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Who is the 'Woman' in Revelation 12?

by Phillip Goodman



What is the meaning of the "Woman" seen by John the Apostle in Revelation chapter 12? Is the vision of the woman clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of 12 stars on her head to be taken as literal, symbolic, or symbolic with a literal meaning behind the symbolism? When we use the Scripture as its own best interpreter, the answer becomes clear. This is the method Jesus used to explain the prophecies. He said to his disciples, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" (Luke 24:21).

We will look to the Scriptures in "all that the prophets have spoken", to understand the "Woman" of Revelation 12 in this article.

Revelation 12

1  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman

clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

2  and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

3  And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

4  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth.

And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

5  And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

6  And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [the time-frame of the Great Tribulation].


1  Israel, the wife of Jehovah (God)

Israel, the offspring of Jacob (Israel) & Rachel and their 12 sons (12 tribes of Israel)

2  Israel pregnant to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus.

3  Satan

4  Satan cast our of heaven, stands before Israel to destroy Israel and kill the Messiah

5  Jesus Christ, who ascended into Heaven and shall return to rule the nations.

6  Israel flees to the mountains for protection during the Great Tribulation


Scripture References...

"For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts... Isaiah 54:5

"Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, " declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:32

"And I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In loving kindness and in compassion... Hosea 2:19

Now he had still another dream, and related it to his brothers, and said, "Lo, I have had still another dream; and behold, the sun [Jacob] and the moon [Rachel] and eleven stars [11 brothers/tribes of Israel] were bowing down to me [Joseph, 12th brother/tribe of Israel] ." Genesis 37:9 (see also Genesis 37:10; 43:28)

"Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished, That agony has gripped you like a woman in childbirth?

"Writhe and labor to give birth, Daughter of Zion, Like a woman in childbirth... Micah 4:9-19

Therefore, He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. [Christ, verse 2] Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. Micah 5:3

And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.. Revelation 12:9

"You were the anointed cherub ... You were on the holy mountain of God... And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. ... I cast you to the ground; Ezekiel 28:14-17

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs ... "A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL [the “moon”, Genesis 37:9-11; Rev. 12:1] WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN... Matthew 2:16,18

who are Israelites.... from whom is the Christ according to the flesh... Romans 9:4-5

"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 'Thou shall break them with a rod of iron... Psalms 2:7-9

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight Acts 1:9

"Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION ... then let those who are in Judea [the land of Israel] flee to the mountains... for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. Matthew 24:15-21

In Revelation 12 we see that there are two great signs in heaven. These two remarkable visions work together to present, in a remarkable span of just 6 verses, a compressed history encompassing the time from Adam to the end of this age. Beginning with the primeval fall of Satan (which occurred after the "very good" creation of Genesis 1:31) all the way until the flight of the Jews into a God-prepared "safe haven" during the latter days, Satan is seen as standing before the ancestral line of Christ, which grew into the nation of Israel, to destroy His progenitors, His chosen people, His Person, and His redemptive mission to the world.

The thrust of the passage is to demonstrate God's grace and fulfillment of His promises to Abraham and to his seed that they would be established forever as the Messianic nation, and that the destiny of the Messiah to be born through the Jews would not be aborted. Revelation 12 shows that during the Great Tribulation God will protect a believing Jewish remnant. This "Woman" represents "all Israel" at the End Time (Romans 11:26). God will protect her from the satanic mission to destroy Israel and her child, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.




Some say Revelation chapter 12, verses 3 and 4 refer to the time when Satan first rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven. Others interpret these 2 verses as showing that Satan is still allowed access into Heaven to this day, but half way through the tribulation he is cast out of heaven and down to earth, and then inspires the antichrist to try and destroy the Jewish remnant. Personally I favour the second interpretation, but either way, I too believe the "dragon" mentioned here represents Satan.



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