The book of Revelation foretold the persecution that God’s people would face through a good portion of church history. The 1260 prophetic days of Revelation 12:6 (see also Rev. 12:14) point to 1260 years of persecution against the church.
“These persecutions, beginning under Nero about the time of the martyrdom of Paul, continued with greater or less fury for centuries. Christians were falsely accused of the most dreadful crimes and declared to be the cause of great calamities — famine, pestilence, and earthquake. As they became the objects of popular hatred and suspicion, informers stood ready, for the sake of gain, to betray the innocent. They were condemned as rebels against the empire, as foes of religion, and pests to society. Great numbers were thrown to wild beasts or burned alive in the amphitheaters”. — The Great Controversy, p. 40.
At the same time, the woman (church) fled into the wilderness (Rev. 12:6). She is described as having two wings like an eagle. This gives the picture of flying away where help could be found. She was taken care of in the wilderness, and the serpent, or Satan, could not get to her (Rev. 12:14). God has always preserved a remnant even during major persecutions, and He will do so again in the end time.
In the context of the perils of the last days, Christ said to His people: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20, NIV). How do we understand this wonderful promise, even in the face of the vast martyrdom of many of His followers? (see Rom. 8:31-39 and Matt. 10:28.)
Nothing — not persecution, famine, or death — can separate us from God’s love. Christ’s presence with us, whether now or in the end times, does not mean that we are spared pain, suffering, trials, or even death. We have never been promised such exemptions in this life. It means that, through Jesus and what He has done for us, we can live with the hope and promise that God is with us in these trials and that we have the promise of eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth. We can live with the hope that regardless of anything we go through here, like Paul, we can be certain that “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8, NKJV). We who have “loved His appearing” can claim this hope and promise for ourselves, as well.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons