“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Remember the theme of this entire book. God is in the process of divorcing the Old Jerusalem and preparing a bride for His Son in the New Jerusalem. This passage should be understood in the context of the build up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
The dragon, identified as Satan earlier, and also described in this same passage as a serpent, is furious with the woman who gave birth to the “man child.” The faithful remnant of Israel had brought forth the Messiah, and when the devil was thrown down to earth, he persecuted the Judean church. They had been prepared for this by the Lord’s solemn warning.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains” (Matt. 24:15–16).
When the armies of Rome come, you are to go. And this is precisely what the Judean church did—seeking refuge in Pella in 66 A.D. She is there protected for three and a half years (a time, times, and half a time). A flood of wrath comes, but the earth absorbs it—as unbelieving Jewry absorbed the wrath that missed the Christians.
All of this is Exodus imagery—the believers who escaped from the demolition of Jerusalem were spared in just the same way that the Jews were delivered from Pharaoh. “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (Ex. 19:4; cf. Dt.32:11-12). God took them out of Egypt on the wings of an eagle, and He brought these faithful Christians out of Judea on the wings of an eagle also. This also helps to identify the corrupt establishment in Jerusalem with Egypt itself. They had become the enemies of God. We saw this identification of Jerusalem with Egypt in the previous chapter, and here it continues. “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).
The dragon continued in its fury. Not able to kill the woman, he turns to make war on the remainder of her offspring (in this case, it is likely we are talking about the Gentile church). These are plainly identified as believers—they keep the commandments of God, and they have the testimony of Jesus Christ.