Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:13-17).
In recent months, there has been much discussion and rumors about the 9/23/2017 date being a “pivot” date for the Revelation 12-star sign connected with the Sun Lady, the Woman clothed with the Sun and the Zodiacal star-sign of Virgo. Some have even connected the date with the pre-tribulation/mid-tribulation/post-tribulation rapture or the “translation of the saints” as per 1 Thessalonians (4:13-17). This won’t be an article in full support for prophetic dates but more about unpacking the less obvious theological implications as prophesied all throughout Revelation 12 and associated religious and even esoteric, occult connections.
The Woman Clothed with the Sun is depicted as the Mother of whose children keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus per Revelation 12. The Woman was a Mother in heaven whose firstborn was a king, as in Psalm 2. She was a Queen, threatened by the red dragon or the “prince and power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). She fled to the desert or the “wilderness” (there are manifold meanings attached to this term to be explored later). Her children were the Christians. Jesus was the firstborn among many children:
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8.29).
However, it does not mean that Jesus Christ is simply a created angel like the Egyptian Arians maintained since the Gospel of John refutes this position. Keeping the commandments is linked to the “preservers” or the “preserved” (Psalm 31:23). The Methodist scholar Margaret Barker states in the Mother in Heaven and Her Children that the Nazarenes were also called the “preservers.”
The dragon attacked the woman’s other children, and John explained who they were. They kept the commandments of God and they had the testimony of Jesus. Keeping the commandments might mean simply not breaking any of the ten commandments, but the word used, tēreō, is quite strong and means ‘guard’, or ‘preserve’. It was used in the Greek Old Testament to translate the word nāṣar. This word too was sometimes used to mean keeping the commandments, e.g. Psalm 78.7: ‘They should guard/preserve his commandments’; but it was also used to describe a particular group of faithful people within Israel were preserved or guarded, e.g. Psalm 31.23: ‘Love the Lord all you his saints! The Lord guards/preserves the faithful! Or Isaiah 27.3: ‘I, the Lord, guard/preserve[the pleasant vineyard]… I guard/preserve it night and day’.
The role of a mysterious figure called the Servant of the Lord was to restore the faithful, these ‘guarded/ preserved ones’. This means that at some stage they were driven out.
The prophet Micah described a woman, the daughter of Zion, as being a woman in “birth pangs” and that the Lord will deliver her from the hands of the enemies in Micah 4.8-13. She then reappears in the Book of Revelation. In the prophecies of the Virgin, the Mother and the rulership of her son as in Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6-7, also seem to mirror the Sun Lady of Revelation 12 with the birthing of the “male child” (more on this later). We see in the wisdom texts of Solomon, namely Proverbs 1:22-23, that the Mother warns her children of their stupidity since they are “simple.”
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
Wisdom is personified in the book of Proverbs in such a way that She is equal with God. The Hebrew word for Wisdom, Chokmah, carries the feminine gender. Both ancient Jewish and ancient Christian authorities point to Her co-divinity with God, as we shall demonstrate. Speaking as Wisdom in the first person, Solomon wrote in Proverbs (8:23), that she was with God and the Logos before creation:
“I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”
In an early Christian text found amongst the Nag Hammadi Codices, the Teaching of Silvanus 90-91, tells us:
“From now on, then, my son, return to your divine nature. Cast from [you] these evil, deceiving friends! [Accept] Christ, [this true friend], as a good teacher. Cast from you death, which has become a father to you. For death did not exist, nor will it exist at the end. But since you cast from yourself God, the holy Father, the true Life, the Spring of Life, therefore you have obtained death as a father and have acquired ignorance as a mother. They have robbed you of the true knowledge. But return, my son, to your first Father, God, and Wisdom your mother, from whom you came into being from the very first in order that you might fight against all of your enemies, the Powers of the Adversary.”
In the [now almost] lost The Gospel of the Hebrews has Jesus calling the Holy Spirit his Mother.
“My Mother, the Holy Spirit, took Me by one of My hairs and carried Me to Mount Tabor.” – Jesus Christ
The Gospel of Hebrews was an accepted scripture of the Judaizing Nazarene Sect of Christianity – a group of Jewish Christians led by Jesus’ brother James, and later, by Jesus’ cousin Simeon. Spirit is a feminine noun in Hebrew (ruach), and so the children of the Spirit should be understood as the children of the Mother in heaven:
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:16-18).
This teaching is not too far from how the Gnostic Ophites (according to St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies) claim that Sophia prepared Jesus’s baptism at the river Jordan and united with Christ to possess Jesus. They departed from him after the crucifixion but Christ resurrected Jesus with a special resurrection spirit body since “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Wisdom is justified, edikaiōthē, by all her deeds/children (Matthew 11:19). We also see the Mother archetype in the Nativity story in Luke (2:1-20), as depicted as the holy virgin Mary, who gave birth to her firstborn son, Jesus, and wrapped him in garments in a manger. Before Jesus ascended, he said to his disciples:
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
The promise that Jesus gave to his disciples was that the Mother or the Holy Spirit would clothe her children with righteousness and understanding (wisdom/logos). This is confirmed back in Proverbs (2:2-6).
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
The Hebrew for “understanding” is Tawboon and the and the Greek Logos, both of which are masculine in gender, we can identify Tawboon with Logos, Understanding with Christ. Thus we have here Son and Spirit, Understanding and Wisdom, together with God, completing the Holy Trinity. That the early church fathers identified Lady Wisdom with the Holy Spirit is beyond a doubt. St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies (4.20.1):
For the Word and Wisdom were always present with God, the Son and the Spirit, by Whom and in Whom He freely and spontaneously created everything. These are the Ones to Whom He said, “Let us make man in Our own image and likeness… Therefore, it was not angels who made us”
The Word, Who is the Son, was always with the Father. Wisdom, too, Who is the Spirit, was in God’s presence before anything was created. For the Spirit declared by Solomon, “By Wisdom God set the foundations of the earth, and by Understanding He set up the heaven. By His knowledge the Deep burst forth and the clouds dropped down the dew…” and again, “When he began the heavens, I was with Him…” Therefore, there is one God, Who, by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged everything.” – Against Heresies (4.20.3-4).
Wisdom is more versatile than any motion. Since She is pure, she pervades and penetrates everything. She is the breath (Ruach/Spirit) of God’s power, and the spotless emanation of the Almighty’s glory. Thus, no unclean thing finds a place within Her. She is the reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of God’s works, the image of His goodness. She is only one, but She can accomplish anything, and being within Herself, She rejuvenates everything. Throughout all generations She lives within holy souls, making them God’s friends and His prophets. – Wisdom of Solomon (7:24-27)
This last quote is especially interesting since it points to the fact that ancient pre-Christian Judaism identified Wisdom with the Spirit of prophecy, a trait of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, English Bibles have been calling the Holy Spirit “He” according to the masculine gender for a long time. You might ponder, “There must be a reason for this.” Indeed there is!
Stay tuned for part 2, to be posted shortly.