The Place of Safety
Brethren, we live in an end-time society which absolutely refuses to humble itself and turn to God in heartfelt repentance. Many of us live in the United States of America. This country, the leading nation in modern Israel, has been incredibly blessed with material wealth and military power because of a promise God made to His faithful servant, and our forebear, Abraham. In the future these blessings will be taken completely away.
Because the nations of the world and most importantly modern Israel have turned their backs on God's laws and commandments, He is going to bring upon them a devastating tribulation. A tribulation so terrible that Christ said it would destroy humanity entirely if He did not return to put a stop to it (Matt. 24:21-22).
Yet God has also promised to be gracious and merciful to those in His Church who will remain faithful to Him and His word in these soon-coming days of death and destruction. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Rev. 3:10-11).
The same sentiment is expressed by Jude in the third verse of his letter, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Bible Study 6, The Flight of the Church of God, explained how and when God would deliver faithful Christians. This present study is devoted to proving where God has chosen to place them during the three and one-half years of soon-coming tribulation.
When God acts, He tends to go against the conventional wisdom of human kind. For example, in a hurricane where is the most tranquil place? The eye of the storm! In the tribulation where is the eye of the storm? It is a place that men would not naturally think of as a place of safety. Daniel 12 confirms that God's true servants will be afforded protection:
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered [escape without trouble or difficulty], every one that shall be found written in the book (Dan 12:1).
But where is this place of deliverance? Before going into this in-depth we need to be reminded that not all Christians are going to be blessed with physical protection during this most terrible of times. As noted in Bible Study 6, some Christians are left behind because of lukewarm attitudes (Rev.3:15-19; Rev. 12:17). They must suffer and die in the tribulation to build the character necessary to enter God's kingdom, to rule with Christ. A careful reading of Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 13:7, coupled with Revelation 3:14-19, shows those who must endure the tribulation give up their physical lives because of a lackluster attitude towards God and His word. Those Christians who do receive protection, are encouraged in Revelation 3:10-11, to hold fast to what they were given; the inference being that those who must endure the tribulation will have let slip the truths they received when God called them, or mixed them with the doctrines of “mainstream Christianity.”
In Revelation 12, which is an inset chapter on the history and future of the church through the tribulation period, evidence is found of God's promise to take a portion of His Church, symbolized as a woman, to a place out of the reach of Satan. What does it mean to be out of Satan's reach? The story of Job makes clear that God has the power to restrict Satan's activities. In respect to this portion of the Church, Satan won't be allowed to attack or hurt them since God puts them out of his reach.
“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” (Rev. 12:14). The serpent is defined in verse 9 as Satan the devil, and the time period in the wilderness is three and one-half years. God uses Satan as His instrument to chastise some of His people, Israel, throughout the three and one-half years of the tribulation, but He promises to miraculously protect faithful Christians by keeping them away from (Grk. apo) Satan's grasp.
Remember, in the last days faithful Christians are those who Hold Fast to the truths delivered by God's servant, Herbert W. Armstrong. Those who must endure tribulation, to build holy righteous character, are those who have forgotten who Mr. Armstrong was, thus dishonoring God's servant (Jn. 12:26), and as a consequence have mixed truth with error. This kind of backsliding has happened in past eras of the Church. Please read Revelation 2:14-23 and Revelation 3:2-3, and note one common characteristic of these Christians is a lack of awareness of the spiritual and physical danger they are in.
So we see that the Bible does indeed confirm the existence of a place of safety for some of God's people, but again, where will it be? It is referred to as a wilderness in Revelation 12:14. Mr. Herbert Armstrong thought Petra in Jordan might well be that place. He was not absolutely certain however and he did not want the Worldwide Church of God to get too focused on a place of escape. He wanted God's people to have their minds wholeheartedly on supporting him in completing the gospel commission. When Mr. Armstrong did think about Petra, it was in terms of 144,000 Worldwide Church of God members and their children going to that location. Anciently, Petra was a stopping place for Israel on their wilderness trek from Egypt. Two and one-half to three million Israelites camped in that location for some time, and in later years it was populated by the Edomites, the Nabataeans, the Arabs, and the Romans. Today, although still very much a rocky desert wilderness, Petra has become the kingdom of Jordan's chief tourist attraction and a number of luxury hotels have been built in the area.
Could Petra be a place of safety for God's people during the tribulation? Yes, it could be, but not for 144,000 Worldwide Church of God members and their children, since that organization largely disintegrated after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986. Further, not many of the people who broke away from the Worldwide Church of God still believe in any place of safety. Those who still do appear to be relying on the Jordanian government to provide them with access to the site.
In Revelation 7 we find a group of 144,000 physical Israelites, who have turned to God during the tribulation. We are told they are sealed for protection. Compare Revelation 7:3, 4 with Revelation 9:3, 4. This sealing for protection is during the last few months of the tribulation and Petra could well be the place God provides for them. (See Isaiah 16:1-5, and note the Hebrew word for Petra is Sela).
In the last six months of the tribulation its severity is intensified culminating in the Third World War between the East and the West. Apart from the vast destruction done to the earth itself, there is great chaos among the nations (Isa. 15). Christ said if He did not return at this time no flesh would be saved alive. That is why these Israelites, who have turned to God, need protection. See our workbook The Revelation of the End Times for more information.
Coming back to the situation with the Church, the Bible, as we have already noted in Revelation 12:14, states that faithful Christians are flown into the wilderness where they are nourished away from Satan's reach. Petra certainly fits the description of a wilderness, but is it the place for the Church or does the Bible provide us with other possibilities?
First, we need to understand that although Satan holds sway over mankind, God continues to perform His purpose throughout the tribulation period. In Revelation 11, we read of the work of God's two witnesses. These men are thorns in the sides of the nations that refuse to obey God. God gives them the capability to torment the nations by cutting off the rain necessary for food production, and the authority to burn up those who would attempt to hurt or kill them. They can also call down plagues and turn water into blood as often as they wish. The impact upon the world by these two servants of God will be colossal. In verse 3 of Revelation 11, we are told that the destruction they evoke will last for three and one-half years. Since they are God's servants, a component of their work will be to advise the nations that the disasters coming upon them are a result of their refusal to repent of breaking God's laws and commandments.
From Revelation 11, we also discover where the two witnesses are headquartered while fulfilling their commission. In verse 8 we find that after their work is complete, God allows them to be martyred in Jerusalem, “where also our Lord was crucified.”
Also in Revelation 11:1-2, a temple is mentioned in which people are worshipping God. However, verse 2 states that the outer court of that temple and the city are to be trodden underfoot by the Gentile nations for forty-two months, which is also three and one-half years. This cannot be spiritualized away, since other scriptures plainly state that Jerusalem will be under the control of the Gentiles for three and one-half years. For example, consider Christ's words in Luke 21, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled . . . And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22, 24).
From the above verses, in Revelation and Luke, we can glean the following:
1. There will be a physical temple in Jerusalem. In this connection see also Daniel 8:11-14, which is an end-time prophecy.
2. A certain number of God's people will be worshipping in that temple.
Note: This temple which is to be built in Jerusalem, prior to the commencement of the tribulation, will likely be on the scale of Solomon's temple and therefore not a large building. This would indicate that the group of people worshipping there will be relatively small, certainly not 144,000.
3. God's two witnesses will be in that temple and it will be their headquarters.
4. The Gentiles will occupy the outer court of the temple and the city itself for the three and one-half years of the tribulation.
5. The two witnesses' work is also for three and one-half years. However, since they are put to death three and one-half days before the end of the tribulation, their ministry will begin three and one-half days before the tribulation commences.
6. The resurrection occurs three and one-half days after the two witnesses are put to death.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. . . . And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them (Rev. 11:8-9, 11-12).
Since the two witnesses will be in the temple at Jerusalem for almost the entire period of the tribulation, is it possible that those mentioned in Revelation 11:1 are the Christians promised divine protection by God? Could the inner court of the temple, and the temple itself be where God will protect faithful Christians as He has promised? The condition of God's Church since the death of Mr. Herbert Armstrong in January 1986 indicates that only a small remnant have remained faithful to what they were originally taught. This situation is further evidence that a very small number of Church brethren will be protected in Jerusalem and that a much larger group will have to be refined through the tribulation.
That the temple was considered a place of refuge by those who proved faithful to God is brought out in a number of Psalms. The temple was God's earthly home.
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord (Ps. 27:4-6, NIV).
How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues (Ps. 31:19-20, NIV).
But you might say, “Jerusalem is not a wilderness area; it's a city with a large population!” That is true today, but what will it be like during the tribulation? In this regard consider the advice Christ gave in Luke 21, and Matthew 24, to the residents of the city as He looked forward to the end-time tribulation period, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (Lk. 21:20-22).
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in [within] the holy place, (who so readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: . . . But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (Mt. 24:15-16, 20-21).
Christ is warning the people to get out of Jerusalem before it is surrounded by the Gentile military and before the abomination that causes desolation is set up in the holy place. Note, this last point adds substance to the concept that a temple will be constructed in Jerusalem sometime between today and the coming of the tribulation. Jerusalem will be largely depopulated and desolate during the tribulation; but can it be described as a wilderness? What does the Greek word translated wilderness actually mean? The Greek word is the adjective eremos. The noun is eremia and as noted in Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, “It does not always denote a barren region, void of vegetation.” The adjective eremos denotes: (a) with reference to persons, “deserted,” desolate, deprived of friends and kindred, or of a woman deserted by a husband (see Gal. 4:27); (b) also of a city, as Jerusalem, Matt. 23:38.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (Matt. 23:37-39).
The last line of this passage shows its end-time context. In verse 38, Christ refers to Jerusalem as desolate. The word used is eremos, a wilderness. Jerusalem will be almost devoid of its Jewish population at the end of the tribulation. The reference to a house in verse 38 is undoubtedly in respect to the temple, God's house, which may be emptied of worshippers (Rev. 11:1) after the two witnesses are killed. This appears likely because only after the two witnesses are killed will the Beast enter into the holy place to have himself proclaimed God (II Thes. 2:3-4, 8-9; Rev. 13:4-8, 11-13). At this point Christians in the temple complex would likely be taken into custody until Christ's return three and one-half days later.
In verse 37, the words hen, and chickens are not good translations from the Greek. Hen is ornis, meaning a female bird, and chickens is better translated brood. It could refer to a female eagle and her young. Wings is pterux the same word used in Revelation 12:4, and is equivalent to the Hebrew word kanaph used in Exodus 19: 4; Ruth 2:12; and Psalms 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 91:4. These words convey God's desire to protect those who obey Him. Christ wept over Jerusalem because the people refused to be obedient and thereby would not benefit from His desire to protect them during the end-time tribulation. In contrast faithful Christians are protected. Still, the question remains, where will they be protected? Could the place be Jerusalem? Might Jerusalem be described as the eye of the storm during the tribulation?
In fact, there are places in the Old Testament where Jerusalem and Zion are described as a wilderness. The Hebrew word midbar is equivalent to the Greek words eromos and eremia. Interestingly, in some instances the Hebrew word is used to describe an area desolated by violence. This would certainly apply to Jerusalem during the tribulation. To be specific, look at Isaiah 64:10-11, “Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.” Once again, during the tribulation, Jerusalem will become a wilderness deserted by its population and occupied by the Gentiles.
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (Lk. 21:20-24).
Let us now turn our attention to finding passages in the Bible that describe Jerusalem as a safe location for some of God's people during the tribulation.
To begin, please note Joel 2:1, which gives us the time setting of this chapter. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.”
The entire chapter of Joel 2 covers the end of the tribulation, the day of the Lord, and the beginning of the millennium. Please read all of the chapter before continuing this study.
Now let's concentrate on Joel 2:32, which refers to the tribulation period. Here we are told that, “. . . in Mount Zion [the temple mount] and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance . . .: Who will be delivered? “. . . whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered . . .” The New Berkeley Version of the Bible adds more clarity to this verse in regard to who will benefit from God's protection during the tribulation. “But everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord said. And those who are saved will be those whom the Lord has called.”
Comparing the verses in Matthew 24 and Revelation 17, we find many are called, but few are chosen to rule with Christ, because the chosen will have to prove themselves faithful (Rev. 17:14). But those God calls and who do prove faithful, enduring to the end, will be given special protection throughout the tribulation. “But he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved [rescued or delivered]” (Matt. 24:13).
Obadiah also deals with the same time period as Joel 2. Obadiah 15 says, “For the day of the Lord is near . . .” meaning the focus is on the tribulation period which immediately precedes it. Now consider verse 17, “But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance . . .” The New Berkeley Version puts it this way, “But in Mount Zion there will be escape, and it shall be a sanctuary . . .”
It is important to realize that Christians do require deliverance and physical protection, because they are vulnerable until their change to spirit at Christ's Second Coming (Matt. 24:21-22).
Another scripture that addresses Christians during the tribulation is to be found in Isaiah 52:9-12:
9Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. 11Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. 12For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
Verse 10 of this chapter gives the time setting for this passage as close to Christ's Second Coming. Verse 9 describes Jerusalem in a derelict state, waste and greatly depopulated. Verse 11, which is quoted in II Corinthians 6:17, relative to Christians, underlines the importance of separating from the ways of this society. Verse 12 points out that those who do please God will not have to escape in haste. Indeed the inference is that God will miraculously take care of faithful Christians, which agrees with Revelation 12:14, “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into they wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
In Psalm 31 we find that David also looked to God to provide him with protection in time of need:
In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength (Ps. 31:1-4).
The word trust in verse 1 is chacah and it means to take shelter in or to flee to refuge; but as we saw in Isaiah 52, faithful Christians have no need to flee. Rather they are to be sheltered by God who is their rock of defense in time of trouble (vs. 2-3). The word trust is also found in Psalm 91:1-12:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Though shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most high, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
In verse 1 a secret place of the Most High is mentioned. The Hebrew is cetherelyown and it means a hiding place where God conceals His servants. Also in verse 1, the Almighty is El Shadday, the God of Grace who supplies the needs of His people, just as he promises to nourish faithful Christians in Revelation 12:14. Indeed, as it says in verse 4 of Psalm 91, His truth shall protect them. Under His wings shall they trust or take shelter. Because God used Mr. Armstrong, we have been given the truth which ensures us of His protection. Verses 7 and 8 show God's people under His protection but surrounded by violence and destruction. This is just how Jerusalem will be in the tribulation period when the nations are fighting against God's two witnesses. For almost three and one-half years the two witnesses will be in control of the temple in Jerusalem. And for that period, no one can hurt them or those under their protection.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. . . . And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed (Rev. 11:3, 5).
For another passage in this connection, please note Isa. 26:19-20:
Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
This passage of scripture gives a time setting just prior to the resurrection, when in the last few days of the tribulation one-third of the earth's population is destroyed (Rev. 9:18). Jerusalem is at the center of this terrible destruction.
One final scripture that connects faithful Christians to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the tribulation is Isaiah 4:3-4:
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
The last line of verse 3, “everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem,” is translated in the New Berkeley Version as follows, “Everyone registered for eternal life in Jerusalem.” The only people registered for eternal life in Jerusalem before Christ returns are Christians who have proved faithful to the end, who have endured to the end.
To be in Jerusalem throughout the tribulation with God's two witnesses is indeed to be in the eye of the storm. In fact, Jerusalem is the last place people would expect to be; since apart from the inner court of the temple it is the headquarters of the Beast and the False Prophet. Nevertheless, God will utilize it as the place of protection and preparation for the remnant of His firstfruits, the final cut of the redeemed who make up the 144,000 members of Christ's government (Rev. 14:1, 4). God demonstrates His great might by showing He is able to protect His faithful followers in the most dangerous place on earth, Jerusalem.
Additional notes for consideration:
1. Matthew 24:24-26 is set in the tribulation period and as we saw in II Thessalonians 2:8-10, the son of perdition, who is also the first Beast of Revelation 13, will show signs and wonders in the temple at Jerusalem after the two witnesses are killed (Rev. 13:11-14). The reference to a desert in verse 26 of Matthew 24, is to be taken in the general usage of the word; a desolate wilderness area, such as Petra. We make this distinction here because Christ is advising people who live in towns and villages not to seek for him in a wilderness-like, uninhabited area during the tribulation.
Further, Christ's focus in Matthew 24 is on Jerusalem, Judea and the temple. It is to this area that He will come to gather the saints (His government) together. He begins His address to His disciples at the temple and continues His discourse on the Mount of Olives, due east of the city. In this regard note Acts 1:9-12, and Zech, 14:1-4.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? 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. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey (Acts 1:9-12).
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south (Zech. 14:1-4).
Against all human logic, the evidence in God's Word points to Jerusalem being the place of refuge for faithful Christians, specifically the inner court of the temple and the holy place.
2. The Church of God is described as God's spiritual temple in II Corinthians 6:16; in Revelation 3:12, faithful Philadelphia Era Christians are told they will be pillars in God's temple. Jerusalem will be the location for God's temple both temporal and spiritual throughout the millennium. Therefore it is not really surprising that God would protect the spiritual temple in the location of the physical temple. Jerusalem is the apple of His eye and we are to pray continually for its peace.
3. One last thought on this topic relates to why God is going to protect faithful Christians during the tribulation. Obviously they will need protection because they will still be mortal, but God's purpose as expressed in Revelation 12:14 is that of nourishment. The Greek word is trepho and it means to rear and feed, to make grow (Lk. 4:16). God puts His people in this location for a final three and one-half years to prepare them more thoroughly to rule with Christ (Rev. 19:7).
Where better to prepare a kingdom of priests, than at God's temple in Jerusalem. Given God's viewpoint it would be better to regard the location as a place of preparation for rulership rather than a place of safety or protection.
Jude 3, and Revelation 3:11 express the sentiment to “hold fast” to the faith that was once delivered. Find similar scriptures, in the writings of John, Peter and Paul. Prove what doctrines were “once delivered unto the saints.” Consider through whom you received the truth about these doctrines.
Do a word study on the Greek words, eremos and eremia (wilderness), and their Hebrew equivalent, midbar.
Study all the references to the “day of the Lord”, the “Lord's day”, and “in that day.”
Do a word study on “branch” as it refers to Jesus Christ.
Look up the word trust, chacah, and mark your Bible with its full Hebrew meaning as illustrated in this study.
Do a study on Mount Seir/Petra as a possible place of safety for the 144,000 of Revelation 7.
Other related topics are covered in Bible Study 4, Revelation 12; Bible Study 6, The Flight Of The Church Of God, How God Supernaturally Protects Philadelphian Christians During The Tribulation; March 2001 Hold Fast Letter, Was Herbert W. Armstrong the Final Elijah?; and the workbook, The Revelation of The End Times, The Plan Of God And The Chronology Of The Last Days. Please contact us if you would like to receive a copy.
Other Important Articles:
The Place of Safety
God's Church, Worldwide