The Four Main Views of Revelation 12:13-17

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the continuance of verse 12:6 and show analogies of the escape of the Christians and pious Jews from the Jewish revolt and the counter Roman invasions of Jerusalem in 68-70AD. Most Christians escaped to other providences while some hid in the desert and caves near the Dead Sea, but all Christians were saved; none perished, which was quite a miracle (Dan. 7:21-22; Matt. 24:15-28). They see a contrast of the serpent that crawls and the Church that flies on wings, that resonates the Exodus. The flood is seen as human persecutions against the Church and the campaigns of Satan to destroy the people of God. In contrast, God protects, delivers, and helps provide the resources and guidance for the Church to persevere. They see “offspring” as the Gentile converts in the Early Church, and “spiritual Israel” as those of faith and not just of lineage. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as the result of Satan’s defeat and his being cast down to earth where he pursues the woman. Basically, they see this as adding more details to verses 12:1-6. Some see this as literal, and others see the imagery of the Exodus in relation to the last days and that God provides. Most see the flood as a literal event that Satan and/or the antichrist uses to flush out the righteous, the refuges in hiding. Others see this as false teachings in the last days as referenced in 2 Peter, or the armies of the antichrist, which while descending on Jerusalem to exterminate the Jews, is frustrated or stopped as God opens the earth and swallows them. Then the “offspring” are those who testify to Christ; Satan and/or the antichrist, turns the attention to them. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as a testament of the Devil’s defeat and his rage to attack the Church on earth. The woman represents the Church as it spreads into the world, giving birth to the Church Age and Satan’s opposition against it as well as the opposition of corruption and apostasy. The wing of eagles is seen as the Exodus, and the protection of God on His Church. The flood is seen as all the human efforts, such as Islam, internal corruption, cults, false teaching, pseudoscience, and philosophy opposing the Church. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as metaphor, that the flight of the woman is the downfall of true spirituality and piety in the Church. Others see Satan’s role as influencing the Catholic papacy and/or the Dragon is the papacy (Popes). Others see his role as to subvert and oppress the great doctrines of Augustine and others, and/or spiritual warfare to the individual faithful. The “wings of eagles,” focusing on the word two is seen as western and eastern divisions of the Church. The “earth opened” is seen as the downfall of Rome, while others see this as the persecutions through the ages against the Church. The flight in to the desert is seen as God’s protection of the Church’s faithful. Some in this camp date this age to 256 to 1514, between the beginnings of the fall of Rome and the start of Reformation.

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