And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.(Revelation 12:1-5)
Who is the mysterious woman, writhing in agony of birth, seen in the vision of the apostle John in Revelation 12?
We have shown that on one level this woman represents the true people of God, the faithful congregation, those who truly worship God, and wait for his full deliverance. But there is a more specific meaning to the Image of the woman in the vision.
Some have speculated that the woman is Eve. We have remarked upon the connection between this chapter and Genesis chapter 3. In Genesis three we see Eve,(Adam also, but he was passive), in a dialogue with the serpent. Eventually she succumbs to the flattery and seduction of the serpent’s lie, and defects from God, with her husband. She is told that she will bring forth a son who would bring salvation, “the seed of the woman”.
Others speculate that the woman represents the virgin Mary, the counterpart to the disobedient Eve. Mary said “Yes” to God even though it meant saying no to herself. But Eve did the opposite. The Roman Catholic Church I was brought up in, featured a large statue of the virgin Mary standing upon a globe. She was crowned with 12 stars and under her feet was the serpent. The blasphemous teaching of this statue was clear, Mary defeated the Devil and set men free. This is none less than a distortion of the original Gospel as proclaimed in Genesis 3,
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.(Genesis 3:14-15)
The European Union has selected for its flag the 12 starred, so-called “Crown of Mary” based on this mis-interpretation of Revelation 12.
Both of these possible answers for the identity of the woman miss the mark. There is no reason other than speculation, to see either Eve or Mary in this woman.
Fortunately there is a specific answer as to the identity of the woman. The book of Genesis offers the key, in the story of the visions of Joseph.
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?(Genesis 37:5-10)
The woman is clothed in the Sun,Moon and the stars. The dream of Joseph represent the Sun,Moon and Stars as Jacob,Leah, and the twelves sons of Israel. Therefore the Woman is Israel. She is the specific ‘woman’ which the serpent hates and has often tried to destroy. Her seed, the Messiah defeated the Serpent in battle, and it is He that shall soon come to “Rule all nations with a Rod of Iron”.
Israel is a miracle. The beginning of Israel was a miracle, for God wanted to create a new nation, after the nations of the world defected from him in the “Babel” incident. Rather than select a healthy, virile “twenty something” couple to begin a new nation, God chose Abram and Sara, a barren married couple, long past child-bearing age!
Israel’s continued existence is a miracle, for long have the nations of the world sought to destroy her. She was dispersed from her land in 70 ad, and spread from one end of the earth to the other, living in exile for two thousand years.
Of course military defeat, dispersion and enslavement has happened to other nations in history. But the great modern miracle of Israel is that after 2000 years the nation was reconstituted, in May,1948 ad. The rebirth of Israel is a billboard sign to the world that these are the end times, and that there is a living God.
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.(Jeremiah 31:10-11)
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)