Monday, 8 March 2021
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. Revelation 12:14
John now continues with the thought from verse 12:6. The words closely match what is said there –
“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.”
What this signifies is that verses 7 through 13 were a parenthesis and now the outlying information is being returned to. Now, John begins the verse with, “But the woman.” Understanding that the woman is Israel, John next says that she “was given two wings of a great eagle.”
There is an article before “wings” that should be included. The Greek literally reads, “the two wings of the eagle, the great.” The second article before “great” is to highlight its size. The symbolism goes back to various passages from the Old Testament, such as –
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” Exodus 19:4
“As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
12 So the Lord alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:11
In those Old Testament verses, the strength is from the Lord as He carried the people. In this verse in Revelation, the wings are given to the woman. Signifying they have been supplied with the means to carry themselves. If the eagle is the same as the Old Testament (meaning the strength of the Lord), as it should be so interpreted based on the definite article, then it is showing that these are believers in the Lord, being given His Spirit to bear them through the trial ahead. This is reflective of the words of Isaiah –
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
This strength of the Lord, represented by the eagle’s wings, is given so “that she might fly into the wilderness to her place.” This is the flight referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24 –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Mathew 24:15, 16
The mountains of the Judean desert are a vast and mostly inhospitable wilderness. Such a wilderness in Scripture is a place of testing, but also of closeness and intimacy with the Lord when the one tested responds in accord with the will of the Lord. That is seen in the temptations of Christ where Matthew 4:1 says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” It is to this area that the woman, meaning these of Israel who have heeded the recorded words of Christ, will flee. It will be to a place, “where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time.”
The words here are a reworded repetition of what was said in verse 6 which referred to a period of “one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” They are the same amount of time. A year in Scripture is three hundred and sixty days. Thus, verse six is referring to three- and one-half years. The words “a time” signify one year, “times” signifies two years, and “half a time” signifies half a year. Again, it is three- and one-half years. This shows that what is said in verses 12:7-12 were a parenthetical insert, and the narrative is returning to that of verse 12:6 now. This flight is said by John to be “from the presence of the serpent.”
This is the serpent referred to in verse 12:9 (aka the dragon; the serpent; the Devil; and Satan). However, though Satan is the serpent, he is working through a human agency. This then takes the reader back to the dragon of verse 12:3, meaning the “fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.”
Although that dragon (which is comprised of a group of nations) is not the same as the dragon of verses 7-12 (meaning Satan), the power behind it is. Satan is ultimately the leader of this multinational force. It is from that force that Israel will be kept safe and nourished.
Life application: When the people arrive at the location the Lord has chosen for them, He will nourish them for three- and one-half years. This may be a supernatural care for the people as it was during the wilderness wanderings, or it may be that there will be sympathetic people who tend to them by shipping in food, water, and whatever else is needed. Either way, God is already aware of what will occur and has shown that it will come to pass by placing it in His word. All of this will be in a place where the devil (meaning the satanically driven group of nations) will not harm them.
The analysis of the details here may not be one hundred percent right. The events are future, and one must take what is said elsewhere in Scripture and try to determine how it all fits together, but what is certain – despite the lesser details – is that the words of Jesus for Israel to flee to the mountains, and the words of Revelation now which speak of Israel being cared for in the wilderness, are speaking of the same future event.
The word has been given in advance, and when the time comes, those in Israel who believe what is recorded there will flee, just as they are instructed to do. As this is certain, then it is certain that the timeline of Daniel 9 is correct. It is also certain that the promises of the Lord from the Law of Moses, concerning Him never rejecting Israel, are reliable.
In other words, the Bible is seamlessly coming together to show us the faithfulness of God to the covenant He gave to Israel. As this is so, and as we are united to Him through faith in the New Covenant that was given in the blood of His Son, how much more should we trust His faithfulness to us! Let us never forget this. We are secure, and nothing can steal us away from Him. This is because of what He has done for us through JESUS!
Lord, for thousands of years Your care has been towards Israel. You safely led them to the land of Canaan, tended to them in Egypt, brought them again to Canaan, and gave it to them. And despite rebelling against you, You cared for them in exile and returned them both times to the land You promised on oath to them. Great is Your faithfulness to Israel. And so, how certain we are of Your faithfulness to those who have come to You through Christ. Thank You, O God, for Your great faithfulness! Amen.