THE WOMAN AND THE MAN-CHILD
Question: Does the woman in Revelation 12:1 refer to the Jewish nation? Should the man-child in 12:5 then refer to the Jews who turn back to the Lord during the tribulation? If we interpret it this way, how should we interpret 12:6? (Revelation 12:13 and 16 should be a detailed explanation of 12:4-6.)
Answer: The woman is the city of Jerusalem, because all the women in this book are cities. Of course, it also refers to the Jewish nation. The man-child is the overcoming believers, because verse 5 matches 2:27. Jerusalem is the birthplace of the church. Verse 5 of chapter twelve is on the rapture of the overcomers. Verses 13-16 are a detailed explanation of verses 4-6, 17. The rest of the seed are the saints who are not raptured. Their having "the testimony of Jesus" proves that they are Christians.
THE REAPING OF THE SICKLE
Question: The reaping with the sickle in Revelation 14:14-16 appears to be a stern treatment. Why is it mentioned in relationship to the rapture? (Lee)
Answer: The sickle is the unique tool for reaping. It does not denote any sternness. The sickle denotes the angels (Matt. 13:39). This passage must be considered in conjunction with the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. The harvest here is the wheat in Matthew 13, and the grapes are the tares in Matthew 13. The harvest is gathered into the "barn." For the disciples, their barn is heaven, because a farmer’s barn is not built in the field (the world). Hence, to be gathered into the barn is to be raptured to heaven.
THE SEVEN HEADS
Question: How should we interpret Revelation 17:9-11? Some have said that it refers to the few nations after Egypt. (Lee)
Answer: This has nothing to do with Egypt. This is talking about Rome. The seven heads here are the seven heads of the beast. This beast is the first beast in chapter thirteen. It refers to the last Roman emperor, who is Antichrist, and to his Roman Empire. The seven heads have to do with Rome. There are two interpretations of the seven heads: (1) they refer to a place, and (2) they refer to kings. If they should refer to a place, the seven heads are the "seven mountains," which is the city of Rome, because Rome was built on seven hills and was called "the city of seven hills." If they should refer to kings, the seven heads are the "seven kings." When John wrote Revelation, five of the seven kings (Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero) had died unnatural deaths (that is, "fallen"). One still remained, who was Domitian, and another had not yet come, who is the emperor of the revived Roman Empire. The eighth one is Antichrist himself (v. 11).
THE SPIRITS OF THE ONES WHO SINNED
Question: According to Issue No. 1 and No. 3 of The Christian, the fallen creatures in the first world became bodiless spirits and have descended into the depths of the sea (the abyss). They have no hope of ever being saved. However, the spirits of the angels who were destroyed by the deluge because of their sins descended into Tartarus (the depths of the earth) and could repent through hearing the gospel. Is this right? (Lee)
Answer: Yes, that is right.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 18, by Watchman Nee)