The Women of Revelation (Churches 7)

There are four women portrayed in the visions of the book of Revelation. Two of them are positive figures and two of them are negative. The first of the four women is Jezebel, the leader of the church of Thyatira who is in opposition to the faithful ones there (Rev. 2:20-23). It is not clear from the text whether “Jezebel” is a symbol that refers to a specific leader of the local church (who could be either male or female), or represents the larger faction of the church as a whole.

The second woman of Revelation is the godly woman of Revelation 12 (Rev. 12:1-2, 5-6, 14-17). She seems to represent Israel as a whole, both Old Testament Israel and Judah (theocratic nation-states) and New Testament Israel (the church). The third woman of Revelation is prostitute Babylon (Rev. 17:1-7, 16). She is the counterpart of Jezebel, representing end-time opposition to God and His people. The Christian origin of Babylon is represented in the dress of prostitute Babylon, she is dressed like the High Priest of the Old Testament sanctuary system (Rev 17:4). The fourth woman of Revelation is the bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-8). She represents the faithful people of God at the close of earth’s history.

All four women in the visions of Revelation are ultimately associated with the church, either positively or negatively. If the first part of the message to Thyatira represents the medieval church, then the two images are very closely related. Opposition to Christ often wears a Christian face, and is prophesied to do so again in the period leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev 19:11-1). Similarly, the woman of Revelation 12 represents the faithful people of God throughout history. The bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19), on the other hand, represents the faithful people of God at the very end of history. So it stands to reason that Babylon (Rev. 17-18) represents opposition to God from within the church as a whole at the end of time. “Woman” in Revelation represents both the best and the worst of human interaction with God.

2 thoughts on “The Women of Revelation (Churches 7)

  1. Ivaylo

    Pictorial expressions of a woman like Isaiah 1:21 (and Isaiah 1 as a whole ), Jeremiah 2 & 3, Ezekiel 16 & 23, Hosea, indicate that “we versus them” is not exactly the picture in Revelation (and actually neither in history) – we the real Christians vs the fallen church(es),
    but rather
    we – the people of God as a whole (even all of Abrahamic faith, if we dare to be so humbly comprehensive) – that “surrender to seduction” of the powers, conforming to them to degree to be like them internally, even becoming one wtih them and ultimately becoming (part of) them (allegedly cultivating the rulership) – actually carrying there name while claiming God’s name –
    as last two millennias show us if we plunge into thorough research…

    Dr. Paulien isn’t it significant that topographically if we pay attention
    in 12:6 “the woman fled into the desert” (repeated 12:14), 12:15, 16 “the serpent spewed water like a flooding river… the earth helped the woman” and basically stood in-between to call out the beasts from the two places 13 ch
    and all of a sudden in another scene “on many waters” 17:1 and “into the desert” 17:3 we are introduced to a woman in that condition that John says “And I was amazed, gazing at her with great amazement.” 17:6/7
    and interestingly enough βασιλεις not just lead her in evil as she responds to it but the horns of the beast 17:12 also destroy her 17:16
    But finally in contrast to real Jerusalem conquered and dominated by Babylon and successors, Jerusalem from the Revelation is shown victorious.

    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      See the latest post (listed as Seals 4) for a similar tack. God puts up with a lot, even from His own people. But His embrace is bigger than our forgetfulness.


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