Verse 14. And there were given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place - Eagles are the usual symbols of great potentates. So Ezek. xvii, 3, by "a great eagle', means the king of Babylon. Here the great eagle is the Roman empire; the two wings, the eastern and western branches of it. A place in the wilderness was mentioned in the sixth verse also; but it is not the same which is mentioned here. In the text there follow one after the other,
1. The dragon's waiting to devour the child.
2. The birth of the child, which is caught up to God.
3. The fleeing of the woman into the wilderness.
4. The war in heaven, and the casting out of the dragon.
5. The beginning of the third woe.
6. The persecution raised by the dragon against the woman.
7. The woman's flying away upon the eagle's wings. In like manner there follow one after the other,
1. The beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days.
2. The beginning of the little time.
3. The beginning of the time, times, and half a time. This third period partly coincides both with the first and the second. After the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days, or rather of the third woe, Christianity was exceedingly propagated, in the midst of various persecutions. About the year 948 it was again settled in Denmark; in 965, in Poland and Silesia; in 980, through all Russia. In 997 it was brought into Hungary; into Sweden and Norway, both before and after. Transylvania received it about 1000; and, soon after, other parts of Dacia. Now, all the countries in which Christianity was settled between the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty days, and the imprisonment of the dragon, may be understood by the wilderness, and by her place in particular. This place contained many countries; so that Christianity now reached, in an uninterrupted tract, from the eastern to the western empire; and both the emperors now lent their wings to the woman, and provided a safe abode for her. Where she is fed - By God rather than man; having little human help. For a time, and times, and half a time - The length of the several periods here mentioned seems to be nearly this: - YEARS
1. The non-chronos contains less than 1111
2. The little time 888
3. The time, times, and half a time 777
4. The time of the beast 666 And comparing the prophecy and history together, they seem to begin and end nearly thus:
1. The non-chronos extends .from about 800 to 1836
2. The 1260 days of the woman from 847-1524
3. The little time 947-1836
4. The time, time, and half 1058-1836
5. The time of the beast is between the beginning and end of the three times and a half. In the year 1058 the empires had a good understanding with each other, and both protected the woman. The bishops of Rome, likewise, particularly Victor II., were duly subordinate to the emperor. We may observe, the twelve hundred and sixty days of the woman, from 847 to 1524, and the three times and a half, refer to the same wilderness. But in the former part of the twelve hundred and sixty days, before the three times and an half began, namely, from the year 847 to 1058, she was fed by others, being little able to help herself; whereas, from 1058 to 1524, she is both fed by others, and has food herself. To this the sciences transplanted into the west from the eastern countries much contributed; the scriptures, in the original tongues, brought into the west of Europe by the Jews and Greeks, much more; and most of all, the Reformation, grounded on those scriptures.
Verse 15. Water is an emblem of a great people; this water, of the Turks in particular. About the year 1060 they overran the Christian part of Asia. Afterward, they poured into Europe, and spread farther and farther, till they had overflowed many nations.
Verse 16. But the earth helped the woman - The powers of the earth; and indeed she needed help through this whole period. "The time" was from 1058 to 1280; during which the Turkish flood ran higher and higher, though frequently repressed by the emperors, or their generals, helping the woman. "The" two "times" were from 1280 to 1725. During these likewise the Turkish power flowed far and wide; but still from time to time the princes of the earth helped the woman, that she was not carried away by it. "The half time" is from 1725 to 1836. In the beginning of this period the Turks began to meddle with the affairs of Persia: wherein they have so entangled themselves, as to be the less able to prevail against the two remaining Christian empires. Yet this flood still reaches the woman "in her place;" and will, till near the end of the "half time," itself be swallowed up, perhaps by means of Russia, which is risen in the room of the eastern empire.
Verse 17. And the dragon was wroth - Anew, because he could not cause her to be carried away by the stream. And he went forth - Into other lands. To make war with the rest of her seed - Real Christians, living under heathen or Turkish governors.