Revelation 12:14
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And to the woman . . .—Better, And there were given to the woman (the) two wings of the great eagle (the definite article is used before “great eagle”), that she might fly into the wilderness, unto her place, where she is nourished there for a season, and seasons, and half a season, from the face of the serpent. The woman is persecuted and driven into the wilderness: yet it is with the eagle wings given her by her Lord that she flies; the serpent drives her into the wilderness: yet it is in the wilderness that her place is prepared by God. The way that seems hard is the way that is most blest. The opposition of the dragon brings her blessings that she never would have received except in persecution; neither the eagle power nor the heavenly sustenance had been hers without the serpent’s hate. Thus is the trial of faith precious in bringing us to know the priceless blessings of heavenly help and heavenly food. She is given eagle’s wings. God had spoken of the deliverance of Israel under a similar emblem, “Ye have seen . . . how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself” (Exodus 19:4; comp. Deuteronomy 32:10-12). There is a difference as well as a resemblance in the emblem here. In Exodus God is said to have borne Israel on eagles’ wings: here the wings are given to the woman. The strength of the earlier dispensation is a strength often used for, rather than in, the people of God; the strength of the latter is a strength in them: “They mount up with wings as eagles” (Isaiah 40:31). The place is not a chance spot: it is prepared of God; it is in the wilderness, but still it is the place God prepared for her. It is always a delight to faith to mark how the ordering of God works in and through the wilfulness and wickedness of the enemy: the Son of man goeth, as it was written, though there is a “woe” against the man by whom He is betrayed. The wicked one can never drive us from God’s place, but only to it, unless we are enemies to ourselves. She is nourished in the wilderness. (See Notes on Revelation 12:6.) The length of her sojourn is here called a season, seasons, and half a season; it was called twelve hundred and sixty days in Revelation 12:6. The period is in both cases the same in length, viz., three years and a half—i.e., the season (one year), the seasons (two years), and the half season (half a year). This is the period of the Church’s trouble and persecution. It is not to be sought by any effort to find some historical period of persecution corresponding in length to this, lasting three years and a half, or twelve hundred and sixty days or years. No such attempt has hitherto been crowned with success. The period is symbolical of the broken time (the half of the seven, the perfect number) of the tribulation of God’s people. There may be some future period in which the vision may receive even more vivid fulfilment than it has hitherto received; but the woman has been nourished in the wilderness in the ages that are gone, and her sustenance there by God is an experience of the past, and will be in the future. It is not only in one age, but in every age, that God gives His children bread in the day of adversity, during the season that the pit is being dug for the ungodly. In many an era the servant of God can exclaim:” Thou preparedst a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”

12:12-17 The church and all her friends might well be called to praise God for deliverance from pagan persecution, though other troubles awaited her. The wilderness is a desolate place, and full of serpents and scorpions, uncomfortable and destitute of provisions; yet a place of safety, as well as where one might be alone. But being thus retired could not protect the woman. The flood of water is explained by many to mean the invasions of barbarians, by which the western empire was overwhelmed; for the heathen encouraged their attacks, in the hope of destroying Christianity. But ungodly men, for their worldly interests, protected the church amidst these tumults, and the overthrow of the empire did not help the cause of idolatry. Or, this may be meant of a flood of error, by which the church of God was in danger of being overwhelmed and carried away. The devil, defeated in his designs upon the church, turns his rage against persons and places. Being faithful to God and Christ, in doctrine, worship, and practice, exposes to the rage of Satan; and will do so till the last enemy shall be destroyed.And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle - The most powerful of birds, and among the most rapid in flight. See the notes on Revelation 4:7. The meaning here is, that the woman is represented as prepared for a rapid flight; so prepared as to be able to outstrip her pursuer, and to reach a place of safety. Divested of the figure, the sense is, that the church, when exposed to this form of persecution, would be protected as if miraculously supplied with wings.

That she might fly into the wilderness - There is here a more full description of what is briefly stated in Revelation 12:6. A wilderness or desert is often represented as a place of safety from pursuers. Thus David 1 Samuel 23:14-15 is represented as fleeing into the wilderness from the persecutions of Saul. So Elijah 1 Kings 19:4 fled into the wilderness from the persecutions of Jezebel. The simple idea here is, that the church, in the opposition which would come upon it, would find a refuge.

Into her place - A place appointed for her; that is, a place where she could be safe.

Where she is nourished - The word rendered here "nourished" is the same - τρέφω trephō - which occurs in Revelation 12:6, and which is there rendered "feed." It means to feed, nurse, or nourish, as the young of animals Matthew 6:26; Matthew 25:37; Luke 12:24; Acts 12:20; that is, to sustain by proper food. The meaning here is, that the church would be kept alive. It is not indeed mentioned by whom this would be done, but it is evidently implied that it would be by God. During this long period in which the church would be in obscurity, it would not be suffered to become extinct. Compare 1 Kings 17:3-6.

For a time, and times, and half a time - A year, two years, and half a year; that is, forty-two months (see the notes on Revelation 11:2); or, reckoning the month at thirty days, twelve hundred and sixty days; and regarding these as prophetic days, in which a day stands for a year, twelve hundred and sixty years. For a full discussion of the meaning of this language, see the notes on Daniel 7:25; and Editor's Pref. For the evidence, also, that the time thus specified refers to the papacy, and to the period of its continuance, see the notes on that place. The full consideration given to the subject there renders it unnecessary to discuss it here. For it is manifest that there is an allusion here to the passage in Daniel; that the twelve hundred and sixty days refer to the same thing; and that the true explanation must be made in the same way. The main difficulty, as is remarked on the notes on that passage, is in determining the time when the papacy properly commenced.

If that could be ascertained with certainty, there would be no difficulty in determining when it would come to an end. But though there is considerable uncertainty as to the exact time when it arose, and though different opinions have been entertained on that point, yet it is true that all the periods assigned for the rise of that power lead to the conclusion that the time of its downfall cannot be remote. The meaning in the passage before us is, that during all the time of the continuance of that formidable, persecuting power, the true church would not in fact become extinct. It would be obscure and comparatively unknown, but it would still live. The fulfillment of this is found in the fact, that during all the time here referred to, there has been a true church on the earth. Pure, spiritual religion - the religion of the New Testament - has never been wholly extinct. In the history of the Waldenses, and Albigenses, the Bohemian brethren, and kindred people; in deserts and places of obscurity; among individuals and among small and persecuted sects; here and there in the cases of individuals in monasteries, the true religion has been kept up in the world, as in the days of Elijah God reserved seven thousand men who had not bowed the knee to Baal: and it is possible now for us, with a good degree of certainty, to show, even during the darkest ages, and when Rome seemed to have entirely the ascendency, where the true church was. To find out this, was the great design of the Ecclesiastical History of Milner; it has been done, also, with great learning and skill, by Neander.

From the face of the serpent - The dragon - or Satan represented by the dragon. See the notes at Revelation 12:3. The reference here is to the opposition which Satan makes to the true church under the persecutions and corruptions of the papacy.

14. were given—by God's determinate appointment, not by human chances (Ac 9:11).

two—Greek, "the two wings of the great eagle." Alluding to Ex 19:4: proving that the Old Testament Church, as well as the New Testament Church, is included in "the woman." All believers are included (Isa 40:30, 31). The great eagle is the world power; in Eze 17:3, 7, Babylon and Egypt: in early Church history, Rome, whose standard was the eagle, turned by God's providence from being hostile into a protector of the Christian Church. As "wings" express remote parts of the earth, the two wings may here mean the east and west divisions of the Roman empire.

wilderness—the land of the heathen, the Gentiles: in contrast to Canaan, the pleasant and glorious land. God dwells in the glorious land; demons (the rulers of the heathen world, Re 9:20; 1Co 10:20), in the wilderness. Hence Babylon is called the desert of the sea, Isa 21:1-10 (referred to also in Re 14:8; 18:2). Heathendom, in its essential nature, being without God, is a desolate wilderness. Thus, the woman's flight into the wilderness is the passing of the kingdom of God from the Jews to be among the Gentiles (typified by Mary's flight with her child from Judea into Egypt). The eagle flight is from Egypt into the wilderness. The Egypt meant is virtually stated (Re 11:8) to be Jerusalem, which has become spiritually so by crucifying our Lord. Out of her the New Testament Church flees, as the Old Testament Church out of the literal Egypt; and as the true Church subsequently is called to flee out of Babylon (the woman become an harlot, that is, the Church become apostate) [Auberlen].

her place—the chief seat of the then world empire, Rome. The Acts of the Apostles describe the passing of the Church from Jerusalem to Rome. The Roman protection was the eagle wing which often shielded Paul, the great instrument of this transmigration, and Christianity, from Jewish opponents who stirred up the heathen mobs. By degrees the Church had "her place" more and more secure, until, under Constantine, the empire became Christian. Still, all this Church-historical period is regarded as a wilderness time, wherein the Church is in part protected, in part oppressed, by the world power, until just before the end the enmity of the world power under Satan shall break out against the Church worse than ever. As Israel was in the wilderness forty years, and had forty-two stages in her journey, so the Church for forty-two months, three and a half years or times [literally, seasons, used for years in Hellenistic Greek (Moeris, the Atticist), Greek, "kairous," Da 7:25; 12:7], or 1260 days (Re 12:6) between the overthrow of Jerusalem and the coming again of Christ, shall be a wilderness sojourner before she reaches her millennial rest (answering to Canaan of old). It is possible that, besides this Church-historical fulfilment, there may be also an ulterior and narrower fulfilment in the restoration of Israel to Palestine, Antichrist for seven times (short periods analogical to the longer ones) having power there, for the former three and a half times keeping covenant with the Jews, then breaking it in the midst of the week, and the mass of the nation fleeing by a second Exodus into the wilderness, while a remnant remains in the land exposed to a fearful persecution (the "144,000 sealed of Israel," Re 7:1-8; 14:1, standing with the Lamb, after the conflict is over, on Mount Zion: "the first-fruits" of a large company to be gathered to Him) [De Burgh]. These details are very conjectural. In Da 7:25; 12:7, the subject, as perhaps here, is the time of Israel's calamity. That seven times do not necessarily mean seven years, in which each day is a year, that is, 2520 years, appears from Nebuchadnezzar's seven times (Da 4:23), answering to Antichrist, the beast's duration.

And to the woman; to the sincerer part of Christians, represented by the woman, Revelation 12:1, and by the temple, and altar, and them that worship therein, viz. in the oracle where the altar stood, Revelation 11:1.

Were given two wings of a great eagle: the eagle being the ensign of the Roman empire, and Theodosius having two sons, Honorius and Arcadius, between which he divided the empire, making Honorius the emperor of the west, and Arcadius of the east, leadeth some very judicious interpreters to expound this passage of the providence of God (by this division of the empire about the year 390) in some measure securing his church from the great troubles that presently ensued. For in the year 411, Alaricus king of the Goths took Rome, and continual troubles so ensued, that by the year 480 the western empire was quite extinguished, ending in Augustulus, who, because of his manifold afflictions, is supposed to be the star mentioned Revelation 8:10,11, called Wormwood, who fell upon the sounding of the third trumpet.

That she might fly into the wilderness: by the wilderness is here undoubtedly meant some places which were like a wilderness for solitariness, where the church might have some rest.

Into her place; the place said to be by God prepared for the church, Revelation 12:6.

Where she is nourished; where God hid, and protected, and provided for his people a certain time, expressed in the next words. I know not whether we need be so critical or no, or whether it be not safer to expound all the foregoing words more generally, viz. that God graciously provided for his people hiding-places against the storm now coming upon the whole Roman empire, bearing them, as it were, on eagles’ wings, as he did his old Israelites when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. It is the very phrase used by God, Exodus 19:4.

For a time, and times, and half a time: it is apparent, that the same space of time is here meant that is mentioned Revelation 12:6, and called a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Most interpreters agree, that it signifieth three years and a half, consisting each of them of three hundred and sixty prophetical days, that is, years; for although we count three hundred and sixty-five days to the year, (and there are strictly so many, besides some odd hours), yet anciently they counted but three hundred and sixty, leaving out the five odd days, as we do now the odd hours and minutes, which in four years make up an odd day, which makes every fourth year leap year. Now three times three hundred and sixty make up a thousand and eighty, to which add one hundred and eighty for the half year, it makes just a thousand two hundred and sixty, the number of days mentioned Revelation 12:6. If any inquire why what was expressed by one thousand two hundred and sixty days there, is thus expressed here? It is answered: To make this comport with the prophecy of Daniel, Daniel 7:25 12:7, where it is thus expressed. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle,.... By which are meant, not the two testaments, by which she was supported under afflictions, trials, and persecutions, and against Satan and all his efforts; nor the two graces of faith and hope, by which she rose, and dwelt on high, in the view of invisible things, and with contempt of the world, its frowns or flatteries; nor, as others think, prayer and good works, by the former of which she flew to God for supplies of grace and protection, and by the latter was useful and profitable to men, and gave glory to God, and escaped the just censures of the world; nor are two powerful kingdoms, within the dominions of the dragon, intended, as others have thought, who take them to be France and Spain, to which Britain was an appendix; when they were in the possession of Constantius Chlorus, the father of Constantine the great, where the Christians had refuge in the persecution under Dioclesian; but this was before the war in heaven, and the downfall of Paganism in the empire, and before the above persecution; rather these two wings of the eagle design the eastern and western divisions of the Roman empire: it is not unusual in Scripture for a monarchy, or monarch, as the Assyrian king and kingdom, to be signified by an eagle, and the wings of eagles, Ezekiel 17:3; and it is well known that the eagle is the ensign of the Roman empire, to which the allusion is in Matthew 24:28; and at the death of Theodosius the empire was divided, as has been observed before, into two parts; the eastern empire was given to one of his sons and the western to another; and this was between the Arian persecution, and the irruption of the Goths and Vandals, when the church was fleeing and gradually disappearing; and these two empires both went under the Christian name, and supported the outward visible church, though much corrupted, and still more and more corrupting; by which means the pure members of the church, though few and very obscure were preserved. In a word, these wings may denote the swiftness in which the church proceeded to disappear, having lost her former simplicity and glory for which eagles' wings are famous, Proverbs 23:5; and more especially that divine strength and support by which she was bore up, and carried through, and delivered out of sore afflictions and persecutions; see Isaiah 40:31. The allusion is to God's deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt when he bore them as on eagles wings, and carried them though the wilderness, Exodus 19:4, so here it follows,

that she might fly into the wilderness; a place desolate, and full of serpents and scorpions, uncomfortable, and destitute of provisions, and yet a place of safety as well as of solitariness and retirement; and chiefly designs the obscure and invisible state of the pure church in the times of the antichristian apostasy; See Gill on Revelation 12:6.

Into her place; which was prepared of God for her, as in Revelation 12:6;

where she is nourished by the ministers of the word the two witnesses that prophesy in sackcloth who feed the church with knowledge and understanding; with the words of faith and good doctrine, with the Gospel, and the truths of it, which are sweet, comfortable and nutritive; and with the ordinances of the Gospel, the entertainment of Wisdom's house, the feast of fat things, and the breasts of consolation; and with Christ the hidden manna, the food of the wilderness: and that

for a time, and times, and half a time; that is, all the times of antichrist, the forty two months of his reign; during which time the holy city is trodden under foot, and in a desolate and afflicted condition outwardly, as may be learnt by comparing together Daniel 7:25 Revelation 13:5; and until the end of wonders, or when time shall be no longer or till the seventh angel has sounded his trumpet as appears from Daniel 12:7. This date is the same with 1260 days in Revelation 12:6, for "time" signifies a prophetic year, or 360 years; and "times" two years, or 720 years; and half a time, half a year, or 180 years, in all 1230 years; and which are to be reckoned, not from the beginning of the church's flight in Constantine's time, or from the Arian persecution, but from her entering into her wilderness state, or entire disappearance upon the prevalence of the antichristian apostasy; which might be when the bishop of Rome took upon him the title of universal bishop: and here and during this time she is hid

from the face of the serpent; that is, from his wrath so as that he cannot utterly destroy her. God having reserved a sealed number for himself; see Revelation 6:16, or from the sight of the serpent as the Arabic version renders it, so as that he could not discern with all his quick sight where the church was.

{18} And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her {c} place, where she is nourished for a {19} time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

(18) That is, being strengthened with divine power: and taught by oracle, she fled swiftly from the assault of the devil, and from the common destruction of Jerusalem and went into a solitary city beyond Jordan called Pella as Eusebius tells in the first chapter of the third book of his ecclesiastical history: where God had commanded her by revelation.

(c) Into the place God had prepared for her.

(19) That is, for three and a half years: so the same speech is taken in see Geneva (q) Da 7:25. This space of time is reckoned in manner from that last and most grievous rebellion of the Jews, to the destruction of the city and temple,for their defection or falling away, began in the twelfth year of Nero, before the beginning of which many signs and predictions were shown from heaven, as Josephus wrote, lib.7, chap.12, and Hegesippus lib.5, chap.44, among which this is very memorable. In the feast of Pentecost not only a great sound and noise was heard in the Temple, but also a voice was heard by many out of the Sanctuary which cried out to all, Let us depart from here. Now three and a half years after this defection by the Jews began, and those wonders happened, the city was taken by force, the temple overthrown, and the place forsaken by God: and the length of time John noted in this place.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 12:14. Already in the ἐδίωξε τὴν γυν. (Revelation 12:13), lies the presupposition afforded by the preceding account (Revelation 12:6), concerning the flight of the woman; but now as the subject is properly concerning the fate of the woman, that which in Revelation 12:6 is touched upon only in the main point, and by anticipation, is expressly described. For Revelation 12:14 does not speak of something entirely different from Revelation 12:6,—as Ebrard thinks, who finds in Revelation 12:6 the flight of the woman to heaven, i.e., the emblem of the dispersion of Israel on earth, but in Revelation 12:14 the flight into the desert on earth, i.e., a miraculous deliverance of converted Israel on the actual earth; an interpretation which already fails, in that, in Revelation 12:6, it takes heaven together with the wilderness misplaced therein by Ebrard figuratively, but in Revelation 12:14, on the other hand, the earth (cf. Revelation 12:13), in the proper sense, while the wilderness found in the same must again be understood figuratively, although it is manifest that all these local designations must, at all events, be understood in the same way,—but that Revelation 12:14 gives the proper execution, and that, too, in the natural place of the connection, of that which was shortly before in Revelation 12:6 removed not without reason,[3163] results from a comparison of the two verses. Precisely the same is the goal of the flight; the ΤΌΠΟς ΑὙΤῆς in the wilderness is the place prepared there for the woman on God’s part;[3164] the same in meaning are the schematic dates—for the determination of 3½ times, i.e., years (derived also, according to the expression,[3165] from the figurative passages, Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7), agrees with the 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6);[3166] the same, also, as to what is meant with the brief ἜΦΥΓΕΝ ΕἸς Τ. ἜΡ., Κ.Τ.Λ., Revelation 12:6, is the detailed description, Revelation 12:14 : ΚΑῚ ἘΔΌΘΗΣΑΝ

ἽΝΑ ΠΈΤΗΤΑΙ ΕἸς Τ. ἜΡ., Κ.Τ.Λ
. The certainty of the flight arranged by God depends upon the fact, that to the woman two wings of a great eagle are given, in order that—for such is the intention of God in his deliverance, by causing wings to be given the woman—she might fly to the place prepared for her on God’s part in the wilderness. The idea itself has grown by the plastic art of the writer of the Apoc. from the figure given in Exodus 19:4 :[3167] As God formerly bore his people, when they fled from the Egyptians, on eagles’ wings, so, for her sure escape, a pair of eagle’s wings is given the woman fleeing from the dragon. Yet it dare not be said that the art. ΤΟῦ Ἀ., ΤΟῦ ΜΕΓ., makes the eagle named here appear identical with that mentioned (Exodus 19:4),[3168] for in that figurative passage a particular eagle is not designated. Ewald’s former opinion, also, that the art. in the Hebrew way[3169] designates superlatively a very great eagle, is not admissible, because the analogy—even though it corresponded better than is actually the case—would give only a purely superlative idea.[3170] Ebrard has developed from his view, that the art. designates the very eagle mentioned already in Revelation 8:13, the thought that “the rescue of the woman would follow in the moment when the final extraordinary developments of the fifth and sixth trumpets are to begin;” or, as he also says, that the woman “shall be sustained by the strength of the eagle which is to bring judgment upon the godless world.” But even apart from the two interpretations, lying at the basis of the false presumption that the soaring of the woman away into the wilderness is, according to fact and time, to be entirely distinguished from the escape into the wilderness, neither the one nor the other interpretation is possible, because in this passage that eagle cannot be meant, which in Revelation 8:13 appears for a very special end, and one entirely foreign to what is stated in this passage. What is said can be concerning no particular eagle; the art. is intended generically,[3171] as Revelation 1:1.[3172] Two wings, like those of the great eagle, were given the woman, for rapid and sure escape. On this account, also, we are not to think of the eagle mentioned in Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 17:7, where, in a parable, the kings of Babylon and Egypt are represented as eagles; the thought accordingly developed by Auberlen[3173] from this passage, that the secular power itself—more specifically, “the two parts of the Roman Empire in the East and West, especially since Constantine”—must afford the woman, i.e., the Christian Church, a secure place by means of Roman civil and legal order, is consequently with as little foundation in the phraseology of the text, as the point of vision in general, which this form of exposition assumes, corresponds with the intention and contents of the entire ch. 12

ἵνα πέτηται εἰς τὴν ἔρημον, κ.τ.λ. As the nature of the escape, viz., by flying on eagle’s wings, so is also the place of refuge described according to the model of the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt in the wilderness. To the privations incident to the abode in the wilderness, the ὅπου τρέφεται, κ.τ.λ., does not refer;[3174] the only point made, is that the place prepared by God in the wilderness, for the fleeing woman, is a sure place of refuge against the persecution of the dragon, and that—as God formerly nourished his people in the wilderness—the woman would be nourished in this place of refuge, during the time determined on the part of God.

ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ ὄφεως. This determination is not to be combined with the remote πέτηται,[3175] but with the immediately preceding ὅπου τρέφεται, κ.τ.λ.,[3176] and, therefore, to be explained like the Heb. מִםְּני, Jdg 9:21 :[3177] “out of the sight of the serpent,” i.e., far and concealed from it. No addition is to be made, at least as Hengstenb. does: “at its flight or in its fear;” the concise mode of statement presupposes the flight as already accomplished, and states how the escaped woman now tarries in security.

[3163] Beng., Ewald, De Wette, Hofm., Hengstenb., Auberlen.

[3164] The pres. τρἐφεται, whose definite relation Ewald, Hofm., etc., try to invalidate, is just as intelligible as the pres. ἔχει; Revelation 12:6. In the meaning of John, the woman is present in her place in the wilderness; there she remains concealed during the entire time of trouble for believers (cf. Revelation 12:17), which continues for just three and one-half times.

[3165] Cf. Winer, p. 167.

[3166] Cf. also Revelation 11:2-3.

[3167] Cf. also Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 36:8.

[3168] Züll., Ew. ii.

[3169] Jdg 6:15; 1 Samuel 17:14.

[3170] “The absolutely great, i.e., the greatest.”

[3171] De Wette.

[3172] διὰ τοῦ ἀγγ. αὕτ.

[3173] Cf. Aret., Beng.

[3174] Against Hengstenb., etc., who, like Auberlen, wants to find it indicated that the “time of the Church’s desolation,” i.e., the “entire heathen-Christian, or Church-historical period,” is only a time of pilgrimage to the glory of the heavenly Canaan.

[3175] Vitr., Züll.

[3176] Beng., Ew., De Wette, Hengstenb.

[3177] LXX.: ἔφυγεν

καὶ ᾦκησεν ἐκεῖ ἀπὸ προσώπου Ἀβ.Revelation 12:14. “The two wings of a huge griffon-vulture” (τοῦ either generic article, or a Hebraism, or more likely an allusion to the mythological basis). In traditional mythology the eagle opposed and thwarted the serpent at all points (cf. reff.). In the Egyptian myth the vulture is the sacred bird of Isis (Hathor). Any allusion to Israel’s deliverance (as in Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11) is at best secondary.14. two wingseagle] Should be “the two wings of the great eagle.” The word is, however, no doubt used generically. Some suppose “the great eagle” to symbolise the Roman empire, but that did not protect the Jewish Church, though to some extent it did the Christian.

her place] Revelation 12:6.Revelation 12:14. Αἱ δύο πτέρυγες) The Hebrew dual כְגָפַיִם does not always involve the number two: but it is used even in the description of four or six wings, Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah 6. Whence in the Septuagint כְגָפַיִם is never expressed by δύο πτέρυγες. Therefore in this passage it is said not without great significance, αἱ δύο πτέρυγες, those two wings. The great eagle itself is the Roman empire: the two wings, the power over the east and the west.—εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς, into her place) This place[130] comprises very large regions, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Transilvania, etc., by the addition of which to the church, A. 965, and thenceforward, the Christian power reached, in a continuous tract, from the Eastern to the Western Empire.—καιρὸν καὶ καιροὺς και ἥμισυ καιροῦ) So Daniel 7:25, εὥς καιροῦ καὶ καιρῶν καὶ ἥμισυ καιροῦ; ch. Revelation 12:7, εἰς καιρὸν και καιροὺς και ἥμισυ καιροῦ. In each passage the subject is the calamity of the holy people. The plural, καιροὺς, denotes two times. The plural number is to be taken most strictly. In this manner of speaking, after years, the space of two years is signified, l. 17, § 3. Digest, de manum. test. Being indefinitely commanded to be free after years, he shall be free after the space of two years: and that interpretation both the favour of liberty demands, and the words admit. Thus עשר ten, עשרים two decades, that is, twenty. According to the rule of the ancient Hebrew doctors, usually employed in expounding the Sacred Writings, the plural number is to be understood of two, if there is no reason to the contrary. Guil. Surenhusius de Alleg. V. T. in N. T., p. 589. And in this passage, indeed, the taking, in a strict sense, is admissible even on this account, because there is an interval between the one and the half. In an indefinite sense several καιροὶ are a χρόνος. Mæris the Atticist, ὥρα ἔτους, ἀττικῶς· καιρὸς ἔτους, ἑλληνικῶς. Ammonius and Thomas Magister, καιρὸς μέρος χρόνου, οἷον μεμετρημένων ἡμερῶν σύστημα· χρόνος δε, πολλῶν καιρῶν περιοχὴ καὶ σύλληψις.[131] In the Apocalyptic sense ΚΑΙΡῸς a time has a definite length, as is plain from the distribution of this very period into a time, and times, and the half of a time. This period begins before the number of the beast, and extends beyond it: nor however does the whole of it far exceed it. It has 777 7/9 years. By such a method, even a Chronus has a definite length, and comprises five καιροὺς or times: although Leop. Frid. Gans Nobilis de Putlitz determines that καιρὸν has eighty years, and a Chronus 240 years, and thus he takes three καιροὺς for Chronus. Through a time, and times, and the half of a time, the Church is nourished, being removed from the serpent, and assailed by the river, i.e. the attack of the Turks, and not however overwhelmed: therefore those times are terminated by the captivity of the serpent, and are conveniently divided by the parts “joints” of the Turkish history. The beginning of the captivity, as is shown in its place, will be in A. 1836. Therefore the time is 2222/9 years, from A. 1058 to 1280; and in the middle of the eleventh century, a new kingdom arose among the Turks, and shortly afterwards inundated the eastern part of the Christian world; but, at the close of that century, the city of Jerusalem was taken from them, which not long after they took again. The times are 4444/9 years, from A. 1280 to 1725. In that interval they greatly desolated the Church, having taken Constantinople, having long had possession of Buda, and having more than once besieged Vienna. The half a time consists of 1111/9 years, from A. 1725 to 1836. Before the end of this half a time, and indeed considerably before, the earth swallows up the last attacks of the river.—ἀπὸ προσώπου) construed with ΤΡΈΦΕΤΑΙ. Comp. מפני ἈΠῸ ΠΡΟΣΏΠΟΥ, 2 Kings 16:18, and Jud. 9:21, where the Hebrew accent plainly renders it a parallel expression: and Nehemiah 4 :(9)3.

[130] In der Erkl. Offeneb. Ed. II., p. 642, the place of the wilderness, in the singular, Germany, is much more definitely distinguished from the wilderness which comprises these countries. (Comp. p. 639), so that the eastern wing might especially subserve her flight into the wilderness, the western (wing) her flight into the place.—E. B.

[131] Χρόνος and ἀιών are indefinite time. Ὥρα, definite term, generally short; Καιρός, the opportune time. Αἰών, the indefinite flow of time without the notion of an end: Χρόνος, time in its actuality, by which we perceive the succession of things; it is a sort of aggregate of times. Καιρός, a specific time, and, “as opportunity” is fleeting, that time, of short duration: in Revelation 12:14, a year, not literally but applied to the time of a year. See Tittm. Syn.—E.Verse 14. - And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle. "The two wings of the great eagle" is found in most authorities, though א omits both the articles. The symbol of the eagle is a common one in the Old Testament, and this may account for the presence of the article. The escape of the Jewish Church from the power of Pharaoh, and her preservation in the wilderness, are referred to under a like figure (see Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself"). The natural enmity between the eagle and the serpent is alluded to by Wordsworth (Wordsworth, in loc., where see a full exposition of the symbolism here employed). "The two wings" may typify the Old and New Testaments, by the authority of which the Church convicts her adversaries, and by which she is supported during her period of conflict with the devil. That she might fly into the wilderness, into her place. The reference to the flight of Israel from Egypt is still carried on. "Her place" is the "place prepared of God" (ver. 6). The Church, though in the world, is not of the world (see on ver. 6). Where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. Still the history of Israel is borne in mind. As the chosen people were nourished in the wilderness, so the Church of God is sustained in her pilgrimage on earth. The redundant δπον ἐκεῖ, "where there," follows the analogy of the Hebrew (see on ver. 6). "The time, times, and half a time," is the period elsewhere described as 42 months, 1260 days, 3.5 years. It denotes the period of the existence of this world (see on Revelation 11:2). The expression is taken from Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7. By this verse and ver. 6 is established the identity of the two expressions - 1260 days, and the time, times, and half a time (i.e. one year + two years + half a year). The plural καιροί is used for "two times," as no dual occurs in the Greek of the New Testament (see Winer, p. 221, Moulton's translation). The construction, "nourished from the face" (τρέφεται ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ ὄφεως), is built upon the analogy of the Hebrew. The "serpent" is the "dragon" of ver. 13 (cf. ver. 9, "the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan"). The two words are used as convertible terms (cf. ver. 17, where he is again called "the dragon"). Two wings

The definite article αἱ the should be added: "the two wings." Compare Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11; Psalm 36:7.

The great eagle

The article does not point to the eagle of Revelation 8:13, but is generic.

A time and times and half a time

Three years and a half. See on Revelation 11:2.

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