A Woman Clothed with the Sun

 

Over the centuries our understanding of certain topics, certain doctrines, has grown and developed. This doesn’t mean that the Truth has changed, it means that our ability to perceive it has grown. With growth we often experience pain. Growing pains. As the Church moves on she deals with these. Councils, Papal bulls, and etc. And so our understanding of Truth, as this understanding grows, becomes all the more concrete given our fuller comprehension. In other words, because we can grasp the Truth better we stand all the firmer in our faith.

In the Book of Revelation, beginning with chapter 11 and verse 19 and continuing on through chapter 12, verses 1 through 6 we have a marvelous Truth and our grasp of it has grown over time. A beginning of our understanding is typology. Typology is the branch of theology that deals with certain things in the Old Testament being a shadow, or type, of thing in the New Testament. There are lots, and I mean !LOTS!, of examples of this. But right now we’re concerned with the above text in Revelation.

In Rev. 11:29 John saw the Heavenly Temple opened and in it was the ark of the covenant. In the earthly temple the ark contained the word of God (the tables of stone that the 10 Commandments were written on) and also some of the Heavenly manna that God had fed the Israelites with while they were in the desert. And this same ark, containing these things, while in the earthly temple was overshadowed by the Glory of God. Now look at 12:1. What does John see next? A woman clothed with the sun, the moon at her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. So who is the woman?

In all of these verses there are three characters. There is the woman, there is a male child that she gives birth to, and there is a dragon. Ask anyone who the boy child is and they’ll say Jesus. And they’ll be right. Ask anyone who the dragon is and they’ll answer Satan. And that’s correct. Ask them who the woman is and they’ll tell you she represents the Church of both the Old and New Testaments. In other words the people of God. Now, lets reason. Simple reasoning. If the other two characters are real people or beings, by what trick of the imagination do we switch gears and make the third person, the woman, not a real person but figurative? It doesn’t make sense. Or at least it doesn’t to me. Now I know people have reasons for thinking that the woman is a figure and I respect the opinions of others and I’m not going to try to dismantle their reasonings. Rather I would like to point out some simple ideas that lead to the logical conclusion that this person is a real person and that this real person is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Which for the record is what most theologians believed and taught for centuries. It has only been recently that this has changed and frankly I can see no real reason for it. Well, honestly I think I know the reason but that would be another post and frankly I’m not going there here. Given that I think, and you can underscore “I think” because this is just my opinion, that this current change in thought is, at it’s core, what I described above. It’s a growing pain related to our understanding of the Truth and when we come out on the other side of the pain, having grown, we will understand more fully. So …

This woman is in travail. She was in the anguish of delivery. She NEEDED to have this baby and she WANTED to have this baby. Consider. During Mary’s time the Jewish people longed for the Messiah. They  were in need, they were in want. Mary was a part of this needing, wanting, longing. Being God’s most perfect creation she felt the need, expressed the want or desire, and longed more than any other. In this the woman we read of doesn’t represent Israel but rather, as Mary, the woman is REPRESENTATIVE of Israel. So who is the woman?

When the child described here was born was he born figuratively or in reality? Well, his birth was of course very real. So was his mother real or figurative? So who is the woman?

After giving birth the woman is taken away into the wilderness for a certain period of time. Here a number of days are given that total three and one half years. This period of three and one half is described in several other places in Revelation and in various ways. Now this time span may be figurative. Consider that in various instances, both in real prophecy ( see Ezekiel 4:6 ) and as used in a poetic sense ( see 2 Peter 3:8 ) time is often figurative. In Church history remember that for the first three and one half centuries the Church was persecuted. We worshiped in the catacombs. We ran from country to country, place to place, trying to escape death if possible and also to carry the message. For three and a half centuries we were the Roman government’s answer to Purina Cat Chow. And so it looks like the woman represents the Church of the New testament here just as it looked like she represented the Church of the Old Testament before giving birth. But again, consider. Who was the first of all people to accept Christ into their life? Who was the first one to say “Yes” to Him? Who was the very first Christian, the beginning of the Church? Indeed, who is the mother of the Church? The woman doesn’t represent the Church, she is REPRESENTATIVE of the Church.  So who is the woman?

Now go back to that ark John saw in the Heavenly Temple. Remember that he saw the woman clothed with the sun right after that. Remember typology. Things in the Old Testament foreshadow those of the New. The Old Covenant ark was overshadowed by the Glory of God, contained the word of God and manna from Heaven. What, or WHO, in the New Testament was overshadowed by the Glory of God? See Luke 1:35. Who or what in the New Testament contained the Word of God? Compare Luke 1:35 with John 1:14. And who or what was the manna in the New Testament? Compare Luke 1:35 and John 1:14 with John 6:48-59. Given all of this, who or what is the ark in the New Testament? It is the woman. There was only ONE woman who was representative of BOTH Old Testament Jews AND New Testament Christians. She was overshadowed by God’s Glory, she contained both the Word of God and the Heavenly Manna. These things cannot be figurative because if they are then Jesus was only a figurative being and unreal. We know better than that. He wasn’t figurative and neither was His mother. So … WHO IS THE WOMAN???

By now I’ll trust you know the answer.

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