Saturday, December 31, 2016
Where Is the Wilderness That the Woman Runs To In Revelation 12?
There is much speculation about a couple of related verses in Matthew 24 and Revelation 12. It has to do with the woman fleeing to the wilderness for protection and where that wilderness is. For years many teachers have taught that it is the city of Petra. They base this on some oblique verses in the Old Testament. The woman is Israel, and we know that at least 144,000 of original Israel – the twelve tribes – will be protected, and beyond that the Scriptures indicate another remnant is saved, so the number should be more. But is it practical to think all those people could run to and survive in the city of Petra? Had they done their homework, they would have found the answer to that question is “no.” At its top population, it is estimated that Petra could hold 20,000 people. That is a great deal short of a couple hundred thousand people. And not all of the Jews (not to mention the unknown Ten Lost Tribes) are in Israel. A great part of the world's population live in America. Roughly a little more than a third live in Israel, and roughly an equal amount of that live in America. Less than a third live scattered throughout the rest of the world. The world's Jewish population is roughly 15 million. Even if God only brought a tenth through (which is one of the prophecies) that is 1.5 million which is far beyond the 20,000 that Petra could hold. There is another verse that mentions bringing one third through. If we took a third of 1.5 million, we end up with 500,000. That is still way over the limit and more than 3 times the 144,000. So obviously they are in some other wilderness. So what wilderness could handle that many refugee Jews and Israelites?
When Christ was giving the Olivet Discourse, He said that those in Judea should flee to the mountains when the abomination of desolation occurs. So where does Israel go when it happens? In Revelation 12:14 we read, “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.” As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am a great proponent of taking Scripture at face value whenever possible. In this case clearly that cannot be done, so we have to find another explanation of what is meant here. The woman (Israel) is given two wings of a great eagle to fly away. Now I don't care how big eagles are, even if an eagle could carry a full grown human, it most certainly could not carry more than one. So we are not speaking literally here. We need then to look to what this might symbolically refer. Often the metaphor of an eagle is used to symbolize swiftness and in this case I think that probably is one of the meanings behind the use of the word, for Israel will be under siege of the beast's armies and as Christ said in Matthew, they are not to even take the time to go back in the house for anything. They are to run for their lives. So swiftness is definitely one of the indications from this word. Another meaning might be the symbol of the country which is the helper, who flies Israel out of the land. Scripture, especially in prophecy, does refer to nations in terms of animals at times. In Daniel chapter 8 we see the story of the ram with two horns (Medo-Persia) who was conquered by the goat (Greece) with a notable horn (Alexander the Great) which was then divided into four horns (the splitting of Alexander's kingdom into four sections after his death) followed by a notable horn that comes up among them (initially Antiochus Ephiphanes – ultimately a final fulfillment in the person of the antichrist). It is easy to see from history to whom these animals referred, Medo-Persia and Greece. In Daniel 7, I hypothesized that the animals in that prophecy were not the same nations as the statue in Daniel chapter 2, as traditional interpretation presents, but that due to certain phrases, it indicates that these animals represent nations who are currently part of our world system. As such, the lion is Britain and the eagle wings on its back represent America. The wings are plucked off the lion's back, which would seem to indicate a separation - the Revolutionary War - which allowed America to become its own nation. More explanation about this passage can be found at this post http://endtimesstudies.blogspot.com/2009/06/daniel-7.html.
Given that it would seem that the eagle's wings in this passage might well refer to America, it seems also possible that the wings of the eagle in Revelation also refer to America. And the fact that Israel flies on those wings might indicate American planes. The woman is flown to the wilderness. Now while America is not exactly a wilderness, she was at the time this was written, and as a country she is a vast area of open land from coast to coast. There are many cities and small communities, but overall, we are a great deal of open land. A wilderness so to speak. Israel is kept safe in this wilderness away from the reach of the beast for three and a half years.
Now, again, if one has followed my blogs, they will know that I believe America is Babylon. Reading the rest of my endtimes blog referenced above will show why I believe that. One should look in the archives to find the relevant passages in Revelation, as well as later posts that I wrote on Babylon, if one is interested in that information. If, as I believe, America is Babylon, and Israel is brought to Babylon for safety reasons, then it stands to reason that it should follow that we will find passages in the prophecies of Israel being in Babylon and having to “come out of her” as God tells His people to do in Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” And indeed, we can find some prophecies that point to this being the case.
In the book of Jeremiah we find a lot written about Babylon. However, there are some differences between some of the writings. Up to Chapter 50 we find that God is very specific in having particular kings and people mentioned by name, and the actions of those individuals. In this case, one has to understand that these prophecies were for those specific people and situations. When we get to Chapters 50-51 we find that the prophecy is no longer specified to particular people by name for most of the prophecy. It is more generalized, which allows it to be either one of the “two fulfillment” types of prophecies that we find in the Bible, where there is a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment, or one which is strictly a latter days fulfillment. In this case we can almost immediately see that this is an endtimes prophecy for the nation of Babylon during our time, for in verse 4 we find the following: “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.” Now the thing which stands out that makes this verse strictly an endtimes prophecy is the part about the children of Israel and the children of Judah going together to seek the Lord their God. Israel has not existed as a people since they were assimilated by Assyria. This occurred over 2700 years ago. So clearly this was not a prophecy that could have been fulfilled any time since then, as Israel, or the Ten Lost Tribes as they are known, will not exist again until the end of days. Also as Jeremiah prophesied roughly a hundred years after the captivity and assimilation of Israel, it clearly has to be a latter days prophecy as there was no Israel in his time.
The next verse also gives away the timing of this prophecy for verse 5 says, “They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Israel will not be joined in a perpetual covenant again with the Lord until they look upon Him whom they pierced and recognize Him as their Savior. This will not occur until the end of Daniel's 70th week. There is more in the passage about their spiritual condition and then in verse 8 we read, “Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.” Both Israel and Judah are in the midst of Babylon. The Babylon of the end of days. If America is Babylon, then Judah (the woman who now lives in the land of Israel) and Israel (the Ten Lost Tribes which were assimilated and whose whereabouts are unknown) are in America. This would seem to confirm the passage in Revelation that the wings of the eagle might very well stand for the planes of America.
As we know God will have Babylon destroyed, naturally the prophecies go on to describe that. There is an interesting phrase used in verses 12 and 13 that again point to America being Babylon. “Your mother shall be sore confounded; she that bare you shall be ashamed: behold, the hindermost of the nations shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.” Babylon has a mother. Most nations are not said to have a mother, but there are some present day ones who have. Canada, Australia, and America all were birthed by the nation of Britain. And this goes along with the prophecy in Daniel 7 of the lion (Britain) who has the wings of an eagle which are plucked off. Then Babylon is referred to as the hindermost of the nations. The Hebrew word “achariyth” or as it is translated “hindermost” means the last or the end one. This particular Babylon will be the last great nation on earth for this present world. This most certainly can be said of America, for we are the youngest or the last nation that has become a great or the greatest world power. This is followed by the verses outlining some of God's wrath, which is repeated in other places including Revelation, that befalls her. This further identifies that this section is an endtimes prophecy.
The verses then change slightly and specific reference is made to Nebuchadnezzar which would seem to indicate that verses 16-18 refer to the Babylon of that king. But verse 19 again picks up with God saying that He will bring Israel back to their land (which won't happen until the end) and verse 20 starts with the phrase “in those days, and in that time” which generally is an indicator that we are going back to end of days prophecies. The entire verse is “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” That the verse is indeed an endtimes verse is proven by the statement that the iniquity of Israel and the sins of Judah will be sought, but will not be found. Clearly that is not the case yet, nor has it ever been. They are in diaspora due to their sins. Only when Christ returns will their sins be purged. God says that He will pardon those whom He saves. God is planning on saving a remnant and that remnant will be forgiven and brought back into a covenant. Specifically we know the 144,000 and the woman in the wilderness are a remnant. Whether they are the same group or not, I do not know. Personally I do not think they are. As God does not pardon Israel's sins until the end, when they seek Him and repent and acknowledge whom their Savior is, we see this prophecy is again a future one.
In verse 28 we see something that is missed by most prophecy teachers. “The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of his temple.” Now this could be only the prophecy about the destruction of the first temple by Babylon, but possibly it is about the tribulation temple, and the president of the United States (I do not at this time think it is Trump, for those concerned about that) being guilty of doing something that causes the abomination of desolation by the antichrist. This verse is followed for a number of verses by the description of the wrath of God that matches His wrath at the end, so it is likely that this is also about the endtimes temple. The part that is pertinent to Israel taking refuge in America is that those who flee (God has already told Israel to get out of Babylon) are to go to Zion, or Jerusalem, and declare that God is going to avenge what has occurred. So again we see that an endtimes prophecy has Israel in Babylon.
In Jeremiah 51:6-13 we read, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies. The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the LORD hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”
In this passage in Jeremiah 51 Israel is again told to flee out of Babylon. That Babylon is about to be punished for her iniquity. She was a a golden cup in God's hand, but has made the whole earth drunk on her wine of sin. People will hope to heal her, but she cannot be healed. Everyone must run for their lives back to their own countries. This would seem to imply a country that is a country of immigrants. What better description is there of America? We are a nation of immigrants from people all over the world. It is the mark of our country that we have a statue of Babylon in New York City harbor that welcomes the immigrants. Israel is told to declare the work of the Lord in Zion when they get there. Once more it is said that God is avenging His temple. He holds Babylon responsible for what the beast does. While the beast is the one who is the source of the abomination of desolation, clearly Babylon has done something which has caused this to happen.
In verse 50 it says, “Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.” There will be a time of affliction for God's people (Christians and possibly Jews) in Babylon at some point, for we know from Revelation that she is drunk on the blood of the saints, but there will be those who escape. Just as God earlier told them through Jeremiah to go to Zion, here they are told to let Jerusalem come to mind as they are fleeing. They are to make their way there.
Isaiah also has much to say about the endtimes. In Isaiah 47, the chapter deals with the destruction of Babylon, which again parallels the other passages that tell of God's wrath and the consequences of it upon Babylon. Chapter 48 deals with Israel and how God is going to refine them in the furnace of affliction. In verse 20 it says, “Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.” When the name Jacob is used, it refers to all twelve (or thirteen) tribes, so while they were to go to Zion and declare God's vengeance, now they are to leave Babylon and declare to the whole earth that God is redeeming Israel.
Now again when we read in Revelation 12 that the woman is to flee on the wings of an eagle to the wilderness, and in Revelation 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” we can see from knowing the prophecies in the Old Testament that God is not just speaking to Christians to get out of Babylon (America), but He is also telling the Jews and the people of the Ten Lost Tribes, who may not even realize that is who they are, to get out of Babylon. In Jeremiah 50:8 it told some to be as the he goats who go ahead of the flock. As the rapture does not occur until the seventh trumpet judgment at the end of Daniel's 70th week, it is quite likely that some Christians will survive the time of tribulation in Babylon, as they are the ones who will understand from the command in Chapter 18 that they are to leave before Babylon is destroyed. Revelation was written for Christians, but they should also know from Jeremiah that they are to be the he goats who lead Israel out of Babylon and back to Jerusalem, for Israel will not know exactly what is going on, given that they do not know the New Testament and Revelation. I believe it will be the mission of those Christians who escape, to gather Israel and lead her back to Zion or Jerusalem when the time is right. As to exactly when that will be, at this time I could not say. I believe God will make that clear to the people who need to know when they need to know it.