The Woman from Revelation Twelve


The Woman from Revelation Twelve

When we think of the woman from Revelation 12, “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars,”1 we naturally think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many of the seers and locutionists have also reported messages from spiritual entities that have identified themselves as this woman from Revelation 12. For example in The Marian Movement of Priests, one of Father Don Stefano Gobbi’s messages reads as follows:

“In the Apocalypse, I have been announced as the Woman Clothed with the Sun who will conduct the battle against the Red Dragon and all his followers. If you want to second my plan, you must do battle, my little ones, children of a Mother who is Leader.”2

The problem with identifying Mary as the woman from Revelation 12 is that it conflicts with Sacred Scripture. When the apostle John was writing the book of Revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he used imagery from the Old Testament. The woman from Revelation 12 is a direct reference to Joseph’s dream as recorded in the book of Genesis.

After Joseph received the prophetic message he said, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?”3

Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Israel. From his dream we are shown that the sun, the moon, and the twelve stars represent Israel and his family. Israel—formerly called Jacob—had twelve sons from whom emerged the twelve tribes of Israel. And it is through Israel’s seed that God promises to bring forth his Son—the Messiah—Jesus Christ.4

The apostle John, who authored the book of Revelation, and his first-century audience would have surely understood that the sign of this woman refers to Joseph’s dream and therefore represents Israel. In fact, the entire context of the book of Revelation requires this interpretation. For we see that prior to the Revelation 12 reference to Israel, John lists all twelve tribes of Israel by name in chapter 7. The twelve tribes are also mentioned in Revelation 14:1–5 as redeemed from the earth, singing praises before the throne of God. Finally, to assure us that the woman of Revelation 12 is Israel, she appears once more at the end of the book—this time as the Lamb’s bride coming down out of heaven.

Roman Catholic theologian Father Hubert J. Richards also confirms that the Revelation 12 woman refers to Israel. His book, What the Spirit Says to the Churches: A Key to the Apocalypse of John, carries the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur. Concerning the woman of Revelation 12, Father Richards writes:

“The vision proper, then, begins with the figure of a Woman clothed with the sun and the stars. We think naturally enough of our Lady, to whom this description has traditionally been applied. After all, we say, of whom else could John be thinking when he speaks of the mother of the Messiah? However it is clear from the rest of the chapter that this interpretation will stand only if the verse is isolated: what follows has very little relevance to our Lady. Nor is it any honor to Mary to apply any and every text to her without thought...

“Who then is she? The source to which John has turned for his imagery throughout this book is the Old Testament. There, the Woman, the bride of God who brings forth the Messiah, is Israel, the true Israel, the chosen people of God. It is quite certain that this is what is in John’s mind when he begins his description with a quotation from Genesis 37:9-10, where the sun and moon and twelve stars represent the twelve-fold Israel.

“This Woman will later be contrasted with the Harlot and will be specified at the end of the book, again appearing in light and splendor for her marriage with the Lamb, as the twelve-gated Jerusalem which forms the new Israel. In fact the number twelve occurs so frequently in the Apocalypse in reference to Israel that it cannot have a different meaning here.”5

The Bible scholars who translated the official Catholic Bible (NAB) also agree with this interpretation. Most Reverend Jerome Hanus, O.S.B. Archbishop of Dubuque, and Reverend Richard L. Schaefer, Censor Deputatus who gave the Nihit Obstat and Imprimatur for the reference and illustration materials, have also stated, “The woman adorned with the sun, the moon, and the stars (images taken from Genesis 37, 9–10) symbolizes God’s people in the Old and New Testament. The Israel of old gave birth to the Messiah (5) and then became the new Israel, the church, which suffers persecution by the dragon (6:13–17).”

In the same way that many false seers and locutionists have been delivering messages from the woman of Revelation 12, they have also been applying the description of Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs to the Blessed Mother. For example in Proverbs 8:1–2 the Scripture reads, “Does not wisdom call, and does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights, beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries out...”

Because the book of Proverbs is referring to a female personification, most followers automatically assume the text is referring to the Blessed Mother, but when we read the rest of Proverbs 8, we see in verses 22–23 that the Scripture says, “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

Wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit defined in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10 and it was also God’s Spirit that hovered over the waters in the beginning of the creation narrative. The female personification of Wisdom as described in the book of Proverbs cannot be attributed to the Blessed Mother because Mary did not exist at the beginning of the world, nor was she alive at the time the book of Proverbs was written.

God would not allow the real Mary to appear at apparition sites trying to pretend that she existed before the world began, nor would God allow the real Blessed Mother to make appearances pretending to be the woman from Revelation 12. According to the Catechism, “God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive.”6

Everything God does lines up perfectly with his loving and truthful nature. God would never allow the Blessed Mother to appear in the form of a confusing deception that conflicts with the truth found in Sacred Scripture. At the opposite extreme, the devil is a liar, and his vast army of deceptive spirits like to twist Sacred Scripture out of context in an attempt to deceive the faithful.

Anytime a spiritual entity claims to be the woman from Revelation 12 or the Holy Spirit’s gift of Wisdom from Proverbs 8, it is a good indicator that the entity is not coming from God. Whenever a spiritual entity delivers a message that conflicts with Sacred Scripture in an attempt to bring glory and honor to itself, or to trick Catholics into selling their souls into its possession and property, it is a good indicator that the locutionist has been channeling messages from demonic entities.

 

Notes

Excerpts from the English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church for use in the United States of America © 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.—Libreria Editrice Vaticana. English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Modifications from the Editio Typica copyright © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.—Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Used with permission.

Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition copyright © 1993 and 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. To order prints visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site at http://revelationillustrated.com.

  1. Revelation 12:1.
  2. Father Don Stefano Gobbi, To The Priests: Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, St. Francis, ME, The National Headquarters of the Marian Movement of Priests in the United States of America, 1998, p. 333. Message given to Father Gobbi, who is the head of the Marian Movement of Priests. Message received on December 8, 1982.
  3. Genesis 37:9–10.
  4. Text from an article entitled “The Woman of Revelation 12”: http://www.eternal-productions.org/PDFS/Revelation12Woman.pdf
  5. Hubert J. Richards, What the Spirit Says to the Churches: A Key to the Apocalypse of John, New York,P.J. Kennedy and Sons, 1967, pp. 93, 94.
  6. Catechism of the Catholic Church: 215.