Revelation; The Woman in Heaven

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posted on May, 23 2010 @ 01:11 PM
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I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation ch12 vv1-6.

I'll be focussing on the first of the "great portents" appearing in heaven, the woman seen in the middle of giving birth.

I'm going to be asking the question; who is this woman?

But the logical starting point, even so, must be the identity of the child.

We are told;
That the child is born.
That the child is male.
That he is to "rule the nations with a rod of iron"
And, finally, that he is then "caught up to God and to his throne".

Anyone who knows the gospels can recognise the basic outline of the story. The reference to the "rod of iron" comes from one of the psalms, where it belongs to an anointed king about whom the Lord has just said "You are my son, today I have begotten you."- Psalm 2 v7.
We can hardly identify the child as anyone other than Christ himself.

(And if this passage relates to the birth of Christ, it appears to be what a modern film director would call a "flashback" scene, interrupting the main flow of the story to fill in some of the background)

Who, then, is the mother?

There are two main schools of thought, so this is really going to be a matter of choosing sides.

On the one hand, there's a more literal approach, as favoured by the Roman Catholic Church. "If the child is Jesus, then the mother must be Mary". So the passage becomes part of their teaching about the Blessed Virgin, and the details of the picture become part of Catholic iconography.

On the other hand, there's a more symbolic approach. We can find materials for that in the passage itself. We can compare what we learn with the description of the "great Harlot" in ch17. And we can find further clues in some of the Old Testament prophecies.

Placed in Heaven

The very first thing John tells us in this chapter is that the woman is "clothed with the sun", that she has the moon at her feet, and that she has a crown of twelve stars on her head.
This ought to be reminding us of one of Joseph's dreams, when the sun and the moon and eleven stars were understood as meaning his parents and his brothers. It would appear that this woman has the whole family of Israel surrrounding her.

The symbolic meaning of numbers is always very important in Revelation.

The woman is carrying "12" stars, and "12" is the number which points us towards the presence of God's people, based on the 12 brothers themselves and on the traditional 12 tribes of Israel.

The woman is "clothed with the sun", where people have seen a reference to the face of Christ in ch1 v16, "shining in full strength".

And the moon is at her feet. If the moon stood for Rachel in the original dream, then the implication of the subjection is that Rachel is being displaced as "mother of Israel", and that the version of God's people which she represents is being displaced.

Putting all these details together, it seems to me that the woman in this passage is primarily a symbolic figure, that she represents God's people; a newer version of God's people, focussed upon Christ himself.

The woman who is not the "great Harlot"

This lady and the "great Harlot" of ch17 are one of the "contrasting pairs" of Revelation. I don't need to examine the Harlot in any detail- just enough to throw some light on the present passage.

The figure of the adultress is one of the running themes of Old Testament prophecy, found in Hosea ch2, for example, and in Ezekiel ch16. The point is that she's a metaphorical figure, standing for spiritual infidelity. The "great Harlot" clearly belongs to the same tradition.

In Proverbs, there's an implicit contrast between the adultress and the feminine figure of Wisdom, both offering themselves on the street, for different purposes.

I suggest that what we have in Revelation is a contrast of the same kind, between two different versions of God's people-

The "woman in heaven" is the faithful version
And the Harlot is the unfaithful version.

And the fact that the "woman in heaven" is being contrasted with a symbolic figure suggests to me that she herself is to be taken as a symbolic figure, rather than as an individual person.

Suffering in childbirth

In Micah, and again in Jeremiah, a woman representing Zion is shown suffering an anguish which is like that of a woman in childbirth, anticipating the oppression brought by Babylon.

But there's an interesting difference between the two treatments.

Jeremiah has been complaining that Jerusalem has been dressing herself in scarlet and ornamenting herself and beautifying herself for the sake of her lovers- acting, in short, like a model for the great Harlot herself. Then he goes on to describe the daughter of Zion as a woman "in anguish, as of one bringing forth her first child". The implication is quite clear, that the suffering resembling "birth-pangs" is the consequence of her previous life as the "scarlet woman". (Jeremiah ch4 vv30-31)

I've already been considering this line of thought in my previous thread, "The Sins of the Church?"

In Micah ch4 v10, the daughter of Zion is told to "writhe and groan like a woman in travail", because she's on the verge of travelling into exile in Babylon. But this is immediately followed by the promise of salvation. She's going to be ransomed and rescued in that place. There's no suggestion that she's going to give birth in Babylon, though the ambiguous wording of the Authorised Version might give that impression ("There shalt thou be delivered...").

Nevertheless, a birth does take place when we turn to the next chapter. This is where we find the well-known prophecy that a ruler in Israel will come forth from Bethlehem, a prophecy which Christians apply to Christ himself. he will be able to stand and feed his flock, says Micah, "when she who is in travail has brought forth" (Micah ch5 v3).

Is this the birth of the ruler himself, which is the usual Christian understanding? Or does Micah see a "saving birth" in the release of the captives, the fact that "the rest of his brethren shall return to the land of Israel"?

Either way, the point is that the previous association of birth-pangs with suffering (as found in Jeremiah), has now been turned into an association of birth-pangs with salvation.

In Revelation ch12, we find both associations.

The "birth-pangs" of the woman in heaven lead into salvation. The Christ is born as a member of God's faithful people.

At the same time, the suffering continues. The woman, escaping the power of evil, is forced to flee into wilderness.

That flight, incidentally, is the kind of thing which happens to a symbolic figure rather than a human individual, which is another reason, in my mind, against identifying the figure directly with Mary herself.

I have labelled this figure as "God's faithful people".
For Old Testament purposes, she represented Israel, or at least the faithful portion of Israel.
For New Testament purposes, she represents the church- or at least the faithful portion of the church.

The church has already been told that God has "raised us up with [Christ] and made us sit with him in the heavenly places" (Ephesians ch2 v6).
In that respect, the church has already become part of her place in heaven.

But the church in this life remains the church in struggle, with human enemies and with temptation. Revelation describes a time when that struggle is expected to intensify.

And, in that respect, the church is expecting to become part of her flight into the wilderness.




posted on May, 23 2010 @ 04:10 PM
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At one point I refer back to my previous thread, So I had better add a link for the convenience of anyone who wants to check it;

Revelation; The Sins of the Church?

[edit on 23-5-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 10:18 AM
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Just adding a note to say that the next thread in this series will be;

"Satan fell from Heaven"- to be followed by another which will complete Revelation ch 13.



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 10:46 AM
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good interpetation... from a Biblical, Judeo-Christian perspective,
it fill in nicely with the 'Savior' meme.


but i see the 'woman' giving birth to a 'Age', the age-of-Pisces or the dawn of a Messiah, or perhaps a Buddah entity.
The 12 'stars' are the Zodiac or constellations in the heavens, the Sun & Moon are the necessary astrological influences...

and all together, give those with wisdom, (perhaps the 3 Maji ?)
the sign-of-the-times.

the metaphysical symbolism of this chapter, is very Gnostic in essence,
with a creator mother-female figure which gives birth to a Buddah or Christ in some undefined 'age' of humanity... Christians read only 'Christ'

but i take the chapter as more inclusive for all humanity, a history of the Earths progression through time.


thanks



posted on May, 25 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by St Udio
good interpetation... from a Biblical, Judeo-Christian perspective,
it fill in nicely with the 'Savior' meme.

the metaphysical symbolism of this chapter, is very Gnostic in essence,
with a creator mother-female figure which gives birth to a Buddah or Christ in some undefined 'age' of humanity... Christians read only 'Christ'

Thank you for your contribution.

It is, of course, a Biblical, Judeo-Christian book, so I think that's the right perspective.
My aim in this series has been to recover, as far as possible, the meaning which the author would have intended his readers to see.

I can't help wondering how your "creator mother-female" interpretation is able to cope with the "great Harlot" figure of ch17. That seems to be representing an evil side in femininity.



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 01:36 PM
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the part that always gets me stumped in this vision is when 'the earth helps the woman by opening her mouth and swallowing the flood'

the flood is usually a metaphor for wars so i wonder when was the time after the death of christ when the earth opened her mouth and stopped an army?

the old testament foreshadows this event in the account of pharoah (the dragon) who casts a flood out of his mouth after the woman (israel) and she flees to the wilderness and is nourished there for a time.
the earth opens her mouth and swallows the flood (the army) at the parting of the sea when israel crossed safely but pharoah and his army drowns.

so at what point after caesar (the dragon) cast his flood after the woman (offspring of israel) did the earth open her mouth and swallow the flood. has there been a similar event recorded where an army was suddenly destroyed by an earthquake or tsunami or similar?



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by iamnot

so at what point after caesar (the dragon) cast his flood after the woman (offspring of israel) did the earth open her mouth and swallow the flood. has there been a similar event recorded where an army was suddenly destroyed by an earthquake or tsunami or similar?

I may have to spend a little more thought on this one, but, as a provisional answer, what about Revelation ch6? I've been arguing in various other threads that ch6 is one major catastrophe, and that it is God's response to a preliminary persecution in which the "souls under the altar" are killed before ch6 starts. It is not a literal "opening of the earth", but it is what God does to save his people, and I think the thought "God saving his people" is the main point of the passage.

Have you looked at the thread about "Wings of an eagle"? That's the one where I talk about the flight into the wilderness.

[edit on 28-7-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 02:18 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


DISRAELI, This may be the clearest explanation I've seen of this aspect/chapter compiled in one location.

NICE!!! and thanks.



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by hootieowl
 

Thank you, you're very kind.

If you care to check my profile or the attached link, you'll find threads on various other chapters which might- or so I like to think- give clear explanations as well;

Revelation threads



[edit on 28-7-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 03:24 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


i wrote about chapter 6 a while ago, here's a link to the thread

linky

you're threads have really caught my interests and i am checking up on them whenever i can




posted on Jul, 28 2010 @ 03:28 PM
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reply to post by iamnot
 

Thank you for that link.
I shall read the thread with great care, as soon as I get a free moment.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:43 AM
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You're totally off on this one guy.

It has to do with Supernova of Sirius B, Nibiru becoming a rogue planet, Annunaki resenting humans, and Nibiru's return through here missing our upcoming supernova, but I won't bore you with all that, enjoy your speculation...



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 09:47 AM
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reply to post by St Udio
 


Yes, I think its time for humanity to reject any exegesis that is not inclusive for all humanity. But from the perspective of a Christian fundamentalist, that sort of inclusion could look like the "one-world religion" of the "anti-Christ". How do we deal with that problem?



[edit on 30-7-2010 by Student X]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by Kalki11
It has to do with Supernova of Sirius B, Nibiru becoming a rogue planet, Annunaki resenting humans, and Nibiru's return through here missing our upcoming supernova, ... enjoy your speculation...

You believe in all that stuff and you think that we're speculating?
I suppose you've heard the proverb about people who live in glass houses?



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:03 PM
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Originally posted by Student X
Yes, I think its time for humanity to reject any exegesis that is not inclusive for all humanity.

This is very ironic. I have a recent thread on the subject of "the Beast", in which the central topic is this very same "worship of humanity", which. I think, you would want to advocate. I treat it as part of the very essence of the rule of "the Beast".

The Beast- great ruler and antichrist

[edit on 30-7-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI

Originally posted by Kalki11
It has to do with Supernova of Sirius B, Nibiru becoming a rogue planet, Annunaki resenting humans, and Nibiru's return through here missing our upcoming supernova, ... enjoy your speculation...

You believe in all that stuff and you think that we're speculating?
I suppose you've heard the proverb about people who live in glass houses?

I'll bet you a dollar Kalki11 was being sarcastic. We on?



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
I'll bet you a dollar Kalki11 was being sarcastic. We on?

No, because I've heard so many different viewpoints from Kalki that I'm sure you're right.
On one of my previous threads, he was claiming to be Christ and antichrist simultaneously, as far as I could make out.
I deal with his comments as they come. He thrusts, I parry.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI

Originally posted by Student X
Yes, I think its time for humanity to reject any exegesis that is not inclusive for all humanity.

This is very ironic. I have a recent thread on the subject of "the Beast", in which the central topic is this very same "worship of humanity", which. I think, you would want to advocate. I treat it as part of the very essence of the rule of "the Beast".

The Beast- great ruler and antichrist

[edit on 30-7-2010 by DISRAELI]


Thanks, I'll take a look at your thread.



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 05:20 PM
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reply to post by Student X
 

Please do,but I've just realised that I quoted the wrong one.
The "worshipping humanity" theme is in this "666" thread.
Revelation 666

It's a little embarassing to be getting confused between my own threads



[edit on 30-7-2010 by DISRAELI]



posted on Jul, 30 2010 @ 06:07 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Hi there friend, guess I am not the only one been thinking about this? I had a vision about the Woman....Vision about the Woman of Revelation 12

I think the "Woman" is the Goddess, Mother Earth. Of course the Church had to stamp out all forms of Goddess worship, but the couldn't do it, so, they changed the Bible so the Goddess
was....a lot of bad names.





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