The Greatest Sign of Our Times
While it is certainly true that the rapid advancement of technology has taken center stage on the human scene in the last two centuries, this is not the only defining societal development that will be remembered as descriptive of these times. Rather there is something else going on in the circles of men these days that will, in the long run, have an even greater impact than technology. This something is spiritual in nature and is therefore not yet widely acclaimed. But be assured that it is happening nonetheless.
Jesus and all the biblical prophets envisioned this day from afar. Isaiah called it: “The creation of new heavens and a new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17). John the Apostle wrote about it mystically in his book called Revelation. And Jesus spoke of it, calling it the return or second coming of the Son of Man. Truly, this spiritual advancement that has come upon us, as it gains full impetus, is destined to become one of the most monumental events in the history of our species. Technology will remain in place and even continue to proliferate, but once the birth pangs of our new spiritual emergence have subsided, technology will serve it, not the other way around. Thus will it be viewed as the greatest sign of our times.
In order to be recognized as a great portent of the times a sign of this magnitude must have defining characteristics. There have been other spiritual revivals and awakenings among our race throughout history. So what sets this sign apart as nothing less than the harbinger of the New Age? Again we look to the Bible for light on the subject.
First, we read in Revelation chapter twelve these words: “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman 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. . . . She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” (Revelation 12:1,2,5).
Sorting through the mystical imagery in John’s words, we find two dominant characteristics of our great sign: a woman giving birth and a male child being born. Then in the New Testament epistles we come across one brief but thought provoking statement that further enhances these characteristics: “Women will be saved through childbearing.” (1 Timothy 2:15). So when combining these scriptures we have a woman giving birth to a child and attaining the ultimate spiritual fulfillment through that experience.
Symbolically, this woman can represent two things. It is the sum total of all the impartations of spiritual truth that have come forth and impacted the human scene, while the period of gestation or womb bearing is this entire age of Adam. Thus it includes the truth teachings of all the spiritual masters that have ever lived among us, from both the east and the west. These teachings have acted like seeds in the collective human psyche and impregnated it with the hope of a glorious New Age of enlightenment. But this period of gestation was long and oppressive, almost as if some great dark power was trying to keep the child from being born (see Revelation 12:4).
The second interpretation is that the woman represents the created human soul itself, which in conjunction with spiritual consciousness comprises the yin-yang aspects of the human spiritual impulse. In this representation the woman gives birth to the child within the human psyche by consummating her age-long love attraction to spiritual consciousness.
As far as the identity of the child is concerned, the interpretation centers on the spiritual concept of the Christ—a concept that involves not one but two earthly advents or manifestations. Without a doubt the man Jesus embodied one of these advents of the Christ Child, but until now the identity of the second embodiment was still shrouded in mystery. John informs us that the first Christ Child was born and lived for a time among us (John 1:10) but was then “snatched up to God” for safe-keeping (Revelation 12:5). But the question of the Second Advent was left to speculation. All we had to go on was the sign of a woman giving birth and a male child being born. And according to the symbolical framework of this sign it is safe to deduce that the Second Advent of the Christ would somehow involve the same woman and the same child as it did in Jesus’ case, only in a different guise.
In studying the book of Isaiah the Prophet, we find the image of a child often alluded to. But very few scholars have recognized the fact that these allusions actually are thematic in scope. In other words, the imagery of the Promised Christ Child is the singular thread that runs through the entire book. Thus from Isaiah we can learn a great deal about our child. We can read not only about his birth but also about his attributes, characteristics, and accomplishments after his birth. For example, take this well known passage in the ninth chapter: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:6,7). This is a substantial portrait that bears closer scrutiny. Needless to say, the birth Isaiah was referring to is no common human birth, and the child is no ordinary human child. It is a cosmic event of magnanimous proportions, and the child is great beyond imagination.
Notice first that the son is given to us. We did not earn his arrival, nor do we necessarily deserve it. But as an act of divine providence, the cosmic woman of our created makeup became spiritually impregnated, and as a result the child was born or given. Thus we can surmise that our original created blueprint as a species not only included these potentialities; it contained their ultimate fruition as a kind of genetic seal, much like how a garden seed that is sown in the soil already contains the genetic blueprint of full fruition in its seed form.
Then Isaiah speaks of the child’s impact upon human life as being one of unparalleled power and eternal consequences. Through this child’s advent human life will eventually be transformed beyond recognition and a New Age ushered in. His appearance will establish a new world order and government expressive of the glory that accompanied the reign of Israel’s great king David—that is to say, a government established upon the immutable spiritual principles of righteousness and justice.
The problem is that Isaiah’s portrait of this special child has rarely been interpreted aright. As a prophet, it is entirely possible that Isaiah himself did not fully comprehend the actual outworking of the child’s presence among us. Isaiah uttered the words, but their full meaning might very well have been beyond the scope of his own understanding. Only the actual unfolding of these events and the fruition of their genetically sealed potential could bring full revelation.
As the first advent of the Christ Child on earth, the life of the man Jesus of Nazareth clearly embodied and fulfilled many of Isaiah’s prophecies. Thus there can be little doubt that his life comprised at least one of the Child’s advents. But in examining the prophecy in chapter nine more closely, we must conclude that the life of the man Jesus did not fulfill the prophecy completely. The advent of the Christ as displayed through Jesus’ life and deeds was wondrous to behold, but it did not establish a new government of righteousness and peace on the earth; neither did it result in the glory inherent in David’s reign. Rather Jesus’ life experience ended in the shame and cruel disappointment of the cross. Only the power of the resurrection assuaged the devastation of Jesus’ ignominious departure from the earth and left us with a hope of future vindication. And it is this future vindication that we as a species are now being afforded.
But in the same way that man has developed brilliant new technologies that have greatly altered the way we live in our day, the Christ Child of God has also evolved. And it is with this new advent of the Christ that all of Isaiah’s prophecies are ultimately fulfilled.
What is this new Christ Child like? First, it must be clarified that it is not actually the Child that has evolved or changed. Rather it is the manifestation of the Child in our day that is different. The Child is a spiritual-eternal presence, and as such, it is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But whereas this spiritual presence manifested in one man in its first earthly advent, in its Second Advent it has manifested in a veritable multitude of people. It has been and is being born in the hearts of many. Thus the Second Advent will soon be recognized as being far more glorious than its first advent was. Jesus alluded to this worldwide manifestation, when he said, “For as lightning that comes form the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27).
And Isaiah also spoke of a proliferation of the Christ Spirit. Foreseeing that the Christ Child would one day be raised up in the hearts of many, he wrote: “See, a king will reign in righteousness. . . . Each one [that is, each individual that the Christ Spirit inhabits] will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.” (Isaiah 32:1,2). In other words, each individual that experiences the raising up of the Christ Child inside of them will become completely impervious to the commonly regarded pitfalls of human existence. He or she will be like a rock of stability and self-containment and will not only be empowered to exercise total dominion over their own formerly wayward human inclinations but will feel that they now have the glory of Israel’s great kings at work in them.
And so in the Second Advent the woman will actually bear not one Christ Child but a multitude of them. And this is in spite of the fact that she has had no husband but has remained a virgin. “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” (Isaiah 54:1). The typical woman in Adam's age, symbolized by Eve, has had Adam as her husband and has given birth to one or two or perhaps five natural biological children, but the mother of the Christ Child—the spiritually impregnated human soul—has God as her only husband (Isaiah 54:5) and though barren and desolate throughout the duration of the age of Adam will ultimately be far more fruitful that Eve has been. Thus Isaiah’s sign of the virgin conceiving and giving birth to the Christ Child (Isaiah 7:14) is actually the same great sign as John’s woman and child in the Book of Revelation.
Summarily, what these biblical prophecies depict is nothing short of the fulfillment of the age of Adam and the dawning of a new enlightened age—the age of the Christ. No wonder it is an event of unparalleled significance and glory for the species of man and the earth upon which he lives. Throughout the age of Adam mankind has been estranged from and at odds with its maker. Only a covenant of peace promised to Noah long ago has kept the floods of man’s destruction at bay. But through a new advent of the Christ Child a new covenant from God is being put into effect—an everlasting covenant of unfailing love, peace, and goodwill toward all men. “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54:10).