I disagree with the answer given here. the Woman cannot be spiritual Israel without any connection to physical Israel, because spiritual Israel did not birth Yahuwshuwa (Jesus). No where in the Scriptures teaches that.
The woman cannot be Mary, because Rev 12:17 shows that the woman's children are the church.
So this leaves the third choice, which is physcial Israel. The scripure already interprets this woman for us and the hosts of heaven on her.
Genesis 37 9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his
brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold,
the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.
10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father
rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast
dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow
down ourselves to thee to the earth?
So when we add Joseph to the 11 stars, we see that the Sun, moon , and stars represents Israel (Jacob) and the 12 tribes.
we see that a Woman represents a city according to the interpretation in Rev 17:18, the earthly whorish woman being Rome, while the pure heavenly woman representing Jerusalem , and since she is in heaven she represents Jerusalem which is "from above which is free, and the mother of us all" ( Galatians 4:26) Which also connects to Revelation 12:17.
This woman was clothed with the sun, which represents Jacob (Israel), and wore a crown of the stars representing the righteous from the 12 tribes who received their crowns and will reign with the Messiah. Here is scripture to support that:
Isaiah 63:2-3 2The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings
your glory; And you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of
the LORD will designate. 3You will also be a crown of beauty in the
hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God
When we put all this symbolism together, together with the context of being before the birth of the man child, we see this woman represents the righteous of the ancient congregation of fathers and prophets who labored through the torments and persecutions, as they groaned and longed for the promised seed to arrive. While they lived in faith in the coming messiah, and foresaw him through the shadows of the law and the prophecies.
This is what the Woman travailing in birth in verse 2 represents, its the righteous of physical Israel longing in pain for their coming Messiah. Here are some examples from scripture:
Micah 4:9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee?
is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in
10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a
woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and
thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon;
there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from
the hand of thine enemies.
So here see that the daughter of Zion is travelling in pain because of persecution and judgemnt. Then in the next chapter it speaks of Zion bringing forth the messiah:
Micah 5 (KJV)
5 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid
siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the
thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that
is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old,
3 Therefore will he give them up, **until the time that she which
travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall
return unto the children of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the
majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now
shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.**
"She which travaileth" is identified in the previous chapter as the daughter of Zion. And the man she brought forth is the Messiah that would cause the renment of Israel to return.
Another separate verse to add is Isaiah 26:17:
Isaiah 26:17 Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of
her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been
in thy sight, O Lord.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were
brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth;
neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they
arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the
dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
Now lets continue. In verse 2-4 it shows the red dragon with 7 heads and 10 crowns, with crowns on its heads. This red dragon is satan manifesting through the pagan roman empire His tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven. and the dragon stood before the woman ready to devour her manchild as soon as he was born. This is fulfilled in Matthew 2:
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord
appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young
child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I
bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and
departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have
I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was
exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were
in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and
under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the
So satan worked through the Roman empire to try to kill Yahuwshuwa as soon as he was born, but failed.
Verse 5 shows the woman brought forth the Man child, again this cannot be simply Mary or spiritual Israel, this is physical Israel birth the messiah through the tribe of Judah. This man child is Yahuwshuwa who would rule all the nations with a rod of iron ( Psalm 2). then it says he was caught up to heaven, speaking about his ascension to the right hand if the Father after his Resurrection.
the wilderness represents a place of testing while being divinely protected ( Deuteronomy 8 and Luke 4). The woman was fed and nourished ( Rev 12:6,14) by the gospel after the ascension, eating the flesh and blood of Yahuwshuwa preached by the apostles. Nourished by the pure milk of the word, and the strong meat. Nourished by the word of faith as shown in 1 Timothy 4:6 :
1 Timothy 4:6 (KJV) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these
things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in
the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained
The war in heaven represents the spiritual warfare the saints were going through at his time, which satan was defeated at the cross and was defeated by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony ( Rev 12:11). verse 10 declares the victory of the death, burial, and resurrection, but then warns the earth of the devils wrath because he knows his time is now short.
CH 12:17 doesn't contradict this woman representing physical Israel.
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.
we can see this in one of 2 ways. either its saying the remnant of her seed, meaning the remnant of the Hebrews who believed the gospel. or its talking about the gentiles too, who were birthed through the gospel which was preached by Israel.
1 Corinthians 4:15 " For though ye have ten thousand instructors in
Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have
begotten you through the gospel"