We know that the Apostle John had seen the future and how the end times play out by reading the book of Revelation. The Apostle John also wrote the book of John and the books of 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John found in the New Testament. The first four books of the New Testament are called “The Four Gospels.” The first three books (Matthew, Mark and Luke) tell their different perspectives of the same miracles, parables and quotes of Jesus. They give witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and tell of the Good News of the Gospel message. The book of John, however is different. I believe this is because of his perspective. His future perspective.
In the book of John there are zero parables. His message is clear. John emphasizes he personally witnessed Jesus’ humanness and includes some of the human emotions Jesus displayed (loving, angry, sad, tired, hungry). This book is packed with accounts of other witnesses who also testify of recognizing Jesus as the Christ and includes more miracles than any other book in the bible. Jesus also testifies, “I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me” (John 8:18).
Apostle John also wrote three letters. 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. These letters mimic some of the same points, however 1 John and 2 John are written as a warnings and there are no clear indications as to who these letters are addressing. In 3 John the letter is clear who he is addressing and the issue he is addressing but the church is not named. Why would John do this? Perspective. I believe 1 John is a letter of warning to the future church (believers who walk in the truth). I also believe 2 John is written to one of the end times witnesses found in Revelation 11, a woman. I believe this is the same “woman” in Revelation 12. The third letter 3 John is focusing on the message he is trying to relay. He was complementing one messenger (the recipient of the letter) for walking in truth and love. Another he was speaking well of, Demetrius, who displayed good character. He was also chastising another man, who was refusing to welcome one of God’s messengers. “Do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). The most eye opening part of all is the similarities and differences in the writing structure of 2 John and 3 John.
First of all, the Apostle John addresses himself in both letters as, “The elder” which is out of his character and seems a bit odd. I think he did this to assert his authority and defend the stance that he is taking.
In 3 John, the Apostle John states the name of the person he is writing and in his greeting he prays for good health and that all goes well with him. He also calls him one of his “children,” which John often does and tells his dear friend Gaius that he has, “No greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). The greeting in 2 John to the chosen lady and her children is very different: “To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth- and not I only, but also all who know the truth- because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love” (2 John 1-3). It is very formal, mentions nothing about health and life and focuses on their common bond of God the Father and Jesus Christ and their love for the truth and one another because of the truth.
The next part in 2 John talks about “her children” which is also quite different from John’s norm of addressing “his children.” “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father” (2 John 4). Her children walking in the truth is also paralleled in Revelation 12 that John witnessed himself in a vision.
In 3 John, the Apostle John, compliments Gaius for showing hospitality to some strangers who were going out for the sake of the Name and not receiving help from the pagans. John says that, “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such fellow helpers so that we may work together for the truth” (3 John 8). John then scolds Diotrephes “who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us, refuses to welcome the bretheren. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God” (vs. 9-11). He tells them if he comes, he will call attention to what he is doing. This letter could be directly addressing a church back when this was written and John chose to write this letter because it indirectly addresses a message needed for the future church.
This next part of the letter John is addressing the chosen lady. “And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person it the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone welcomes him shares in his wicked work” (2 John 5-11).
John’s advise and warning is that we walk in obedience to his commands and we walk in love. Now think about the book of John. His focus is Jesus came in the flesh (he clearly emphasizes his humanness) that he was the son of God and that he performed MANY miracles and MANY bear witness to the testimony of these things! I believe that John is telling us that those are coming that are going to try to convince us that Jesus did not come in the flesh and was not human. They are going to question his miracles and the testimony of his life and the bible. They will make their own rules and have no regard for the ministry of Jesus. He is also warning us to not endorse them in anyway nor those who do not continue in the teaching of God. Remember, John had a future perspective!
Now pay attention to the conclusion of these letters! “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen” (2 John 12). This sounds like he is trusting to come to her in the future and speak with her. It also infers that they are all her children and they are her fellow sister in Christ.
At the conclusion of his letter to Garius he adds, “I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name” (vs. 13-14).
Look at this parallel, “And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down” (Revelation 10:4).
Now look at this from the same angel, “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants and prophets” (Revelation 10:7).
Right before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, the witnesses are killed and resurrected up into heaven. The next chapter there is a woman in heaven, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with and iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:1-5)
There are countless theories about this passage. Some equate the woman to a city or people group because in Revelation 17 the “woman” represents the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. I have found during my study of the bible that sometimes a word can be a play on words with a double meaning and other times a word has one meaning in one context that means a completely different thing in another context.
The woman in Revelation 12, though, has a prophesy message in it, that we find in Genesis that relates with Eve. “The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring- those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:12).
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This bruising is not meaning take them out completely. It is thought that bruising his heel is referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. Then who is the seed in this assault? Judas was the one who betrayed him and got him arrested that led to his crucifixion. Jesus hints to this when he said, “I have not lost one of those you gave me” (John 18:9).
The seed of the woman bruising the head of his seed is more hidden as well. In Revelation 13 the first beast comes onto the scene with a fatal wound that had been healed. This beast had ten horns and seven heads. The red dragon (satan) also had ten horns and seven heads (made in his likeness). It says that the, “dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed” (Revelation 13:1-3). Who on Earth would have had the power to inflict such assault on this beast? One of the witnesses! In chapter 11 we read that, “after the witnesses finished their testimony the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them” (Revelation 11:7). Overpowering insinuates that there was quite a battle going on back and forth! Note the similarities in the offspring’s bruises. Jesus dies and resurrects three days later. This beast from the Abyss receives a “fatal wound but the fatal wound had been healed!” *Note some versions of the bible say that the two witnesses are men. The actual plural form in greek is masculine no matter the gender. The KJV says, “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy; and have the power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6).
This woman is a representation of the final Eve and representative of the collection of Christ’s bride, The Church. Her job is to help the bride become blameless and spotless and overcomers by obeying God’s commands and holding to the testimony of Jesus. She is also from the linage of David, “clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head” (Revelation 12:1). These are all direct references to Israel and promises God made to them. It is also a parallel to Joseph’s dream in Genesis. “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me” (Genesis 37:9). The twelve stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel (11 other brothers), Joseph’s mom is the moon, and Joseph’s dad is the sun.
Adam and Eve and the biblical reference to their becoming one flesh was the very first covenant we read about in the bible. Then there were many throughout the old testament under the old covenant and these were made with people in the same blood line that would eventually lead to the line of David. In 2 Samuel 7, the prophet Nathan prophesied that the Lord would establish a house for David that would last forever. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Sam 7:16). In Luke the angel of the Lord tells Mary, the mother of Jesus that she was to give birth to a son and name him Jesus. “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32). When Jesus was on the cross, the Apostle John and Mary were standing nearby. Jesus made some statements that I believe, connected the covenant with Adam and Eve, the new covenant with the Gospel message/Jesus, and the future eternal covenant found in Revelation 12. He said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son. And to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26). Jesus always called Mary woman, not mother. Remember, Adam called Eve woman, because she was taken out of man. He told Mary, John was her son and John, Mary was his Mother. This all seems symbolic and hinting to another covenant. The Revelation 12 woman is a “mother” with an offspring of those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
I believe the son that the woman gives birth to is the offspring of Jesus, The bright Morning Star (yes, God and Jesus too)!
Adam & Eve- Earthly birth- flesh and blood– Physical temple (in old covenant)
Mary & (Jesus) Joseph- Spirit birth- water and Spirit– Raise temple in 3 days
Jesus & chosen lady (woman) – heavenly birth –glory and light – eternal home/temple
“I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” –Revelation 22:16
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention to as to a lamp shining in the dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” -2 Peter 1:19
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.” -Numbers 24:17
References: Strong, James. Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009.