Judgment of the Beasts (Revelation 12-20) >Excursus on the Two Women
In the visions which John saw, there are two women and this lesson is about them.
There is a sign in John’s visions that portrays the opposite of what the dragon represents. This is the spendid woman of Revelation 12. Other than God, and his Christ to whom she gives birth, there is no other sign in the visions of Revelation with greater significance and glory than this heavenly woman.
This woman portrays God’s grace. God purposed that, to conquer sin and death, his only Son should be born to be slain. The woman's travail (birth pain) portrays the agony of God in the crucifixion of Christ, when "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
Just as the signs of the Abyss and the Lake of fire, remind us of Paul’s words in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death...", so now the signs of the Woman giving birth, portray the other half of that verse, "...the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."
In Revelation 17, we meet an abominable woman who is a complete contrast to the glorious woman of chapter 12.
This horrible woman sits on a scarlet beast that "will come up out of the Abyss" (Revelation 17:3,8). That identifies this scarlet beast as the Dragon who signifies Satan (Revelation 20:1-3).
We notice also that this beast has "seven heads and ten horns" which further identifies it as the Dragon who had the same (Revelation 17:8, 12:3). The atrocious woman rides on the very beast from which the glorious woman had to flee with wings of an eagle (Revelation 12:13-16).
The abominable woman, "the Mother of Harlots" signifies "the great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (Revelation 17:18).
This woman is named Babylon in the vision (Revelation 17:5) although her real name in Christian times is Rome. Rome and Babylon were both the capital cities of world empires that became corrupt.
These superpowers, however, are only representative of any ruling society that opposes the city of God —the heavenly Jerusalem. This heavenly city-kingdom is likened in the visions to "a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2).
It is hard to imagine a greater contrast than the contrast between a beautiful virgin bride and this atrocious immoral woman.
The two women of Revelation, the splendid and the atrocious, exist only as signs in the visions. However in contemplating them, we cannot help see in them a reflection of two famous real-life women of the gospel.
Mary: The first is Mary, the holy mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-35).
Jezebel: The second is Jezebel the adulterous false prophetess in Thyatira (Revelation 2:20-25).
Whether you are a woman or man, a boy or girl, it shouldn't be hard for you to decide which kind of person you should aspire to be: a splendid Mary person or an atrocious Jezebel person.