The Way It Happened

Revelation 12:5-6, Israel as a Woman in Labor, Part II of II

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

//Yesterday, I pointed out that Revelation’s “great wonder,” a woman in heaven in labor, surely refers to Israel. I pointed out other scriptural passages which speak of Israel as a woman in labor.

Today, I want to refine this definition a little. Revelation is a study of contrast: good versus evil, the Lamb versus the beast, the New Jerusalem replacing the old Jerusalem … and the whore of Babylon contrasts with the woman in heaven.

This is a story of the birth of a new “nation,” guided by the holy child, Jesus. Revelation posits that a new Israel–the Christians–will escape from the old Jerusalem, which is destined for destruction. But what does this mean?

Read again today’s verse about the woman fleeing into the wilderness. It could refer to the literal escape of the Christians from Jerusalem just before it was put under siege by the Romans in 70 A.D. The Christians left Jerusalem and lodged in Pella, as told by Eusebius and others. Like Israel’s escape from Egypt to form a new nation, the Christians escape from Jerusalem to forge a new Israel.

The Gospels later chronicle this escape of the Christians (although written, of course, from a prewar point of view). For example, here is Luke 21:20–22: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

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