Several theories have been advanced about the Woman this “great sign” represents. Additional reasons are given below which we think prejudice alone could brush aside.  Interpreting this “great sign” as a pictorial (this term is unfortunate for a description of one of John’s visions, but we know of no better) representation of the fulfillment of the promise inherent in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”


          As to the question of who this Woman is, the most frequent answer is: “The visible is the church of Christ, and the man-child is the invisible or the spiritual church.  The spiritual church is not simply those professing to be Christians, but those who are heavenly-minded Christians.”  This woman, however, is “clothed with the sun” or Christ, the Sun of Righteousness,” clothes her.  No! She cannot be merely a professing, visible church contrasted with a spiritual body of believers.


          Besides, the professing, visible church will have fallen at the time Christ comes. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (when the Lord comes again) shall not come, except there come a falling away first” (II. Thessalonians 2:3). That fallen church is better represented in the “stars of heaven” which Satan casts to the earth (Revelation 12: 4).  That church will not be clothed with the sun as the Woman is but clothed in darkness. This Woman is in painful toil to accomplish bringing the man-child into the world. The apostate church will not be doing a work like this when Christ comes.  "Like" can only produce "like."  A nominal, merely professing, worldly church can never give birth to a spiritual, unworldly church.  At best, it could only persecute such a church out of its midst.


          Others say the Woman represents the Virgin Mary and the dragon is Herod, who sought to slay the infant Jesus.  The Woman’s flight into the wilderness represents Mary’s flight to Egypt.  How absurd since Mary fled with the Child in her arms.  The Child went into “the wilderness” as well, and it is nonsense to think of the literal Egypt of Mary’s day as a wilderness.


          Others claim the Woman represents Eve. From this standpoint, however, nothing can be made of the child-birth or the flight into the wilderness. Again, the

claim is made that the woman represents the Jewish church whereas the man-child represents the Christian church or Christ.  We ask, “When has the Jewish church labored and toiled to bring the Christian church into being? Also, in what sense was the Jewish church “clothed with the sun” at Christ’s birth?  Did not this Mother, if the Jewish church, devour her Child Jesus in that she compassed His crucifixion by the Romans? (1)


          Why this persistent effort to make the Woman represent a church? Is it because of Paul’s teachings regarding man’s duty to his wife being the same as Christ’s duty to His church? Or, is it because the word “church” happens to be a word of feminine gender? If for either or both reasons, then we ask: “When God began to fulfill this promise made to the woman in the garden of Eden by the birth of Jesus Christ (and His history since), did God recall that the Old Testament Israel or the Jewish church is represented as Jehovah’s wife or bride just as in the New, the church is so represented?  Did God recall the word “synagogue” is feminine in gender?  On these two facts, did He think it a sufficient fulfillment of His promise to keep reference in some manner to the Jewish church as such? Or, did He judge that a promise made in the presence of a literal woman, Eve, must be fulfilled to a literal woman, Mary, since it was made in reference to woman as distinguished from man?


          God most certainly began in the person of Jesus Christ to fulfill His promise in reference not just to woman but to literal womankind. Therefore, if this twelfth chapter of the Revelation is a symbolical representation of the fulfillment of the promise of Genesis 3:15, then the Woman of the “great sign” is womanhood--believing womanhood--not Eve alone, nor Mary.  Above all, the “great sign” is neither the crucifying Jewish church nor the apostate church.


Furthermore, repeating in part what was said in chapter 8, we ask: “At what point during the Gospel dispensation is opportunity left for the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy quoted on the day of Pentecost and related to women prophesying except here? That prophesying certainly comes before the “wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath.” If ever the Holy Spirit causes “your daughters” (Hebrew women) and “My handmaidens” (Gentile women) to prophesy, it must be during the dispensation which began at Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and closes when His restraining influence is removed (II. Thessalonians 2:7). Surely no one will claim this notable prophecy regarding women has yet been filled out full.


          Other prophecies beside Joel’s relate to the preaching of the Gospel, which certainly must take place before the Gospel ceases to be preached. To

mention but two: “The Lord giveth the word; the women that publish the tidings are a great host” (Psalm 68:11, R.V.). A distinct injunction is laid upon women to proclaim the deity of Jesus Christ and His lordship at the time of His second coming according to Isaiah 40: 9-10. The Revised Version corrects the grammar of the Authorized, reading: “O thou woman that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; “O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold the Lord God will come as a mighty one, and His arm shall rule for Him: Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Who is the thou” addressed here? It cannot be Zion or Jerusalem or Judah who is addressed as “thou” since these are the ones to whom the good tidings are to be told.


          Also, John the Baptist cannot be meant even though he is the subject of Isaiah 40: 3 because the person addressed in verses 9 and 10 is a female. Precisely the same reasons exist for translating “thou woman” here as “the women” in Psalm 68:11.  One and the same prophecy is expressed in different forms as Dr. Adam Clarke long ago demonstrated. In each case of the two passages, the original is a feminine participle of the Hebrew verbal form bisser, “to tell good tidings.”


          Zechariah 14:7 reads: “It shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD.”  Dr. Chambers, author of Lange’s Commentary on Ezekiel explains this verse as meaning: “The day shall be one in the sense of solitary, unique, peculiar. It is known to Jehovah; and by implication, to no one else in its true nature.” This interpretation agrees with the teaching in the margin, which gives the reference, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father only,” (Matthew 24:36).  Please look at the phrase  preceding this one we have quoted from Zechariah. In the A. V., it reads, “The light shall not be clear nor dark.”


          Several ancient versions have, by a corruption of the text, rendered: “There shall not be light and cold and ice.” Dr. Chambers translates, “It will not be light; the glorious shall withdraw themselves.” The English Revisers read: “The light shall not be with brightness and with gloom.”  The American R.V. renders: “There shall not be light: the bright ones shall withdraw themselves.”  It is particularly to Dr. Chambers’ rendering and the American R.V. that we would call attention. Who are these “glorious ”or “bright ones?” This word is feminine plural, and it is precisely the word and form used in Psalm 45:9 rendered “honorable women.”  Kings daughters are among Thy honorable women.”


          Therefore, we see no obstacle in believing that the “bright ones” or “bright and/or shining women” are the same as the “Woman clothed with the Sun” of Revelation 12:1 since Zechariah is writing of precisely this period of time-- unknown to anyone but Jehovah.


          Mysterious as the matter may seem, no one who recalls Daniel 10:13 will doubt the way might need to be cleared by the man-child with Michael in opposition to the translation of the general body of saints. Furthermore, considering the awful fate which awaits women who pass through the Tribulation at Jerusalem (Zechariah14:2), we see a reason why Christian men as well as God Himself would assist their flight from the city. These “honorable women” will “withdraw themselves” and be borne away to the wilderness on the wings of the Great Eagle.



1.  Others would teach the Woman is the Christian Church and the Child, Jesus Christ.  However, the Christian Church is the Child of Christ, not His mother.  (Hebrews 2:13).


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