Israel’s Flight to Petra & then Home Again
March 24, 2010
“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.”
“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 12:6 12:14
Pardon me for not getting back to you sooner, but I was gone all day yesterday and just found your email this morning. Hey, if I do the Petra teaching and you are not going to bother me again, then I’m not going to do it. I like hearing from you Ha! Ha! Just joking! You are a blessing to me and I always look forward to hearing from you.
Dear brother, I have mentioned Israel fleeing to Petra many times in my studies, but I don’t think I have ever written out a study solely on the subject. I could be mistaken, for I could have written about it in my old newsletters when I was putting them out monthly years ago. Anyway, let’s see if we can find some Scriptural light on the subject…..
Identifying the Subject
Almost all who teach on this subject go directly to Revelation 12:6 and 12:14, and then half apologetically start trying to convince those they are teaching that the woman is Israel, and “they think” that the place the woman flees to is “probably” Petra. Pathetic!
If there is so much doubt about it in their own minds, then it is no wonder there is so much debate about it by others.
The woman IS ISRAEL and the place the Jews flee to IS PETRA! There need not be any question or confusion about it at all. All that is needed is a little serious Bible study. The problem here is that few of these people ever bother to study the subject beyond Revelation 12. Almost no one goes to the Old Testament to see what it has to say about it. The truth is, the Old Testament Scriptures nail it down beyond all question.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word, “sela,” is the equivalent of the Greek word, “petra,” in the New Testament. This Hebrew word, “sela,” occurs some 60 times in the Old Testament. If you want to carefully study the subject, you will need to look in your concordance and find the Scriptures where the word is used, for it is almost always translated as “rock.” A few times it is translated as “stone” or “stronghold.” Three times the word was brought over into the Old Testament untranslated. In other words, it was just left as “Sela” instead of being translated. This is a fascinating study that will be very enlightening and a blessing to anyone willing to devote their time to it. But now let’s just look at some of the highlights in a brief outline…
The Time Element…..Mid-Trib
Every serious student of Bible prophecy should already know that the flight of Israel will come at the middle of the Tribulation when the “abomination of desolation” is set up in the courtyard of the Jewish Temple. This is exactly the time period which the Lord Himself warned the Jews about in Matthew 24:15-21 and Mark 13:14-19. This warning given by the Lord perfectly harmonizes with the time of their flight as set forth in Revelation 12. If any reader has never studied this truth, I will be glad to send my study on The Abomination of Desolation to any reader requesting it.
A Key Passage
Now, let’s look at Isaiah 16:1-5. In these verses the prophet was inspired to condense the entire last half of the Tribulation into just five verses. Isn’t the Lord amazing? In these five verses the Lord declared to Isaiah and to Israel “the end from the beginning,” just as He always does when giving His people His prophetic Word, Isaiah 46:9-10. By this statement I mean that verse 1 speaks about the Lord returning from “Sela” [Petra] to “the mount of the daughter of Zion” [Jerusalem] at the end of the Tribulation, and verse 5 speaks about Him establishing His millennial Kingdom following His return. Verses 2, 3, and 4 set forth details about Israel’s flight to Petra before the Lord returns to establish His kingdom. Now let’s take a close look at…
The Flight to Petra
In Isaiah 16:2-4 the Scriptures state, “For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.
Take counsel, execute judgment; make Thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.
Let Mine outcasts dwell with Thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.”
In these verses the Lord is primarily talking to “Moab” [modern Jordan] about the Jewish people. Verse 2 reveals that the Moabites [modern Jordanians] are also fleeing. This is a truth that seems to be commonly overlooked or ignored by prophecy teachers, even though it is explicitly prophesied in Jeremiah 48.
I suspect little attention is given to this prophecy in Jeremiah 48 about Moab, because most of those who write the “commentaries” assume that since Moab was destroyed in ancient times Jeremiah 48 has already been fulfilled. So much for assumptions! Sic!
In order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students have to ignore the Lord’s explicit command for Moab [modern Jordan] to flee into “the wilderness” in 48:6, which is the exact same place the Lord said that He would bring the Jews to when they flee in Ezekiel 20:35-36. Coincidence?
In order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students have to ignore the fact that “the spoiler” [a term for the Antichrist] is referred to three times in Jeremiah 48:8; 48:18; and 48:32. This is the same “spoiler” also mentioned in Isaiah 16:4, 21:2, Jeremiah 6:26, 15:8, and 51:56. Coincidence?
In order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students also have to ignore the Lord’s explicit command to Moab [modern Jordan] to “…..leave the cities, and dwell in the rock [Sela…Petra], and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth,” 48:9; 48:15; 48:28. Compare this statement with the Song of Solomon 2:14. Coincidence?
In order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students also have to ignore the Lord’s explicit statement that He is going to send “wanderers” to Moab [modern Jordan] “….that shall cause him to wander....,” 48:12. This is the exact same term used in Isaiah 16:2-3 in reference to the Jewish people. Coincidence?
In order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students also have to ignore the warning given to Moab in 48:43-44. These exact same statements are made in Isaiah 24:17-18, a portion of Scripture that is explicitly talking about the future “day of the Lord [Tribulation]. Coincidence?
Finally, in order to believe the assumption of the commentators, serious Bible students have to ignore the Lord’s prophecy in 48:47, “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord…” This verse just explicitly states that Moab [modern Jordan] will be functioning as a nation and people “in the latter days.” Another coincidence? Well…??
If any reader thinks all of these Biblical truths are just “coincidences” please contact me at once, for I have a “wonderful deal” for you on some sea coast property in Kansas.
Why don’t God’s people just admit that many of the prophecies set forth in Jeremiah 48 have not been fulfilled in spite of what the “commentators” claim? It is obvious to any serious Bible student that the prophecies mentioned will not be fulfilled until the last half of the Tribulation period, exactly as also set forth in Isaiah 16:2-4. Hello!
Tracing Israel’s Flight
The Lord explicitly warns the Jewish people in Matthew 24:15-16 and Mark 13:14, that when they see “the abomination of desolation” standing in the courtyard of the Jewish Temple, they should immediately “flee to the mountains.” There are mountains here and there throughout the land of Israel to which the Jews will flee, but most of the rugged mountainous terrain which would offer the most protection is on the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea extending southward all the way to ancient Edom. But who controls that EAST SIDE today? The nation of Jordan!
Is it then just coincidence that the nation of Jordan is one of the two Middle Eastern nations which has a peace agreement with Israel today? Well…??
Is it then just coincidence that the Lord explicitly speaks to Moab [modern Jordan] in Isaiah 16:4, admonishing them, “Let Mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab…”?
What this amount to is that when the Jews flee at the middle of the Tribulation, most of them will flee across the Jordan river into the rugged mountainous terrain on the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea. In other words, they will flee into the nation of Jordan. Isn’t this amazing that the Lord placed these exact details in His Word some 2,600 years in advance? Glory! What a wonderful God we serve. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Once the Jews have fled into Jordan, then they will continue to flee southward toward Petra, for Petra is the exact place where the Lord told the Moabites [modern Jordanians] to flee to, Jeremiah 48:28. There is no question in my mind that the Lord will put it into the hearts of the Jordanian people to help the fleeing Jews and allow them to dwell with them in Petra.
As the Jews are fleeing the ancient “shekinah” cloud of the Lord will cover them again [Isaiah 16:3], just as it covered the Jews when they fled from the land of Egypt 3,400 years ago, Exodus 13:17-22. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! The cloud will cover the entire Middle Eastern area with such a thick blanket of clouds that it will be impossible for their enemies to locate the fleeing Jews to destroy them, even with man’s boasted “modern technology.” Sic! Almighty God is still in charge! Glory to God!
I don’t know how long it will take the fleeing Jews to arrive at Petra, but the Psalmist wrote centuries ago that the Lord Himself will lead the Jews into the safety of Petra, “Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not Thou, O God, WHO hast cast us off? And wilt not Thou, O God, go forth with our hosts? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies,” Psalm 108:10-13. There in Petra the Jews will be sheltered, fed, and protected during the last half of the Tribulation. See Isaiah 2:10, 16:3-4, 26:20, and Revelation 12:6 and 12:14.
You might also want to compare Matthew 25:31-46. This deals with the judgment of the Gentiles who survive the Tribulation period. Notice that the way they have treated the Jews is a definite factor in their judgment; verses 40 and 45.
Betrayal and Consequences
Sadly, during the last half of the Tribulation the Jordanians [descendants of Ishmael and Esau], in spite of being explicitly warned by the Lord in Isaiah 16:3 not to reveal or betray the Israelites to their enemies, at some point they are going to betray the Israelites. When they do, the Lord will protect the Jewish people, just like He protected Jacob and his family from Esau so long ago. But their betrayal will seal the doom of the descendants of Ishmael and Esau forever. Read Jeremiah 49:17-18, Ezekiel 25:15-17, 35:1-15, and Malachi 1:1-5. Whether men want to believe God’s Word or not, Genesis 12:3 is still in the Bible and it still works. To God be the glory!
Finally the last half of the Tribulation will end with the Lord’s return back to this earth again. The details of the Lord’s return are set forth quite clearly in God’s Word, in spite of the fact that many of God’s people have failed to carefully study them, or have chosen to ignore them. I want to set before you and our readers some of those details which I consider to be important to any believer wanting to know the whole truth.
The Route of Return
Isaiah 16:1 explicitly states, “Send ye the Lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.” In essence, here is a prophecy that tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God [John 1:29; Revelation 5:5-6], is going to return to Jerusalem “from Sela” [Petra] by way of “the wilderness” [the same “wilderness” Israel wandered in 3,500 years ago when they left Egypt]. The fact that the Lord will return by this exact route is verified by such passages as Isaiah 63:1-6, Ezekiel 20:33-38, 39:11, Micah 2:12-13, and Habakkuk 3:3. The mention of Edom, Bozrah, and Teman in these passages is highly significant. Petra was the southern capitol of the ancient land of Edom, and Bozrah was the northern capitol of ancient Edom. Teman was an area in ancient Edom comparable to what we living today refer to as a “state” or “territory.” All of these places are located in modern JORDAN today. All of these passages make it clear that this is the exact route the Lord is going to follow when He returns to Jerusalem at His actual second coming.
Oh, but what about Acts 1:11 and Zechariah 14:4? Yes! What about them? I’m not trying to be unkind or obstinate but some folks just don’t read very carefully….. I believe both of these passages literally. But what do the passages actually say?
The passage in Acts 1:11 explicitly says, “…..shall so come in like manner…” This doesn’t speak of the exact place that the Lord will first return to at all. It speaks of the “manner” of His coming. What was that? It is clearly stated that “…He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight,” Acts 1:9. This was His “manner” of leaving, and the Scriptures are quite explicit that when He comes again He will come “…with clouds…,” Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7. The very same “manner.” Isn’t this plain enough?
But the passage in Zechariah 14:4 says His feet will stand on the mount of Olives. So He must first return to the exact place that He left from when He comes back to the earth. Right? WRONG! Such an idea is “read into” the Scriptures, but never stated anywhere.
Will the Lord return to the mount of Olives? Most assuredly! Any reader who will trace the route set forth in these passages can easily see that the Lord will be following the same route that Joshua and the children of Israel followed 3,500 years ago when they entered the promised land. This route took Joshua [a type of Christ] and the Israelites around the EAST SIDE of ancient Edom, then they proceeded through the “wilderness” up the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea to the northern end of the sea, Numbers 20:14-21. This is exactly the route the Lord will follow when He returns. Anyone who is serious about studying the prophecies can take a map and see that if one crosses the Jordan at the north end of the Dead Sea and then goes to Jerusalem, this route will bring them into the city directly over the top of the mount of Olives, thus fulfilling Zechariah 14:4 to the letter. Hello!
The Scriptural Scenario
When Christ returns to this earth at or towards the end of the Tribulation, He is first going to the Jews in Petra. There He will reveal Himself to them “face to face,” Ezekiel 20:33-38. This is where Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6 fit into the prophetic picture.
The first passage clearly states, “…and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” See also Revelation 1:7.
Now why should the Jews go into mourning when they finally look upon the Lord? Because the religious Jews even today who do believe the promises of a coming Messiah set forth in their Torah [Deuteronomy 18:15-19], do not know the identity of their promised Messiah. While they believe the promises of God in the Old Covenant, and are actually “looking for” their Messiah to come, they DO NOT believe that their promised Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of New Testament believers. What a shock it will then be to that Jewish remnant in Petra when the Lord appears in their midst, “And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends,” Zechariah 13:6. Compare John 15:12-15. The Jews will then finally realize that their Messiah is the very same Lord Jesus Christ whom their Jewish forefathers rejected and crucified so long ago.
When that realization soaks into their minds and hearts, they will begin to mourn as the Jews have never previously mourned. The realization that the whole nation could have been saved some 2,000 years ago, and that throughout all these centuries the Jewish people died without knowing their Messiah and Savior, will cause such grief and mourning and repentance in their hearts as they have never previously known in their entire history. This mourning on their part will fulfill Jeremiah 6:26 to the letter. But keep in mind that our gracious and merciful and loving Lord also promised them, “…..for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow,” Jeremiah 31:13. Read the whole passage; 31:10-14.
Heading for “Home”
After the Lord has identified Himself to the Jews in Petra and comforted them somewhat in their sorrow, using a little “sanctified imagination” I can almost hear the Lord say to them, “Heads up everyone! Let’s go home!” Glory to God!
The Lord will then lead those Jews out of Petra headed back for their homeland, and their beloved city of Jerusalem, exactly as set forth in Micah 2:12-13. This is a wonderful passage in the prophetic Word, usually overlooked or ignored by most students of Bible prophecy.
Verse 12 plainly speaks about the Jewish “remnant” being gathered to the land of ancient Edom [Bozrah or Petra] in much commotion. Compare this with Isaiah 16:2-4 and Psalm 108:7-11.
But verse 13 speaks about them leaving Petra headed back home. Notice the marching order clearly set forth in this verse. The Lord Himself will lead them out of Petra, “the Lord on the head of them.” Compare Psalm 108:11. Immediately following the Lord will be “their king.”
Whoa! Wait a minute! Israel doesn’t have a king! No, but they will! The so-called “democratic” form of government they have today will be discarded on or before the middle of the Tribulation, and the whole nation will be led by KING DAVID during the last half of the Tribulation. Yes! I do mean “the King David” of the Bible. If any reader has never been confronted with this truth before and desires to study it for themselves, I urge you to read my study on The Davidic Covenant. I will be glad to send it to any reader requesting it.
As the Jews leave Petra, they will follow “their king” out of Petra who will follow the Lord Himself. This is clearly stated right here in Micah 2:12-13. Read it for yourself! This is the marching order in which the Jews will leave Petra.
Garments stained with Blood
When the Lord steps out from “the cleft in the rock” [the narrow valley] exit from Petra opening on to the desert floor, immediately He will be confronted with the hordes of wicked men who will have assembled there to overwhelm and destroy the Jews in Petra. The battle will begin!
The prophet Isaiah saw this battle in a vision given to him centuries ago by the Lord.
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? [Compare Revelation 14:19-20].
I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. [Compare Revelation 19:11-13].
For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come. [Compare Isaiah 61:1-3].
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me.
And I will tread down the peoples in Mine anger, and make them drunk in My fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth,” Isaiah 63:1-6.
This mighty battle against His enemies and the enemies of Israel will be fought by the Lord all the through “the wilderness” right up the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea. Compare Ezekiel 38:21-23, 39:1-8, Zechariah 14:1-15, and Revelation 19:11-21.
That this will be a real, literal battle is proven by the fact that when Isaiah saw the Lord, he marveled that His clothing was stained “…red…..like him that treadeth in the winefat…” The Lord Himself said, “…..their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment.” This truth is also verified in Revelation 19:13. The Lord in giving mankind His Word, always practices what He preaches. Read Deuteronomy 19:15 and 2 Corinthians 13:1.
This same Jesus…
Little details about this final battle can be found in many other Scriptures in God’s Word if people would study the Scriptures carefully.
For instance, Psalm 110:5-7 speaks about this same final end-time battle, even making this observation, “He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall He lift up the head,” 110:7. A look at a map of that area, will reveal that about half way up the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea is the Arnon river. This Scripture tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ will pause at that river and “…drink of the brook in the way…,” and that when He drinks of it He will be refreshed. Now why would the Lord need to be refreshed? Because He is coming back to this earth as the Kinsman-Redeemer; the heir of Adam, and is therefore coming back as a MAN. Hello!
Some believers seem to think that when Christ arose from the dead with a “glorified” body He ceased to be a “man.” They couldn’t be more wrong! Many years after the Lord had ascended back to the Heavenly Father, the inspired Apostle wrote, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1 Timothy 2:5. Folks, to this day our Savior and Mediator is still “Emmanuel;” God in flesh; the Divine Man. The glorified body of Christ is simply a different “species” of mankind, that is, “a new creation,” just as are we New Testament believers, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Read James 1:18. The Lord’s human body has already been “glorified,” while we believers are still waiting to “put on” our “glorified” bodies, Romans 8:18-23, 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Philippians 3:20-21.
I am laboring this truth to emphasize to God’s people that “…this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven,” Acts 1:11. After His resurrection, didn’t He still have the scars in His hands and side from being crucified? Read John 20:25-27. Won’t He still bear those same scars when He returns? Read again Zechariah 13:6. Praise God!
As one of the precious old hymns of the saints so aptly says,
“I shall know Him; I shall know Him;
When I see Him, I shall know Him,
by the nail prints in His hands.”
Back to Jerusalem
The Lord, just as Joshua did some 3,400 years ago, will lead the Jews through “the wilderness” on the EAST SIDE of the Dead Sea and back to their beloved homeland. When they arrive at the north end of the Dead Sea, the Lord will then turn due west and lead them across the Jordan river. Some 3,400 years ago when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the waters of the Jordan, it parted and the Jewish people passed across the Jordan on dry land. Read the account for yourself in Joshua 3 – 4. I would remind our readers that the Ark of the Covenant was the symbol. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the reality. I highly suspect that when the Lord steps into the Jordan, it will part again just like it did 3,400 years ago and the Jewish people will once more cross over on dry land. Glory to God! Hallelujah! How great is our Savior! Praise the Lord!
The Lord will then lead the Jews from the Jordan westward on towards Jerusalem. This will bring the Lord, King David and the Jews, and their whole company back into Jerusalem directly over the top of the mount of Olives, fulfilling Zechariah 14:1-15 to the letter. Read the whole account for yourself. At that very time…..
Another “remnant” of Jews who did not flee to Petra will be backed up against the mount of Olives fighting for their very lives, about to be overwhelmed and destroyed by the armies of the Antichrist. At that precise time the Lord Jesus Christ will come over the top of the mount of Olives. Can you even adequately visualize the scene? Those embattled Jews will look up and see their promised Messiah coming to save them, and will cry out with a mighty shout, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” Matthew 23:39. At that exact instant the entire mountain will split wide open, creating a valley and an escape route for those embattled Jews. They will flee through the valley to safety, while the Lord rages into their enemies, trampling them under His feet and filling the Kidron valley with their blood “…even unto the horse bridles…,” Revelation 14:20.
Once Jerusalem has been secured by the Lord and those who are accompanying Him, the Lord will then proceed right on northward through the valleys of Jezreel, Achan [Achor], Jehoshaphat, and Megiddo, slaughtering His enemies all the way until He emerges right out on to the plain of Megiddo. Finally…..
There on the plain of Megiddo the last shot ever fired in battle, the last command of the war mongers, the last scream of the wounded and dying, will for ever fade away as the blessed SILENCE OF PEACE settles over the whole bloody scene.
“And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many peoples: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, NEITHER SHALL THEY LEARN WAR ANY MORE,” Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Glory to God! Thank the Lord that HE who is “…the desire of all nations shall come,” Haggai 2:6-7. Praise and glory to our precious Lord!
-by an unnamed pastor from Missouri