Him who had power to lay down His life and take it again, and whose years were for ever and ever, was beyond the reach of every hostile power; and after death and resurrection, Christ ascended up where He was before. But the vision is designed to assure us that, precisely because of this, so all life in Christ is beyond the power of the evil one, and that the forces hostile to good are powerless against that life which is hid with Christ in God. The Church may be as a weak, oppressed, and persecuted woman, but her faith rises up as a song from the lips of its members. “God hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” The contest is between the man child and the dragon; and those who in heart and mind ascend to where Christ is know that the contest is not one of mere ideas, but a conflict between the Christ, who is with them always, though He has ascended, and all the powers of evil, which will be smitten down by the rod of His power.

12:1-6 The church, under the emblem of a woman, the mother of believers, was seen by the apostle in vision, in heaven. She was clothed with the sun, justified, sanctified, and shining by union with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The moon was under her feet; she was superior to the reflected and feebler light of the revelation made by Moses. Having on her head a crown of twelve stars; the doctrine of the gospel, preached by the twelve apostles, is a crown of glory to all true believers. As in pain to bring forth a holy family; desirous that the conviction of sinners might end in their conversion. A dragon is a known emblem of Satan, and his chief agents, or those who govern for him on earth, at that time the pagan empire of Rome, the city built upon seven hills. As having ten horns, divided into ten kingdoms. Having seven crowns, representing seven forms of government. As drawing with his tail a third part of the stars in heaven, and casting them down to the earth; persecuting and seducing the ministers and teachers. As watchful to crush the Christian religion; but in spite of the opposition of enemies, the church brought forth a manly issue of true and faithful professors, in whom Christ was truly formed anew; even the mystery of Christ, that Son of God who should rule the nations, and in whose right his members partake the same glory. This blessed offspring was protected of God.And she brought forth a man child - Representing, according to the view above taken, the church in its increase and prosperity - as if a child were born that was to rule over all nations. See the notes on Revelation 12:2.

Who was to rule all nations - That is, according to this view, the church thus represented was destined to reign in all the earth, or all the earth was to become subject to its laws. Compare the notes on Daniel 7:13-14.

With a rod of iron - The language used here is derived from Psalm 2:9; "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron." The form of the expression here used, "who was to rule" - ὅς μέλλει ποιμαίνειν hos mellei poimainein - is derived from the Septuagint translation of the Psalm - ποιμαινεῖς poimaineis - "thou shalt rule them"; to wit, as a shepherd does his flock. The reference is to such control as a shepherd employs in relation to his flock - protecting, guarding, and defending them, with the idea that the flock is under his care; and, on the supposition that this refers to the church, it means that it would yet have the ascendency or the dominion over the earth. The meaning in the phrase, "with a red of iron," is, that the dominion would be strong or irresistible - as an iron scepter is one that cannot be broken or resisted. The thoughts here expressed, therefore, are:

(a) that the church would become universal - or that the principles of truth and righteousness would prevail everywhere on the earth;

(b) that the ascendency of religion over the understandings and consciences of people would be irresistible - as firm as a government administered under a scepter of iron; yet,

(c) that it would be rather of a character of protection than of force or violence, like the sway which a shepherd wields over his flock.

I understand the "man child" here, therefore, to refer to the church in its increase under the Messiah, and the idea to be, that that church was, at the time referred to, about to be enlarged, and that, though its increase was opposed, yet it was destined ultimately to assert a mild sway over all the world. The time here referred to would seem to be some period in the early history of the church when religion was likely to be rapidly propagated, and when it was opposed and retarded by violent persecution - perhaps the last of the persecutions under the pagan Roman empire.

And her child was caught up unto God - This is evidently a symbolical representation. Some event was to occur, or some divine interposition was to take place, as if the child thus born were caught up from the earth to save it from death, and was rendered secure by being in the presence of God, and near his throne. It cannot be supposed that anything like this would "literally" occur. Any divine interposition to protect the church in its increase, or to save it from being destroyed by the dragon - the fierce pagan power - would be properly represented by this. Why may we not suppose the reference to be to the time of Constantine, when the church came under his protection; when it was effectually and finally saved from pagan persecution; when it was rendered safe from the enemy that waited to destroy it? On the supposition that this refers to an increasing but endangered church, in whose defense a civil power was raised up, exalting Christianity to the throne, and protecting it from danger, this would be well represented by the child caught up to heaven.

This view may derive confirmation from some well-known facts in history. The old pagan power was concentrated in Maximin, who was emperor from the Nile to the Bosphorus, and who raged against the gospel and the church "with Satanic enmity." "Infuriate at the now imminent prospect of the Christian body attaining establishment in the empire, Maximin renewed the persecution against Christians within the limits of his own dominion; prohibiting their assemblies, and degrading, and even killing their bishops." Compare Gibbon, 1:325, 326. The last struggle of pagan Rome to destroy the church by persecution, before the triumph of Constantine, and the public establishment of the Christian religion, might be well represented by the attempt of the dragon to destroy the child; and the safety of the church, and its complete deliverance from pagan persecution, by the symbol of a child caught up to heaven, and placed near the throne of God. The persecution under Maximin was the last struggle of paganism to retain the supremacy, and to crush Christianity in the empire. "Before the decisive battle," says Milner, "Maximin vowed to Jupiter that, if victorious, he would abolish the Christian name. The contest between Yahweh and Jupiter was now at its height, and drawing to a crisis."

The result was the defeat and death of Maximin, and the termination of the efforts of paganism to destroy Christianity by force. Respecting this event, Mr. Gibbon remarks, "The defeat and death of Maximin soon delivered the church from the last and most implacable of her enemies," 1:326. Christianity was, after that, rendered safe from pagan persecution. Mr. Gibbon says, "The gratitude of the church has exalted the virtues of the generous patron who seated Christianity on the throne of the Roman world." If, however, it should be regarded as a forced and fanciful interpretation to suppose that the passage before us refers to this specific event, yet the general circumstances of the times would furnish a fulfillment of what is here said:

(a) The church would be well represented by the beautiful woman.

(b) The prospect of its increase and universal dominion would be well represented by the birth of the child.

(c) The furious opposing pagan power would be well represented by the dragon in its attempts to destroy the child.

(d) The safety of the church would be well represented by the symbol of the child caught up to God, and placed near his throne.

5. man-child—Greek, "a son, a male." On the deep significance of this term, see on [2714]Re 12:1, 2.

rule—Greek, "poimainein," "tend as a shepherd"; (see on [2715]Re 2:27).

rod of iron—A rod is for long-continued obstinacy until they submit themselves to obedience [Bengel]: Re 2:27; Ps 2:9, which passages prove the Lord Jesus to be meant. Any interpretation which ignores this must be wrong. The male son's birth cannot be the origin of the Christian state (Christianity triumphing over heathenism under Constantine), which was not a divine child of the woman, but had many impure worldly elements. In a secondary sense, the ascending of the witnesses up to heaven answers to Christ's own ascension, "caught up unto God, and unto His throne": as also His ruling the nations with a rod of iron is to be shared in by believers (Re 2:27). What took place primarily in the case of the divine Son of the woman, shall take place also in the case of those who are one with Him, the sealed of Israel (Re 7:1-8), and the elect of all nations, about to be translated and to reign with Him over the earth at His appearing.

By this man-child some understand Constantine the Great; others understand Christ mystical, or many children brought forth unto God. As the Jews multiplied, do Pharaoh what he could to destroy them, so the church increased, notwithstanding all the malice and rage of her enemies. Interpreters accordingly are divided concerning the person or persons here spoken of, that should

rule all nations with a rod of iron. It was prophesied of Christ, Psalm 2:9, that he should break the nations with a rod of iron. It is applied to the servants of Christ, who overcome, and keep Christ’s words to the end, Revelation 2:27. So as it is here applicable to believers, whom the church should bring forth, who shall judge the world, as the apostle tells us; and I had rather thus interpret it, than concerning Constantine the Great.

And her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne: these words are something hard to be interpreted. To interpret it of Christ’s being taken up into heaven, is to turn a mysterious prophecy into a plain relation, or history of things past. To interpret it concerning Constantine the Great, seemeth very hard; for how was he, more than any other Christians, caught up unto God, and to his throne? If we say, when he died; so are they: if we say the imperial throne is here understood by God’s throne, it seemeth to me very hard; for although of magistrates God saith, I have said, Ye are gods, yet their thrones are never called God’s throne. I had rather give this phrase a more general interpretation, viz. God took this offspring of the woman into his royal protection, so as the dragon could not devour it, it was out of his reach.

And she brought forth a man child,.... Not Christ, literally and personally considered, or Christ in his human nature, as made of a woman, and born of a virgin, which was a fact that had been years ago; but Christ mystically, or Christ in his members, who are called by his name, because he is formed in them, and they are the seed of the woman, the church; and many of these were brought forth to Christ by the church in the primitive times, who were a manly birth, hale, strong, and robust Christians; or rather this manly birth may design a more glorious appearing and breaking forth of the kingdom of Christ in the Roman empire; for though Christ came as a King, yet his kingdom was not with observation in the days of his flesh; and though, upon his ascension to heaven, he was made and declared Lord and Christ, and had a kingdom and interest in the world, and even in the Roman empire, during the first three centuries, yet this was attended with the cross and persecution; but now, towards the close of that period, Constantine, a Christian emperor, was born, under whose influence and encouragement the Gospel was spread, and the kingdom of Christ set up and established in the empire; and this seems to be the thing intended here, he being of a generous, heroic, and manly disposition:

who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; this has a manifest reference to Psalm 2:9; which psalm, and the passage referred to in it, evidently belong to Christ; and as this is represented as something future, what should be hereafter, and not what would immediately take place, it may regard the kingdom of Christ in the last times, of which the present breaking forth of it in Constantine's time was an emblem and pledge; and may denote the universality of it, it reaching to all the kingdoms of the world, and the manner which Christ will rule, especially over his enemies, antichrist and his followers, whom he will destroy with the breath of his mouth, and break in pieces with his rod of iron, and order all that would not have him to reign over them slain before him; and as this may be applied to Christ mystical, the seed of the church, and members of Christ, as it is in Revelation 2:26; it may relate to their reign with Christ on earth, when they shall sit on thrones, and judge the world, when the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to there; but since this is expressly said of the man child in the text, it may be expressive even of the temporal government of Constantine, who was an heroic and victorious prince, and extended his dominions to the several parts of the world; as far as Britain to the west, and all Scythia to the north, Ethiopia to the south, and the remote parts of India to the east, even to the ultimate parts of the whole world, as Eusebius (h) affirms, making his kingdom to be three times larger than that of Alexander the great: and more especially it may describe the kingdom of Christ in his times; which was spread throughout all the nations of the empire; when Paganism was demolished, both in the continent and in the isles of the sea, and the strong holds Satan were pulled down, not by carnal, but spiritual weapons; when multitudes of souls were converted by the word, the rod of Christ's strength, and when the saints were guided, directed, fed, and comforted by it; for the allusion seems to be to the shepherd's rod, with which he leads and feeds his sheep; the same word signifies both to rule and feed:

and her child caught up unto God, and to his throne; which is to be understood not of Christ's ascent to heaven in human nature, when he was set down on the same throne with his Father; nor of Christ mystical, or of the saints being caught up into the air, to meet the Lord and be for ever with him, and sit down with him on the same throne; but rather of some glorious advance of the church and kingdom of Christ on earth; for as "to fall from heaven" is expressive of debasement and meanness, and of a low estate that a person is brought into, Isaiah 14:12; so an ascending up to heaven, as the two witnesses in the preceding chapter are said to do, denotes exaltation, or a rise to some more glorious state and condition, which was the case of the church in Constantine's time: and this may also take in the accession of Constantine himself to the imperial throne, which was the throne of God; for king's have their sceptres, thrones, and kingdoms from him, they his viceregents, and in some measure represent and are therefore called gods, and the children of the most high; yea, since Constantine, as advanced to the empire, was such an instrument in Christ's hand for the setting up and establishing his kingdom in it, Christ himself may be here represented as reigning over the Roman empire, as a presage and prelude of his reigning over all the earth another day.

(h) De Vita Constantini, l. 1. c. 8.

{10} And she brought forth a man {11} child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

(10) The second history of this Church delivered of child: in which first the consideration of the child born, and of the mother, is described in two verses Re 12:6: secondly the battle of the dragon against the young child, and the victory obtained against him in the three verses following Re 12:7-9: last of all is sung a song of victory, to Re 12:10-12. Now John in consideration of the child born, notes two things: for he describes him, and his station or place in this verse.

(11) That is Christ the head of the Church joined with his Church (the beginning root and foundation of which is the same Christ) endued with kingly power and taken up into heaven out of the jaws of Satan (who as a serpent did bite him on the cross) that sitting on the heavenly throne, he might reign over all.

Revelation 12:5-6. The child is born, but rescued; the woman also flees.

υἱὸν ἄρσεν. The expression, without regard to its peculiar incorrectness,[3062] reminds us of the בֵּז זָכָר, Jeremiah 20:15,[3063] but is still more emphatic in the prominence given the male sex of the child, since the grammatical reason, rendering possible the harsh agreement of the masc. ΥἹΌΝ and the neut. ἌΡΣΕΝ, lies in the fact that the ἌΡΣΕΝ appears as a sort of apposition: “a son, a male.” The intention of this emphasis, which De Wette improperly denies, is not that of designating the child as victor over the dragon,[3064] but[3065] points to what is added concerning the child immediately afterwards; Ὃς ΜΈΛΛΕΙ ΠΟΙΜ., Κ.Τ.Λ. These words taken from Psalm 2:9 (LXX.), which are referred also to Christ in Revelation 19:15, make it indubitable that the child born of the woman is the Messiah;[3066] but the designation of Christ by these words of the Messianic Psalm is in this passage[3067] the most appropriate and significant, since the fact is made prominent that this child just born is the one who with irresistible power will visit in judgment the antichristian heathen. By the words of the Psalm, John, therefore, designates the Lord as the ἘΡΧΌΜΕΝΟΝ, who, as is especially kept in view by ch. 12, will also come with his iron rod upon the Gentile-Roman antichrist. As, therefore, John by the words of the Psalm designates the child in a way completely corresponding to the fundamental idea of the entire Apoc., and points to the ultimate end in the Messianic judgment, he at the same time discloses the reason why Satan lays snares chiefly for the child, and then also for the woman and believers; and why especially the Gentile-Roman empire—whose insignia the dragon wears, and which is the means of his wrath—persecutes believers in Christ in the manner depicted further in what follows.[3068] Thus the designation of the child shows the significance of the entire vision, ch. 12, in its relation to what follows. The result, however, is also that all the expositors who regard the child born of the woman as any thing else than the Messiah, and that, too, in his concrete personality, miss the surest standpoint for the exposition of the entire ch. 12, and with this the correct standpoint for the comprehension of ch. 13 sqq. This applies especially in opposition to all those who, however much they diverge in details, yet agree in the fundamental error that they regard the child as Christ, only in a certain metonymical sense, by understanding it properly, speaking of Christ living in believers, and thus of believers themselves. Thus Beda: “The Church is always, though the dragon opposes, bringing forth Christ.”—“The Church daily gives birth to a church, ruling in Christ the world.” Cf. C. a Lap., Aret., Calov., who gives the more specific definition: “The bearing of the woman” refers to the “profession of the Nicene faith, and the sons born to God by the Church in the midst of the persecutions of the Gentiles,” Beng., Stern., etc. Grot., also: “The dispersed from Judaea, among whom were Aquila and Apollos, instruments of the catholic Church, brought forth many of the Roman people unto Christ.” Eichh., Heinr., Herd., etc., who regard the child as a symbol of the Christian Church, proceeding from the Jewish, belong here.

ΚΑῚ ἩΡΠΆΣΘΗ. The expression makes clear how, by a sudden withdrawal,[3069] the child is delivered from the immediately threatening danger.[3070]

ΠΡῸς ΤῸΝ ΘΕῸΝ ΚΑῚ ΠΡῸς ΤῸΝ ΘΡΌΝΟΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ. It is made emphatic not only that the child is drawn up to God for preservation, but also that this is the surest, and at the same time most exalted, place of refuge. The allegorical interpretation of the second half of Revelation 12:5, by those who do not acknowledge in the child the Messiah himself, must have an entirely reverse result. N. de Lyra[3071] contents himself with the idea of the “deliverance of the Church;” even to him Beda’s interpretation[3072] may have been too perplexing. The rationalistic expositors also, who share with these churchly expositors the fundamental error concerning the ΤΈΚΝΟΝ, uselessly amend one another.[3073] De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard, etc., have referred the ἩΡΠΆΣΘΗ, Κ.Τ.Λ., to the Lord’s ascension, and, according to this, understand by the persecution on the part of the dragon[3074] “all that was done on the part of the Jews against Christ until his death,”[3075] the entire state of humiliation, to which the state of exaltation even to God’s throne has succeeded.[3076] But the feeling concerning this, that this conception does not correspond with the character of the statement in the text, has asserted itself in Hengstenb. Before the ΚΑῚ ἩΡΠΆΣΘΗ, he says, it is to be remembered that the dragon continues his persecution, as, according to the gospel history, it has occurred from the temptation until the death on the cross.[3077] “This addition is urged by Revelation 12:4 : for how was the one, who, already before the birth, stood before the woman, in order to devour her child as soon as it was born, not to incessantly continue his persecution? and it is required by the ‘and it was caught up.’ ” But neither this addition, nor the exposition based thereon, is allowable in accordance with the text; for the textual idea is that the child immediately after birth is caught up to God’s throne. This ideal representation is related to the actual history of Christ, just as the ideal allusion to the judgment impending upon Jerusalem, Revelation 11:1 sqq., to the actually future fact; the fact as such is as little prophesied there, as in this passage the proper history of Christ and its precise epochs are mentioned,[3078] but in both cases the historical reality serves only for the firm concrete basis of the idea, which is the main point of consideration. No historical fact corresponds to the prophetical-ideal representation of the dragon, which watches for the birth of the Messiah, in order to immediately devour the child; but the snares on the part of Herod, and the murder of the infants at Bethlehem, may have given an occasion for the conception of the view, whereby John figuratively represents the mortal enmity of Satan to the Messiah. No fact in the history of Christ corresponds to the ἡρπάσθη τὸ τέκνον, κ.τ.λ.; but the fact of the Lord’s ascension offers, as it were, the colors with which to paint the ideas as to how inexpressibly glorious is the preservation of the child from Satan, and how completely the latter, with his persecutions, is confounded. Both subjects under consideration here, Satan’s mortal hatred to the Lord (and, therefore to his saints, Revelation 12:17, Revelation 13:1 sqq.), and, in connection with this, Satan’s inability to touch the Lord (and, accordingly, the final judgment on every thing antichristian, and the glorification of believers), are here placed in view.

[3062] See Critical Notes.

[3063] LXX.: ἄρσην, without υἱός.

[3064] “Victor over the devil who had conquered the woman” (Beda).

[3065] Cf. Beng., Hengstenb., etc.

[3066] De Wette, Rinck, Hengstenb., Ebrard, etc.

[3067] As also Revelation 19:15.

[3068] Revelation 12:17, Revelation 13:1 sqq.

[3069] Acts 23:10; Judges 1:23.

[3070] Vitr., Hengstenb.

[3071] Cf. Aret., C. a Lap., etc.

[3072] “Godlessness cannot apprehend Christ spiritually born in the mind of hearers, for the reason that the same one reigns with the Father in heaven, who also has raised us, and made us sit in heavenly places with Christ.”

[3073] Cf. Eichh.: “The Christian Church having proceeded from Judaism received, under God’s protection, its growth and increase;” with Grot.: “Simon seduced so many at Rome that a Christian people no longer appeared there. They who do not appear with men are said to be with God.”

[3074] Cf. John 14:30.

[3075] De Wette.

[3076] Hengstenb., Ebrard.

[3077] Cf. Luke 4:13 : ἄχρι καιροῦ, and John 14:30.

[3078] Against Auberlen, p. 277, etc.

What, after the withdrawal of the child, is further attempted on the part of the dragon, or what now possibly occurs with it itself (cf. Revelation 12:7. sqq.), cannot be properly stated (Revelation 12:7 sqq.) without giving an account first of the fate of the woman. This occurs in Revelation 12:6, which briefly anticipates[3079] what is described more minutely in Revelation 12:14, and that too on the basis of Revelation 12:7 sqq.;[3080] for not until the dragon, with his wrath directed above all things against the child itself, is completely confounded, does he turn against the woman, Revelation 12:13 sqq., and when she flees, then against the rest of her seed, Revelation 12:17, in order to vent against them, as believers in Christ, that rage with which he could not reach the Lord himself and the woman. But what instruments the dragon employs, in order to attack believers with the hatred which is, in fact, directed against the Lord himself, is shown immediately afterwards in Revelation 13:1 sqq.

[3079] Vitr., Ewald, De Wette, Hofm., Hengstenb., Auberlen.

[3080] Against Ebrard. See on Revelation 12:14.


ἐκεῖ. Cf. Revelation 12:14; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 7:2.

ἡτοιμασμένον ἀπο τ. θ., “on the part of God,” divinely. Cf. Winer, p. 347 sqq.

ἵνα ἐκεῖ τρέφωσιν αὐτὴν, κ.τ.λ. The final clause depends upon the ἡτοιμ. ἀπὸ τ. θ.; the ἐκεῖ refers, therefore, to the place in the wilderness; cf. the parallel words, Revelation 12:14 (εἰς τ. τόπον αὐτης, ὅπου τρέφεται ἐκεῖ, κ.τ.λ.), where also the personally fixed τρέφεται (sc. ἡ γυνή) explains the meaning of the τρέφωσιν αὐτὴν taken without a definite subject.[3081] See, in general, also in reference to the schematic determination of time, on Revelation 12:14.

[3081] Cf. Revelation 10:11; Luke 12:20Revelation 12:5. In accordance with the rabbinic notion which withdrew messiah for a time, the infant, like a second Moses, is caught up out of harm’s way. He has no career on earth at all. This is intelligible enough in a Jewish tradition; but while no Christian prophet could have spontaneously depicted his messiah in such terms, even under the exigencies of apocalyptic fantasy, the further problem is to understand how he could have adopted so incongruous and inadequate an idea except as a pictorial detail. The clue lies in the popular messianic interpretation of passages like Psalms 2. where messiah’s birth is really his inauguration and enthronement. The early application of this to Jesus, though not antagonistic to an interest in his historic personality, tallied with the widespread feeling (cf. note on Revelation 1:7) that his final value lay in his return as messiah. Natiuitas quaedam eius ascensio: “The heavens must receive him” (Acts 3:21) till the divine purpose was ripe enough for his second advent. This tendency of primitive Jewish Christianity serves to explain how John could refer in passing to his messiah in terms which described a messiah, as Sabatier remarks, sans la croix et sans la mort, and which even represented his ascension as an escape rather than a triumph. The absence of any allusion to the Father is not due so much to any reluctance on the prophet’s part to call Jesus by the name of Song of Solomon of God (cf. Revelation 2:18), which pagan usage had profaned not only in such mythical connexion but in the vocabulary of the Imperial cultus, as to the fact that the mythical substratum always gave special prominence to the mother; the goddess-mother almost invariably displaced the father in popular interest, and indeed bulked more largely than even the child.

5. a man child] Lit. a son, a male, the latter word being neuter.

who was to rule] Lit. who is to rule. This designation of the Son proves beyond question who He is, see Revelation 2:27 as proving, if there could be any doubt about it, how Psalm 2:9 is understood in this book.

to God, and to his throne] Cf. Revelation 3:21. In the vision, “He that sat on the throne” is still present, and no doubt St John saw the translation of the child to His side.

Revelation 12:5. Ἔτεκεν, brought forth) The Christian Church brought forth a male child, Christ, considered not personally, but in His kingdom. Vitringa interprets it of Constantine, when he gained possession of the empire; D. Lange weightily refutes him, in his Comm. upon the Apocalypse, f. 137, 141. Nor, however, as the same writer supposes, is the conversion of Israel here signified; for that nation does not bring forth, at its conversion, but is born: and the crown of twelve stars prefigures the conversion of the twelve tribes: comp. Genesis 37:9. The birth here described has already long ago taken place; that conversion [of the twelve tribes] has not yet taken place. The woman brought forth, when in the ninth century, more nations than before, together with their princes, were, under the name of Slavonians, added to the assembly of the Christian name. Therefore almost the whole of this chapter has been fulfilled, although D. Lange refers it to the future, in the same place (see above), and in Epicr. p. 408. The very war of the dragon with the rest of the seed of the woman, Revelation 12:17, precedes the rising of the beast out of the sea; but this took place in the eleventh century, as will presently be shown.—ὑιον ἄῤῥενα) Learned men have brought together to this place passages in Aristophanes and Alciphron, where a woman is said to have brought forth παιδίον ἄῤῥεν· but the cases differ; for παιδίον is generic, ὑιὸς specific. Nor, however, does John write ὑιὸν ἄῤῥενα without reason. For thus also Jeremiah 20:15, it is said בן וכר, where in the Greek it is υἱὸς ἄρσην, or simply ἄρσην as in this passage. Primasius omitting the word son, says male, as Revelation 12:13 has it.—ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ, with a rod of iron) The rod is for long continued obstinacy, until they submit themselves to obedience.

Verse 5. - And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; a son, a male - the Greek υἱόν, ἄρσεν, renders it emphatic - who is to rule, as in the Revised Version; to rule, or to govern as a shepherd (cf. the verb in Matthew 2:6). This reference and Psalm 2:9 leave no doubt as to the identification of the man child. It is Christ who is intended. The same expression is used of him in Revelation 19, where he is definitely called the "Word of God." And her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. The sentence seems plainly to refer to the ascension of Christ and his subsequent abiding in heaven, from whence he rules all nations. The seer, perhaps, wishes to indicate at once the absolute immunity of Christ from any harm proceeding from the power of the devil, whose efforts are henceforth directly aimed only at the Church of Christ. Satan still hopes to injure Christ through his members. As remarked above (see on ver. 4), what is true of the personal history of Christ is often true of his Church and of his true members. And thus some have seen in this passage a picture of the woman, the Church, bringing forth members, to devour whom is Satan's constant purpose, but who in God's good time are taken to his throne to be near himself. Revelation 12:5A man-child (υἱὸν ἄῤῥενα)

Lit., a son, a male. The correct reading is ἄρσεν, the neuter, not agreeing with the masculine individual (υἱὸν son) but with the neuter of the genus. The object is to emphasize, not the sex, but the peculiar qualities of masculinity - power and vigor. Rev., a son, a man-child. Compare John 16:21; Jeremiah 20:15.

To rule (ποιμαίνειν)

Lit., to shepherd or tend. See on Matthew 2:6.

A rod of iron

Compare Psalm 2:9, and see on Revelation 2:27.

Was caught up (ἡρπάσθη)

See on Matthew 12:12. Compare Acts 23:10; Jde 1:23.

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