And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.…
The anticipated defeat - a defeat already effected in the Divine counsels - excites the wrath of the dragon, who reads assuredly his own condemnation and subjugation in that "blood of the Lamb" which the hands of his own "cruel and wicked" ones shed. The time of his power is limited; it is "a short time." Satan will rage his hour, and persecute the woman. Thus we are brought back to the earlier part of the vision, and we behold -
I. THE SATANIC PERSECUTION OF THE CHURCH OF GOD. John is speaking out of the depths to the Church in all ages, during which the same virulent spirit shall vent itself. How often has the little flock had to look upon these words, when the ravenous wolf has scattered and devoured and torn! It must needs be that persecutions come. The heavenly spirit meets with so great an opposition in the earthly, that there can be no concord. The great promise made to the demand, "What shall we have therefore?" closes with the dread announcement - "with persecutions." It is ever so; but not only so.
II. THE DIVINE. PROTECTION OF THE PERSECUTED CHURCH. The Lord provides for his own: "Not a hair of your head shall perish." The safety of the Church is represented by her dwelling and nourishment in the wilderness. The persecuted Church flies unto her place. God has prepared for her a place of safety. She flies with wings he too has given. Ah! he "bears on eagles' wings" as of old. He has provided a place - rather a condition, or state - on earth, for his own. It is one of endurance. It could not be one of luxurious self-indulgence, which the city life would represent. "They loved not their lives." It is a condition of suffering, of denial, and privation. They take up the cross. The words are so interwoven with our common speech, that the figure is become familiar to us all. But God "nourishes" his people in their wilderness life. He feeds them with manna - bread from heaven. He leaves not, neither does he forsake them. The old words come to our thoughts: "They shall dwell safely in the wilderness;" "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her;" "Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" It is the place of discipline and training and hardship, of testing and putting to the proof. But it is the place of blessing. Through it he leadeth his people like a flock. He goeth before them, and is their Rearward - their Defence and Salvation. He will safely and gently lead them even to the land of promise. The wilderness days shall end. There is a limit. It is but for "a time, and times, and half a time." - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.