This chapter now skips back to an earlier period in church history to the beginning of the Christian church and the period of the persecution of the early Church under pagan Rome that transitions into her persecution under papal Rome. The chapter is more of a vision of the spiritual view of the forces at work rather than those in the earthly realm. It shows us the same satanic power behind pagan Rome as is behind papal Rome. Compare verse 12:3 with 13:1.
This revelation really starts with chapter 11:19. There we read that the temple of God is opened in a new vision, where even the holy ark of His testament is seen. Compare to Revelation 4:1, the same type of language is used.
The ark of the Old testament covenant must have disappeared at some point from Temple worship, because, when the veil of the Temple was split down the middle (Matthew 27:51) at Christ’s death on the Cross, it showed that Christ earned the right of being (symbolically) the ark of God. He is the only intercessor between man and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). The ark of God in heaven means that the following occurs temporally after the resurrection of Christ.
There appeared (v.1) “a woman”, the true Church of God, “clothed with the sun,” symbolising Christ’s covering for salvation. The true Church shines with the light of the sun of righteousness. The phrase “the moon under her feet” could symbolise the Old testament, which shone by a reflected light not fully revealed until Christ came in the flesh, and is subordinate to the New Covenant of the Church. The woman then symbolises the true Israel of God (Isaiah 62:11), the believers (Galatians 4:31). Some say “the moon under her feet” means she survives in the world.