Revelation 12:4 says the dragon stood before the woman. In the book, John uses symbolism but there are times when an angel explains what these symbols mean. For example in Revelation 17, John sees a woman on a beast. He marvels at her because she was dressed in purple and red, wore gold and precious stones and pearls, had the words MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH written on her forehead and she had the blood of Jesus’ followers on her. Who was this woman?
The angel tells John. “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18). If Mary was the woman with the sun, the moon and the stars, who is this woman on the beast? These two women are not literal women. They represent something. They represent churches. The woman in Revelation 12 is the true church while the woman in Revelation 17 is the apostate church. The apostate church is the mother of other apostate churches. They may have broken off from her but they still follow some of her teachings. The dragon does not make war with her because she is doing his bidding. Instead he makes war with the true church.
The dragon used King Herod to devour (destroy) the child at His birth. It was for this reason that God had Joseph to take his family to Egypt where the Child would be safe. Herod had boys ages 0-2 slaughtered. Revelation 12:5,6 state: And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Jesus was taken up to heaven when His work here was done and He is sitting on the throne next to the Father. Verse 6 says that the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God and where she would be fed for 1260 days. How does this relate to Mary? As far as I know Jesus placed her into John’s care and he took her to Ephesus. I visited what is believed to be her house in Ephesus. I saw John’s tomb.
Verses 13-17: Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
When did Mary face persecution? What is the wilderness that she was taken to after Jesus ascended to heaven? Who helped her? The Christian church fled into the wilderness–it went into seclusion during the Dark Ages to escape persecution at the hands of the apostate Church (the woman on the beast). The true Church hid in caves. God nourished her (Revelation 12:6). This is like when the prophet Elijah fled from Jezebel who threatened his life and God took care of him.
Someone mentioned that since Jesus is a king that makes his mother a queen. I know that Mary is referred to as the Queen of Heaven. There is mention of a Queen of Heaven in the Bible. We read about her in Jeremiah 7:18, 19: The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead [their] dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: [do they] not [provoke] themselves to the confusion of their own faces? And in Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25: But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
The queen of heaven was an idol which the people were worshipping, incurring God’s wrath. There is no queen in heaven now. Mary is not a queen. She is as the Bible refers to her, “the mother of Jesus”. Granted she is blessed above all women but that is because she was the one God chose to be Jesus’ mother. This does not make her a queen or a co-mediatrix or co-redeemer. We have one mediator and one redeemer and that is Christ because He shed His blood for us. Mary did not shed her blood for us. Mary simply obeyed God. She saw herself as a humble servant of God. She even called God her Savior. She said, My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name (Luke 1:46-49).
“A woman,” signifies a true church. (2 Corinthians 11: 2.) A corrupt woman is used to represent an apostate or corrupt church. “The sun” here signifies the light and glory of the gospel era. “The moon” is the symbol of the Mosaic period. As the moon shines with a borrowed light derived from the sun, so the former era shone with a light borrowed from the present. There they had the type and shadow; here we have the antitype and the substance. “A crown of twelve stars”.
The woman, the church, had the moon under her feet; that is, the Mosaic period had just ended, and the woman was clothed with the light of the gospel sun, which had just risen. By anticipation the church is represented as fully organized, with its twelve apostles, before the man child, Christ, appeared upon the scene (Source: Daniel and the Revelation).
The woman’s offspring is the last generation of true Christians–God’s remnant church which the devil makes war against. The remnant is made up of Christians who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. What is the testimony of Jesus–it is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). This is what the spirit of prophecy means: «In the last days,» said God, «I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. In the last days, God’s true church (the woman’s offspring) will have the gift of prophecy as it experiences a final reawakening before Jesus’ return.
We should all take John’s advice regarding the Book of Revelation: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18, 19).