Wednesday, 10 March 2021
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. Revelation 12:16
In the previous verse, the serpent spewed water out of its mouth in order to carry the woman away by the flood. That is most probably referring to an army sent forth to destroy those of Israel who had fled to the mountains. Now, and in response to that, John says, “But the earth helped the woman.”
Quite often in Revelation, and elsewhere as well, the term “the earth” is used to speak of the inhabitants of the earth. It is a general way of expressing this idea without regard to whether the people are right with the Lord or not. This is probably the idea here. Without specifying what group or army is brought against this attacking force intent on destroying these Jews, they simply are recorded as doing so. With this probably being the case, it then says, “and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood.”
The attacking army is consumed. The reason isn’t given, and it could be another army is intent on destroying the attackers without regard to the safety of the Jews at all. Or it could be a purposeful battle to protect them. Either way, the result is help for the woman. And the help is effectual, thus destroying “the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.”
The purpose of this group attacking the Jews, who are ultimately serving the purposes of Satan, was to destroy Israel and thus thwart the redemptive plans of God. However, this will not come to pass, and the Jews who heeded Jesus’ advice and fled to the mountains will be safe. Something like this scenario is recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. A great army was set to come against Judah. King Jehoshaphat acknowledged that they had no power to stand against the invaders. In this, their only hope was deliverance by the Lord. And the Lord delivered –
“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.” 2 Chronicles 20:22-24
An incident such as this appears to be the most likely scenario for the stopping of “the flood.” However, there are other possibilities as well. In a battle found in Joshua 10, a natural event (meaning an event of nature, even if supernaturally produced) helped to destroy the enemies of Israel –
“So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword.” Joshua 10:10, 11
Regardless as to what will actually swallow up the flood, it is recorded, and it will come to pass. Events of the past give possibilities to assure us that just as the Lord tended to Israel then, so He will do in the future. Israel will have to simply trust in the Lord. He will deliver.
Life application: Whatever is set to occur, God has a plan, and it will not be thwarted. As noted above, the earth may be representative of a protecting army, friendly to the plight of the Jews. There may be an appropriately timed earthquake that occurs at the spot where the attackers are in pursuit. Another possibility is that something like what occurred during the wilderness wanderings of Israel will happen again. During a rebellion against Moses, the main rebel and his household found out the seriousness of coming against God and His purposes –
“Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33 So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, ‘Lest the earth swallow us up also!’” Numbers 16:31-34
Whatever is coming, it ultimately is God who is behind the deliverance of this group of fleeing Israelites. He has spoken now so that when these astonishing events occur, it will be plain, clear, and obvious that it was He knew all along what would transpire. He is in complete control of what is coming. The Lord has spoken, and He will perform. The millennium will be ushered in, the Lord will sit and judge among His people, and the world will see the glorious splendor of Israel’s Messiah. They will behold the kingdom of JESUS!
Lord, throughout the history of the world Your works have been evident. Creation testifies to You, but so does the miraculous – those things which transcend creation, and which are meant to demonstrate that You are sovereign over all things. When we see Your work in and around us, help us to acknowledge Your loving hand in it. Great and awesome are You, O God. Amen.