And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
“Gr. eremos, ‘a forsaken, desert, empty place,’ ‘an uninhabited place.’ Here eremos doubtless represents a place of seclusion or obscurity, an area or condition
in which the church would be in a place of obscurity, away from the public gaze.” 7SDA Bible Commentary, 808.
The Woman Fled Into the Wilderness.—
“What may we understand by the woman ‘fleeing into the wilderness,’ and ‘from the face of the serpent.’ We must consider it in a state of obscurity; this was true in the time we have stated. AD 538. Historians tell us but little about any regular church but the Roman
church, and this has never been in an obscure state; of course the Roman is not the church in the wilderness. But they do tell us that, in the days of Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, there were many schismatics, as they were called, who opposed the power of the bishop or
pope of Rome, and doings of councils in the east and west, and a large share of the latter part of Justinian’s life was spent in religious broils and expelling from his kingdom these schismatics; and the code of laws which he published about AD 533, forbade any Christians any rights or privileges as citizens in his empire who would not acknowledge the bishop of Rome as head. And in these laws he gave the bishop power to hold courts and try all matters of faith within his kingdom. These, and other things of like import, drove all true followers of the word of God to seek a rest out of the jurisdiction of the city of nations; and, of course,
became outlaws to the Roman government.”
“Then, if we fix the beginning of the exile of the church at the same time of setting up anti-Christ, AD 538, then the church was in its exiled state until AD 1798, which would be the 1260 years. It is here worthy of remark, that the code of laws passed by Justinian were in full force in the kingdoms belonging to, or under the control of, the pope of Rome, respecting the rights
and privileges of those who might differ from the Catholic faith, until the French took Rome, in 1798, and declared Italy a republic; when free toleration was given for any religious opinion or privileges whatsoever. …This is the first time, during the 1260 years, that free toleration of
religion was granted in any kingdom where the Catholic church had power.” Miller, Evidence, 216,217.
“Of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost. In the very land where popery had fixed its seat, there its falsehood and corruption were most steadfastly resisted. For centuries the churches of Piedmont maintained their independence; but the time came at last when Rome insisted upon their submission. After ineffectual struggles against her tyranny, the leaders of these churches reluctantly
acknowledged the supremacy of the power to which the whole world seemed to pay homage. There were some, however, who refused to yield to the authority of pope or prelate. They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place. Those who adhered to the ancient faith now withdrew; some, forsaking their native Alps, raised the banner of truth in foreign lands; others retreated
to the secluded glens and rocky fastnesses of the mountains, and there preserved their freedom to worship God.
“…Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church—‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3. ‘The church in the wilderness,’ and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world’s great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God has committed to His people to be given to the world.
“Among the leading causes that had led to the separation of the true church from Rome was the hatred of the latter toward the Bible Sabbath. As foretold by prophecy, the papal power cast down the truth to the ground. …They demanded not only that Sunday be hallowed, but that the Sabbath be profaned; and they denounced in the strongest language those who
dared to show it honor. It was only by fleeing from the power of Rome that any could obey God's law in peace.
“The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them
the special objects of hatred and persecution. They declared the Church of Rome to be the apostate Babylon of the Apocalypse, and at the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised
their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy
of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God's word and His honor.
“Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains—in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed—the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for
the truth maintained the ancient faith.
“God had provided for His people a sanctuary of awful grandeur, befitting the mighty truths committed to their trust. To those faithful exiles the mountains were an emblem of the immutable righteousness of Jehovah. …They thanked God that He had provided for them an asylum from the wrath and cruelty of men. They rejoiced in their freedom to worship before
Him. Often when pursued by their enemies, the strength of the hills proved a sure defense. From many a lofty cliff they chanted the praise of God, and the armies of Rome could not silence their songs of thanksgiving.” Great Controversy, 64-66.
“Roger Williams was respected and beloved as a faithful minister…; yet his steadfast denial of the right of civil magistrates to authority over the church, and his demand for religious liberty, could not be tolerated. The application of this new doctrine, it was urged, would ‘subvert the fundamental state and government of the country.’—(George Bancroft, History of the United
States of America). He was sentenced to banishment from the colonies, and, finally, to avoid arrest, he was forced to flee, amid the cold and storms of winter, into the unbroken forest.” Great Controversy, 294.
Recalls the Exodus Story.—
“And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.” Deuteronomy 1:31.
Where She Hath a Place Prepared of God.—
“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20.
“Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326.
“The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three distinct eternal Beings. See Rev. 1:4,5. And the angels.” PJ.
They Should Feed Her There.—
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” 1 Peter 5:2.
“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” Song of Solomon 1:7. [The ‘noon’ of the gospel period was 1000 AD, the noon of the papacy was 1168 AD.]
“The Vaudois churches, in their purity and simplicity, resembled the church of apostolic times. Rejecting the supremacy of the pope and prelate, they held the Bible as the only supreme, infallible authority. Their pastors, unlike the lordly priests of Rome, followed the example of their Master, who ‘came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ They fed the flock of God, leading them to the green pastures and living fountains of His holy word. Far from the monuments of human pomp and pride the people assembled, not in magnificent churches or grand cathedrals, but beneath the shadow of the mountains, in the Alpine valleys, or, in
time of danger, in some rocky stronghold, to listen to the words of truth from the servants of Christ. The pastors not only preached the gospel, but they visited the sick, catechized the children, admonished the erring, and labored to settle disputes and promote harmony and brotherly love. In times of peace they were sustained by the freewill offerings of the people; but, like Paul the tentmaker, each learned some trade or profession by which, if necessary, to provide for his own support.” The Great Controversy, 68
A Thousand Two Hundred and Threescore Days.—
“The dark ages lasted from 538 to 1798. During this time there was a great church showing its authority, represented in the cathedrals. That was not the church that fled to the wilderness.” Feyerabend, RVBV, 114.
“In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast ‘his power,
and his seat, and great authority.’ Rev. 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7. …For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus
says the prophet: (Rev. 12:6 quoted).” Great Controversy, 54.
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times.” Daniel 7:25.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Revelation 12:14.
“And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Revelation 13:5-7.
“We have a common time period in these [seven] passages (1260 days and equivalents) and a common event: persecution of the saints.” Biblical Research Inst., 1SOR, 329,330.
“The church fled into the wilderness at the time the papacy was firmly established in 538, where it was nourished by the word of God and the ministration of angels during the long, dark, and bloody rule of that power for 1260 years. The first six verses of this chapter, as has
been seen, take us down to the close of the 1260 years in 1798, which marked the end of the papal supremacy.” Smith, DR, 553.