God's Amazing Plan
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. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
-Revelation 12:1-2, emphasis added
Revelation 12 contains two signs--the sign of the woman and the dragon. In this highly symbolic section, God continues to show the unfolding of His plan as the world surrounds His nation, Israel.
The First Sign:
“a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet."
In addition to Revelation 12:1, four other times Revelation mentions women who represent special things. In Revelation 2:20, Jezebel is a picture of Paganism in the church. In Revelation 12:6 the woman is Israel. The scarlet woman described in Revelation 17:1-6 is the apostate church. And in Revelation 19:7, the Lamb's wife is the true church. Now let's look at some ways Bible teachers have identified this woman in Revelation 12:1-2.
The woman's clothing corresponds to Joseph's dream. Genesis 37:9-11 reports that Joseph told his brothers and father about a dream in which "the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to [him]." His father "rebuked him" and his brothers "envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind." Joseph is describing Israel-the twelve tribes-the twelve sons in the family of Jacob, or Israel. The clear correspondence here to that truth made Joseph's brothers angry.
The woman cries in labor.This speaks of the nation of Israel as they groan. Ever since they were in Egypt, they have complained: Why is everyone against us? When God sent forth His Son to be born in Israel, it was a time of oppression at the hand of Rome. All of Creation groans awaiting redemption, and all women groan in childbirth.
The woman's exalted child can only be Jesus. He is the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15); He is of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10); He is the Star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17-19); He is God with us (Isaiah 7:14); and He is the Son of Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1).
The woman is cared for by God in the Tribulation hours. Only Israel is promised such care. It can't be the virgin Mary because she is gone. It is not the church because she is never supposed to hide for three and one-half years in the wilderness. It can't be Eve in the Garden of Eden because Eve is gone too. There is only one group of people who are going to be on earth with Satan chasing them during the Tribulation-a people clothed with the sun, moon, and stars-and that is Israel. What is amazing is that they are the only group of people for whom God has prepared a place in the wilderness to hide!
The Second Sign:
“a great, fiery red dragon."
Revelation 12:3 reveals that another sign appeared in heaven: . . . a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. This is an easy sign because Satan has been well identified throughout the Scriptures as the serpent, that old dragon, the devil. Satan is the author of the Fall (Genesis 3:14a), the prince of this world (John 12:31; see also 14:30 and 16:11), a murderer and a liar (John 8:44), and an adversary (1 Peter 5:8).
Now that we have identified the "fiery red dragon" as Satan, we must address the "seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads." The seven heads are later stated to be seven past kingdoms (Revelation 17:10) and the ten horns to be ten kings of the end times (17:12). This beast is quite similar to the one Daniel saw with one head and ten horns (Daniel 7:7, 20, 24).
As we close today's devotional, I exhort you to remain alert to Satan's mission: he aims "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy" you, so stay vigilant! Remember: that old serpent is a defeated foe, and if you resist him through the power of God's Word and His might, Satan will flee from you!
God shares His plan by opening all the end-time events to us through His servants like the Apostle John. Click here to consider these seven openings in heaven.
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