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Who is the woman described in Revelation 12? John Ankerberg Show – Published on Sep 10, 2018
From the series “Revelation: The Last Words of Jesus” featuring very special guests Dr. Ron Rhodes, Dr. Ed Hinson, and, Dr. Mark Hitchcock. To obtain this entire series, please visit https://www.jashow.org/resources/the-…
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The details of this article are discussed, as follows.
I. Who is the woman of Revelation 12? Consider the following discussion.
Revelation 12:1-6 New King James Bible (NKJV)
A. The Woman, the Child, and the Dragon (vs 1-2)
1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
a. sign. A symbol pointing to something else. This is the first of 7 signs in the last half of Revelation. Cf. v. 3; 13:13, 14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20.
b. a woman. Not an actual woman, but a symbolic representation of Israel, pictured in the OT as the wife of God (Is. 54:5, 6; Jer. 3:6–8; 31:32; Ezek. 16:32; Hos. 2:16). Three other symbolic women appear in Revelation: 1) Jezebel, who represents paganism (2:20); 2) the scarlet woman (17:3–6), symbolizing the apostate church; and 3) the wife of the Lamb (19:7), symbolizing the true church. That this woman does not represent the church is clear from the context.
c. clothed with the sun…moon under her feet…twelve stars. Cf. Gen. 37:9–11. Being clothed with the sun speaks of the glory, dignity, and exalted status of Israel, the people of promise who will be saved and given a kingdom. The picture of the moon under her feet possibly describes God’s covenant relationship with Israel, since new moons were associated with worship (1 Chr. 23:31; 2 Chr. 2:4; 8:13; Ezra 3:5; Ps. 81:3). The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
a. cried out…in pain. Israel, often pictured as a mother giving birth (cf. Is. 26:17, 18; 54:1; 66:7–12; Hos. 13:13; Mic. 4:10; 5:2, 3; Matt. 24:8),
b. had agonized and suffered for centuries, longing for the Messiah to come and destroy Satan, sin, and death, and usher in the kingdom.
B. The Red Dragon, Satan (vs 3-4)
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
a. great, fiery red dragon. The woman’s mortal enemy is Satan, who appears as a dragon 13 times in this book (cf. v. 9; 20:2).
b. Red speaks of bloodshed (cf. John 8:44).
c. seven heads…ten horns…seven diadems. Figurative language depicting Satan’s domination of 7 past worldly kingdoms and 10 future kingdoms (cf. Dan. 7:7, 20, 24). See notes on 13:1; 17:9, 10. Satan has and will rule the world until the seventh trumpet blows (11:15). He has inflicted relentless pain on Israel (Dan. 8:24), desiring to kill the woman before she could bring forth the child that would destroy him (see notes on Esth. 3:6–15).
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
a. a third of the stars of heaven. Satan’s original rebellion (cf. Is. 14:12ff.; Ezek. 28:11ff.) resulted in one-third of the angelic host joining his insurrection and becoming demons.
b. to devour her Child. Unable to prevent the virgin birth of Christ, Satan tried to kill the child in a general massacre of male children commanded by Herod (Matt. 2:13–18; cf. Luke 4:28, 29).
C. The Male Child, Christ (vs 5-6)
5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
a. a male Child. Jesus Christ in His incarnation was of Jewish descent (Matt. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:8). Despite Satan’s efforts to destroy Israel and the messianic line, Jesus’ birth took place as predicted by the prophets (cf. Is. 7:14; 9:6; Mic. 5:2).
b. rod of iron. Describes Jesus’ coronation as King over the nations of the world (cf. 11:15; 19:15; Ps. 2:6–9).
c. her Child was caught up to God. Christ’s ascension is in view (Acts 1:9; 2:33; Heb. 1:1–3; 12:2).
6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
a. wilderness. God will protect Israel from Satan by hiding her in the wilderness, perhaps in the region of Moab, Ammon, and Edom, east of Palestine. Interestingly, those countries will be specifically spared from the Antichrist’s attack against the Holy Land (cf. Dan. 11:41).
b. one thousand two hundred and sixty days. At the mid-point of the Tribulation, the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), and devastates Jerusalem (11:2). At that time, many Jews flee for their lives (Matt. 24:16ff.). God will preserve them during the last 1,260 days (42 months; 3½ years) constituting the Great Tribulation. See notes on 3:10; 6:1, 9.
II. Per the opening video discussion, and the details of the above discussion, the conclusion of this article is that “The Woman of Revelation 12” is Israel.
Comments come from the MacArthur study notes. Everyone should have a MacArthur Study Bible.
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