Many are concerned that when Christians live through the tribulation that we will be impacted by the judgements of God and the persecution of the Antichrists government. It is important to note that judgements will be mainly experienced by Israel and the nations which have become these countries (e.g. Greece, Iran, Iraq, Turkey,Lebanon, Syria and Egypt) that persecuted and attacked Israel over the centuries and not the whole world.
The below will be new to most students of the Book of Revelation as the imagery of the woman can been interpreted in different ways based on your understanding of the Book of Revelation. It seems complex as we are not familiar with the Old Testament roots of the many of the scriptures and trying to apply it to our lives now. However God did write this so we could understand if we view things from the writers perspective and understand how God works in patterns and basic symbols.
Tim Warner of 4windsfellowships.net has helped this blog comprehend the meaning of difficult portions of Revelation.
This post is not going to cover Revelation 12:1-5 as this has been done in the post The Woman In Revelation 12:1-5 Represents the Universal Church. Verses 1-5 are historical background to the following verses.
Suffice to say that the woman can be seen as the universal church. Both Jews and Gentiles that are children of promise and are heirs according to land promise made to Abraham. It does not mean all of the church but needs to be understood in the context that it is used.
Setting the Scene
At the beginning of the tribulation period the Antichrist is revealed, the temple sacrifices start and the two witnesses start prophesying. The seals start to be opened and their impact is felt mainly in the Middle East which will ultimately impact food and energy supplies like oil, gas and much more around the world.
However as we know the persecution, judgements and Gods wrath really increases, the Antichrist takes power in the middle of the week and he desolates (violates) the temple with what is called the abomination of desolation (AoD). This is when he takes control of the temple in Jerusalem and declares that he is the ultimate god. This occurs mid way through the 7 year tribulation (70th week) after the 1260 days of the 2 witnesses prophesying and them being killed by the Antichrist.
A Place Prepared in the Wilderness by God
A place has been prepared by God for us to escape the major part of tribulation:-
Revelation 12:6 And the woman escaped into the wilderness where she has a place there having been prepared from God (so that they may be nourishing her there) a thousand two hundred sixty days. LGV
In Revelation 12:6 a place is prepared by God in a wilderness for 1,260 days started at the beginning of the 70th week for both Jews and Gentiles while the two witnesses prophesy.
This allows the woman to flee from the judgements, persecution and imprisonment by the Antichrist at the midway point. Therefore the “Woman” escapes into the wilderness both Jew & Gentile.
God ensured that the Israelites in Egypt were spared the 10 plagues in the land of Goshen which can be seen as an example of our place in the wilderness in which we are protected. They also were looked after in the wilderness for 40 years with the clothes never wearing out and food and water provided.
An Army Comes After Us
Satan called the dragon does send an army which is called a “flood” (Isaiah 59:19) after the woman but God opens up the ground and swallows them all. There is precedent for the army being called a flood in the OT and it fits the context.The famous one being “When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” Isaiah 59:19
When the Egyptian army chases after the Israelites God closes the waters on them and they all die is an example of this.
Revelation 12:15-16 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.
Not All Believers Leave The Middle East
Not all believers will flee as God will allow the Antichrist to capture some. These believers will stay by their decision to testify to the authorities to their sin and what God and the coming judgements and Jesus coming back.
Jesus gave the Apostles instructions on how to react to being brought before authorities.
Luke 21:12-17 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.
13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.
Matthew 10:18-20 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
20 for it is not you who speak, but the breath/Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
In the above two scriptures Jesus tells us that we will be given what to say to the rulers and authorities. Examples of how this looks are Peter speaking in Acts 2:14-31 just after the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost and then Stephen in Acts 7:1-54.
The Role of the 2 Witnesses
The two witnesses are are caught up into sky(heaven) after they have been resurrected and then relocated (Revelation 11:11-12; cf. Isaiah 26:20-21) to the wilderness with the “woman”. There is a precedent as Phillip in Acts 8:38-39 where he was found in Azotus having been miles away with the Ethiopian Eunuch after the the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away.
It is believed that the two witnesses are Elijah’s and John’s and after their initial 1,260 days (while this wilderness place is being prepared), they will then fill the role that Moses and Aaron did during the first exodus for the time of the Beast’s reign of a “time, times, and half a time”, which is 42 lunar months (Revelation 11:2; Revelation 13:5). Thereby nourishing the “woman”.
1. God will prepare a place of refuge in the wilderness for those living in the Middle East that need to escape after the Antichrist has defiled the temple with the AoD.
2. Jesus will give the believers who stay behind in Jerusalem and the cities the words to say to the authorities.
3. The two witnesses who are believed to be John and Elijah will act like Moses and Aaron did in the first exodus while the “woman” is in the wilderness after first prophesying for 1260 days in the first half of the seventy weeks.
4. Jesus will give all believers who go before authorities the words to say as a testimony to them. Luke 21:12-17 and Matthew 10:18-20