And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman dressed with the sun. The moon was under her feet and upon her head was a victory crown of twelve stars. she was pregnant and she cried out in pain as she labored to give birth. Rev 12:1-2.
The woman is dressed in the sun, moon, and stars. Scholars believe the woman represents Israel, in part because her crown has twelve stars. In the Old Testament God is often thought of in terms of Israel=s husband. AFor your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer. . .@ Isa 54:5, NIV.
While the woman represents the people of God on earth, she is depicted as being in heavenly places. Our identity as people of God is not determined by where we are on earth, it is determined by our relationship with heaven. It is helpful, therefore, to build into our lives reminders of our higher relationship.
John McCain spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In the early years of his imprisonment, the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) kept him in solitary confinement or at times with one or two others in a cell. In 1971, however, the NVA moved them from isolation into large rooms with 30 to 40 men. One of the men in the larger room was named Mike Christian. A Naval Flight Officer, he was shot down and captured in 1967.
As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed it onto the inside of his shirt. Every afternoon, before they had a bowl of soup, the prisoners would hang Mike=s shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. In that stark cell it was the most important and meaningful event of the day.
One day the Vietnamese searched the cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike=s shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, took Mike Christian out and beat him severely for the next couple of hours in sight of the others. Then they opened the door of the cell and threw him back in. His cell mates cleaned him up as well as they could.
After the excitement died down, Mike was spotted in the corner of the room, sitting beneath a dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle. With his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, he was, nevertheless, making another American flag. He was not making that flag because it made him feel better. He was making that flag because it reminded him of home.1