And the woman fled into the wilderness
Not as soon as she was delivered of her child, which is not reasonable to suppose, and would have been improper if not impracticable; nor indeed was this flight until after the war was over, mentioned in ( Revelation 12:13-17 ) ; nor until the dragon and his angels were conquered and cast out; nor until a fresh persecution was raised by the dragon against the woman, as appears from ( Revelation 12:14 ) ; where this account stands in its proper place, and is here only introduced by way of prolepsis, or anticipation, and that with this view, to show what care was taken of the woman, as well as of her son: and this does not design the flight of the Christians from Jerusalem to Pella, a little before the destruction of the former; nor the expulsion of the Jews or Christians from Rome, either by Claudius or by Nero; but the disappearance of the true church, and its obscure state and condition quickly after the above advance of it; for through the riches and honours which Constantine bestowed upon the Christians, they became vain, proud, ambitious, and careless; false doctrine and superstition obtained; the antichristian apostasy came on apace, and prevailed and increased, and so obscured the true church, that in process of time it became invisible, was in the cleft of the rock, and in the secret places of the stairs, or like persons in a wood or wilderness, not to be seen, as well as desolate and uncomfortable:
where she hath a place prepared of God;
God has had, and will have a church in the worst of times; as he reserved a number in Elijah's time, so he did in the times of the antichristian apostasy, who bowed not the knee to idolatry; this woman, the church, and her case, are the same with the 144,000 sealed ones in ( Revelation 7:1-8 ) : whom God distinguished, hid, and preserved; for the wilderness is a place of retirement and safety, ( Ezekiel 34:25 ) , as well as of obscurity; and if any particular place is pointed at, I should think the valleys of Piedmont, which lie between France and Italy, are intended, where God has preserved, and continued a set of witnesses to the truth, in a succession, from the beginning of the apostasy to the present time, living in obscurity, and in safety, so far as not to be utterly destroyed:
that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and]
in allusion to the children of Israel in the wilderness, where they were fed with manna forty years; so the overcomers, or true Christians in the Pergamos church state, have hidden manna given them to eat, the food of the wilderness, with which church state the church in the wilderness must be considered as contemporary, as also with the Thyatirian and Sardian church states; for though, at the Reformation, which the Sardinian church state introduces, the church appeared again, and has been ever since coming up out of the wilderness, yet she is stall in it; where she is fed and nourished with the Gospel, and the ordinances of it, by the faithful ministers of the word, the two witnesses that prophesy in sackcloth; the time of whose prophesying: is exactly of the same date with the woman's bring in the wilderness, and with the reign of antichrist, namely, forty two months, or 1260 days, that is so many years, ( Revelation 11:2 Revelation 11:3 Revelation 11:13 ) .