11. “The March Of The Rainbowed Angel”
The angel with a rainbow (Rev. 10: 1) has become
the focus of a very remarkable interpretation, on these lines:
The angel is Christ returned in glory, yet not
Christ only but his glorified saints also. There is then developed the concept
of Christ and his host making a long march, after the manner of Israel under
Moses, from Sinai across the wilderness and round the Dead Sea, to make a
triumphant approach to Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives.
Of course, various Biblical allusions are woven
into this tapestry, but support of this theme by straight unmistakable Bible
evidence is very hard to find. Students are invited to ponder a few questions
regarding this theory.
There are those who will resent the posing of
questions of this sort. But if indeed we stand in the best tradition of
Christadelphian Bible Truth shall we not wish for - nay, insists on - a plain
Scriptural demonstration all the way. We have nothing to fear from the results
of a careful critical re-examination of received ideas. If they are as correct
as our fundamental principles of faith certainly are, there will be nothing
lost. If, however, in this field of Bible prophecy there is room for improvement
in the consideration of Bible alternatives, what fools we should be to follow
the methods of J.W.’s meekly accepting authoritative dictation. Is this
the stuff that Christadelphians are made of?
- Why should the angel be assumed to be the Lord Jesus? Whenever
he appears on the Apocalyptic scene he is always given a distinctive name or
title (which can apply to none but he - The Lamb, the Word of God, King of
Kings, Alpha and Omega) and the descriptions of the Lord Jesus (e.g. in ch. 1,
5, 17, 19) are also unique and unmistakable. Also, in all other places in the
Apocalypse angels are angels- yes, even in ch.2, 3; see "Bible Studies" ch.16.6.
Should not the copious similarities between this angel and the angel who
appeared to Daniel be decisive that they are one and the same? Did Christ in
glory appear to Daniel?
- On what evidence can it be
asserted that this angel of Rev. 10: 1 is really a
- There is a sharp contradiction between saints
made immortal at Sinai and saints made immortal in Jerusalem. Both ideas cannot
be right. Then in view of the evidence cited in "Bible Studies" p. 297, which
has to give way? Is there one Bible passage which says plainly that the
Judgment will be at Sinai? Is there one Bible passage, which says plainly
that the saints will be immortalised at Sinai?
- Where in
the Bible is the phrase: "The march of the rainbowed angel" to be found? Does
Revelation say one word about this angel marching to Zion? And if it does not,
why such enthusiasm for perpetuating this idea?
there, apart from a mistranslated and misapplied Micah 7: 15, a single verse
which says that Christ and the saints will make a long march round the Dead Sea?
(Mic. 7: 15 simply means that events as marvellous as in the time of the Exodus
will happen in the Last Days.)
- Is it not true that the
idea of the march of the rainbowed angel has been built entirely out of an
assumption that Israel's experience under Moses must be repeated exactly by the
New Israel under Christ? And if it were so, ought not the march to start in
Egypt and not at Sinai?
To the present writer, some of the
interpretations put forward in this little book appear to be very solidly based
on Holy Scripture. Some of the conclusions suggested have the support of fair
Bible evidence, but not so weightily as to warrant complete confidence. Here, as
the world rushes faster and faster to its doom questions of this less certain
character will sort themselves out. If, on the other hand, there is a
determination to nail the f lag of prophetic interpretation to a 19th century
mast, and to insist on the unquestioning acceptance of a rigid scheme of
interpretation (as though it belongs to the same category as our solidly based
doctrines), then we are back in the dark days of Galileo and the papacy's