“A Great Wonder in Heaven”
REVELATION 12:1 reads, “And there appeared a great sign in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Explain these symbols.
THE WOMAN is Israel, for she brings forth the man Child-Christ, who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron.
THE SIGN IN HEAVEN indicates that the place of distinction and the glory in government which is to be hers is of and from God. See a contrast in chapter 13. The two hearts that are to claim world-wide rule before God sets Israel in her destined place come up out of the sand of the sea and the earth. Before they appear God indicates His purpose for Israel.
CLOTHED WITH THE SUN. It is important that this be rightly understood, lest the glory of the Lord becomes obscured. There is a tendency to make everything of the church now, and of Israel in the coming age. The woman is weak in herself, yet she is clothed with supreme authority on earth, of which the sun is the symbol. It is the glory and majesty of Christ. Any authority or glory that is put upon her is His, and it will not make her the object of admiration or adoration, but will glorify Him. Isaiah 60:1-20 gives the key to open the true meaning. Israel is there called to rise up to her exalted place according to the mind of God—“Arise, shine: for thy light is come … thy sun shall no more go down.” Ephesians 5:14 shows that the light is Christ, “Arise … Christ shall shine upon thee” (N.Tr.). He is the Sun of Righteousness, Israel’s everlasting light, her Messiah, her Lord and her God, and her glory, and she is here seen shining in the promised splendour of her Great King. It is when we see Him aright that other things fall into their true position.
THE MOON derives her light from the sun. It originates no light of its own. It is seen under Israel’s feet. This signifies that all derived authority, in the day when Israel is right with the Lord, will be placed under that nation.
THE STARS are twelve. This number signifies perfection of administration in the hands of man. The stars form the woman’s crown, speaking of glory in government, and, being stars, which are not equal in light to the sun or moon, they are symbolic of subordinate authority, all of which is subject to the administration connected with Israel.