Friday, March 3, 2017
The Woman of Revelation 12 is NOT Mary
Of course I’ve known this for decades, but I thought this question and answer from Mike Gendron’s “Proclaiming the Gospel” email news (3/1/17) would be good for posting in case other people needed to know it!
Hi Mike. I enjoy listening to you on different radio programs. I was going to leave the Catholic church, but then I went back and I need your help. In Revelation 12 Catholics say the woman is Mary, but Protestants say it is Israel. I am very confused so please explain so I can understand. E. H., West Bend, WI
Dear E.H., You are right saying the traditional Catholic interpretation for the woman is Mary. That is why Mary is sometimes depicted in Catholic art as clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head 12 stars. However, John's reference to the sun, moon, and stars in his description of the woman is similar to the descriptions of Israel in Genesis 37. The 11 stars refer to the sons of Jacob, and the 12th star to whom the 11 bow is Joseph. This is a clear reference to the twelve tribes of Israel in Joseph's dream (Gen. 37:9-10). Israel is often represented as a woman (Isa. 26:18; 47:7-9; Jer. 4:31; 31:32; Ezek. 16:32; Hosea 2:16; Micah 4:9- 10). Therefore this is consistent with the woman as being Israel in Rev. 12. It is Israel, not the church that brings forth the male child who is the long awaited Messiah (verse 5) who will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9). In Hosea, Micah, and Jeremiah, Israel is depicted as a woman in birth pains trying to bring forth a child. For centuries Israel has suffered these terrible pains awaiting the promises of the coming of Messiah, all the promises of God, way back to Genesis chapter 3 about a seed of a woman who would bless, not only the nation Israel, but all the nations. In Revelation 12, we see a woman being persecuted by Satan. Clearly, the woman cannot be Mary, because the woman lees into the wilderness for 3 1/2 years. The woman is the symbol of God's purpose for Israel.