“She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.”
Revelation 12:5-6 NLT
After the woman gave birth, and found that her child was safe, she did a runner, and ended up in the wilderness. To make any sense from this we have to be clear about who the woman was or who she represents. We considered yesterday that the woman could have been the Jewish nation, giving birth to their Messiah, Jesus. Or another possibility is that the woman represents the Church, giving birth to the rule and reign on Christ in His Kingdom. Or perhaps there is a combination of both possibilities.
But two truths do clearly emerge from these verses. Firstly, God took exceptional steps to make sure the child and his mother were protected. Secondly, the woman was important enough to Him that He cared for her, to the extent that the devil couldn’t touch her. We also have to consider that this could all have taken place over a significant period of time. Perhaps John’s vision provided a summary, condensed into a short video clip.
If we extrapolate and superimpose these events onto history, we find that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven. We read in Mark 16:19, “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand.” Secondly, we know that we Christians are living in a time of God’s grace. He cares for each one of us, loving us, helping us, healing our hurts and diseases, talking with us. And, perhaps more controversially for some, He is caring for His own people, the Jewish nation. In spite of pogroms, persecution, wars, natural events, and even the Holocaust, His people are still a nation, living in their own lands once again in Palestine.
How much God cares for us can be found in the illustration, the parable, that Jesus taught in Luke 15. We read in verse 20, “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” God not only provides and cares for us in a passive way, but He also more aggressively runs after us. He even encourages us to approach Him in times of stress. We read in 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” So we are living in a time of extraordinary love and grace, coming from our Heavenly Father. All we have to do is to take a small step towards Him. He’s looking our for us!
The “1,260 days”, three and a half years, is therefore a problem, if we take these verses literally. Perhaps a time of seven years can be considered a representation of a very long time so half of that period might relate to what Jesus said in Matthew 24:22, “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” But I don’t know the relevance of “1,260 days”, and if it relates to this season of God’s grace in which we are living. We will find out one day, I’m sure. However, one thing I do know is that while God is close to us and listening, we have an opportunity to grasp His grace with both hands. The time for our salvation is close. We read in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvellous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” Perhaps we are in the caring place God provided for us in the wilderness of sinful humanity.
Dear Heavenly Father. We are so deeply grateful for Your care and provision in this sinful wilderness of life on Planet Earth. Please forgive us for the times when we have rejected Your care and tried to go our own ways. Your care covers us like a blanket, like the way a mother hen covers her chicks with her wings. Thank You Lord, Amen.