Revelation Chapter 12:1
Revelation 12:1 – 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.
At the end of Revelation 11, the Ark of the Covenant appeared as a sign in Heaven to the Jews as a reminder of God’s covenant with them. This concluded the first of two interludes that cover additional events that will occur in the last half of the Tribulation. Recall from the “Revelation Introduction,” an interlude gives us more information or a different perspective to the narrative. In other words, an interlude is a background story to the narrative, with clear indications that each interlude reaches back or forward in time, and generally returns to where the primary narrative left off.
The interlude that begins in chapter 12 opens with a history lesson in the form of signs or symbols that explain why God will protect and save a Jewish remnant during the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. This Jewish remnant will enter the Kingdom Age after the Tribulation under the “new covenant” through Christ (Hebrews 8), rendering the ark of the covenant’s purpose obsolete:
Verses 1-2: Chapters 12 to 14 are explanatory prophecies that describe some of the major personages and movements of the latter half of the Tribulation period. The “woman” represents Israel, and her “child” is Christ, the Messiah (compare 12:5; Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 66:7-8; Micah 5:2; Rom. 9:4-5).
Although (chapter 11:15), records the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the effects it produces are not described until chapters 15 through 18. Chapters 12 to 14 restates or summarizes that same period, but describing events from Satan’s vantage point. Including taking the readers back to the original rebellion as Satan is cast to the earth along with one third of the angels (demons).
The woman is not the church, since the church did not bring forth Christ, but rather He brought forth the church. Her identification as the persecuted Jewish saints clearly proves that the church is not on earth during the Tribulation period. The “sun” depicts her as God’s chosen nation. The “moon under her feet” alludes to God’s promise of dominion, and the “crown of twelve stars” pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. The “birth” pains refer to the period before the birth of Christ when Israel was waiting for redemption by the Messiah (compare Rom. 8:22-23).
Jeremiah 3:16, 31-33 – “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the LORD, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore…. Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
The first sign in our history lesson is a woman who appears in heaven, clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and a garland or crown of twelve stars on her head. Jacob interprets this sign for us:
Genesis 37:5, 9-10 – Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more…. Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven starsbowed down to me.” So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?”
Jacob reveals that the sun, moon, and twelve stars, with Joseph being the twelfth star, represent his family members. The sun represents Jacob, who God renamed Israel (Genesis 32:28). Joseph’s mother Rachel died before he had his dream about the sun moon and stars (Genesis 35:19). This means that the moon in Joseph’s dream stood for Leah, the assumed matriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel. The moon cycle also marks the months of the year and aligns with the average woman’s menstrual cycle, so it makes sense that the moon represents a woman. The stars represent Jacob’s sons and twelve tribes of Israel. Therefore, the sign of the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon at her feet, and twelve stars on her head represent the nation Israel, which began with Jacob and his family.
The sun clearly represents Jacob in the sign, but the sun also represents God in Scipture. The woman clothed in the sun may allude to God’s protection and preservation of Israel, and His righteousness:
Psalms 84:11 – For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Malachi 4:2 – But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.
The moon is under the feet of the sign of the woman. Putting something under the feet shows subjugation and dominion (1 Corinthians 15:27-28, Hebrews 2:4-8). Since the woman is clothed with the sun, the moon is invisible because it is close to the sun in its new phase. The sun rules the day and the moon rules the night (Psalms 136:8-9). Thus, the moon is subject to the sun, succumbing to its brightness in the sign of the woman.
The garland on the head of the woman is the Greek word “stephanos,” which is a victor’s crown, as discussed in Revelation 6:2. This crown also shows glory and honor:
Hebrews 2:4-8 – God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will. For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
As we will see in Revelation 12:5, the woman will give birth to a child who will rule the nations after he defeats His enemies. This child is the Messiah, who will receive glory and honor (Revelation 4:9-11), and rule with dominion over Israel forever on the throne of David:
Isaiah 9:6-7 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Jeremiah 33:15-21 – ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ” And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers.
So we see that the sign of the woman in the heavens points to the birth of the Messiah through the nation Israel. Incidentally, the sign of the woman also appears in heaven as a constellation in the sky. God even said that one of the purposes for creating the luminaries was for them to act as “signs”:
Genesis 1:14 – Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years….
Luke 21:25 – “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars….”
God also said that the ordinances of the sun, moon and stars are a faithful witness to His promise to preserve the seed of Israel beyond exile and the seed of David through the Messiah eternally, which is interesting since the sign of the woman in the heavens represents the nation Israel who brought forth the Messiah:
Jeremiah 31:35-37 – Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the LORD.
Psalms 89:35-37 – Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah
God gave the stars names, and ordered the constellations, some of which He refers to specifically by name:
Psalms 147:4 – He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.
Amos 5:8 – He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the LORD is His name.
Job 9:7-9 – He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea; He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south….
Job 38:31-33 – “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?”
God refers to the Mazzaroth when He points out several constellations to Job. Many believe that the Mazzaroth refers specifically to the twelve constellations that make up the Zodiac. The constellations in the Zodiac follow a path on the ecliptic centered belt of the celestial sphere as viewed from the earth. Each constellation in the Zodiac can only be seen for a season, like the Mazzaroth in Job 38:32, giving support that the Mazzaroth and Zodiac are one in the same. The Zodiac and other constellations along with the sun, moon, and other luminaries declare the glory of God because they “reveal knowledge” as they follow their paths, or lines across the celestial sphere:
Psalms 19:1-6 – To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
This knowledge is not uttered in speech or language, but in signs. The Bible explains what these signs mean. As already shown, Jacob explained that the sign of the woman represents Israel. The sign of the woman is found in the sky periodically in one of the constellations of the Zodiac. Before showing which constellation is the sign of the woman, it is important to first explain the history of the Zodiac to avoid confusion and stem objection over a topic that is typically considered taboo by many Christians.
While God created the Mazzaroth and the rest of the luminaries to reveal knowledge, Satan and his fallen angels took that knowledge and perverted it into what we call astrology, which is a form of divination that uses the stars to try to interpret or influence human affairs (Isaiah 47:12-14). History shows that nearly all pagan religions used astrology, worshipped the host of heaven, and believed the luminaries symbolized these deities. However, these deities are really false gods:
Deuteronomy 4:19-20 – And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.
God allowed the Gentile nations to follow the perverted message in the luminaries, but He brought Israel out of this perversion to follow Him instead of the false gods. God also commissioned Israel to reveal His Word through the Scriptures:
Romans 3:1-2 – What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.
Thus, God’s message revealed in the luminaries is also found in the oracles of God, or the Word of God. In other words, God revealed knowledge through signs in the sky before He chose Israel to share that knowledge through His written Word to the world. Incidentally, some see parallels between the twelve constellations in the Zodiac and the twelve tribes of God’s chosen nation (source). On that note, it is interesting that God revealed to Abraham that some of his offspring would become God’s chosen nation by pointing to the stars in heaven, which fits with God revealing knowledge to man through the heavens before moving men to pen His written Word later in history:
Genesis 15:3-5 – Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
Though the original message became corrupted, the heavenly signs are still in the sky. There have been several authors who have attempted to reconstruct the original message with the assumption that Satan peppers the truth with lies, meaning that there is still truth within the corrupted message. (Click here for more on these authors.) Interestingly, though the reconstructed details differ among authors, the consensus of these authors show that the redemption story of man is clearly found in the Zodiac.
The following chart shows a summary of the possible reconstructed meanings in the signs of the Zodiac, with the redemptive story unfolding through the first advent of the Messiah, the new covenant, and the second advent of the Messiah:
|A virgin with a branch in her right hand and an ear of corn or seed in her left hand.||The Messiah is the Branch (Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15), who sits at the “right hand” of God making intercession for believers (Romans 8:34), who was born of the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15) – a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23).|
|Scales, a pair of balances for weighing.||The Messiah paid the price with His blood to reconcile all things (Colossians 1:20).|
|A scorpion who inflicts the sting of death.||Serpents and scorpions represent the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). The sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:56).|
|A horse with the head of a man with a bow and arrow pointed toward the scorpion.||A horse is associated with battle (Job 39:19-25, Proverbs 21:31). The power of God’s enemies are represented by serpents and scorpions (Luke 10:19). Christ conquered the sting of death and His enemies through His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).|
|Head of a goat that is dying with a tail of a fish still swimming.||A goat was sacrificed as a sin offering (Leviticus 16:15-16). The Messiah took away the need to make sin offerings by His sacrifice – His death, burial, and resurrection, which made it possible to obtain eternal life through the “new covenant” (Hebrews 10).|
|A man pouring out a container of water.||The Redeemer poured out His Spirit like water on believers on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-18) and He will again pour out His Spirit on Israel (Isaiah 44:3) and all flesh (Joel 2:28) at the end of the Tribulation.|
|Two fish||The apostles were fishers of men (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17) first to the Jews and later to the Gentiles. The Messiah will multiply the number of believers like the two fish that fed the five thousand (Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:36-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:7-13).|
|A ram or a lamb||The Messiah is the Lamb who was slain to redeem mankind (John 1:29, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Revelation 5:6), pictured in the ram who took the place of Isaac when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22:13).|
|A wild ox||The Lord consumes His enemies like a wild ox (Numbers 24:8, Psalms 92:9-10).|
|Twins – one mortal the other immortal||The Messiah is dual in nature, having the fullness of God in a mortal human body (John 1:1 & 14, Colossians 2:9).|
|A crab taking a firm hold with its claws||The Messiah has a permanent hold on His sheep (John 10:26-29).|
|A lion standing on the serpent constellation Hydra the sea serpent||The lion is the king of the beasts. The Messiah is the lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) and the King of kings (Revelation 19:16), who will crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).|
|Sources: J.R. Church (Gospel in the Stars), Lambert Dolphin (Signs in the Stars), Philologos (1, 2), Parablesblog (1, 2, 3), Chuck Missler (Sign in the Heavens), Oakview Bible Fellowship (Virgo, Libra,Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo).|
Today, the Zodiac begins with Aries and ends with Pisces. However, the sphinx in Egypt, shown to the right, has the head of a woman and a body of the lion, which suggests that the ancients believed the Zodiac began with Virgo and ended with Leo. In light of the redemption message, it makes sense to begin with Virgo and end with Leo – the Messiah came first through the virgin and established the new covenant (Galatians 4:4-5), and He will return to redeem the earth as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” after He opens the sealed “purchase deed” to the earth:
Matthew 1:21-23 – And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Revelation 5:5, 8-9 – But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals…..” Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation….”
The constellation Virgo appears in the sky in the late summer to early fall, during the Lord’s fall feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. However, Virgo only periodically appears clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet. Interestingly, there is scriptural evidence to support the conclusion that Jesus was born in the fall during the time of the fall feasts (source). Rick Larson, author of the “The Star of Bethlehem,” believes that several signs in the sky pointed to the time of Jesus’ birth in 3BC (click here for video). One of the signs was the constellation Virgo on September 11th, 3BC, during the new moon, which is the date that the Jews observed the Feast of Trumpets that year. On that day, the moon was at Virgo’s feet and the sun “clothed” the constellation and the moon with light, making Virgo and the moon invisible to the naked eye:
The sign of the woman also includes a garland of twelve stars on her head. Virgo itself does not have twelve stars in the constellation to account for this garland on her head. However, there are twelve prominent stars above the head of Virgo and beneath Leo that form a rough circle, if you include the star in the head of the constellation. It is possible that this crown of stars was part of the original constellation before it became corrupted:
Some also speculate that the constellation Coma Berenices once represented the garland of stars above Virgo’s head. However, there are not twelve visibly well-defined stars in the Coma Berenices – there are only a few bright stars, but hundreds of faint stars. Also, Coma Berenices is to the left of Virgo and not above her head:
Another possibility is that something else appeared in the sky above Virgo’s head in 3BC. Comet Shoemaker-Levy broke into twenty-one fragments before hitting Jupiter in 1994, so it is possible that a comet or other heavenly body broke up into twelve pieces above the head of Virgo when the sign of the woman appeared in heaven in 3BC.
The mystery of the crown aside, it is clear that the sign of the woman is a physical sign in the heavens, and this sign shows that the Messiah would come through the nation Israel. This sign also appeared in the sky during the time that Jesus Christ was likely born. As we will see in the next section, the Messiah physically came as the seed of the woman through Israel, as shown in the sign of the woman, but due to their disobedience, the nation suffered in travail before the promised child of redemption was born
“Wonder”: A symbol pointing to something else. This is the first of 7 signs in the last half of the Great Revelation (compare verses 3; 13:13-14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20).
“A woman”: Not an actual woman, but a symbolic representation of Israel, pictured in the Old Testament as the wife of God (Isa. 54:5-6; Jer. 3:6-8; 31:32; Ezek. 16:32; Hosea 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.
The woman represents Israel, and her child is Christ; the Messiah (12:5; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 66:7.8; Micah 5:2; Romans 9:4-5).
“Clothed with the sun … moon under her feet … twelve stars” (compare 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 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:4; 8:13; Ezra 3:5; Psalm 81:3). The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
The sun reflects redeemed Israel’s unique glory, brilliance and dignity because of her exulted status and shows her as God’s chosen nation.
The moon under her feet alludes to God’s promise of dominion, and the crown of twelve stars’ pictures royalty and relates to the 12 tribes of Israel. Go to (Genesis 37:9-11), and read about the dream Joseph had about the sun, moon and 11 stars which were bowing down to Joseph (who was the 12th).
Though this scene opens in heaven, it will quickly move to the earth.
image courtesy : toirhruv.com
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.