"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." (Rev. 12:1)
The great sign, or wonder, that is set forth in the quotation above has been interpreted by many to refer to the "mother church", the Mater Ecclesia, as it is called in Rome. The illustration below, taken from an old engraving is expressive of this idea as is a painting which today hangs in the Tate Gallery, London, England.
It is remarkable that she has upon her head "a crown of twelve stars" -- this
is no ordinary crown however, it is a stephanos or wreath of victory. That this
wreath of victory is made up of twelve stars is also interesting. The sign appears
"in heaven", that is the political heaven of the Roman system (that is why the
ten-horned dragon -- symbol of the empire -- is seen there also in verse 3). The twelve
stars that shone brightly in the Roman political heavens during the time of the apostle
John could have signified only one thing -- in the words used by the Roman historian
Seutonius, it represented "The Twelve Caesars". The Roman Church
inherited that crown at the time of Constantine (A.D.312), and this is the reason why the
church-woman of Revelation 12 is seen with it.
Today, we see in the European political heaven (the modern counterpart and successor to the Roman heaven) a great and notable sign -- twelve stars! The European flag, according to a European Commission publication is "A shared flag, blue with twelve gold stars symbolizing completeness. The number will remain twelve no matter what is the number of countries in the European Union."
To the eye enlightened by Bible prophecy, twelve stars appearing in the Roman or European political heaven must be significant. It is a stephanos of victory -- but whose victory? In Revelation 17:3 the woman is seen sitting upon a scarlet beast -- she is in a position of control -- so we know that she is to triumph over the ten-horned beast. That Europe should also choose the mythological symbol of Europa (a woman riding a beast) to depict itself (as on the stamps reproduced at bottom) is thus fitting.
Twelve stars upon a blue back-ground (blueheaven?) thus speaks volumes. A mind that is attuned to God's signs will soon fill in the rest of the picture! That picture will be of a revived Roman Empire in modern form, with the stephanos of victory, long since won by apostate Christendom, as the coded sign to believers that Rome rules!