Revelation 12 is a chapter full of dramatic otherworldly symbolic imagery. Each one has a specific meaning. Verses 1 and 2 say, “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; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.”
Who is this woman and what does this really mean? To find the identity of the woman, we go back to Genesis 37. God gave a young Joseph some vivid dreams to help him understand the future. In verse 9, Joseph described one of his dreams like this. “Behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
He told his eleven brothers and his father about the dream. Jacob, his dad, did not like the dream’s message. In verse 10, Jacob asks, “What is this dream that you have had? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow ourselves down before you to the ground?”
Jacob understood that the sun represented him, the moon represented Joseph’s mother, and the eleven stars represented Joseph’s eleven brothers. (The woman’s crown in Revelation features twelve stars because they represent Jacob’s sons, including Joseph.) In other words, the woman represents the family, tribes, and nation of Israel.
In Revelation 12:3-6, we see more evidence that the woman associated with the sun, moon, and 12 stars is Israel. She gives birth to a male Child. According to verse 5, He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. We know who that describes. It’s Jesus! Jesus came out of Israel. This explains why Satan has hated Jews and Israel so stridently through the centuries. And, this scripture makes clear that God is not finished with the woman after she gives birth.