Search the Bible
* powered by Bible Study Tools

Revelation 12:1

    Revelation 12:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    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:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And a great sign was seen in heaven: a A woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

    Webster's Revision

    And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;

    World English Bible

    A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And a great sign was seen in heaven; a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;

    Clarke's Commentary on Revelation 12:1

    There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun - That the woman here represents the true Church of Christ most commentators are agreed. In other parts of the Apocalypse, the pure Church of Christ is evidently portrayed by a woman. In Revelation 19:7, a great multitude are represented as saying, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his Wife hath made herself ready." In Revelation 21:9, an angel talks with St. John, saying, "Come hither, I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife." That the Christian Church is meant will appear also from her being clothed with the sun, a striking emblem of Jesus Christ, the Sun of righteousness, the light and glory of the Church; for the countenance of the Son of God is as the sun shineth in his strength. The woman has: -

    The moon under her feet - Bishop Newton understands this of the Jewish typical worship and indeed the Mosaic system of rites and ceremonies could not have been better represented, for it was the shadow of good things to come. The moon is the less light, ruling over the night, and deriving all its illumination from the sun; in like manner the Jewish dispensation was the bright moonlight night of the world, and possessed a portion of the glorious light of the Gospel. At the rising of the sun the night is ended, and the lunar light no longer necessary, as the sun which enlightens her shines full upon the earth; exactly in the same way has the whole Jewish system of types and shadows has been superseded by the birth, life, crucifixion, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Jesus Christ. Upon the head of the woman is: -

    A crown of twelve stars - A very significant representation of the twelve apostles, who were the first founders of the Christian Church, and by whom the Gospel was preached in great part of the Roman empire with astonishing success. "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the Stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3.

    Barnes' Notes on Revelation 12:1

    And there appeared a great wonder in heaven - In that heavenly world thus disclosed, in the very presence of God, he saw the impressive and remarkable symbol which he proceeds to describe. The word "wonder" - σημεῖον sēmeion - properly means something extraordinary, or miraculous, and is commonly rendered "sign." See Matthew 12:38-39; Matthew 16:1, Matthew 16:3-4; Matthew 24:3, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:48; Mark 8:11-12; Mark 13:4, Mark 13:22; Mark 16:17, Mark 16:20; in all which, and in numerous other places in the New Testament, it is rendered "sign," and mostly in the sense of "miracle." When used in the sense of a miracle, it refers to the fact that the miracle is a sign or token by which the divine power or purpose is made known. Sometimes the word is used to denote "a sign of future things" - a portent or presage of coming events; that is, some remarkable appearances which foreshadow the future. Thus in Matthew 16:3; "signs of the times"; that is, the miraculous events which foreshadow the coming of the Messiah in his kingdom. So also in Matthew 24:3, Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7, Luke 21:11. This seems to be the meaning here, that the woman who appeared in this remarkable manner was a portent or token of what was to occur.

    A woman clothed with the sun - Bright, splendid, glorious, as if the sunbeams were her raiment. Compare Revelation 1:16; Revelation 10:1; see also Sol 6:10 - a passage which, very possibly, was in the mind of the writer when he penned this description: "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?"

    And the moon under her feet - The moon seemed to be under her feet. She seemed as if she stood on the moon, its pale light contrasted with the burning splendor of the sun, heightening the beauty of the whole picture. The woman, beyond all question, represents the church. See the notes on Revelation 12:2. Is the splendor of the sunlight designed to denote the brightness of the gospel? Is the moon designed to represent the comparatively feeble light of the Jewish dispensation? Is the fact that she stood upon the moon, or that it was under her feet, designed to denote the superiority of the gospel to the Jewish dispensation? Such a supposition gives much beauty to the symbol, and is not foreign to the nature of symbolic language.

    And upon her head a crown of twelve stars - A diadem in which there were placed twelve stars. That is, there were twelve sparkling gems in the crown which she wore. This would, of course, greatly increase the beauty of the vision; and there can be no doubt that the number twelve here is significant. If the woman here is designed to symbolize the church, then the number twelve has, in all probability, some allusion either to the twelve tribes of Israel as being a number which one who was born and educated as a Jew would be likely to use (compare James 1:1), or to the twelve apostles - an allusion which, it may be supposed, an apostle would be more likely to make. Compare Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:14.