The Ultimate Hiding Place

by David Webber

Noah's ark was a refuge and a hiding place from God's pristine judgment of the great Flood. Eight souls were preserved from this universal judgment. Eight is the number of Christ and the number of new beginnings.

Since Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem Adam's race, He became our ark of safety. May God speak to many hearts to enter in right now, believe the gospel, and be saved by faith in Him (I Cor. 15:1-4).

Israel looked upon their God Jehovah as a Rock of refuge and the Cornerstone of their salvation. "The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower" (Ps. 18:2). In the New Testament, the symbolism is the same.

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea (I Cor. 10: 1). And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (I Cor. 10:2). And did all eat the same spiritual meat (I Cor. 10:3). And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (I Cor. 10:4).

In Isaiah 26:4 we see the mighty rock of God's deliverance for the remnant of Israel: "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."

The footnote in my Pilgrim Bible is, "Everlasting strength in the Hebrew is Rock of Ages." So it is altogether fitting that the rock city of Petra (Petra means rock) should become a hiding place for the one-third of Israel - the Remnant of Israel - during the time of Israel's greatest affliction, "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7).

Petra was possibly the land of the biblical Horites about the time of Abraham (2000 B.C.) Apparently, this was the area called Edom and the dwelling place of Esau after he lost his birthright to Jacob.

About 800 B.C., the Nabateans, possibly from North Africa, settled in Petra. With the wealth they amassed from robbing passing caravans they built up Petra with temples, houses, and tombs, and it became a thriving, busy city. The Romans later conquered Petra in A.D. 106 and also built temples, marketplaces, and an amphitheater that seated about 6,000 people.

The interesting feature about this mysterious city (20 square miles) was that the rose-red city was lost to the world for hundreds of years until it was re- discovered by John Burckhardt in 1812.

It has been told that a well-known minister of the last century named Blackstone hid thousands of New Testaments in the numerous caves that abound in this natural fortress. It is as though God has prepared this remote area for a remnant of the covenant people in the last days as a rocky sanctuary.

Daniel 11:41 could indicate such a hiding place for the Jews. "He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon."

The end of the prophetic picture seems to center around the remnant of Israel that flees from the face of Antichrist when he stands in the Temple and declares to the world that he is god and takes away the daily sacrifice.

I am convinced that the Lord has a prepared place to preserve His covenant people, at least a remnant who call upon His Name; and that He will in some manner lead them to the place of safety. When He returns at the Second Coming, He will personally return to Petra and lead them on the King's Highway back to the Promised Land. The Scriptures also indicate that they will not be safe unless they stay in their hiding place until the Lord returns. The Lord says to Israel: "I will go and return to My place till they acknowledge their offense and seek my face; in their affliction they will seek me early" (Hos. 5:15). As the believing remnant begin to cry out unto God in Psalm 60: 1: "0 God thou has cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; Oh turn Thyself to us again," we find God's answer and His salvation:

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah (Ps. 60:4). That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me (Ps. 60:5). Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? (Ps. 60:9). Wilt not thou, 0 God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, 0 God, which didst not go out with our armies? (Ps. 60:10). Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man (Ps. 60:11). Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies (Ps. 60:12).

God further establishes the fact of His personal deliverance of the chosen of Israel in Isaiah 63:1-4 and 8-9:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save (Isa. 63: 1). Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (Isa. 63:2).

1 have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment (Isa. 63:3). For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come (Isa. 63:4). For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour (Isa. 63:8). 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 bare them, and carried them all the days of old (Isa. 63:9).

Perhaps God reveals in a different way His sanctuary and His salvation for His ancient people in Isaiah 26:20-21:

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 (Isa. 26:20).

For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain (Isa. 26:21).

Surely God's supernatural intervention is portrayed in Isaiah 16:1-5, as the ancient name for Petra - Sela - is used:

Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion (Isa. 16:1).

For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Amon (Isa. 16:2).

Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth (Isa. 16:3).

Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land (Isa. 16:4).

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness (Isa. 16:5).

These distinctive verses also show that these events are in the context of the Day of the Lord, and the fulfillment of the angel's message to Mary concerning Christ sitting upon the throne of David.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:32). And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:33).

These verses in Isaiah 16 could also indicate that the sequence of events will be the same as in ancient days. The tabernacle of David will be restored as promised in Amos 9:11: "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old." (Also see Acts 15:16.) Christ, returning in great power and glory, will build the third Temple.

And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12).

Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both (Zech. 6:13).

My footnote in the Pilgrim edition of the KJV has this to say concerning "My Servant the Branch": "Here is a definite prophecy more than five hundred years before the coming of the Messiah. My Servant is often used in the Book of Isaiah for our Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah. So in Zechariah; the Branch is also His name, as we read in 6:12: "Whose name is the branch." He is spoken of six times in the Scriptures as the branch (Isa. 4:2; 11: 1; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Jer 23:5; 33:15), under four headings, and these four headings are set forth in the four Gospels as they picture the Lord Jesus Christ:

1. "A righteous branch ... a King" (Jer. 23:5; 33:15) the Gospel of Matthew: "Behold, a King."
2. "My Servant the branch" (Zech. 3:8) - the Gospel of Mark: "Behold, My Servant."
3. "The man whose name is the branch" (Zech. 6:12) the Gospel of Luke: "Behold, the man."
4. "The branch of Jehovah" (Isa. 4:2) - the Gospel of John: "Behold your God."
Today, there are more than five million inhabitants in contemporary Israel - about four million are Jews who have returned to the land. Ancient prophecies tell us that two-thirds of the Jews in the land will die during the seven years of terrible tribulation. But one-third will be divinely protected and delivered from the fiery trials of this time period.

And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein (Zech. 13:8).

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God (Zech. 13:9).

We interpret the one-third as believing Israel of Romans 11:26; and the godly remnant that God supernaturally protects in a specially prepared hiding place (Isa. 26:20-21). We have a symbolic picture of Israel, the sun-clad woman, who brings forth the man child - Jesus Christ - who according to His humanity is of the seed of David and destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron.

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days (Rev. 12:1-6).

Notice the devil in his pristine setting as the great red dragon is in deadly opposition to Israel - the woman - and to her child, the incarnate Son of God.

Between verses 5 and 6, we span many centuries going right from the birth of the promised seed into the seventieth week of Daniel, when the woman - Israel - flees for her life into the wilderness.

God's chosen remnant - the believing Jews of Romans 11: 25-26 have a specially prepared place for the last half of the Tribulation, three and one-half years.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child (Rev. 12:13).

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).

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood (Rev. 12:15).

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth (Rev. 12:16).

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17).

Apparently, her escape will be by airplane (Rev. 12:14 and Isa. 40:3 1). Today at Mount Sinai, there is a landing field right out in the desert. When the believing remnant arrives at the rock city of Petra, the devil tries to drown them in a flood; but the earthquake prone area opens up and receives the avalanche of waters.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined (Dan. 9:26).

Since the signing of a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, Jews with a foreign passport have been able to visit Petra. Some of the impressions of Haim Shapiro who writes for the Jerusalem Post are recorded in a recent article, "Don't Sing the Petra Song in Petra."

"Don't sing the Petra song in Petra" -- that was one of several guidelines for Israelis visiting Jordan. I probably would not have thought of the song were it not for the rule, but as my horse plodded along the canyon leading to the famed city, I could barely restrain myself from breaking out into song.

The most amazing thing about the visit to Jordan was that I was there at all. Perhaps this feeling of wonder made every sight even better than I had imagined. The red rocks of Petra were more striking than the photographs, and the detailed carving in the rock more impressive, the colors of the mosaic map at Madaba were clearer than in any picture, and the Roman theater at Jarash was more impressive than on Jordan television.

The Jordanians were admitting Israelis only if they had foreign passports, but former restrictions which had decreed that no sign of Israel besmirch these passports have been forgotten. Israel's restrictions on its citizens traveling directly into Jordan have also been lifted.

Galilee Tours, which organized the tour, reports that thus far, "the demand has been brisk. With the signing of a peace treaty, it can only be a matter of weeks before Israelis will be able to enter Jordan on Israeli passports."

Perhaps this is a preview of Jews fleeing for their lives from the face and fury of the Antichrist in their final holocaust. This time, they will sing the Petra song as they sang praises to God after the exodus from Egypt.

Israel is God's earthly people and He has been pleased to make a covenant with them. According to the prophecies, God will make a new covenant with Israel in the last days when He re-gathers them into the Holy Land.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (Jer. 31:31).

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord (Jer. 31:32).

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jer. 31:33).

Also God reveals His divine providence over Israel against curses and in the day of battle. Balaam's four prophecies reveal many wonderful things about God's watch care over Israel.

And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel (Num. 23:7).

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? (Num. 23:8).

For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations (Num. 23:9).

Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! (Num. 23:10).

This passage shows Israel dwelling alone and possibly indicates that one- fourth of Israel will be the remnant that God miraculously protects. The second prophecy reveals that ultimately Israel would have a king; and that no enchantment can touch God's covenant people; and the blessing that God gave to Abraham has never been nullified (Num. 23:18-24).

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee (Gen. 12: 1).

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing (Gen. 12:2).

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:3).

The third prophecy of Balaam is a beautiful picture of Israel back in their own land in the last days and how God's prosperity will rest upon them as He prepares to pour out His Spirit like water out of many buckets.

And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said (Num. 24:3).

He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open (Num. 24:4). How goodly are thy tents, 0 Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel! (Num. 24:5).

As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters (Num. 24:6).

He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted (Num. 24:7).

God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows (Num. 24:8). He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee (Num. 24:9).

This is doubtless the same prophecy of Joel 2:28-29:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions (Joel 2:28). And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit (Joel 2:29).

This is pre-determined by two parallel prophecies. Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest (Isa. 32:15). Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God (Ezek. 39:29).

God also reaffirms His covenant blessing to Abraham in Numbers 24:9. The fourth prophecy has to do with both the first and second comings of Christ. I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the comers of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth (Num. 24:17). And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly (Num. 24:18).

Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city (Num. 24:19). This is a complete prophecy for the last days. The Star out of of Jacob is the sign of Christ's birth. The scepter that shall rise out Israel signifies the coming kingdom or God from heaven (Dan. 2:44). Verse 18 demonstrates that God has not forgotten the believing remnant that He will hide in Edom or Petra. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly (Num. 24:18).