“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” (Revelation 12:1).
The apostle John was privileged to see a glorious vision of this woman in the firmament of heaven, resplendent in illustrious light. The visions recorded in Revelation are often figurative in nature to bear out vital truths. Symbolically, a woman is representative of a church–whether false or true. In this vision, the woman was depicted as pure for she was clothed with the sun. She represents the purity and glory of the apostolic church. It is in direct contrast to the apostate church represented in later visions by a harlot–a woman unfaithful to her husband.
The woman in this vision is standing on the moon. The moon has no light of itself but reflects only a small percentage of the true light given by the sun. The moon is an apt symbol of the Old Testament Covenant which was a “shadow of good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). The covenant was a schoolmaster and teacher to bring us unto Christ (Galatians 3:24-26). It pointed forward to something better to come.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
The woman was clothed with the splendor of the sun. The sun is the source of natural light in our solar system. There was a beautiful sunrise of truth that dispelled the darkness when Christ came to this lost world. Christ is the source of spiritual light in the New Testament dispensation. The light of truth reveals sin and points the way to righteousness and victory. The true church is clothed with that resplendent light of purity and it far supersedes the dim, obscure light of the Old Testament church.
The woman had upon her head a crown of twelve stars. The crown represents authority and reigning power. God’s church is not subdued or bound by sin but is reigning victoriously over all the power of the enemy, even in this present evil time.
The apostle John was previously shown a vision of “seven stars….and the seven candlesticks” (Revelation 1:20). He was told that the stars were the angels of the seven churches. The stars then
represent ministers who are termed ‘angels‘, or message-bearers. The twelve stars that made up the woman’s crown would be the ministry that carried the gospel message to the lost world. Most prominent among the early ministry were the twelve apostles who labored from the beginning to share the light of truth. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Many ‘churches’ and religions have committed spiritual adultery and fornicated themselves to the things of this world. Churches are bowing down to the idols of this age and endorsing sinful philosophies and practices. The creeds of men are taking preeminence over the written Word of God. These churches have not been faithful to the bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
God’s true church is espoused to one husband and will be presented a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). It is the desire of the Lord “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). Thank God for the beautiful bride of Christ who is keeping herself pure and undefiled, arrayed in the glorious light of God’s Word.