Nourished in the Wilderness
Then the woman fled into the wilderness,
where she has a place prepared by God,
so that there she may be nourished for 1,260 days.
Every hiker, pilot, and ship’s captain needs his instruments. They are crucial equipment for knowing one’s location, getting one’s bearings, and reaching one’s destination. That’s why I love Revelation 12. It is crucial equipment for Christ’s Church. It gives her a precious paradigm for a pilgrim people.
A paradigm is like a pair of glasses. It’s a set of concepts through which we can view the world. Using images drawn from the Old Testament, Revelation 12 gives us a paradigm, a precious way of looking at the Christian life.
Consider the symbols involved. The Woman is the Church, the Mother and the Bride of Christ (12:1-2). Her Son (and her Husband) is the Lord Jesus Christ, now the High King of Heaven. The Dragon is the devil, a defeated enemy who chases and persecutes the woman (12:3-6). And the wilderness is the evil world-system, through which the Woman must pass as she journeys to the Promised Land: the new heavens and the new earth.
This paradigm opens up our text, which gives us a great promise. For just as God nourished Elijah in the wilderness for 1260 days (1 Kings 17), so too he promises to nourish his Church until her difficult pilgrimage is complete.
How does he do this? Above all, he does it in our quiet times, when he speaks to us through his Word, and moves us to pray in his Spirit. But he also does it in the assembly of the saints, the preaching of the Word, the sacraments of the Church, and the exercise of the ministries to which we are called.
Why does he do this? He does it so we can know who we are in Christ, thereby overcoming the accuser of the brethren (12:7-12); so that we will remain eager to share our faith, thereby giving birth to the rest of the Lord’s offspring (12:17); and so that our face will always be turned, thereby turning it towards Christ and the Promised Land (12:14).
Pilgrim, receive this his precious paradigm, stay strong, and rejoice! You’re almost home!