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Revelation 12:1-6 – A Vision of a Woman, a Child, and a Dragon

Summary

Symbols depict the threats that face the people of God. Nevertheless, God continues to nourish the church in the face of opposition from Satan, who is represented by the dragon.

Analysis

The woman clothed with the sun represents the people of God. She has traits that come from many different times and places. Like Eve, she has pain in giving birth and is confronted by a serpent (Genesis 3). Like Israel, she is initially pictured as a woman in labor and later as one who is carried on eagle's wings to a place of refuge in the wilderness (Isaiah 26:17; Exodus 19:4). Like Mary, she gives birth to the Messiah, yet she also symbolizes the whole Christian church (Revelation 12:5, 17). The story begins in heaven, where the woman appears with a crown of stars on her head, yet it leads into the wilderness as she is persecuted by Satan. Nevertheless, the woman experiences the saving power of God in the wilderness. Since the woman symbolizes the whole people of God, her story offers assurance that God can also meet others who suffer threats from evil in the same way.

Revelation 12:1-6

The Woman and the Dragon

12A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth. 3Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule* all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

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10 February 2011

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