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The Woman of Revelation - Who Was She?

Revelation 12

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

She is not the Virgin Mary - she is a sign and a symbol.  She wears twelve stars standing for the twelve tribes of Israel or is it the twelve apostles?  She could be Israel or the Church.  The twelve stars come from the dream of Joseph in the Old Testament.  Genesis 37:9–11.  The sun stands for Jacob the father of Joseph and the moon is his mother.  The stars stand for his brothers who bow down to the star representing Joseph.

 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Isaiah uses the image of Israel giving birth and crying out after.  I think the Revelation is trying to show she is like Israel but not exactly Israel.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.

Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.

The stars being swept shows that something cataclysmic happened the universe as the child was about to be born.  The dragon is immensely powerful.  Christians who hold that the woman is Israel think the dragon is the Roman Catholic Church which is more powerful than ancient Rome ever was and which devoted a lot of energy into persecuting the Jews unto death and slandered them and told lies to debunk their doctrines.

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.”

And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

The child ascends to Heaven.  No hint is given that the child grew up.  The child ascended to Heaven as a child.  This is another reason to deny she is the Virgin Mary.

The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

She hides.  She is kept secret by God for three and a half years.

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

With the child in Heaven and the woman in hiding, the whole world is led astray and becomes captive to Satan.  He and his angels dwell on earth.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
    and the kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
    who accuses them before our God day and night,
    has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”

Best understood as a clarification.  The dragon is the Devil and he is now on earth.  The woman is on earth too.  The dragon likes to talk to God and spends his time trying to turn God against the followers of Jesus.  The dragon then likes to pretend to be God's friend.

13 When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.

The woman is on earth too.  He does not look for her child but her. 

 14 The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

She must have come out of hiding.   So she has to go back into hiding.  What do the eagles wings signify?  Probably nothing but that she made a speedy exit.

 15 Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

The woman is still clothed with the sun.  So is he trying to put her light out?  How can she hide if she shines like the sun?  Catholic baptism is the only thing that could be represented here.  The earthliness of baptised people prove the water did them no good.  The waters of baptism come from the Devil's mouth.

 17 Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

As the woman has gone, he goes after those who stayed true to their faith.  This is supposed to prove that the woman is now the New Israel - the Christian Church.  The woman is thought to stand for Eve the mother of all humanity.  She is the New Eve mother of the children of God.

Revelation gives no hint that the woman is still good.  The woman being able to hide might indicate that she lost her light and ceased to shine with God's truth and love.  It is not said this time that she is kept safe from the dragon.  Maybe he has no need to go after her any more for she has gone to the dark side.  Why is she dropped so suddenly from the story here? Or is she?  Does the woman reappear in Revelation 17 as the great whore, the false religion of Rome?

The woman then would stand for Israel, God's true religion.  She is thought to stand for the new Israel the Christian Church, which is updated Judaism.  If she is the whore, then she must stand for apostate Christianity!