6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. … 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:6, 13-17
The woman, who we saw was Israel:
1) fled into the wilderness, where she would be nourished for 1260 days or 3-1/2 times;
2) escaped there by the two wings of a great eagle;
3) was persecuted by the dragon, who is the serpent, by a flood pouring from his mouth;
4) the earth helped the woman, and swallowed up the flood of the dragon – serpent;
5) this enraged the dragon, who made war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
First let us consider who the rest of her offspring are. Her firstborn was the male Child, Jesus Christ the Messiah. He is the firstborn among many brethren. The rest of Israel’s offspring are: 1) those who keep the commandments of God, and 2) those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Well, here are the two witnesses again. The house of Judah, i.e., the Jews, keep the commandments of God, and the house of Ephraim, i.e., the Gentiles who became the Christians, have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Judah and Ephraim are of course considered the offspring of Israel.
Second, what about this wilderness? Traditional historicists say that the woman, who they identify as Zion or the true church, fled into the wilderness of obscurity with the rise of the state- sponsored counterfeit church (the Roman church) which they place at 533 ad, and they end the 1260 years at 1793 with the French Revolution. Read their position, it does have merit. My only problem with it is that the Scriptures say that the woman was nourished in the wilderness for 3-1/2 times. While she was being martyred by the Roman church, how was she being nourished?
My alternate theory is this: when the dragon began to fiercely persecute the woman Israel, she fled the persecution on the wings a great eagle. The eagle is the symbol of America. In 1620 the Pilgrims fled religious persecution in Europe and arrived on these shores, which was a vast wilderness at that time. That the earth helped the woman, because it swallowed the flood of persecution from the serpent, also fits, because America has been separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. For so many years, the earth has indeed helped the woman, and the sufferings which Christians and Jews in the rest of the world suffer, do not touch the woman here. While the Pilgrims and those who followed after them were busy making a great nation out of the wilderness, the dragon did indeed make war with the rest of her offspring. Christians continued to be persecuted by the Roman church, which is what prompted the flight of the Pilgrims in the first place, and Jews also have had so much trouble finding any place which would welcome them, receive them, and allow them to keep the commandments of God in peace.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 12: the woman in the wilderness, part two