|If you will be kind
enough to accept the “flashback” point of view here, it is fairly obvious who
the “man child” is: Jesus Christ. John here summarizes Jesus’ life on earth
in two events: birth and
ascension. Most commentators (except
the historicists) agree with this.
Historicists have some trouble putting this section in proper order,
and therefore argue that the “man child” is in fact the church. The argument is essentially symbolic:
|• In verse 17, we see
“the rest of her offspring” (obviously the saints) persecuted by Satan. The church is the mother of the saints.
|• We are often
referred to as “the body of Christ.”
|That this point can
be confusing (without flashback) is shown by Chuck Smith. He argues that it cannot be Israel (in
contrast to other futurists); he
argues that it might be Christ (denied by other futurists) and that it
probably is the 144,000!
|All these views can
be harmonized in the flashback model.
|Timing, on the other
hand, determines the rest of the interpretation. For the futurist, this event (based on the
1260 days) starts mid-Tribulation, or at the start of the “Great
Tribulation.” Thus, half way through
Daniel’s last week, we see:
|• Satan “falls” to
earth (tied in with the “abomination of desolation” of Daniel, referenced by
|• Israel, in reaction
to the abomination, flees to the desert (Where? Smith says Petra; McGee says probably Sinai)
|• The timing is a
literal 1260 days.
|For the historicist,
then, the timing is different:
|• Satan falls at the
time of Christ (or at the fall of the Pagan Roman Empire)
|• The 1260 days refer
to the power of the papacy, as we shall see (connected to Rome)
|• The place in the
desert is figurative for being out of sight.
|Every author I’ve
read has a different opinion; this