Down through church history virtually all Christian interpreters of Revelation 12 have understood the symbol of the woman in labor as the church. This began to change about 200 years ago when literal hermeneutics were more rigorously applied to the Book of Revelation and Bible Prophecy in general. It took this long for some within the church to begin to overcome the stranglehold that replacement theology or supersessionism had on the church. For most of her history, when Christians read biblical passages, they automatically assumed that it was referring to them and the church. Most have thought that the church has forever replaced Israel and that Israel, as a nation, has no future. This is why a correct understanding of who the woman in Revelation 12 represents is a watershed issue for understanding Revelation as a whole.