This image astounds all who seek to interpret it by virtue of its uncommon cosmic order. The Holy Bible affords a host of stern condemnations of all who worship Sun, Moon or stars, yet here all these attributes are unexpectedly positive."Next appeared a great portent in heaven, a woman robed with the sun, beneath her feet the moon, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She pregnant, and in the anguish of her labor she cried out to be delivered" 12:1-2.
The air and the earth help her to escape the dragon's clutches:"But the woman was given two great eagle's wings to fly to the place in the wilds...out of reach of the serpent. From his mouth the serpent spewed a flood of water after the woman to sweep her away with its spate. But the earth came to her rescue and opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon spewed from its mouth" 12:14-16.
If we are to take this vision as a prophecy referring to a real woman active in the apocalyptic epoch, then who could she be?
Could she be the very soul of nature that had became human being?
May we explain what is meant.
Practically all global religious cognition invests the material nature with spiritual features and in this respect the Holy Bible is no exception.
Thus, the Creator assigns the earth as it were a creative task:"Let the earth bring forth the living creature" (Gen. 1:24);
further the earth refuses to serve the fratricide Cain (Gen. 4:12)
and finally the earth quakes as Jesus breathes his last on the cross (Matt. 27:51).
The Apostle Paul doubtlessly implies all of material nature when he says that the created universe:"was subjected to futility not of its own will”, that it “will be set free from its slavery to perishing into the freedom of the glory of the children of God”.
And further he continues: “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan, within ourselves, waiting eagerly for the adoption, (or: our adoption as sons) the redemption of our body” Rom.8:20-23.
The art of every age and nation has far-sighted in the nature the beginnings of life and cognition. Especially it has been true of pagan religions which often deified the world's living soul, unmindful of Him Who created it. We are warned against this obstinate delusion, against the dangers of a new paganism, by one of the angels in the Revelation who cries:"Fear God and give Him glory; because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who has made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water” 14:7.
Does this refer to the earth or to
the Cosmos generally?
We know that the Universe is rapidly expanding, due to which it has already assumed colossal proportions, whereas the Earth and the solar system are but most modestly located on the fringe of one of the galaxies. However, in spiritual plane, quantity and dimensions are of no autonomous significance. The Holy Scriptures ever teach us that what directly originates from God is not so great in dimensions but immensely rich in content. Quite likely for the Creator, the Cosmos is naught without this small planet of ours on which He, having become man, was crucified.
Iп the light of the knowledge we currently possess, we cannot eschew the probability that some of the angels that abandoned God, may seek by virtue of their own creative actions to populate the Cosmos with life-forms that God cast out in remote antiquity. Perhaps, transgressing upon the Divine ban they continue to intrude into our life on earth and are prepared to participate in some of the apocalyptic events. And their deeds will be judged by Him Who is seated on the Throne.
At any rate the symbolism of the Revelation indicates rather that the Woman Robed with the Sun, is the soul of our Earth, that having become human, assumes for the first time the fullness of individual being. Meanwhile the Sun, the Moon and the twelve stars, which last apparently indicate the signs of the Zodiac, constitute those elements of the near Cosmos that tangibly affect life on Earth. Having acquired its own self-awareness and free volition, the nature will withdraw from her slavish state as she was when compelled to obey the forces antagonistic to God. Though this fight for the nature continues in the apocalyptic epoch, nature is already in a position to act of its own volition. By giving birth to Michael the Woman Robed with the Sun unites the three spheres of the universe that God has created, to wit: the angels, the nature and the human being.
This joining unquestionably spells likewise the profound transformation of the nature, the turn in the tide of its evolution. This transformation may occur at a critical moment, when nature verges on death due to irresponsible behavior of its lord and master – the man.
Since the human soul is deeply bound with the soul of nature, the positive changes in the subconscious of the human psyche may begin. The forces of darkness will desperately seek to retain these bastions of their influence, but man's ultimate lot will still be determined by his free volition. However, the possibilities that will exist for purifying the soul and curing the body within the conditions of earthly life will be half more, when consciously facilitated there to by Mother Earth.
Some interpreters identify with the Virgin Mary the two positive female images that St. John mentions in his Revelation, notably the Woman Robed with the Sun and the Bride who is the Wife of the Lamb (21:2; 21:9; 22:17).
Without further probing, we shall merely note that our interpretation conceives of three different women person. The Women Robed with the Sun, having brought forth from her womb the Archangel Michael as human being, paves the way for the powerful radiant impact of God's angels on the life of nature and through that on the life of man. She consummates what was initiated by Mary, the Mother of Jesus, when in the person of her Son she had jointed man to God. The Orthodox church conscience testifies that the Holy Mother of God has became the vessel of the Divine Energies, the Sovereign Lady of the angels, the intercessor for the human race and thoughtful keeper of the nature. Hence, the Women Robed with the Sun must be most intimately linked with the Mother of the Lamb and will remain under Her very special, ever-present benediction and protection.