I was asked by a friend to write a post explaining how I understand the prophecy about the woman in Revelation 12:14. This is part of a very big discussion, as I have come to hold a very, very different understanding of prophecy than what the Church has taught in modern times. So, before we begin, let me explain a few things that will be important for you to understand about why I see things so differently.
First, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the back story that lies behind Scripture. This is the cultural and historic context in which Scripture was written. This context is important as it helps us recover many of the things that the prophets and scribes never mention in the Scriptures because they just assume it is known and understood. We do this, ourselves, but our world is far removed from the world in which the Scriptures were written. So, I continually strive to place myself in the historical and cultural context in which Scripture is framed. In this way, I have a better chance of understanding the Scriptures more closely to how they were intended to be understood, but I will never get them perfect. This is because we have lost too much over the years.
The other thing I try hard to do is to learn to let the Scriptures speak for themselves. I try hard to study ‘what is written,’ as opposed to ‘what is said.’ We have many traditions that are not founded in Scripture. These are the teachings of men, not of YHWH. All I am trying to do is to separate the things of man from those of God. By doing this, I hope to teach myself to understand what YHWH actually says and leave the teachings of men behind.
Finally, I want to confess that I do not present myself as having any special revelation. All I do is read what is shared by other believers. If anyone was given special revelation, it was those other brothers and sisters, not I. All I do is gather the piece we are all given and put them together. If the Lord has given me any special gift to assist me in this effort, it is an acute awareness of inconsistency and contradiction. This helps me to see what pieces fit the big picture, where and how, and to discard the pieces that do not fit. Otherwise, I am just a layman trying to understand the Lord’s Word, and I pray you are the same.
OK, with this said, let us look at the greater context of Rev 12:14:
Revelation 12:13-17 New American Standard Bible
13 And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her [e]children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
Full disclosure. Much of what follows is the result of work done by brother, Ellis Skofield. In fact, he wrote s slide presentation on this very subject. I have attached it here, please read it now:
While I believe brother Skofield was given a great insight into the Lord’s prophetic Word, I have come to understand that he filled in some of the gaps the Lord did not give him with his own speculation. Consequently, some of what Skofield teaches us differs with other pieces I have gathered from other believers. However, for the sake of this post, the slide show I posted above is an excellent summary of the issue at hand. Still, there are a few things I’d like to add for others to consider when they study this subject.
First, Scripture clearly teaches that YHWH separated His people into two nations. He calls them the House of Israel (the Ten Northern Tribes) and the House of Judah (the Southern Tribes). Second, Scripture also teaches that the House of Israel will be uprooted and replanted in another land, a land that the God’s people did not know at the time the prophecy was written. Prophecy also suggests that there would be a split, and that Ephraim would break away from the people planted in this land. There is very strong reason to believe that the United States is, in fact, the land YHWH promised to the House of Israel, specifically to Ephraim. Brother Skofield covers some of the Scriptural and secular evidence pointing to these conclusions, but even more evidence can be found in this book (I cannot recommend reading this book enough):
It was with the help of brother Allen that I discovered these passages in Ezekiel, and how they are connected to the prophecy in Rev 12:14:
Ezekiel 17:1-10 New American Standard Bible
Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine
17 Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Son of man, propound a riddle and speak a parable to the house of Israel, 3 [a]saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “A great eagle with great wings, long pinions and a full plumage of many colors came to Lebanon and took away the top of the cedar. 4 He plucked off the topmost of its young twigs and brought it to a land of merchants; he set it in a city of traders. 5 He also took some of the seed of the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside abundant waters; he set it like a willow. 6 Then it sprouted and became a low, spreading vine with its branches turned toward him, but its roots remained under it. So it became a vine and yielded shoots and sent out branches.
7 “But there was another great eagle with great wings and much plumage; and behold, this vine bent its roots toward him and sent out its branches toward him from the beds where it was planted, that he might water it. 8 It was planted in good soil beside abundant waters, that it might yield branches and bear fruit and become a splendid vine.”’ 9 Say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Will it thrive? Will he not pull up its roots and cut off its fruit, so that it withers—so that all its sprouting leaves wither? And neither by great [g]strength nor by many people can it be raised from its roots again. 10 Behold, though it is planted, will it thrive? Will it not completely wither as soon as the east wind strikes it—wither on the beds where it grew?”’”
These passages are intended to bring YHWH’s Words in Genesis to mind, when He told Israel He bore them up on eagle’s wings. These passages are also connected to YHWH uprooting Israel and planting it in the new land He had promised. What’s more, Ezekiel speaks of this as an event that had already been accomplished. So, from Ezekiel’s perspective, this is fulfilled prophecy, and it is directly connected to the prophecy of the woman in Rev 12:14. But there is much, much more to all of this.
Ezekiel also connects this uprooting and re-planting to the mission YHWH gave to Jeremiah. This uprooting and re-planting is connected to a change in the royal linage of the king and the prophetic promise of the Scepter, Eze 21:24-27. Ezekiel also connects this uprooting and re-planting to the breach in Gen 38:27-30. Isaiah prophesied that this breach would be repaired (the two Houses of Israel and Judah reunited) by Messiah, Isa 58:9-12. Isaiah was foretelling the same event foretold by Ezekiel in Eze 37:15-23.
I am not sure whether all of this will provide answers, or just serve to further confuse. I wish I could answer more clearly, but I cannot. As I study and learn, I discover more and more that I know very little for sure. Rather than getting a clearer picture, I gain a bigger, but fuzzier picture of the Lord’s greater plan. My hope is that I have been able to provide abundant bread crumbs for other Bereans to follow. Should the reader have specific questions, I invite you to post them in the comment section below. I’ll try my best to help answer them there.