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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Fall Edition, 2014

Who Is The Woman In The Wilderness Of Revelation Chapter 12?

Many Bible scholars believe that the “man child” in Revelation 12:5 is Jesus Christ, and that the “woman” of this chapter who brought Christ into the world is old covenant Israel. Support for this view may be drawn from such Old Testament passages as Ezekiel chapter sixteen (compare, for example, verses 8-13 with Revelation 12:1): proof that Israel is the woman in the wilderness of Revelation chapter twelve is provided by Paul in Romans 9:3-5.The fleeing of this woman (old covenant Israel) into the wilderness after Christ (the man child) ascends back to heaven in Revelation 12:5 represents the disfranchisement of the Jews from the land of Palestine by the Romans in the period from 70 to 135 A.D. After the crushing of that last Jewish revolt in 132-135 A.D. the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a temple to Jupiter in Jerusalem, and forbade the Jews to enter the city on pain of death.

According to Revelation 11:2 the final disfranchisement of the Jews from the land of Palestine by the Romans in 135 A.D. was to continue for forty-two months. These months are forty-two generation of forty years each, for a total of 1,680 years. This period was fulfilled by the toppling of Papal authority, the secularization of politics, and the restoration of the civil franchise to the Jews under Napoleon Bonaparte, whose career ended in 1815.*

According to Revelation 12:6 the woman remains in the wilderness for 1,260 days: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, Where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed here there a thousand two-hundred and threescore days.”

We believe the 1,260 days here, and likewise in the passage concerning the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3, refers to the whole present messianic kingdom age lying between the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the midst of Daniel’s seventieth week, and His second advent.

In this view, the woman in the wilderness for 1,260 days means that Israel’s disfranchisement from the land of promise is to last the whole Christian era. This Christian era is also portrayed as the second segment of Daniel's 70th week, that is, symolically represented by the 1,260 days, and the “time, times, and a half” (12:14), which is also "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24).

Israel’s relationship to the land of Palestine ended with the abolition of the old covenant in 70 A.D.: since then she now has no more divinely-sanctioned right to the land. The only inheritance God has for Jew and Gentile alike now is the new covenant inheritance: not some physical tract of land; but the personal spiritual experience of entire sanctification (Acts 20:32; 26:18; Romans 15:16; Ephesians 1:13-14).

Revelation 12:6 and 14 further indicates that the Jews are mercifully preserved during this present age (Romans 11:2,) in order that they might experience salvation. Whether or not they receive Christ as their personal Saviour is a matter of their individual free moral agency. God wills them to be saved today (Romans 10:1; II Corinthians 6:2:). Beyond that there are no guarantees.

The woman in the wilderness is preserved by God for another reason than just that the Jews might have an age-long opportunity to find salvation through Jesus Christ: they are preserved for the future role that the reconstituted State of Israel will play in the end-game as well.
That role is that unconverted Israel will play the role of end-time "Mystery Babylon" which we find emerging in Revelation chapter seventeen. John is taken into the wilderness and there sees a woman riding a scarlet colored beast (verse three). This is the same woman who has been in the same wilderness all along going back to the woman in the wilderness in chapter 12; that is, Christ-rejecting Israel, transformed now by Satan into what is described in chapter 17 as the great whore mystery Babylon.

The transformation of the woman in the wilderness of Revelation chapter twelve (who is old covenant Israel) into the woman in the wilderness riding the beast of attempted end-time world domination (as pictured in Revelation chapter seventeen) is a long while in the making. According to Revelation 9:1-11, the development of this mystery of iniquity lasts five months, or again, five generations of forty years each, which equals two-hundred years. Starting from 1815, this brings us to 2015 as the beginning of the great end-time anti-Zionist revolt and fall of Babylon that we see in Revelation 17:16-17. Right now we are in the process of these events unfolding.

Related Article Links

The Biblical Order Of End-time Events
The Coming Apocalyptic Fall Of Babylon