Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
woman fled—Mary's flight with Jesus into Egypt is a type of this.
where she hath—So C reads. But A and B add "there."
a place—that portion of the heathen world which has received Christianity professedly, namely, mainly the fourth kingdom, having its seat in the modern Babylon, Rome, implying that all the heathen world would not be Christianized in the present order of things.
prepared of God—literally, "from God." Not by human caprice or fear, but by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, the woman, the Church, fled into the wilderness.
they should feed her—Greek, "nourish her." Indefinite for, "she should be fed." The heathen world, the wilderness, could not nourish the Church, but only afford her an outward shelter. Here, as in Daniel 4:26, and elsewhere, the third person plural refers to the heavenly powers who minister from God nourishment to the Church. As Israel had its time of first bridal love, on its first going out of Egypt into the wilderness, so the Christian Church's wilderness-time of first love was the apostolic age, when it was separate from the Egypt of this world, having no city here, but seeking one to come; having only a place in the wilderness prepared of God (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14). The harlot takes the world city as her own, even as Cain was the first builder of a city, whereas the believing patriarchs lived in tents. Then apostate Israel was the harlot and the young Christian Church the woman; but soon spiritual fornication crept in, and the Church in the seventeenth chapter is no longer the woman, but the harlot, the great Babylon, which, however, has in it hidden the true people of God (Revelation 18:4). The deeper the Church penetrated into heathendom, the more she herself became heathenish. Instead of overcoming, she was overcome by the world [AUBERLEN]. Thus, the woman is "the one inseparable Church of the Old and New Testament" [HENGSTENBERG], the stock of the Christian Church being Israel (Christ and His apostles being Jews), on which the Gentile believers have been grafted, and into which Israel, on her conversion, shall be grafted, as into her own olive tree. During the whole Church-historic period, or "times of the Gentiles," wherein "Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles," there is no believing Jewish Church, and therefore, only the Christian Church can be "the woman." At the same time there is meant, secondarily, the preservation of the Jews during this Church-historic period, in order that Israel, who was once "the woman," and of whom the man-child was born, may become so again at the close of the Gentile times, and stand at the head of the two elections, literal Israel, and spiritual Israel, the Church elected from Jews and Gentiles without distinction. Ezekiel 20:35-36, "I will bring you into the wilderness of the people (Hebrew, 'peoples'), and there will I plead with you . . . like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of Egypt" (compare Notes, see on Ezekiel 20:35-36): not a wilderness literally and locally, but spiritually a state of discipline and trial among the Gentile "peoples," during the long Gentile times, and one finally consummated in the last time of unparalleled trouble under Antichrist, in which the sealed remnant (Revelation 7:1-8) who constitute "the woman," are nevertheless preserved "from the face of the serpent" (Revelation 12:14).
thousand two hundred and threescore days—anticipatory of Revelation 12:14, where the persecution which caused her to flee is mentioned in its place: Revelation 13:11-18 gives the details of the persecution. It is most unlikely that the transition should be made from the birth of Christ to the last Antichrist, without notice of the long intervening Church-historical period. Probably the 1260 days, or periods, representing this long interval, are RECAPITULATED on a shorter scale analogically during the last Antichrist's short reign. They are equivalent to three and a half years, which, as half of the divine number seven, symbolize the seeming victory of the world over the Church. As they include the whole Gentile times of Jerusalem's being trodden of the Gentiles, they must be much longer than 1260 years; for, above several centuries more than 1260 years have elapsed since Jerusalem fell.
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