Ankerberg: Okay, Ron, let’s take it.
The Bible says, “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with
the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of 12 stars.
Then being with child she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.”
Now, a lot of interpretations about this, but the Bible helps us out.
Whenever we have these symbols, the fact is the Bible itself helps us out to know who
it’s talking about.
Rhodes: Well, there are some who have taken this to be Mary; because, after all, Mary
gave birth to the male child Jesus.
But the problem with that is that the descriptions that we have of this woman do not fit Mary.
We never see Mary described as having, you know, being clothed with the sun and the moon
under her feet and having a garland of 12 stars on her head.
Nor do we see Mary going into the wilderness for an extended time to escape the persecution
from Satan and the Antichrist.
So that doesn’t fit.
There are textual clues that help us very clearly to understand what’s going on here.
And the passage I want to point you to is Genesis 37:9-10, because this is the only
other verse in the Bible where we read about the sun and the moon and the 12 stars.
And in context Joseph is having a dream.
And in his dream he said to his family, “I dreamt that the sun and the moon and the stars
were bowing down before me.”
There it is.
Rhodes: It is Israel very, very clearly.
And so the woman is Israel; and the child she gives birth to is Jesus.
And when it’s talking about crying out in labor and in pain, this is something that
went on for a very long time.
If you think about the history of the Jewish people, Satan has been very active from the
beginning in trying to thwart the birth of Jesus Christ.
I think back, for example, to Haman who tried to completely destroy the Jewish race.
I think about Herod who killed all the infant babies in an attempt to kill Jesus the king.
No doubt some of those things were motivated by the devil.
And I interpret all of those things as being part of this labor that the woman goes through.