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p138 Dearest Ralph Evans, . . . And now to the other point you ask about. It is well to remember that symbolical statements are a language, but a language, like others, modified by the context. I have no doubt that [Revelation] 12 begins a new subject. That is, the definite bringing out of the details of the introduction of divine government in the Person of the Son of man, King of kings, and Lord of lords, not the mere general preparatory actings of providence, but the immediate agents in the scene. Verse 19 of chapter 11 is rather introductory to chapter 12, than in its right place. The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the ark of the covenant which secures the blessing of His people is seen there. It is not merely the throne there, nor the rainbow, but the ark of the covenant; of this on earth, Israel we know was the centre; this, in which we know the government of the earth is concerned, is what we now enter on - chapter 12 introduces the parties. A woman clothed with the sun and twelve stars on her head, and ready to be delivered, and the dragon ready to devour the child. The child then is born, caught up, and the woman (now seen in her actual condition) flies into the wilderness for 1260 days; this I judge is the last three and a half years. This, note, closes this part. Verse 7 begins another division. In the opening part the woman is seen in the thoughts of God, and I apprehend is the vessel of the accomplishment of His purpose, perfectly weak in herself, but out of which strength is to come, and which is to be clothed with supreme authority, the twelve stars being perfection in humanity (as seven, spiritual things), or rather completeness, as twelve tribes, apostles, &c. The moon - I have somewhat more difficulty, but will say a word in a moment of it. Now this is, in fact of accomplishment on earth, to be in the Jews, and I judge that when we arrive at the historical facts, we get into the Jewish people as owned of God. Now to them Christ the Son was born (though they owned Him not at first, but now we are speaking of God's view of the matter). The Son and the strong one who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, was born to this people in the view of God, and as Benoni in anguish and agony (Benjamin is, I doubt not, a type of Christ in strength as head of the Jewish people, as people of His exaltation - meanwhile over Gentiles and to God's throne), but when born He does not use the power, nor deliver, but is caught away; but then as Israel is the matter in question, nothing is introduced of church connection, and the woman (Israel) owned of God on earth, but not delivered, flies, and is the object of Satan's rage, the Man child having gone where he cannot touch Him. Now the church is only brought in as being identified with Christ Himself, here according to the promise of Thyatira.
Thereupon the historical course of events is gone into, which leads to the driving out of the woman, and the real character of the period, from verse 7 to the end of verse 17.
Now as to the moon under her feet, I take it, it relates to the entire setting aside of the old phases of Israel, as responsible to God; without the man, and security of Messiah, this character she had lost; she was not to blow up the trumpet in the new moon - God's restoring the reflection of His power or light rather than keeping up the light where the sun was not. She was permanently clothed with the sun itself; she was not the sun, but she was clothed with it, weak as she was in herself. I do not know that I have more to add as to the general principles; the setting up the power of the kingdom, though not yet applied to the earth, is when Satan is cast down, on the war in heaven - not saving grace - this is power, but the accuser is cast down. This puts the church, if the man child refer to that (also out of the scene and historical course of events) - out of the scene, nor does it take the warrior power. The angels act here. I leave open the question how far there would be application to any who enter into the heavenlies, as the second class who live and reign, of chapter 20. The general view I think clear: as far as I see, the whole analogy of prophetic truth and order sustains it, but I shall be glad to give any further details I may be able, and to search out any points (the Lord leading) that further questions may suggest. We are at peace, and I trust enjoying blessing here. Some seventy or upwards have returned among us since the last move and inquiry. Peace be with you, dear brother, and the Lord's near presence - our only safeguard and joy the sense of it.
Yours affectionately in our blessed Lord.
Symbols have this character, that they give the moral character as well as the facts.
Plymouth, July 15th, 1848.