And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down into the earth, he persecuted the woman who had brought forth the man-child. And two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, that she might fly into the wilderness in the her place, where she is nourished there a time and times and half a time from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast our of his mouth water as a river after the woman, that he might make her carried away by a flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon had cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was angry with the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her children, they keeping the commandments of God and holding the testimony of Jesus.
This first verse (13) parallels Rev 12:5, and the following verses expand verses 5-6. We saw the woman being chased into the wilderness to a place prepared for her, and ‘they’ take care of her for 1,260 days. Here in verse 14 we read of a time, times, and half a time. This comes directly from Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. John is claiming that whatever was spoken of by Daniel in his prophecies is what is unfolding before us here.
For “eagles wings” see Ex 19:4 and Isa 40:31. Just as God rescued Israel from Pharaoh, He shall rescue her from the Antichrist. “She was nourished there” goes back to verse 6 where “they” take care of her. The 1,260 days is 42 months, which is thee and a half years. Time, times, and half a time is based upon the feasts, that a full cycle takes us from Passover to Passover. Thus, a time is one year. In chapters 11, 12, and 13 the time period is given over and over explicitly so we all know exactly what John is referring to. This is the last three and a half years of the Tribulation. The time of Israel’s peace during that first half is over. She is now being persecuted.
There is a multiplicity of Old Testament references to the end of the age being “like a flood”. Compare Daniel 9:26, Psalm 18:4, Isaiah 8:7, 2 Samuel 22:5, Psalm 32:6, 69:5, Jeremiah 46:7-8, Hosea 5:10, Daniel 11:40, and Psalm 124:4. We can also see the dragon called a ‘water monster’ in Ezekiel 29:3, 32:2-3, and Psalm 74:13. The Leviathan of Isaiah 27:1 most likely refers to the Antichrist that comes out of the sea (see Rev 13:1). It has occurred to me, whether right or wrong, that Jesus’ teaching of the wise and foolish builders could certainly apply to this. He who is wise, which certainly has a Daniel-ish flare to it (see Dan 11:33-35), builds their house upon the rock so that when the floods come, their home is not taken away by that flood.
We have see previously that the woman is Israel, and we also took a look at the end time stratagem of her final sifting through the wilderness to come to the knowledge of her God. Who is the earth that swallows the water? There is much interest in that the woman stands on the moon and has her face like the sun, but the earth is not mentioned (12:1). Here the earth plays a vital role. Now, in Revelation 12:12, the saints are in heaven, but woe to the earth and sea. Is there a correlation? I actually doubt it. The result of the earth swallowing up the river is that the dragon then goes after the woman’s “other offspring”.
It is assumed by some that because the “other offspring” are the Church that this man-child cannot be they who overcome. I don’t mock this thought, but do wonder why John would have such a largess gap between verses 5 and 6. I also wonder how verse 4 is before the birth of Jesus and His ascension. Whether we take verse 4 to mean saints or demons, the latter being explained in verses 7-9, it causes us to wonder when that took place before the coming of Jesus. I hold to the notion that these “other offspring” are they who have not yet overcome, and therefore are still very much on the earth (rather than being ‘caught up’ and rejoicing in heaven).
To overcome is simply to come to a place of maturity in Christ that you are no longer anything like the world. You have ‘overcome the world’. We will see in Rev 13:7 that the Antichrist “overcomes” the saints. This overcoming is in relation to temptation as much as it is with death. For John, the issue of overcoming is not the issue of martyrdom. There is an overcoming by the laying down of our lives, just like Jesus said to take up your cross and follow him, but that does not entail your physical expiration. We take up our crosses, yet we continue to live. That is the mystery of eternal life. Somehow heaven is here and now, yet it shall come later.
The earth swallows the river, much like the earth swallowing up Korah in Numbers 16:30. I believe that this is a pattern that John is referring us back to. Korah was not content with being a Levite, but demanded the priesthood also. Satan was not content being the angel of light, and some claiming he was even the very worship leader and light bearer of heaven, but demanded to sit upon the throne of God. Similarly, the Antichrist is not content to simply be a great world ruler, but must be the sole dictator of the world who is worshiped by all peoples and nations. The earth swallows up the river, which is to say, takes the full force brunt of the persecution spewed at the woman.
Satan desires the woman to be slain. This is the scandal of specificity. Satan has always had his eye upon Zion and upon that Jewish nation. Even before the Land was significant, Satan had established the cursed Canaanites in that land to defile and pollute it. Even before the people were anywhere near their prophetic destiny, Satan desired to destroy them in Egypt. He has sent various nations and peoples against them throughout history (Philistines, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, and even much of Christian history is plagued with anti-Semitism). Even now, while they are obviously outside of God’s plans and purposes for her, Israel is quite explicitly targeted and hated among the nations.
That opposition and hatred shall culminate at the end of the age into a flood of overwhelming persecution. Just like Nazi Germany hunted down every Jewish man, woman, and child, so too at the end of the age will only one thing matter: blood. If you have Jewish blood within your veins, you shall be a target. It has nothing to do with whether you are of a different religion, a significant figure in society, or if you pledge allegiance to this ruler. All that matters is that you are Jewish, and therefore God’s elect.
The Christian Church, both Jewish and Gentile, shall in that day rise to her ultimate destiny. She shall take in the Jewish people, just like Corrie Ten Boom and others, and thus receive the full force of that flood of anti-Semitism. In that day sentiment will not save you. It will not be enough that you have sentimentality toward Israel. To stand with Israel in that day will mean your death. You will not have food, water, shelter, or safety. All things will be taken from you – all rights and luxuries. Unless you ‘repent’ and take the mark of the beast, you shall have no way of living.
This, of course, begs the question: how shall we live? If we cannot buy, sell, or trade, then how shall we even have food and water to survive any amount of days or weeks? Don’t forget verse 6. God has prepared a place in the wilderness for that woman to flee. How shall you survive? It shall be in taking seriously the call of God to establishing communities of believers in the wilderness places of the nations. You need to flee, even now, before the time has come, so that God might prepare you into a vessel that can take in the Jewish people.
It might very well be that they who overcome are they who take seriously the call of God, knowing the testimony of Jesus (namely, this testimony that we are reading through – the book of Revelation – which is the spirit of prophecy), and therefore flee into the wilderness before the appointed time to be established as a place of refuge in that appointed time. The “rest of her offspring” may very well be they who did not take seriously, nor even consider the possibility, this high calling, and therefore are existing in the hostile places along with Israel who is now fleeing. To remain in Babylon, which is the entire world system, is dangerous. It places you directly in the mouth of the enemy, so that at any moment, if he should desire, you can be devastated, if not killed.
What do we do now? I would seriously consider these things, and in light of considering them, I would seek the Lord to see if He shall reveal unto you precisely what you are to do. Should you sell your home to buy a place in the wilderness? Should you seek out someone who has a place already? Should you gather with a few other families to pool together and buy a property where you can go from house to house daily? Should you find an old apartment complex, or a street in a suburb, to buy up all of the houses and fill them with your community? These are only thoughts. Only the Lord knows where He shall need you. This is why it is called “overcoming”. To have no part with the world means to seriously consider these hard questions. Selling everything to take up the ultimate purposes in God is something that many take lightly. Does God actually command us to do this? It depends on what you mean by “command”.
In the next series of posts we shall examine the Antichrist and False Prophet. We’ll see a bit of their kingdom, and how it opposes the Kingdom of Christ. While the spirit of Jesus is one of sacrifice – even to love not your life unto death – the spirit of this other kingdom is one of gratification. It is not expedient to be a Christian, but it is worth it. We are not promised an inheritance with this world. We are promised to inherit with Israel when Christ Jesus shall return and establish Zion upon earth.