546. Verse 6. And the woman fled into the wilderness, signifies the church which is the New Jerusalem, at first among a few. By "the woman" is signified the New Church (n. 533); and by "a wilderness" is signified where there are no longer any truths. That its being at first among a few is signified, because it follows, "where she hath a place prepared by God, that they should nourish her there a thousand two hundred and sixty days," by which is signified its state at that time, that in the meanwhile it may be provided among many; even until it increases to its appointed state (n. 547). By "a wilderness," in the Word, is signified: (1) The church devastated, or in which all the truths of the Word are falsified, such as it was among the Jews at the time of the Lord's advent. (2) The church in which there are no truths, because they have not the Word, such as it was among the upright Gentiles in the Lord's time. (3) A state of temptation in which man is, as it were, without truths, because he is surrounded by evil spirits who induce temptations, and then as it were they deprive him of truths.
 (1) That by "a wilderness" is signified the church devastated, or in which all the truths of the Word are falsified, such as it was among the Jews in the Lord's time, appears from these passages:
Is this the man that made the earth to quake, that did shake kingdoms, that made the world a wilderness? (Isa. 14:16-17).
This is concerning Babylon:
Thorns and briers are come up on the land of My people; the palace shall be a wilderness (Isa. 32:13-14).
I saw, and lo, Carmel was a wilderness, the whole land shall be waste (Jer. 4:26-27).
"The earth" is the church (n. 285):
The pastors have destroyed My vineyard, they have made My desirable places a wilderness of solitude; the wasters are come in the wilderness (Jer. 12:10, 12).
A vine is planted in the wilderness, in a dry and thirsty land (Ezek. 19:13).
The fire hath consumed the habitations of the wilderness (Joel 1:19, 20).
The day of Jehovah cometh, the land is as the garden of Eden before Him, but behind Him a waste wilderness (Joel 2:1, 3).
See ye the word of Jehovah; have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of darkness? (Jer. 2:31).
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of Jehovah; make straight in the desert a highway for our God (Isa. 40:3; besides other places; as in Isa. 33:9; Jer. 3:2; 23:10; Lam. 5:9; Hos. 2:2-3; 13:15; Joel 3:19; Mal. 1:3; Ps. 107:33-34; Matt. 24:26; Luke 13:35).
That such also is the state of the church at this day, may be seen below (n. 566).
 (2) That by "a wilderness" is signified the church in which there are no truths, because they have not the Word, as with the upright Gentiles in the Lord's time, appears from these passages:
The spirit shall be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness shall be a fruitful field, then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness (Isa. 32:15-16).
I will place fountains in the midst of the valleys, and make the wilderness a pool of waters; I will give in the wilderness the cedar, shittim, and the olive tree (Isa. 41:18-19).
He shall make the wilderness into a pool of waters and the dry land to springs of water (Ps. 107:35).
I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen (Isa. 43:19-20).
Jehovah will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; gladness and joy shall be found therein (Isa. 51:3).
The habitations of the wilderness drop (Ps. 65:12).
Let the wilderness lift up its voice, let the inhabitants of the rock sing (Isa. 42:11).
 (3) That by "a wilderness" is signified a state of temptation, in which man is as it were without truths, because surrounded by evil spirits, who induce temptation, and then as it were deprive him of truths, appears from Matt. 4:1-3; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-3; Ezek. 20:34-37; Jer. 2:2, 6-7; Hos. 2:13-16; Ps. 107:4-7; Deut. 1:31, 33; 8:2-4, 15-16; 32:10.