Harry Whittaker
Five Minutes To Twelve

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.

  1. 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?
  2. On what evidence can it be asserted that this angel of Rev. 10: 1 is really a multitude?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. Is 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.)
  6. 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?
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?

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 geocentric universe.

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