“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“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: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”
So a great sign or portent appears in the heavens. She represents the faithful remnant of Israel, she who was to give birth to the Christ, but who did so in travail and pain (Is. 26:17-21). We know she is Israel because of the dream given to Joseph—“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” (Gen. 37:9)—Joseph himself would have been the twelfth star. And there is clearly some sort of astrological significance to the fact that the woman (Virgo?) has the moon under her feet, the sun in her midriff, and a crown of stars on her head.
A second wonder appeared in the heavens. This was a great red dragon, identified as the devil or Satan a few verses down (v. 9). This dragon had the combined characteristics of all the beasts in Daniel’s vision, showing how each pagan empire was simply Satan in a new guise. This was no less true of Satan’s Roman period, during which he sought to devour the Child Christ through the agency of Herod the Great. The seven heads here also identifies him with the beast of Rome that appears in the next chapter.
Apparently Satan had drawn a third of the angels into his rebellion against God, dragging them down to earth with him. His intent was to devour the Christ as soon as he was born, but the attempt was unsuccessful. In this passage, the narrative jumps from Christ’s birth to His ascension. The fact that this child is Christ is confirmed by the fact that the child was destined to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. This was prophesied of the Messiah in the Old Testament (Ps. 2: 9), and is applied to Christ later in Revelation (Rev. 19:15), and to His shared rule with His saints earlier (Rev. 2:27). There is no reason to change the identification here.
Having given birth to the Messiah, faithful Israel fled to the wilderness where she was nourished and provided for by God for three and a half years.