The Two Women
Most Christians are familiar with the allegory of the Church as a chaste virgin betrothed to Christ--faithfully awaiting His return to gather her to Himself for a marriage everlasting. Yet, Scripture actually reveals two "women" who have existed together upon the earth throughout the history of mankind--symbolizing two groups of people: one, the Lord's faithful, and the other, Satan's deceived. One embodies faith and righteousness, the other, rebellion and wickedness.
Shortly after the Fall in Eden, God instituted an ordinance that involved making a sacrificial offering for sin atonement (Gen 4:3-7). When Cain and Abel were of age, they too were required to participate in this ordinance. We read in the text of Genesis 4 that Abel met the conditions, and his sacrifice was accepted by God. Cain however, approached God on his own terms, and was rejected. It was obedience and sacrificial blood that made the difference between Cain and Abel’s offering, and that same standard of acceptance remains in the Church today. The Abel types find God through the blood of His Passover Lamb and obedience to His Word, while the Cain types either seek God in error, seek after false gods, or seek no god at all. Every person on earth today is a constituent of one of these two "women."
In the first prophecy in Scripture, God foretells Satan’s ultimate defeat at the hands of the seed of the woman--which we know refers to the Son of God, born of a virgin:
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:14-15 KJV)
(Note that Gen 5:26 alludes to this woman when referring to a congregation of faithful who began to "call upon the name of the Lord" around the time that Adam's grandson Enos was born).
The woman symbolized in Gen 3:15 bears a striking resemblance to the woman portrayed in Rev 12-- just as the “seed” does the “man child.” But who is this woman? Unquestionably, the crown of twelve stars worn by the fleeing woman is intended to identify her with the nation of Israel. It was, after all, through that nation that Christ came, fulfilling the Messianic promises God had made to Abraham.
Yet, the imagery of being clothed with the sun, and having the moon for a footstool, seems to expand the meaning of the woman to encompass the entire planet. The whole world is in view here. For that reason, It's likely the woman symbolizes not only the nation of Israel, but ultimately the entire body of believers of all ages from all nations--the Israel of God (Gal 6:15-16)--which transcends any geographical location or gene pool; the true, sanctified household of faith is neither Jewish nor Gentile:
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal 3:26-29 )
While it was through Israel—as the physical nation that proceeded forth from Abraham—that the Savior came into the world, it is in fact, Abraham’s faith upon which his covenant with God was founded, and it is faith by which all of the promises are inherited by those who believe.
Note that Matthew traces Jesus’ ancestry from Abraham to show His Jewish roots and royal lineage, but Luke traces it all the way back to Adam--to show that He is the Savior of both Jews and Gentiles.
So vast is the galaxy we live in, that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel from one end to the other. Yet, when we consider that our galaxy is but a speck against the unimaginable expanse of the universe, we realize that what we can see in the night sky is but a tiny part of a much greater whole.
In a similar way, the woman in Revelation 12 first depicts a Jewish remnant that will survive to see the Lord’s return, but ultimately, also represents the fullness of the bride in the New Jerusalem of God’s eternal kingdom. We essentially have here, a before-and-after photograph of the same woman.
With regard to the enmity between Satan and the woman, and between their seed, that antagonism is clearly interwoven with, and manifest in, the tapestry of mankind's history. From Cain’s murder of Abel, to the persecution of the Church by Rome, to Satan’s attempt to eradicate the Jews from the earth through Adolf Hitler, it is a common thread that started in the beginning, and will continue, until the day the completed bride of Christ is glorified in His presence—just after Satan’s woman is consigned to the eternal lake of fire.
The “Other Woman"
Ancient Sumer, once located in the Mesopotamian valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, is the oldest civilization for which there exists historical and archaeological evidence, and is also the region of ancient Babylon, which dates back some 5000 years to the biblical period of Nimrod's kingdom strongholds of Babel, Erech, and Akkad.
There exists a surprising amount of information about the vile pagan "religion" that developed from ancient Babylonian culture. That religion gave rise to the worship of Baal and of the queen of heaven—both condemned by God in the OT--and is the mother and prototype of every pagan religion that has arisen since. The great spiritual whore described by John in the book of Revelation is in fact, the future, final incarnation of that ancient, wicked entity. She will rise once more in the last days to share a bed with secular power, live luxuriously, and persecute the saints of God, just as she last did during the Holy Roman Empire.
The true origins of Babylon almost certainly extend back before the Flood, to the early descendants of Cain. Whether she existed as a structured religious system that early is unknown; but since Satan always counterfeits the things of God, and both foments and fosters rebellion against God, we can safely assume that he had indeed crafted such an institution to counter the godly influence of Lord’s assembly (Gen 5:26), long before the Flood.
Her influence is certainly seen in both the overspreading of wickedness that incurred the Flood and the rebellion among Noah's descendants after the Flood, resulting in the confusion of languages.
The final portrait of each woman is found in the book of Revelation: One depicts the bride of Christ--made ready, and prepared for her wedding supper—which occurs immediately following the final destruction of the Babylonian whore who has been attacking her with murderous intent since the murder of Abel. The first woman had her blood spilled because of her faith in the one who shed His blood for her—while the other will face the wrath of the Avenger of that innocent blood. (Rev 18-19).
Two very different women, destined for two very different appointments with Jesus--one brings reward and glory, and the other condemnation and terror. No choice we make in this life matters, when compared to choosing which woman we will part of, for she is eternal.