Recognizing Israel

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 (KJV)

I don’t often read the Revelation of John. Trying to make sense and interpret it all is just speculation. When people share their confident answers to the symbolism found therein, I just agree that it’s a good possibility. There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s only going to happen when it’s all completed.

But because John was a Jew and raised with a Hebrew worldview, I always try to examine his writings with that in mind. I try to remove the 2000 years of antisemitism and church corruption from my predetermined paradigm, and read his words in the context of Scripture.

When we do this, something interesting takes shape in relation to this verse above. This isn’t the first time this symbolism is used – it was written before… a long long time ago. Can you think of a time when a sun, a moon, and 12 stars were used to symbolize something in Scripture? If not, let me point you in the direction.

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

Genesis 37:9

Wait, that’s only eleven stars – not twelve like in the chapter from the Revelation of John. So let’s think about what Joseph’s dream represents. Jacob immediately understands the interpretation and recognizes:

  • Sun = Jacob (Joseph’s father)
  • Moon = Rachel (Joseph’s mother)
  • Eleven stars = Eleven brothers of Joseph.

If all of Joseph’s brothers were stars, then being one of the brothers means that Joseph is also a star. This adds up to be 12 stars total. The symbolism used here is encapsulating all of Israel. So when we see this symbolism used again in John’s revelation, why do we make the leap to assume the woman is the church, or the Virgin Mary? Instead of recognizing Israel, we interpret something else.

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons
If we claim the woman is the church, then which church? Is it the Orthodox or Catholic churches? Is it one of the hundreds of different protestant religions? Well they all lay claim, so it’s difficult to know. If it’s the Virgin Mary, well this aligns perfectly with the Catholic and Orthodox church, but just not supported in Scripture. This becomes a process by which we interpret a Jewish man’s writings to reflect an antisemitic view established by the church. That doesn’t make sense.

We’ve been conditioned to antisemitism and lead astray by early church corruption that has made it’s way through history to affect our interpretations. Recognizing Israel is vital to our understanding. It was Israel that pained to be delivered during the Roman occupation of Jerusalem. It was from Israel that Yeshua, our Messiah, the man-child was born. It was Israel that the dragon strove against. It’s always been about Israel – the 12 tribes.

But like I said, this is speculation. 🙂 Speculation supported directly by Scripture.


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