Revelation Chapter 12: 6
Revelation 12:6 – Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
After the woman’s child is “caught up” to Heaven, the woman flees to the wilderness away from the dragon. These two events are separated by a long period-of-time. The first event is Christ’s ascension that took place nearly 2,000 years ago, as discussed in the last section. The second event is the flight of the Jews to the wilderness in the middle of the Tribulation.
When studying prophetic Scripture, we find that God gave the prophets only tidbits of future events that many times covered more than one event. In many prophecies, the prophets saw one event, but what God revealed to them actually covered more than one event at different times. Clarence Larkin illustrates this in the following chart: “The Mountain Peaks of Prophecy.” The following passage is an example of a prophecy that covers two related events separated by roughly the same time between Christ’s ascension and the woman fleeing to the wilderness:
Zechariah 13:7-9 – “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. [Crucifixion] And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” [Tribulation]
“Wilderness”: God will protect Israel from Satan by hiding her in the wilderness, perhaps in the region of Moab, Ammon and Edom, east of Palestine. Interestingly, those countries will be specifically spared from the Antichrist’s attack against the Holy Land (compare Dan. 11:41).
The woman here is the church. The wilderness represents anywhere outside Palestine.
“A thousand two hundred and threescore days”: At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), and devastates Jerusalem (11:2). At that time, many Jews flee for their lives (Matt. 24:16ff). God will preserve them during the last 1260 days (42 months; 3-1/2 years), constituting the Great Tribulation (see notes on 3:10; 6:1, 9).
During the last half of the Great Tribulation period, Israel will take refuge among the Gentile nations, where God will care for her (perhaps through the Gentile believers).
God will frustrate Satan’s attempt to destroy Israel during the Tribulation and will hide His people just as Jesus stated (in Matthew chapter 24:15-21).
The world government, and even part of the church world, is leaning more and more to elevating ourselves to the point of making us god. You see, secular humanism and the New Age Movement both elevate mankind to Godhood. These are two very dangerous things to do. This is the very reason Lucifer was tossed out of heaven.
Verses 7-9: The vision of “war in heaven” anticipates Satan’s exclusion from “heaven” and his restriction to the “earth” during the last half during the Great Tribulation. “Michael” the archangel is the leader of God’s holy angels (compare Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9). Satan is the chief of the fallen angels. At the middle of the Tribulation period, God will empower Michael and his forces to “cast” Satan and his forces “out” of access to heaven, so that Satan must thereafter confine his activities to the earthly sphere.
The first part of this passage prophesies Christ’s death and the second part looks beyond the Church Age to the Tribulation where we see a third of the Jews preserved through the fiery trial. Later we will see that God preserves these Jews supernaturally in the wilderness. Incidentally, in His “Olivet Discourse,” Jesus specifies when the Jews should flee to the wilderness for protection:
|Matthew 24||Mark 13|
|15||“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),||14||“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand),|
|16||“Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.||“Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.|
|17||Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.||15||Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house.|
|18||And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.||16||And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.|
|19||But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!||17||But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!|
|20||And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.||18||And pray that your flight may not be in winter.|
|21||For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.||19||For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.|
|22||And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.||20||And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.|
Jesus warns the Jews to flee to the wilderness when they see the “abomination of desolation.” To find out what the “abomination of desolation” is, we need to look at a similar prophecy in Daniel that was fulfilled in history:
Daniel 11:30-31 – …So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
The ruler of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus Epiphanes fulfilled this prophecy in the second century BC. The “abomination of desolation” described Epiphanes’ desecration of the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar. He also set up a statue of a Greek god in the place of the Most Holy. This desecration of the temple has not happened again since Christ reiterated Daniel’s prophecy (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14). Recall from Revelation 11:1-2, a Jewish temple will stand in the Tribulation and sacrifices will begin again. The antichrist will fulfill the future “abomination of desolation” by defiling the temple and stopping the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation. The antichrist will also proclaim himself as God:
2 Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
The “abomination of desolation” of the Jewish temple will mark the point in the Tribulation when the antichrist begins to take full reign. When the Jews see the “abomination of desolation” in their Jewish temple, Jesus urges them to flee to the wilderness, and the following passage shows that the Lord’s warning was definitely directed to Jews:
Matthew 24:15-16, 20 – “Therefore when you see the ‘ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,’spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…. And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.”
Those who flee to safety are inhabitants of ancient Judea, which today is in south-central Israel, including Jerusalem. Jesus says to pray that their flight will not happen on the Sabbath, which shows that those who flee from Judea are Jews trying to follow the Law, which attests to their return from global exile found in many Old Testament prophecies that has found fulfillment in our generation. While we don’t know how these Jews come to know about the Lord’s warning in the middle of the Tribulation, since most Jews have rejected Jesus and the New Testament, it is possible the two witnesses who begin to prophesy in Jerusalem (Revelation 11:3) shortly before the “abomination of desolation,” quote the Lord’s warning from His “Olivet Discourse” to the Jews.
John sees the woman who represents Israel fleeing to the wilderness, but Jesus tells the Jews to flee to the mountains. The topographical map to the right shows that both are correct. Judea is in the mountains of Israel, so the Jews would flee east down the mountains into the Judean Wilderness and cross the Jordan Valley to the Mountain Heights Plateau of Jordan, which is both mountainous and largely desolate. And east of the plateau is the Arabian Desert.
Incidentally, this is the reverse path that Israel took when they crossed over the Jordan River from the wilderness and defeated Jericho. God is going to take Israel back to the wilderness to purge the rebels (two-thirds) and preserve a believing remnant (one-third) who will accept God’s new covenant that Christ offered through His shed blood which they previously had rejected (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25):
Ezekiel 20:33-38 – “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD. “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.”
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Zechariah 13:8-9 – And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
God has prepared a place in the wilderness for the woman who represents Israel. This suggests that the Jews will flee to a particular place together and not randomly scatter to the wilderness. In fact, the prophet Micah shows that the Lord will gather a Jewish remnant together like “sheep of the fold” before He returns to rule over them as a shepherd, as discussed in Revelation 12:5:
Micah 2:12-13 – “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the LORD at their head.”
While the Lord describes Israel as sheep in several places in Scripture, Jesus showed that he would bring other sheep outside of Israel into His fold:
John 10:14-16 – I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
The Church will join Israel in the Lord’s sheepfold:
Hebrews 13:20-21 – Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 2:21-25 – For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Interestingly, there is evidence that the constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, also known as the big and little bears, or the big and little dippers, originally represented sheep folds. Based on research of the names of the stars in the constellations and their associations with neighboring constellations called decans, as well as a possible mistranslation due to similar words between languages, all suggest that these two constellations may have originally represented two sheep folds – one greater and one lesser sheepfold. Click here for more details about the possible original meaning of these two constellations.
So how does God protecting the Jewish remnant like sheep in a fold fit into our redemption story in heaven? Recall from Revelation 12:2, the constellation Leo the lion represents Jesus, the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” The constellation that comes before Leo in the Zodiac is Cancer. Cancer is a crab that has a firm grasp with its claws. In the redemptive story of man in heaven, Cancer represents the Messiah’s permanent hold on His sheep, as shown in Revelation 12:1:
John 10:27-29 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
The decans, or constellations associated with Cancer are Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, which may have originally represented sheep folds. Note that Ursa Major, or the greater sheepfold is near Leo the lion and Cancer the crab, which both represent Christ, and Draco the dragon surrounds Ursa Minor, or the lesser sheepfold as shown below:
Just as Draco surrounds the lesser sheepfold in the sky, the dragon will pursue the woman who represents the Jews, but God will protect them from the serpent like sheep of a fold (Micah 2:12-13):
Revelation 12:13-14 – Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
Therefore, the greater sheepfold represents the Old Testament saints and the Church who will be with Jesus, the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), around God’s throne in Heaven during the Tribulation (Revelation 4:4-6). The lesser sheepfold represents the Jewish remnant who will join the greater sheepfold when Jesus returns to rule as the Great Shepherd after the Tribulation (John 10:16).
Incidentally, there is a city in Edom called “Bozrah” which means “sheepfold.” As shown in the “Great Middle East War” study, Edom, which is the area of southern Jordan, will be severely judged near the beginning of the Tribulation along with Israel’s other neighbors in a regional war. The parallel passages below show that God will eventually destroy Bozrah completely:
Amos 1:11-12 – Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword, and cast off all pity; his anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever. But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.“
Jeremiah 49:20-22 – Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD that He has taken against Edom,and His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out; surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. The earth shakes at the noise of their fall; at the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, and spread His wings over Bozrah; the heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.
But the Lord is not finished with Edom in the regional war at the beginning of the Tribulation. When Jesus returns to the earth to set up His Kingdom He goes first to Edom to fight a battle:
Isaiah 34:2-8 – For the indignation of the LORD is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be thrown out; their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made overflowing with fatness, with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. The wild oxen shall come down with them, and the young bulls with the mighty bulls; their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust saturated with fatness.” For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Isaiah 63:1-6 – Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? – “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me; and My own fury, it sustained Me. I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, and brought down their strength to the earth.”
As shown in the rest of the Isaiah passage below, the Lord is not returning to Edom just to fight a battle, but to save His flock and lead them out of the wilderness like He did during the days of Moses:
Isaiah 63:7-10 – I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely they are My people, children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them.
Isaiah 63:11-14 – Then he remembered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying: “Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within them, who led them by the right hand of Moses, with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, who led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they might not stumble?” As a beast goes down into the valley, and the Spirit of the LORD causes him to rest, so You lead Your people,to make Yourself a glorious name.
This suggests that the Jewish remnant flees to the desolate area in Edom near Bozrah. Satan will pursue the remnant, but God will protect them. As mentioned eariler, it appears that Edom is left desolate and uninhabitable like Sodom and Gomorrah early in the Tribulation in the “Great Middle East War.” However, it is possible that Edom is not completely devastated in this regional war, but after the Tribulation when the Lord returns. In other words, there might be a partial fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy near the beginning of the Tribulation with destruction leaving the land desolate but not completely uninhabitable, and the complete fulfillment with total destruction after the Tribulation when Jesus returns.
On that note, the following passage shows that the Messiah will return to a place in the wilderness greeted by Kedar nomads and the inhabitants of Sela, where He will strike down his enemies like we saw in the Isaiah passages above. This supports the complete fulfillment of Edom’s prophesied devastation at the end of the Tribulation when it becomes uninhabitable (Jeremiah 49:17-18). The phrase, “cry like a woman in labor” is reminiscent of Revelation 12:2, where the woman is in labor with the male child who is the Messiah:
Isaiah 42:11-16 – Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare His praise in the coastlands. The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies. “I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools. I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.”
Sela is the biblical name for Petra, an ancient city in Edom, which means “rock” or “stronghold.” Many Bible scholars believe the Jewish remnant will go to Petra after gathering near Bozrah. Petra is an ancient city carved in a rock cliff just south of Bozrah. The houses carved into the bed rock over a vast area at Petra could reasonably house several thousand people. The following Psalms have the same ending and talk about a “strong city” in Edom, where God will lead His people during a time of trouble and save them from their enemies:
Psalms 60:9-12 – Who will bring me to the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? Is it not You, O God, who cast us off? And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
Psalms 108:10-13 – Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom? Is it not You, O God, who cast us off? And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless. Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
It is reasonable to believe that this “strong city” in Edom is Petra. Some point to the following passage to support the notion that God protects the Jewish remnant at Petra:
Isaiah 16:1-7 – Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela to the wilderness, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be as a wandering bird thrown out of the nest; so shall be the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. “Take counsel, execute judgment; make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day; hide the outcasts, do not betray him who escapes. Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab; be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler. For the extortioner is at an end, devastation ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.” We have heard of the pride of Moab – He is very proud – Of his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath; but his lies shall not be so. Therefore Moab shall wail for Moab; everyone shall wail. For the foundations of Kir Hareseth you shall mourn; surely they are stricken.
Moab, which is just north of Edom, used to pay tribute to Israel with sheep (2 Kings 3). The Lord warned Moab to pay the tribute again or they would face judgment. Note that the path that the lambs traveled was from Sela through the wilderness in Moab to Zion, which is Jerusalem. Also note that the Lord tells Moab to shelter His outcasts, the Jewish remnant, until the Messiah returns to defeat “the oppressors.” In other words, this prophecy found partial fulfillment in history, but also looks forward to the future when the Messiah leads His people from the wilderness back to Israel and sets up His throne on the earth.
Since the area of Moab is also devastated in the “Great Middle East War” near the beginning of the Tribulation (Zephaniah 2:9), perhaps it is the land and not its inhabitants that protect the Jewish remnant, especially since Moab’s inhabitant may be few to none after the war. In fact, later we will see the dragon, or the serpent, tries to attack the fleeing woman, but the earth saves the woman:
Revelation 12:15-16 – So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
Incidentally, Daniel shows that the beast, or the antichrist, who operates with the power and authority of the dragon, will begin his conquest in the middle of the Tribulation. It is likely that the “abomination of desolation” that initiates the Jew’s flight will occur after the antichrist conquers Israel, or the “Glorious Land”:
Daniel 11:40-45 – “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”
After overthrowing Israel, the antichrist, or the “king of the north” broadens his conquest to the south, but is unable to take the area of modern-day Jordan, which includes Edom, Moab, and Ammon, and where many believe that God protects the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation. In fact, the flood from the dragon (Revelation 12:15) might be the antichrist’s army who fails to take the area of Jordan because God causes the earth to consume them to protect His people (Revelation 12:15-16). God continues to protect His people through the last half of the Tribulation, but the antichrist must send more forces to pursue the Jewish remnant after the earth swallows the flood, otherwise there would not be a bloodbath in Edom when the Lord arrives:
Isaiah 63:1-3 – Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? – “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes.“
If the Jewish remnant continues on to Petra from Moab through Bozrah, it is interesting that the Shepherd will lead this “flock” on the same route that the lambs traveled when Moab used to pay tribute to Israel in Isaiah’s day – from Sela, through the wilderness in Moab, and then on to Jerusalem. This is roughly the same path through which Moses and Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, although they will go through Edom and Moab from the area of Petra and Bozrah. The first time Israel entered the Promised Land they had to go just east of Edom because their king would not let Israel pass (Numbers 20:14-21).
After crossing the Jordan River, Joshua led Israel across the Valley of Achor to Jericho. After their defeat at Ai for disobedience, Israel built a memorial in the Valley of Achor:
Joshua 7:26 – Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.
God will bring Israel through the wilderness again, where they will accept the new covenant established by Christ whom they previously rejected. The Valley of Achor will no longer be a reminder of their disobedience but will be called “a door of hope”:
Hosea 2:14-16, 18-20, 23 – “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master…'” In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely. “I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD….. Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!'”
God will feed the Jewish remnant in the place He has prepared for them in the wilderness like He did during the Exodus, but we are not told who God uses to feed them. The “they” who feed the Jewish remnant could be angels. While we do not know if angels actually fed Israel in the wilderness, the manna they ate was angels’ food:
Psalms 78:18-22 – And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy. Yes, they spoke against God: They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Behold, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?” Therefore the LORD heard this and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation.
Psalms 78:23-27, 52 – Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full. He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens; and by His power He brought in the south wind. He also rained meat on them like the dust, feathered fowl like the sand of the seas… But He made His own people go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock….
Another possibility is that God will send birds or other creatures to feed His flock like He did for Elijah:
1 Kings 17:1-6 – And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
After the brook dried up, God fed Elijah through a Gentile woman:
1 Kings 17:7-12 – And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
1 Kings 17:13-16 – And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ” So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.
Since the Lord judges the Gentiles who survived the Tribulation based on how they treat the Jews – the Lord’s brethren – in the “Sheep and Goat Judgment,” perhaps God uses Gentiles to take care of His Jewish remnant like He did Elijah:
Matthew 25:31-36, 40-41, 45 – “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me….’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…. Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'”
God will protect the Jewish remnant in the wilderness for 1,260 days, or 3 ½ years. This day-count begins after the “abomination of desolation” which is the dividing point of “Daniel’s 70th Week,” therefore, the Jewish remnant will stay in the wilderness for the last half of the Tribulation. Incidentally, this is the same length of time God provided for Elijah during the drought:
Luke 4:25-26 – But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
James 5:17-18 – Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Many believe Elijah is one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:6 who withhold rain from the earth like he did in the Old Testament, and there is good biblical merit to support this notion, as discussed in Revelation 11:4. But others believe Elijah’s mission is different from the two witnesses’ ministry. The two witnesses prophesy to more than just Jews and call down plagues on the world, but the passage below shows that God will send Elijah to minister to the Jews and prepare them for the Lord’s return:
Malachi 4:4-6 – “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophetbefore the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
John the Baptist could have fulfilled the role of Elijah had Israel accepted Jesus as Messiah, but they rejected Him, so Elijah will prepare Israel for the Lord’s return. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus when He came the first time, but the earth was not renovated and the glory of the Lord was not revealed, thus the complete fulfillment is yet to come with the return of Elijah:
Isaiah 40:3-5 – The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Also, the two witnesses prophesy in Jerusalem, not the wilderness. John the Baptist ministered in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord when He came the first time, so it makes sense that Elijah may also minister in the wilderness to prepare the Jews for the Lord’s return in the complete fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. If Elijah is not one of the two witnesses, perhaps he will minister to the Jews in the wilderness and prepare their hearts for the Lord’s return like John the Baptist did in his ministry.
Whether or not Elijah is sent to the wilderness to minister to the Jewish remnant, he will nevertheless return to prepare the Jews for the Messiah, and perhaps in that mission he will warn the Jews to flee to the wilderness as one of the two witnesses. Either way, God has prepared a place for the Jewish remnant in the wilderness, where He will protect them from their enemies and provide for their physical needs. But more importantly, God is going to prepare the Jewish remnant for the coming of the Messiah by pleading His case with them. By the end of the wilderness experience, God will bring the Jewish remnant under the new covenant, after they finally and corporately accept the fact that Jesus is the Messiah:
Ezekiel 20:35-38 – And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD. “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.“
image courtesy :Christ Hold Fast
Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing..
We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.