Now we get to an interesting chapter that takes a small bit of consideration to get the emphasis.
We see the sign of a woman clothed with the sun, standing on the moon, with a crown of 12 stars (v1). She groans with birth pangs (v2). A dragon is seen that throws down 1/3 of the stars of heaven, most likely the fallen angels (v3-4). This dragon, which we see to be Satan (v9), awaits to devour the male child (v5). This child will rule the nations with an iron rod. Before the dragon could devour him, the child is taken up into heaven (v6). The woman flees into the wilderness for a time of 1260 days—again, the duration of the war from 66-70 AD.
It doesn’t take much inference to know the male child is Jesus (Psalms 2:6,9). This might, on first thought, lead to the conclusion that the woman is Mary. However, we know that Mary fled with Jesus to escape Herod. Therefore, we would have to find another conclusion.
Jesus was taken up into heaven after his physical resurrection. As Paul states—He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Col 1:15). It would seem that the woman is representative of the new spiritual Jerusalem, Jesus being the firstborn of the new Kingdom.
Now we can begin piecing the other verses together with a clearer focus. We seem to be propelled back a slight bit to the dragon and his angels making war on heaven (v7). Verse 8 states the dragon and his angels losing and no place being found in heaven for them anymore. Here, we see that, like in Job 1:6-7 and Luke 10:18, Satan has some sort of access to heaven up until this point when he is cast out for good. In verse 9, we see he and his angels are thrown down to earth. We then see the inception of the Kingdom, the new Jerusalem, beginning to overtake that of the old one (v10), and that Satan is the one who has been accusing man before God night and day. Verse 11 shows that these early believers overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, even though it cost many their life. In verse 12, we see that Satan only has a short time now that he’s been kicked out.
We are now taken back to the woman (v13). Here, we see more hints of her representation, the New Jerusalem. The woman also seems to be representative of the first Jewish converts commissioned with the spreading of the Gospel. We can also see how this is another view point of the time period, but this time zooming out to a slightly wider time frame—from Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, through the epistles, and up to the time of the war starting in 66 AD. In verse 14, we see a repeat of verse 6 and again the time frame of the war. The dragon, not being able to attack the woman (v15-16), instead, goes after her other children (v17). This would seem to be those other Christians that didn’t flee Palestine, but instead, may have been prompted to stay in an effort to spread their testimony.
This chapter also references back to passages such as Genesis 3:15. Slowly, we begin to see much of the Bible come together in the book of Revelation. When studied in context instead of being presented as a threat, it can illuminate much of the rest of the Bible. Similarly, we see what we know today as the Church. Like in this chapter, it is both the body of believers (the children) and the bride of Christ (the woman). Though, like with the old Jerusalem, the children aren’t always such just because they vehemently claim to be because of an externally upheld rule set.
Even though we see a slight expansion of time as an overview from heaven (33-70 AD), we still haven’t seen any references to a far future relevance of these passages yet.
The rest of this series can be found here.