1 And [kai] there appeared [optanomai] a great [megas] wonder [semeion] in [en] heaven; [ouranos] a woman [gune] clothed [periballo] with the sun, [helios] and [kai] the moon [selene] under [hupokato] her [autos] feet, [pous] and [kai] upon [epi] her [autos] head [kephale] a crown [stephanos] of
twelve [dodeka] stars: [aster] KJV-Interlinear
1 And a
great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under
her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; NASB
This is the first of
seven signs that will be mentioned and all of them will be described as ‘megas,’
or signs that have huge significance in all of creation and/or history.
John begins this chapter
with the symbolism that parallels that of Josephs dream, Gen. 37:9-11.
The woman is the second
of four women symbolized in this book. Jezebel being the first from chapter
This woman represents
the nation of Israel as it has often been represented in the Old Testament, Jer
3:1,20; Ezek 16:32-35; Hos 2:2, Isa 50:1.
And though Satan has
made every attempt to rid the world of the Israelites, God has promised that
Israel will play a prominent role in the last days, not to mention being a
notable player in the establishment of Gods Kingdom, Isa 65:17-25; Ezek
37:21-28; Dan 2:44; Zech 8:1-13, which is yet to come. Israel will never be
gotten rid of, ever. And they will be a nation during the Tribulation.
Israel will also enjoy a
national salvation during the Tribulation, Zech 12:10-13:1,8-9; Rom 11:26.
That should be obvious
by their very presence now. Nothing in history happens by accident, and the
existence of an actual nation, just further reinforces that Gods plan and
maneuvering the pieces of the puzzle of nations into place, is actually
occurring. Its existence does not mean that the Tribulation has arrived. The
Tribulation will last only seven years and Israel became a nation, again, some
fifty-two years ago.
In Joseph's dream, the
sun represents Jacob, the moon Rachel, and the eleven stars Joseph's brothers. Joseph's
dream parallels Israel's history. Both endured the indignity of captivity in
Gentile nations, yet were in the end delivered and exalted to a place of
prominence in a kingdom. And just as the Israel of old endured suffering before
being exalted, so too, the Israel of the Tribulation will have to endure
suffering before it is exalted.
The woman was clothed
with the sun and reflects the redeemed Israel's unique glory, brilliance, and
dignity as God's chosen nation, Deut 7:6; 14:2; 1 Kings 3:8; Ps 33:12; 106:5;
Isa 43:20. It also links her with Jacob (the sun in Joseph's dream), and heir
in the Abrahamic covenant. Israel's continued existence as a nation reflects
the ongoing fulfillment of that covenant, Gen 12:1-2.
The moon under her feet is
a further description of Israel's exalted status. It also includes the concept
of Gods covenant relationship with Israel, since the moon was part of the cycle
of Israel's required times of worship, Num 29:5-6; Neh 10:33; Ps 81:3; Isa
1:13-14; Col 2:16. But the moon also symbolizes the changing of the times and
the seasons, reinforcing the concept that as time marches on (moon under her
feet), Israel will always be around. Neither time nor opposition, will remove
Israel from history, or from a major role in Gods plan.
The crown is associated
with triumph in the midst of suffering and struggle.
The twelve stars, Joseph
being the twelfth, on the woman's head, refer to the twelve tribes of Israel.