Who is the Woman in Revelation 12?

After John sees the doors to the heavenly temple opened, a great sign appeared in heaven. The vision in Revelation 12 describes a war in heaven followed by a war on earth. The dragon attacks a woman and her child, forcing her to flee into the wilderness for a period of time where she will be protected by God.

Revelation 12 has been described as being “consciously or nor, considered as the center and key to the entire book” (Prigent, Apocalypse 12, 1, cited by Beale 621). The description of the woman is highly symbolic as if John describing with words. This is certainly the case in Revelation 17 although it is less clear in chapter 12.

Woman with Gragon, Bamburg

The first great sign is a pregnant woman “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” The second sign is a “great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems” who makes war in heaven and is cast down to the earth. The description of the great red dragon with multiple heads and crowns is familiar to readers of Daniel. (I plan on discussing the war in heaven in a separate section.)

The woman is clothed in the sun, feet on the moon and has a crown of twelve stars. The number twelve calls to mind the regular use of twelve in the Old Testament for the sons of Jacob and the twelve tribes comprising the nation of Israel. In Genesis 37 the sun and moon represent Jacob and Rachel in Joseph’s dream. Song of Songs 6:10 describes the bride’s beauty as like the moon and sun. Greg Beale surveys a range of rabbinic literature which interprets Song of Songs 6:10 faithful Israel (Beale, Revelation, 625 citing Midrash Rab Exod. 15.6; Num 2.4, Num 9:14).

Who is the woman and her child? As with most things in Revelation, there have been a wide range of views from the Egyptian goddess Isis (the “queen of the cosmos,” (Yarbro Collins, Combat Myth, 71–76) to the American Revolutionary War and Civil War (Alan Johnson, “The Bible and War in America: An Historical Survey,” JETS 28 (1985): 169-181).

The two most common views take the woman as a symbol for either Israel or the church. That the woman represents the church has been a common view in the history of the church. of the woman is that she represents the church, since her offspring are attacked by the power of the beast. Medieval commentators often interpreted the woman as Mary and the child as Christ.

For many writers these are not mutually exclusive. Mounce, for example, observes there is one continuous people of God through redemptive history, so it should not be a surprise the imagery refers to both Israel and the church (Mounce, Revelation, 236). However, since this is a Jewish Christian apocalypse, an emphasis on the Jewish-ness of this image is important.

The woman represents the Jewish people as the persecuted people of God and her child is the Messiah. The metaphor of Israel or Zion as husband to the Lord is common (Hosea 1-3; Isa 54:1-55; Jer 3:20; Ezek 16:8-14). In Isaiah 49 Zion believes she has been abandoned by her husband; her children scattered throughout the word (in the exile). The Lord restores her children (the end of the exile) and tells her to “expand her tents” because so many children will return to her (54:2-8) and her marriage is restored (Isa 62:1-5). Isaiah 62:1-5 may be important for understanding the imagery of Revelation 12. When Zion is restored, she will be given a new name and she will be like a crown of splendor and a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord (Isa 62:3).

The woman gives birth to a son. John describes this child with allusions to several messianic texts from the Old testament. In Isaiah 66:7 Zion goes into labor and gives birth to a son. The time before the messianic ages is often described as birth pangs. For example, Jesus said the non-signs leading up to the final conflagration were birth (Matthew 24:8; cf., Paul. 1 Thessalonians 5:3). The child will “rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” This is clear allusion to Psalm 2:9, a text regularly interpreted as messianic in the Second Temple period.

The child was “snatched up to God and to his throne.” This seems like a clear allusion to the ascension. But there are problems with that interpretation. The child is born, threatened by the dragon, and then immediately snatched to heaven. It seems strange a Christian apocalypse would not make some reference to the cross and resurrection. In addition, this “snatching” rescues from the power of the dragon. After the resurrection, Jesus did not need to be rescued, he had already overcome the powers of evil. It is possible, however, the birth and ascension refer to the totality of Jesus’s mission.

The word translated “caught up” (ESV) or “snatched” (NIV is the aorist passive of ἁρπάζω. The word refers to rescue from danger with the connotation of a sudden, violent pulling away, “in such a way that no resistance is offered” (BDAG). Although Paul the word in 1 Thessalonians 4 17, the catching away of the child in Revelation 12 does not refer to the rapture of the church.

18 thoughts on “Who is the Woman in Revelation 12?

  1. The Woman = Jerusalem above, mother of us all.
    Galatians 4:26 KJV: But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

  2. Completely wrong! The Woman in Revelation 12:1 is the Ark of the new and everlasting Covenant. She is the Immaculate Conception and the Woman that appeared to the three Shepard children at Fatima Portugal as witnessed by the miracle of the sun.

    Even hardened atheist and Freemasons admit this was a “great sign in Heaven” ( The Woman cloaked with the Sun…). It is important to note that St. John recorded his prophecy with the commission from The Holy Spirit and was in fact indicating some future event that was foretold to him That event was the revolution of the Counter Church aka Vatican II and the Woman listed is The Holy Mother of God affectionately known as Mother Maria. Vatican II it should be clear by now is the Whore of Babylon and not repeat; not the Traditional and Apostolic Holy Roman Catholic Church. Vatican II is a mish-mash of any and all heretical beliefs from Judaism to Protestantism. And the European Union is the Beast, The great red dragon is China, and the woman riding the beast is the counter church.

    Always remember Jesus spoke prophecy during His life i.e. before His death and resurrection. Then He spoke via His lawful Church which before Vatican II was the Traditional Holy Roman Catholic Church. Read St Matthew 16:16 and beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing such as is this site!

  3. I have DID/PTSD. I’m a dreamer. Similar to the star of Bethlehem when nothing really happened until years later when Jesus began his ministry the same thing happened on September 23, 2017. Nothing happened. This coming March 2021 is when the woman’s time in the wilderness expires and so like Jesus’s appearance years later after the star of Bethlehem will something be acknowledged to us all this coming March? As for the woman and child I believe there was a real woman and child here on earth and evil man wanted to take the child and so God snatched the child’s life lets say leaving evil man with just a deceased child’s flesh. This coming March I wonder will a forerunner for Jesus’s second return appear. Somebody like John the Baptist with the power of Elijah but unlike John the Baptist the forerunner will come with a sword.

  4. Wow. Ima need to smoke another joint and read that again. Great ride, man.

  5. In all actuality, no one knows the truth besides the woman. She is the most important sign. Everyone else just confuses the situation. Just because you think you know does not mean you know. Let her come and tell her own story. Only then will the truth be told about the whole Bible. This is what makes her such a great sign. She is hidden in plain sight and has all the answers. The Word GOD reveals her. She is exalted through out the world in a way your minds nor eyes are able to let you see . She will reveal the truth. In other words she will come and point us in the right direction. She is making herself ready right now. She is the spirit and the bride which is an actual woman that is the spirit of GOD in the flesh. Wisdom is what she was she now has a new name.

  6. The woman is here on earth. In 2017 she went on the internet now she’s on Youtube. Its true she knows whats going on and man complicates things cuz he’s stuck on his rights in the world, ego is mans personal god. The male child is called this cuz all minds delivered from darkness are male in essence called to be raised up a Christ with the Lord and Jesus is the only way, this is what the second coming is all about going the way with Jesus and coming into the Fathers presence. No one understood. A child is liken to as servant. The ego is the collective dragon who seeks to devour the flesh thinking if he eats then he will be like. She’s on Youtube Holy Spirit_Wisdom of Christ

  7. Its true. She’s on Youtube, not like a guru, she’s speaking plainly “Holy Spirit_Wisdom of Christ’

  8. This woman is “clothed with the sun,” has the moon under her feet, and has a crown on her head (Rev. 12:1). The woman is pregnant and about to give birth (12:2). A dragon attempts to eat her child, the child that “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (12:5). This woman appears to be the mother of Jesus as the child who will rule the nations, is Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Satan, who is the dragon (12:9), constantly tries to destroy the coming seed of the Messiah. This is seen when Satan persuaded king Herod to exterminate all Jewish children under the age of two, at this happens twice within the Scriptures, once when Herod tries to kill all the Israeli babies (Exod. 1:7-14), and when Herod tried to kill the boy Messiah (Matt. 2:16). This theme of trying to kill the baby Messiah, is common throughout the entire Bible. Thus, after reading Revelation 12, along with studying the remainder of the Scriptures, one lands at the conclusion that this woman in Revelation 12 is the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene.
    Within Revelation, Mary is one of the best examples or analogies for the Church and the Body of Christ. This is seen as she serves God without question. Within all the scriptures, Mary is never portrayed as a negative character, she is always faithful to God and stands strong in the face of adversity.

  9. The women in Revelation, is but yet another sign. As we talked about in class it is important to read Revelation just as you would another book, looking for the literal and figurative meanings of the text, and interpreting them to the best of your knowledge. As mentioned before, the book of Revelation is far out of my comfort zone, in regard to understanding biblical culture. This passage about the woman is no different. One thing I appreciated about the post, and I am inclined to agree, was the connection of the woman back to the Church, or Israel.When thinking of the many things personified as women throughout the whole of scripture the Church is probably the most well known. The Church is considered the bride of Christ, in one example, and a woman with children in another. Israel, as has been personified as a woman, as has wisdom. “The two most common views take the woman as a symbol for either Israel or the church. That the woman represents the church has been a common view in the history of the church” (Long, 2020) For someone not as familiar with the setting and culture within Revelation 12, it is easy to look to these two examples. They flow best with the knowledge that I had gained throughout the Bible as a whole, and therefore make the most sense to me. I don’t have the expertise to necessarily claim one over the other, both Israel and the Church seem to fit. Israel a little more so alluding to the crown with the stars. Both symbols hold meaning, therefore both theories seem to hold water.

  10. I think Biblically, it makes sense that the Woman in Revelation 12 is probably Israel. There are many sound examples given throughout the Old and New Testament that point to Israel. For example, Israel all throughout Scriptures were symbolized as a woman (Ezekiel 16:6-12, Lamentations 1:1-7, Isaiah 54:6-7) and other nations such as Babylon were also referred to as a woman (Isiah 47:1-15). Furthermore, as the Revelation 12:2 says, “She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth”. If the Woman is Israel, then Micah 5:2 says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, who origins are from old, from ancient times”. Other Scripture references that prophecy that out of Israel will come a Son (Jesus the Messiah) include Genesis 12:3, Hosea 11:1, and Isaiah 7:14. It also makes sense since there were 12 tribes of Israel, the Woman represents Israel because there were 12 stars and out of one tribe came the Son. Finally, another point to make is that the sun and the moon were representative of the dream that Joseph had in Genesis 37. Out of Joseph’s father Jacob, came the 12 tribes of Israel, or the 12 stars in Revelation 12. In all, I think Scripturally and logically it makes sense that the Woman is probably the nation of Israel.

  11. Based on your blog post, I agree that it makes sense for the woman to represent the Jewish people and the child as the Messiah. More specifically, it could refer to Mary and Jesus, or it could be both. Many Jewish writings predict the future that is coming soon and the future that is still far off. 1 Chronicles 17:12-14 is an example of this. God promises that David’s line will rule over Israel, and that is fulfilled with the kings who are faithful to God. However, it also refers to Jesus ruling God’s Kingdom forever as the Son of God and fulfilled to him as well (Heb 1:5). Both can be true. As for the child in this Revelation passage being “snatched up”, it may not be about the ascension of Christ, but rather the resurrection of Christ. In Colossians, Christ is referred to as “the firstborn of all creation” and “the firstborn of the dead” (Col 1:15, 18). Perhaps Christ is “snatched up” when “the Spirit of [God] … raised Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11). If the woman does represent the Jewish people, they may have “given birth” to Christ by killing him, at which point Satan was eager to devour him. However, rather than be devoured by Satan, he is snatched up by the Spirit of God and brought back to life. This is not to say that Christ is not powerful enough, but that God works within Himself to accomplish his goals. I am sure that this idea also has many flaws, but it seems that the woman referred to is the Jewish people and that the child is Christ.

  12. When reading about the woman in Revelation it is difficult to understand what the woman represents. However, a few things about the symbol of the woman do seem to be clear. Her offspring are hated by satan and he wants to destroy her male child “who will rule the nations with an iron scepter” and he is snatched up to God’s throne, and all of her offspring are at risk of suffering because of the dragon’s anger. It is also important to recognize that the woman is protected and sheltered by God for a time of 1260 days in the wilderness, and the earth is on the woman’s side against the dragon as it swallows up a river made by the dragon’s mouth to destroy her. There are also some things that are important to recognize about the dragon. The dragon is kicked out of heaven by the holy angels from the start of the story, and it seems that while he causes destruction like tearing down a third of the stars, and seeking to destroy the woman, the dragon never actually accomplished anything. Even the earth swallows us the waters, which is interesting considering that “he was not strong enough” to stay in heaven against the angels, and then on earth his power is limited. God has his boundary of protection for the woman, and the earth even rejects his plot to whisk the woman away in the waters by swallowing the flood. The serpent who is satan is, according to 1 Peter 5:8, “ Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). It seems that while we might not know exactly who the woman is, that there is a parallel to the church and offspring of the woman who the serpent in the story is trying to devour also.

  13. This is an interesting blog about the woman in Revelation 12. I do not know where to start, after reading this post. As soon I was reading, I was beginning to wonder what the woman’s name is until I read who she was. In the beginning of Revelation 12, how it talked about the great wonder in heaven and the woman was clothes and had 12 stars on her crown. She is pregnant, traveling while she was in pain about to delivered. Verse 3 had talked about a great red dragon that had seven heads and ten horn and was wearing a crown. The dragon stood before the woman that was about to delivered and was about to the child when it was about to be born. I thought the woman is interprets as Mary and the child as Christ, but it was different. “The woman represents the Jewish people as the persecuted people of God and her child is the Messiah” (Long, 2020). I am having trouble understanding the interpretation in Revelation 12. The child is born. Is threatened by the dragon, and then the child was taken right away to heaven. This does sound strange in a Christian apocalypse that would not refer to the cross and resurrection. Jesus dying on the cross, was not rescued because He had the power to overcome the evils. The word “snatched” is refer to as rescuing from danger. I am having a hard time of understanding of what is so special about this child that the dragon wants to eat it? I guess that the child has a strong power.

  14. To Kat. I agree what you stated, however, the Virgin Mary, mother of Christ, is not Mary Magdalene. The mother of Jesus is called the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). Mary Magdalene is the disciple of Jesus who saw Jesus outside the cave when He resurrected.

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