An interesting chapter here. This chapter, to me, is telling the history of Israel – that is, “those who prevail with God” – in the spiritual and physical sense. And it’s the story of how we prevail with Christ as our Saviour. It’s His-story told in the stars – the only astrological story that we need to know. To examine this, let’s look at what the word Israel means. “Israel” is what God renamed Jacob in Genesis 32:28 after Jacob wrestled with God’s angel. It literally means "the prince who prevails with God", and that's the only way we can prevail in this earth, with
And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
The woman in the stars clothed with the sun (light), with the moon (darkness) under her feet, and with twelve stars (the patriarch angel princes of the twelve tribes of Israel) as a crown (at the head) is “Mother Israel”. That she was “with child and pained to be delivered” and that the dragon was waiting to eat up her child goes right back to God’s promise of the Messiah in the Garden of Eden, and embodies several periods in Israel’s history.
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; you shall go upon your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Unto the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your [toil] and your conception; in [pain] you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
[Notice that the serpent, the "dragon", has been placed under Christ's feet in the prophecy, that's the position where he bruises Christ's heel from.]
And it came to pass in the process of time that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried [like a woman in labour], and their cry came up unto God because of their [oppression].
Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in labour pains: for now shall you go forth out of the city, and you shall dwell in the field, and you shall go even to Babylon; there shall you be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
And there was one Anna, a prophetess… and she coming in [to the temple] that instant gave thanks also unto the Lord, and spoke of [the infant Jesus] to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
The figure also fulfills the purpose that stars were placed in the heavens – for signs and seasons:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth:” and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
The woman in the stars is clothed with God’s power to rule the day, and has power over the night, which is “under her feet”, being in subjection to her. And the stars (remember from chapter 1 that stars are angels) are on her crown, meaning that she has 12 princes at her head, and on her authority.
You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
~1 Thessalonians 5:5
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
The dragon in the sky has seven heads and ten horns like the first beast that comes up out of the sea in the coming chapters. As much as the woman in the sky is Mother Israel, symbolizing a people, and not a single person, so is this dragon. The dragon both embodies Satan, as John says later, but also his kingdom, his “seed” that was described above in Genesis 3, and his organization.
The fact that the dragon was ready to destroy the child as soon as it was born hearkens back to Pharaoh in the time of Moses, and to Herod in the time that Jesus was born. But it also speaks of Satan’s plan to corrupt the “woman’s seed” line to prevent the Messiah from coming at all. This is something that is not talked much about in most churches I’ve been to. (In fact one pastor I knew said he didn’t believe this was a literal part of the Bible at all.) But this is described in Genesis 6, in the events that preceded another deliverer – Noah – when the “sons of God” – angels – “left their first estate” (Jude 1:6) and began to have children with humans, who were an abomination to God. It corrupted the seed line. And Noah was described as being “perfect in his generations” (“tamiym” in his “dowr” = of a pure pedigree) and did not have a corrupted seed line (therefore, he could carry on the promise made of the Messiah in the Garden). It shows that Satan is not an idiot, and can roughly see when major messianic events are taking place, though he may interpret them incorrectly.
The dragon’s tail draws a third of the stars to himself, and cast them to the earth. This hearkens back to when those angels came to corrupt the human seedline in Genesis 6, and also the influx that happened after (Genesis 6:4), again to corrupt the seed line, from which Goliath was born. Note that these things happen before
Christ was born in the history in Revelation 12, that is before the child is born Who is quite obviously, literally Christ, and not a symbol for Christianity itself. (Neither "Christianity", nor the church, were "caught up to God, and to His throne", only Christ Himself was.)
The child born is Christ – as denoted by the reference to Psalm 2:9. Being caught up to God and His throne is the ascension after the resurrection. Then the woman remains until the time that she shall be dispersed to the wilderness as warned by Jesus would need to take place in the end times:
When you shall, therefore, see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whosoever reads it, let him understand:) then let they who are in Judaea flee into the mountains…
This dispersion is of the Church, the true “Israel” – those who have faith in God, keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (as stated later in the chapter).
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed [which was Israel], and heirs according to the promise.
Satan is cast out of heaven, and goes to make war with the woman. And the woman is given two wings of a great eagle. These are the two witnesses described in Revelation 11, who cover and protect the elect (as the cherubims surrounding the ark would protect the mercy seat) – and help them to live in the wilderness for the three and a half year period. The dragon sends a flood (of lies) out of his mouth after the woman, and the earth (those on the earth) consume it, but it doesn’t harm the woman.