And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Revelation 12:1
Many rightly ask, "Who is the woman?" Here is a short theology course. To the Roman Catholics, she is Mary. To the Protestants, she is the church. Bingo, both are wrong.
Now who am I to disagree with the two giants of Christendom? Simply one who has chosen to study the Bible and to ignore so-called "church teachings". Since these two entities disagree, at least one of them is wrong anyway. In fact, both are.
Before these two erroneous views are examined, lets look at the first text in the Bible that mentions the woman. Though she is prominent in Revelation, her story begins in Genesis. Amazing how many errors could be avoided by really studying the first book in the Bible!
Here she is,in Joseph's dream.
Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisanse to me. Genesis 37:9
"But there are only eleven stars, and where is the woman?"
There are twelve stars, eleven stars bowing down to one star. And Israel is here, but she is not pictured as a woman until she is ready to give birth to the manchild.
Let us examine the Roman Catholic view first. By simply replacing Mary for the "woman" in our readings, its errors are obvious. It works in a number of places, but I'll choose Revelation 12:6. And Mary fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God.
Why is Mary, known to the Catholics as Queen of heaven--even Queen of the universe--fleeing into the wilderness? They will say that this is her flight to Egypt to escape Herod. But that event is in the past, while Revelation deals with events yet to occur. And Egypt was certainly not a wilderness.
I could go on substituting "Mary" for the "woman", but I'm sure you get my idea.
The main line Protestants have real problems too. For if the woman is the church, who is she giving birth to? Not Israel, not to Jesus. But they try to cram the church in where she does not belong.
So then who is the man child? Israel has been formed up long ago. The church is in heaven. So who is he? There is a group (for the woman and her child are not singular, but plural) born during the exact time covered in this prophecy. They come out of the twelve tribes of Israel and they are all men. They are caught up to heaven, as firstfruits, as soon as they are born. They are the 144 thousand of Revelation 7:4-8, and 14:4.
I was shocked when I heard this explained by Finis Dake in Revelation Expounded or Eternal Mysteries Simplified. Maybe you are too. But compare the manchild with the 144,000. They fit together perfectly.
This explains who the woman is.