Revelation 12:5

a male child who was to rule with a rod of iron
To rule is Ποιμαίνειν [Poimainein] : “Herd, tend, (lead to) pasture.”1 Elsewhere, it is translated as feed (Luke Luke 17:7; John John 21:16; Acts Acts 20:28; 1Cor. 1Cor. 9:7; 1Pe. 1Pe. 5:2; Jude Jude 1:12), but also rule (Mtt. Mat. 2:6; Rev. Rev. 2:27+; Rev. 7:17+; Rev. 12:5+; Rev. 19:15+). Ruling, but in the sense of leading, guiding, protecting, as a shepherd.2 A related noun, ποιμεν [poimen] is translated by pastor (Eph. Eph. 4:1) and shepherd (Mtt. Mat. 9:36; Mat. 25:32; Mat. 26:31; Mark Mark 6:34; Mark 14:27; Luke Luke 2:8, Luke 2:15-20; John John 10:2, John 10:11-16; Heb. Heb. 13:20; 1Pe. 1Pe. 2:25). A rod of iron alludes to Psalm Ps. 2:1 which makes clear that the initial form of His rule will be violent. “They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels” (Ps. Ps. 2:8 cf. Rev. Rev. 2:27+; Rev. 19:15+). His rule with the rod extends through those who will co-rule with him. “Scripture clearly shows that Christ (Ps. Ps. 2:8), the man child (Rev. Rev. 12:5+), the church saints (Rev. Rev. 2:26-27+), the tribulation saints (Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+), and indeed all the saints (Ps. Ps. 149:6-9) are to so rule.”3 The certainty of the rule of Christ and His kingdom was set forth in the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Rev. Rev. 11:15-18+). See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom. See commentary on Revelation 2:27 and Revelation 11:15.

caught up
Ἡρπασθη [Hērpasthē] : “Take suddenly and vehemently, or take away in the sense of . . . steal, carry off drag away.”4 The same root describes how the violent take the kingdom by force (Mtt. Mat. 11:12). It describes how the “wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown” (Mtt. Mat. 13:19). The term is used to describe physical transportation by the power of the Holy Spirit: Philip is caught away from the sight of the Ethiopian eunuch and is later found in Azotus (Acts Acts 8:39); Paul was caught up to the third heaven (2Cor. 2Cor. 12:2); and the church will be caught up with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord at the Rapture (1Th. 1Th. 4:17). Here it is passive—an external agent (the Father) catches the child away. The same passive aspect is seen in Luke’s detailed record of the event which employs a passive verb and participle to describe the ascension:

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up (ἐπήρθη [epērthē] ), and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up (ἀναλημφθεὶς [analēmphtheis] ) from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts Acts 1:9-11) [emphasis added]

The child ascends and remains until the time of restoration predicted by the prophets.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts Acts 3:19-21)

The times of the restoration of all things includes the regeneration (Mtt. Mat. 19:28) which precedes the promised Millennial Kingdom (Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+). See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.

to God and His throne
Notice that the child is caught up to God’s throne , not His own throne. He remains seated to the right hand of the Father until the time comes for Him to rule from the throne of David on earth (Dan. Dan. 7:13-14, Dan. 7:21-22, Dan. 7:26-27; Mtt. Mat. 25:31; Rev. Rev. 3:21+). See commentary on Revelation 3:21.


1 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 683.

2 Ibid.

3 Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), Rev. 12:5.

4 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 109.