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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 58

The Pure Woman
 

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Let’s pray together:

Our Father,

Among the prophetic characters making up the group of Your servants, we find the pure woman.

What does this woman represent? What part does she play in prophecy?

May Your Word be our only guide, through the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may properly understand this subject.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 12:1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

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Thus far, we have studied these servants of God: the 24 elders, the four beasts, and the two witnesses.

The book of Revelation now presents the pure woman. Once again, the description of this woman contains many symbolic elements.

Fortunately, the Bible will give us all the keys we need to unveil the secrets of this symbolism.




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Isaiah 54:5,6

For your Maker is your Husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

For the Lord has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused.

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2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

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In Bible prophecy, a woman symbolizes God’s people:

- the people of Israel in the Old Testament;

- the Church in the New Testament.

When God’s church is faithful to Him, it is portrayed as a pure woman, as God’s bride.




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Jeremiah 3:6,20

«Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She is gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the harlot. (...)

Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,» said the Lord.

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On the other hand, when God’s people, either Israel or the Church, turn away from their Creator and disobey Him, they are then symbolized by a woman unfaithful to her husband, a harlot.

We will study such a woman in a future lesson.




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So, a pure woman symbolizes God’s people (either Israel of the Church):

«Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.» (Ephesians 5:25)

«“Behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. (...) She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “that you will call Me ‘My Husband’. (...) I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”» (Hosea 2:14-16,19,20 [NKJV])

«For your Maker is your Husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the Lord has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused. (...) And all your children shall be taught of the Lord.» (Isaiah 54:5,6,13)




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Revelation 11:2

And the holy city shall [the Gentiles] tread under foot forty and two months.

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Revelation 21:2,9,10

And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (...)

«Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.»

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

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«The pure woman», «God’s bride», «the Lamb’s wife», «the holy city»...

All these expressions designate God’s people, who remained faithful to Him during the «42 months» (1260 years) of persecution, and who will soon be gathered into New Jerusalem.




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Revelation 12:1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

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Isaiah 61:10

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God.

For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

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The pure woman, the bride of God, is clothed with the sun.

This bright dress illustrates the perfect righteousness of Christ which covers her, like radiant garments of salvation, opening the way to eternal life.




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Malachi 4:2

But to you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.

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Matthew 13:43

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

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Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory.

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The Word of God often uses the sun to symbolize the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, giving us salvation through God’s grace.




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Revelation 12:1

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

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Isaiah 62:3,5

You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (...)

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

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The crown of twelve stars is also a garment of God’s bride.

The number 12 is meaningful, since it symbolizes the alliance between God and His people, as we have seen in our lesson «The 24 Elders and the Four Beasts».




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Genesis 37:9,10

[Joseph] said, «Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.»

And he told it to his father, and to his brothers: and his father rebuked him, and said to him,

«What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow down ourselves to you to the earth?»

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Finally, the sun, moon, and stars, call to mind Joseph’s dream, in which they symbolize Jacob (also called Israel), Rachel, and the 12 sons of Jacob, from which the 12 tribes of Israel are descended.

This shows, once again, that the pure woman symbolizes God’s people: Israel or the Church.




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Revelation 12:2

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

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The pure woman cries out in labor and in pain to give birth.

What does that mean?




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John 16:21,22

A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.

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Jesus used the picture of the painful labor of a pregnant woman to illustrate the hard times His disciples would have to go through, when He gave His life on the cross for our salvation.




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Revelation 12:5

And she brought forth a Man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.

And her Child was caught up to God, and to His throne.

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Revelation 19:13,15

His name is called The Word of God. (...)

And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.

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The prophecy goes on to confirm that the Child of the pure woman is indeed Jesus, the One who will «rule all nations with a rod of iron.»

His ascension to heaven, after His resurrection, is also reported.




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Revelation 12:3,4,9

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. (...)

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

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Immediately after the picture of the pure woman, the book of Revelation presents a second character: a great dragon, who is none other than Satan.




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Revelation 12:4

And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child as soon as He was born.

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Knowing that the success of Jesus’ ministry on earth would bring about his ruin, Satan tried everything to wreck the mission of the Son of God.

At Jesus’ birth, and at the end of His ministry, Satan used a nation in order to destroy the Savior of men.

What is that nation?




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Matthew 2:13

Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be you there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.

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John 18:31

Then said Pilate to them, «Take you Him, and judge Him according to your law.»

The Jews therefore said to him, «It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.»

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This nation is the Roman Empire.

In fact, seeking to destroy Jesus, Satan used two rulers working for the Roman Empire:

- first Herod, at Jesus’ birth;

- then Pilate, who granted permission to put Jesus to death on the cross.




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Revelation 12:5,6

And her Child was caught up to God, and to His throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.

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After Jesus’ ascension to His Father, the pure woman had to face the attacks of Satan, the great dragon.

This prophecy clearly shows the circumstances which led to the 1260-year period of persecution against the pure woman, that is, God’s faithful people.

It all began when war broke out in heaven between Christ and Satan...




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Revelation 12:7-9

And there was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

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Our lesson about the third trumpet, «The Great Star Fallen from Heaven», presented a war in heaven, at the end of which God cast Satan and a third of the angels out of heaven.




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Revelation 12:9-11

[Satan] was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven,

«Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.»

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Jesus Christ, by His death on the cross and His resurrection, conclusively cast Satan out of heaven.




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Revelation 12:9,12

[Satan] was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (...)

Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them!

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

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Conclusively driven out of heaven by the victory of Jesus over death and sin, Satan understood that the countdown to his destruction had begun.

Only one thing remained for him to do: to attack God’s bride, His faithful people, in order to bring as many as possible to death and loss.




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Revelation 12:13,14

And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the Man Child.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

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As we have seen in our lessons about the seven letters, the seven seals, and the seven trumpets, Satan tried to destroy the pure woman during the 1260 years of the Middle Ages, by way of persecutions and false doctrines.




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Revelation 12:14

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

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Revelation 12:6

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.

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The book of Revelation confirms that the periods «a time, and times, and half a time» and «1260 days» are synonymous.

Now, let’s try to understand the meaning of the expression «two wings of a great eagle».




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Deuteronomy 32:9-12

For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.

He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.

As an eagle stirs up her nest, flutters over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.

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The eagle’s wings symbolize the protection God gives His people in the wilderness, that is, during the hard and arid periods they go through.

He makes sure that His children are never tested beyond their strength.




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Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.

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Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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Thanks to the eagle’s wings God gave her, the pure woman went through the wilderness with courage, in spite of the severe persecution she had to face.




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Revelation 12:6

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.

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Revelation 11:2,3

The holy city shall [the Gentiles] tread under foot forty and two months.

And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth.

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The wilderness, where the woman fled during the 1260 years, illustrates very well the arid spiritual conditions prevailing between A.D. 538 and 1798.




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Revelation 12:6

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three score days.

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Exodus 16:3,4

The children of Israel said to [Moses and Aaron], (...) «You have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.»

Then said the Lord to Moses, «Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.»

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Like the two witnesses during the 1260 years, the pure woman’s experience in the wilderness, where she is fed by God, calls to mind Moses’ experience.




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1 Kings 19:4,7,8

[Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree.

And he requested for himself that he might die; and said, «It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.» (...)

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, «Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for you.»

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

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And like the two witnesses during the 1260 years, the pure woman’s experience in the wilderness, where she is fed by God, also calls to mind Elijah’s experience.




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Revelation 12:14,15

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

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The attack of Satan (the serpent) against the people of God (the pure woman) is symbolized here by a flood launched in order to drown the woman.

What do these waters symbolize?




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Isaiah 8:7

The Lord brings up on them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory.

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Jeremiah 2:13,18

They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (...)

And now what have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what have you to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?

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The flood properly symbolizes the double-headed attack launched against the pure woman during the 1260 years, since Satan’s water represents both persecutors of God’s people, and false and poisoned doctrines.




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Revelation 12:15,16

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

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Persecuted in Europe, that is, a populous place symbolized by the flood, the woman was saved by the earth, a place which was then sparsely populated: the New World.

In fact, as the 1260 years drew to an end, America became, for Christians, a refuge offering religious liberty.




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Exodus 15:1,2,12,13

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying,

«I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation. (...)

You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people which You have redeemed: You have guided them.»

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Once again, the earth swallowing the enemy’s attack against God’s people calls to mind Moses and the people of Israel, and their deliverance from the hand of the Egyptians.




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Revelation 12:16,17

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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Following his failure to destroy first the woman’s Child (Jesus Christ), and then the woman herself (God’s people), Satan finally decides to attack the remnant of the woman’s seed.




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Revelation 12:17

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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So the Bible says that, at the end of time, the people of God will survive as a remnant.

The remnant of the woman’s seed, the remnant Church, has the following characteristics: it keeps the commandments of God, and has the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Now, we have to discover the identity of this remnant. This is what we will do in our next lesson.




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Let’s thank God for guiding us:

Our Lord God,

The apostle Peter gave us this advice, «Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.» (1 Peter 5:8).

This lesson showed us the many attacks of Satan against Your people. And nothing is over yet, since he now attacks the remnant of the woman’s seed.

O Father, please always keep us under Your eagle’s wings, so that we may not be tested beyond our strength. In Jesus Christ our Savior we pray.

Amen.


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