Summary: 1st of nine messages set in Revelation 12
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.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
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.
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.
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. Revelation 12:1-6
The Woman, The Child and the Dragon, Part I
Today we return to our verse by verse study of Revelation after a seven month hiatus. As we have discussed before, Revelation is not the easiest book in the Bible to interpret, but it is the only one that promises a blessing to those that read (or teach) and those that hear it's message (1:3). With that in mind, lets get back into our study.
We enter into a section of Revelation that is largely symbolic in nature. Dispensationalists like myself interpret the Bible literally, taking the Word of God at face value. That being said, we also allow in our interpretation imagery found in poetry, symbolism, similes and metaphors and other literary devices. We are accused, sadly, of departing from our roots of literal interpretation in some of the sections of Revelation. However, what we seek to do is to "let the Bible interpret the Bible", and also remember that God made literal promises to the nation of Israel that He will never break.
The late Dr. J. Vernon McGee in his Thru The Bible Commentary, stated "An outstanding and very intellectual minister years ago made the statement: "If you tell me your interpretation of the woman in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, then I'll tell you your interpretation of prophecy." At the time, I thought he was foolish, but I have come to agree with him."
Sadly, what I have found is that often theologians often "put the cart before the horse" in interpretation. What do I mean by that? They will use their theological model dictate what a certain passage says no matter how wild and crazy it may be. We will see, in the next few weeks, how this is indeed the case.
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. Rev 12:1 (NKJV)
Just Who Is This Woman? Part I
"If you tell me your interpretation of the woman in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, then I'll tell you your interpretation of prophecy." We saw this quote by Dr. J. Vernon McGee and these first two verses are the "pebble in the theological pond" that carries interpretive ripples throughout the entire canon of Scripture. It all comes down to one question: "Just who is this woman?
Before we get started on just whom this woman actually is, let's make it clear that a faulty view of the identity of this woman does not necessarily mean that a person that holds that view is going to Heaven or Hell. Yes, there are some crazy views are heretical and are not of God we must be quite careful in making such a statement that a persons view on this particular section of scripture or even a person's eschatology (view of the end times) does not necessarily determine their eternal destination.
We see above that this "woman" is one of four different women in Revelation:
Jezebel: Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20 NKJV) Jesus dictates this message to the church of Thyatira to John. The woman is not actually Jezebel, the infamous wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:30-31) who led the nation of Israel astray into worshiping the false god Baal. This is, instead, a woman whose teaching and lifestyle was corrupting the church of Thyatira. Judgment from God was imminent to those that followed her, called "her children', making this real woman a figurative Jezebel "mother" to them.
The Harlot: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Revelation 17:1-2 (NKJV) We will study chapter 17 in a few months Lord willing, but I will tell you in advance that this "harlot" is a false religious system that is a tool used by Antichrist, and not a literal person.