When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee in to the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. – Matthew 24:15-18
For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. – Deuteronomy 32:9-12
Having seen the fall of Satan and his fiery attempts to destroy and devastate the life and health of the chosen people of God, John continued to watch his vision unfold. The dragon, Satan, was defeated and banished from heaven. However, in diabolical rage he unleashed his most vicious attacks on the offspring of the woman, Israel. Chronologically speaking, it is best to understand verses 13-17 as occurring during the time of Great Tribulation. It has already been clear throughout the vision of John that during this period Satan will unleash his most ardent assaults on the chosen people of God.
Now, as the draconic terrors increased, the woman fled into the wilderness. In fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, the day will come when the persecution of Israel will be so unbearable that they will flee into the wilderness to hide from it. In this moment of Satan’s cruelest endeavors, God showed John that protection was given to God’s people. In a supernatural turn of events wings of protection were given to her. This does not mean that the people of God will grow actual wings, rather, the language seems strongly figurative, and speaks of God’s intervening power in the face of Satan’s greatest destructive schemes. Just like God carried Israel out of the clutches of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, God will sweep away His people in the time of their distress and will protect and care for them like a mother bird cares for her offspring.
Having his attack plan miraculously thwarted by God, Satan continues his storm with a new torrent of evil. With flood-like resources, he poured out his next onslaught against Israel. But despite his greatest efforts, God still protected His own. Nothing that Satan issued against God’s chosen people could ever harm them. Satan, in his most vehement attack, was no match for the magnitude and awesomeness of an omnipotent God. Satan’s greatest attempts are always checked by the power of Providence. Ultimately, even if the power of Satan seems impressive and nearly overwhelming, we have already learned what the outcome of all of his efforts will be. In the chapter prior to this, John had given the prophetic glimpse of the finality of all things – Jesus will reign forever as King and Lord over all things. Satan was doomed from the outset, no effort of his will ever undermine the Divine power and purpose of a Sovereign Lord.
Reflect: How do Matthew 24:15-18 and Deuteronomy 32:9-12 reflect the truths of God that we see plainly in Revelation 12?