Short summary of the previous pages It was pointed out that the whole history of salvation – from
the beginning with Adam and Eve up to the Millennium – follows cycles
of four typical phases (peace, sin, judgment, return to peace) taking
place within four vast eras (see Summary
of Salvation History). Then was shown that since Jesus there
are a phase of apparition and a phase of Spirit incorporated in the
phase of peace. For the first cycle (Jesus' earth life), these phases
are the Annunciation and the virginal conception by the Spirit. For
the second cycle (the primitive Church), it is Jesus' apparitions during
forty days and Pentecost. On this page, we analyze chapter 12 of Revelation,
which seems to describe an apparition of Saint Mary.
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The Woman Clothed with the Sun
The identity of the Woman
The most important passage describing an apparition of the Blessed
Virgin Mary is in chapter 12 of Revelation: “A great portent appeared in heaven,
a Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown
of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). St. Mary appeared in almost this very form
to an Indian in Guadalupe (Mexico) in 1531. This is not known because of the testimony
of Juan, the seer, but because Mary offered us her “photography”: Juan went to the
local bishop to tell him that he had seen the Virgin but the bishop did not believe
him. In order to convince the bishop, Mary told Juan to go to some place where she
would make roses grow in the middle of winter. He did so, picked the roses, wrapped
them in his coat and went again to the bishop. At the moment when he unfolded his
coat to show the roses to the bishop, the image of the Virgin was printed on the
coat (see figure on the left). This finally convinced the bishop of the authenticity
of Juan’s claims.
The picture was then exposed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico
City, which became the most important Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world.
Let us return to the Scriptures: most Protestant and even Catholic
theologians do not admit that Revelation 12:1 concerns the Virgin Mary, but claim
that this passage concerns God’s people or the Church. However, the child the Woman
brought about cannot be anyone else than Christ, because the dragon is standing
before the Woman attempting to devour him at his birth, which refers to the unsuccessful
persecution through Herod (Mt 2). Furthermore, he shall “rule all the nations
with a rod of iron” (Rev 12:5), which refers to his nationwide reign through
the Church. The same “rod of iron” is holding Christ coming back on earth
(Rev 19:11-16). He is also “caught up to God and to his throne” (Rev 12:5).
Who else apart from Christ has ascended to Heaven to sit on God’s throne? There
is nobody else! So why then refuse to identify the “Woman clothed with the sun”
with St. Mary?
It is possible that this denial demonstrates a certain egocentrism
consisting in the impossibility of imagining that a single Woman can have more importance
than the immense people of God, with which those theologians identify themselves.
Yet it is well known that quantity cannot counterbalance quality. So the only thing
that counts is the degree of fulfillment of a prophecy even though its extend may
be very restricted. This is why the only perfect fulfillment of God’s residence
in Zion was realized with Jesus’ conception in Mary’s womb. This realization has
a very small scale but is nevertheless above all others.
The male Child and the rest of the children
What one may wonder is whether Revelation 12:1 truly describes
a future Marian apparition thousands of years after Jesus’ birth? How to explain
such a time shift within the same text? And why is it not just a description of
the glory St. Mary enjoys since her Assumption?
To answer these questions, let us first examine the parallel between
the male Child of the Woman and “the rest of her offspring, who observe the commandments
of God and adhere to the testimony of Jesus”, against whom the Dragon thrown
down on earth makes war (Rev 12:13-17). This way, the time shift will clarify:
a rest implies that there is another part belonging, together with the rest, to
an entire group. This group constitutes all the children of the Woman, of whom
only the male Child and the rest of her offspring are mentioned. This is why the
other part of the offspring is the male child, although one person against a multitude
seems to be an unbalanced distribution. There is however a fundamental difference
between Jesus and the rest of his spiritual brothers and sisters, even if they are
Since Revelation 12:17 refers to the last Saints (see
here), this passage describes a future time, like the preceding
chapters. The description of the birth of the Messiah, which in fact belongs to
the past, consequently has nothing to do with this historical context and only serves
to determine the identity of the Woman and especially to draw a parallel between
Jesus’ birth and that of the rest of her offspring. This is the same principle we
have already met in Isa 66:7-8, where the daughter of Zion indicates the same
parallel: “...before her pain come upon her she was delivered of a son. [...]
For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her sons.” This parallel
is based on the first three typical phases, that is, on apparition / arrival
of the Spirit / growth, of both the live cycles of Jesus in the past and the
last Saints in the future.
Furthermore, the sacrifice of Christ, who has defeated Satan,
and that of the last Saints, who will defeat him again, make part of the same parallel
(Rev 12:7-12). As seen in The life of Jesus Christ, the crucifixion
constitutes the phase of sin. This is why the sacrifice of the last Saints constitutes
the same phase. As for the phase of judgment, this is the return of Christ on earth
with his celestial army exterminating the beast and his followers (Rev 19:11-21)
as a consequence of their persecution of the Church and the last Saints (Rev 20:4).
Their revival will also be similar to that of Christ, for they will be resuscitated
like him, that is, earlier than the rest of mankind at the first resurrection (Rev 20:4-6).
So from this context one can conclude that Revelation 12:1 does not,
or not only, describe Mary’s glory in Heaven. It’s a glory visible on earth destined
in particular to the last Saints. Its purpose is to direct them on the path to sainthood,
as seen in The purpose of the phase of apparition.
The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in history
The numerous Marian apparitions, which have already taken place
in the past centuries
and accumulate in our time, are prefigurations of the last apparition referred to
by Revelation 12:1, just as the end-time tribulation is prefigured numerous times
in the past (see here). There is a Marian apparition
in Medjugorje (Bosnia), which could be the last one. It began in 1981 and continues
to this day on the basis of monthly messages consisting in admonitions to a humanity
living in sin with insistent appeals to conversion.
In her message of May 2, 1982, the Virgin Mary announced there:
I have come to call the world to conversion for the last time.
Afterwards, I will not appear any more on this earth.
She also predicted a punishment of the world in the form of seven
distinct events, growing in gravity and preceded by three warnings that will serve
for conversion. This calls to mind one of the three-times-seven apocalyptic events,
that is, the seven seals (Rev 5-7), the seven trumpets (Rev 8-11) or the
seven cups (Rev 16). The visionaries are the only ones who know what exactly
will happen and will reveal these ten events three days before their achievement.
There is a tendency to minimize the gravity of these seven events
and to think that they have no relation with apocalyptic events. Thus, when the
happened, one wondered whether this was the realization of one of the ten events.
However, it was not, neither was the
Bosnian War between 1992
and 1995, which was already rather apocalyptic, nor any other event in recent history.
Correspondingly, the seven events must be worse. We will see if they will have an
In 1917 at Fatima, however, St. Mary announced that World War I
would end soon – and indeed it ended in 1918 – but that an even more devastating
war would break out if humanity continued to live in sin. This prophecy was realized
with World War II. From 1961 to 1965 she appeared to four young girls at Garabandal
in Spain announcing a warning, miracle and chastisement. The warning shall arrive
in order to stop a violent return of communism in Europe and consist in a spiritual
experience felt by everyone independently of faith. During this short experience
often called illumination of conscience, we shall see ourselves with the
eyes of God, our sins and all its terrible consequences. The miracle shall happen
around Garabandal and consist in a manifestation in the sky. All persons present
who will see it will be healed from all physical diseases. The chastisement refers
to events having great impact on the world, but it shall not be a nuclear holocaust
during a third World War. Such an event shall never arrive, which, however, does
not exclude that the chastisement refers to the end-time tribulation.
So is it really appropriate to give way to the general tendency
to minimize all that is related to St. Mary’s apparitions? Of course, it pertains
to the Church to pronounce on the authenticity of a specific apparition. Though,
as long as no decision is made, one is free to believe whatever one wants. If there
had never been people accepting a sincere sentiment of faith rising up from the
interior of their conscience without waiting for an official decision, which always
takes much time and normally is not pronounced before the end of an apparition,
the Church would never have had to decide anything about apparitions.
One should not underestimate Mary’s apparitions because they will
not last eternally and represent a time of grace in the middle of disorder. If one
does not profit from this time and gives way to doubt, one acts as Sarah and Zechariah,
who doubted the persons appearing to them. If one accepts them though, one acts
precisely as Mary, who replied to Gabriel with perfect confidence: “I am the
servant of the Lord, let it be with me as you say” (Lk 1:38). So let us
be like Mary and take her as model to imitate.
The psychological sense of Marian apparitions
What deserves a small detour as a conclusion to the topic of Marian
apparitions is the question why God extends to Mary “the peace like a river,
and the glory of nations like an overflowing stream” (Isa 66:12). Is there
not a risk that the Holy Virgin will become more important than God?
During the Protestant Reformation emerged the five solae. One of them
is solus Christus (Christ alone), which resumes the claim that salvation
comes from Christ alone without intermediaries like priests. There is no need to
say that only Christ can save us. However, in doing this the Lord uses the help
of intermediaries. Christian faith is transmitted from generation to generation.
So without intermediaries it could never have survived 2000 years.
A similar sola is soli Deo Gloria (glory to God
alone), which is behind the refusal Protestant Christians to venerate Saints, including
Mary. So they probably think that it is not a good idea to imitate Mary rather than
Christ? However, the one is not in competition with the other. They complete each
other. Furthermore, such as we do have both a biological father and mother, we also
have both a celestial Father and Mother. Children do not stick to their father alone.
Usually, they are even more attached to their mother. The image of a mild heavenly
Mother can help to ameliorate the perception of the Father, which is unfortunately
easily associated with powerful men and their often authoritarian and impassive
In order to repair this false image, the Father sent us his Son,
who washed the feet of his disciples to show them that he is a servant and not a
powerful king looking for being served (Jn 13:1-16; Mat 23:11-12). This is
also why he died at the cross rather than to become a political Messiah, as seen
in The wedding at Cana. For the same purpose of preventing to associate God’s
image with an authoritarian, punishing and irritable person, the Father directs
us to Jesus’ Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is like God’s mirror: by sending
his light from an unexpected direction, God surprises and thereby enables us to
discover him under a new unexpected image of a caring Father, whose love is not
a cold and abstract theological concept but a real and tangible living experience.
This principle is even prefigured by the celestial bodies: as
we have seen several times, the Sun is an image of God (see here).
Now, Mary is the Bride of God (see here). This is why the Moon
is an image of Mary, because the Moon has almost the same apparent disc size than
As seen in The purpose of the phase of apparition, the relationship between
God and Mary is fruitful. Therefore, the stars in the sky are an image of the children
Furthermore, the Moon reflects the light of the Sun. This is why the Virgin Mary
likewise redirects the light of God and appears “clothed with the sun, with the
moon under her feet” (Rev 12:1). So the Father sends his love on the Mother
in order to present himself under the warm and gentle image of the Holy Virgin,
taking into account that we may possibly be intimidated by our representation of
the omnipotent Creator of heaven and earth.
The white light of the Moon, which shines in the darkness, also
draws to mind Isaiah 60:1-2:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the
Lord has risen upon you [Zion]. For behold,
darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples. But the Lord will
arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
Hence, there is no soli Deo Gloria since God’s glory is put
upon Zion, who shall illuminate the peoples living in darkness, which is an allegory
for our civilization living in sin and fruitlessly searching for truth in all possible
domains. But there is hope if we let ourselves illuminate by the soft light of the
Blessed Virgin, who is concerned with our well-being as no other Mother, while being
aware that her virtues come from the heavenly Father.
 The picture was analyzed several times, among
others by Nobel Prize winner Richard Kuhn, who stated that the colors are made of
unknown chemical substances. It has also been observed that the colors change according
to the angle of observation. This effect is called iridescence and can be
observed on certain butterflies. It is due to quantum effects by structures in the
realm of nanometers, so impossible to manufacture at this time. There are a lot
of other facts that prove that the picture is of supernatural origin (Francis Johnston,
The Wonder of Guadalupe, 1981).
 The three most important
approved by the Catholic Church took place in Guadalupe (Mexico, 1531), Lourdes
(France, 1858) and Fatima (Portugal, 1917).
 The Sun has a radial visual angle varying from
15' 44" to 16' 16", the Moon has one from 14' 42" to 16' 46", which means that the
area of the Sun’s disc is maximally up to 23.6% bigger than the Moon’s disc, which
in turn surpasses the Sun maximally for only 14.3%. There is no other satellite
in the Solar system that comes as near to the Sun as the Moon. It seems that Perdita
orbiting around Uranus reaches the next closest values: if one stood on Uranus,
one would see Perdita between 35.3% and 62.8% bigger than the Sun. It is worth to
mention also that Mars has 2, Jupiter 67, Saturn 62, Uranus 27 and Neptun 13 known
satellites, while the Earth had only one “attempt” to form a satellite. So it is
certainly no coincidence that the visual angles of the Sun and the Moon come so
 We can thereby conclude that the duality
Sun / Moon also reflects that of man / woman (see note 24), from which
we discover other surprising similarities: as the average solar disc seen from Earth
is slightly bigger than the lunar disc (see note above), similarly the height of
the man – and especially the size of his head – is slightly bigger as compared to
that of the woman (without inferring from this whatsoever difference in intelligence).
Another similarity is as follows: one sees stars only during the night and the Sun
only during day, while the Moon is visible day and night, but more during night.
The Moon is therefore closer to the stars than the Sun. This image expresses the
fact that the woman is closer to children than the man, and at a higher level that
Mary is the Mother of God’s children. From this, another similarity arises: women
have phases of fertility of about seven days around
ovulation during their
menstruation cycle, which
recurs with almost the same time periods as the lunar phases, that is, in a bit
more than twenty-nine days. So the new moon symbolizes barrenness and the full moon
fertility, which is a traditional belief of diverse cultures. Since Marian apparitions
signify spiritual fertility between God and Mary, they are prefigured by lunar phases.
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