Monday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 12:13-17

The Dragon in Pursuit

Since our Lord’s resurrection, the dragon has been enraged.  It boggles our minds how a spiritual and highly intelligent creature such as an angel could be so blinded by pride that he would think that he could actually dislodge the Almighty from His throne, or failing that, see to it that all those bearing His image are rightly consigned to hell, thus ruining God’s creation.  Satan provides us the quintessential proto-example of how sin darkens the mind and hardens the heart so that our eyes cannot and will not see.  Upon his defeat by Christ and the ransoming of those whom Satan thought were his rightful spoil, he has nothing left to call his own.  Even the world he had wrecked is to undergo a re-creation in a redeemed state.  God would have us living with Him for all eternity free from sin and free to truly love; Satan would have us all in his own belly enslaved to his demonic delight and all to spite his own Creator.  Denied his dream, and bereft of repentance, and enslaved forever to blind hatred of God and man, he now “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 

So we see here that he pursues the woman who birthed the Christchild.  She is given two wings of an eagle to fly into the wilderness where she is nourished “for a time, times, and half a time,” meaning three and one-half years—the same as forty-two months, the same as 1260 days—all of which I take to mean the entire Church age, as the Satan has persecuted the Church from the very beginning as we see plainly throughout the Book of Revelation and Church history. 

But the whole passage reminds us of the exodus experience of the children of Israel.  The Lord saved them from the Egyptians bearing “them on eagles’ wings” (Exodus 19:4).  There God gave them the Law and fed them with manna and quail.  He defeated for them Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan (Psalm 135).  The wilderness was for the Israelites a place of protection and maturing in the Lord even if in discipline for their sin (Numbers 13-14).  That the woman is rescued from the flood reminds us of her rescue through the Red Sea while the Egyptians presuming the same were drowned (Exodus 14).  The earth’s opening its mouth to save the woman is reminiscent of the earth’s swallowing up the rebellious men of Korah (Numbers 16). 

But short of killing the woman, the dragon made off to make war with her offspring “who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus”—a good definition of a Christian combining both faith and works.  That the woman flying to the wilderness whom Satan cannot catch, and her offspring whom Satan sets off to destroy, both represent the Church is not to be worried over.  Commentaries give different interpretations, perhaps the best being that the “woman” represents the Church in heaven while her “offspring” represents the Church on earth.  But do not press the symbols.  The Church is nourished and protected by God even when she is persecuted.  And we have already seen the reward for those who endure persecution for the cause of Christ.

We are a people in exile, sojourning in the wilderness of this world (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).  One day, we shall cross over into the Promised Land.  So let us embrace the wilderness understanding of this world and never long for earthly kingdoms.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply