“A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child. She cried out in pain, labouring to give birth.”
A great wonder appears in the heavens, a new accounting and a fresh picture of the church of Christ and its Lord and Head. The woman stands for the church of Christ, but also the Virgin Mary, who brings forth her first born son. The dragon is Satan, intent on destroying the kingdom of God and waits to destroy the child, Jesus. His instrument is Herod, who’s cruelty killed many baby boys in Judea at that time. Christ is taken to Egypt, the land of exile and slavery, and preserved there until Herod is dead.
The work of Christ is recorded in the gospel writers, and He is preserved until the time of His appointed death, and glorification, being taken up into heaven to reign.
The picture is also of the Apostolic church. The light and glory of God, clothes the gospel of Christ and His people. The woman is clothed with the righteousness of the glorious Christ and the light emanate from her person as the sun. This is the glory of the church, the people of God, on earth. The twelve stars are the Apostles who shine as bright lights at the beginning of the church age. They lay down the unchanging message of the gospel and the doctrines of the faith. These are all recorded and taught in the New Testament. She stand on the borrowed light of the moon, rejecting all worldliness and falsehood, as judged by the Holy Scripture.
The purpose of the church is to bring into being new believers and so the woman is striving in pains of child-birth to bring forth children for God. Satan is always ready to destroy faith and does so through providing infertile ground, hot sun to destroy the seed and weeds and birds to choke it and take it away.
The dragon has great power and earthly institutions are set up to do his work. Kingly power, political power, religious power, that will all stop the spread of true belief and faith and keep the so-called “faithful” blind to the truths of God. There is much falsehood and therefore confusion. The seven crowns denote the excessive power of the kings of the earth who set themselves up against the Almighty God.
“Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers take counsel together, against The LORD, and against his Anointed, saying, Let us break their bonds apart, and cast their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens will laugh. The Lord will have them in derision.”
A child of vigour and strength is born and is preserved by the power of God. It is the Lord who brings His people to new birth and He who keeps them so that not one of them is lost.
The church of Jesus Christ is kept and nourished by the gospel and the eternal word even in the wilderness of this present evil age and will be preserved for the day of exaltation when Christ will return to take His waiting people home to glory. It is a set time and a number time, for the people of God will, not always be in exile. The dragon will be defeated.
“Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, but might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For most certainly, he doesn’t give help to angels, but he gives help to the seed of Abraham. Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.”
God calls to the authorities of this vain world to turn and repent. They can never overcome the Lord and He will never accede to what they desire.
“Now therefore be wise, you kings. Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve The LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Give sincere homage to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.”