Why Only Seven World Empires?

We meet a seven headed beast in Revelation 12:3 and 13:1, but the text does not explain there what the heads represent.  We know from the Revelation 13:1’s composite beast that the bizarre seven headed creature is related to Daniel, for it is a composite of all four of Daniel’s beasts. This identity in composition links John’s vision to that of Daniel and permits us to draw from the inspired explanation of what the pieces symbolized. For example, in Daniel’s vision, the multiple heads were the multiple kings that ruled the pieces of Alexander’s empire (cp Dan 8:22). Later in Revelation John explains the meaning of the heads (Rev 17:10). John explains the heads to be seven kings or kingdoms, and he said the sixth kingdom (Rome) was then ruling (Rev 17:18). From Revelation 17 we also learn that the heads symbolize a sequence of kingdoms (“five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come” Rev 17:10), and there was one kingdom remaining in the sequence of seven at the time when John wrote and Rome ruled the world.

Since John wrote Revelation in AD 96, there have been many empires that have come and gone, but there was to be only two other empires after Rome until the end of the world.  Why do not the empires such as the Muslims, the Monguls, the Ottomans, and Napolean make for many more than seven world empires?  Why are there only seven?
To answer why God counts only seven empires, you need but look at to whom the Old Testament (OT) was directed. The people of concern in the OT were the children of Israel. Since the seven headed beast is linked to the OT through the composite beast of Daniel 7,  the context of the seven headed beast is Israel. The seven world empires of whom Daniel and Revelation speak were all intimately involved with the nation of Israel.

The first head of the beast is Egypt, and Israel dealt with that kingdom at the birth of their nation, but the ancient empire of Nimrod preceeded Egypt by many centuries.  Why was it not counted?  We can see why Nimrod was not counted when we recall that God’s covenant with Israel only began in the days of Moses, a time when the Egyptian empire was in its ascendancy. The empires of the ancient Babylonians (Nimrod, Gen 10:9-10) and Elam’s Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:5), while historically were very significant, were too early to deal with the nation of Israel, since Israel did not emerge as a nation until around 1460 BC.

For the seven headed beast to be a succession of only seven kingdoms, the only criteria that makes sense to arrive at only seven kingdoms is to limit the kingdoms under consideration to those that had dominion while Israel existed as a nation and that interacted with the nation of Israel.  Six existed before Israel ceased to exist as a nation in AD 70.  From AD 70 until AD 1948, there was no nation of Israel, and the empires that existed during that time had no relevance to Israel as a nation.  However, since the rebirth of the Israeli state in 1948 it has become possible for Israel to once again interact with world empires, and according to John’s prophecy one still remains to emerge before the end of the age.  I believe that empire is emerging, and it will be the New World Order.  When the seventh empire emerges, John says, “He must remain for a little while.”    The seventh world empire will be destroyed by the Antichrist (the Beast of Revelation 17:11) when he destroys Rome (Rev 17:18). 

Israel will not be destroyed when the Beast burns the NWO’s Rome, but the NWO’s Rome will not be the last of the seven heads with which Israel has to contend.  John says, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition” (Rev 17:11).  The Antichrist will rule the 8th world empire, one of the previous seven (the Medes/Persians) that rises from a death stroke to once again rule the world.  The Antichrist in the company of 200,000,000 of his closest friends invades Israel and takes Jerusalem only four days before the end of the world (Joel 2:9, Zech 14:1-2, Rev 11:8, 11).  That will be the end of his career.  The Father comes while the Antichrist revels in the “victory” over God’s Christ, and when the Father stands on the Mt of Olives, the power of His presence causes the mountain to split in two.  The Son comes like lightning and shines from one part of heaven to the other, the graves are opened, and the righteous dead come forth immortal to destroy the Beast and his army.  The Beast is taken and cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 19:20).  The army of the Beast is slain by the Son and the armies of heaven (Rev 19:21).  Such is the end of the seven headed beast and those that would dare touch the elect of God.

 

Posted in Antichrist, End Times, Eschatology | Leave a comment

With God All Things Are Possible

Nothing is impossible with God, except he cannot lie (Titus 1:2), but he can use agents to lie for him of their own free will (I Ki 22:22), just like He used agents to offer His sacrifice, the Lamb of God (Acts 2:23). God cannot lie, but He manipulates free will agents to do His will (Ex 4:21; Rom 9:13, 18; Isa 44:28), and these agents lie of their own free will (Jn 8:44), so there is nothing God cannot do. It seems it was necessary, or at least best, for God to build a universe where He permitted free will, because otherwise, He would be limited by His own goodness. However, with freemoral agents, He is not even limited by that, and now with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26, Ro 8:28).

Posted in God's Eternal Purpose | Leave a comment

The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross

The event of Jesus crucifixion is the reason Jesus came into the world. Just a few days before His crucifixion Jesus exclaimed,
John 12:27 ¶Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” But for this cause came I unto this hour?

The death of Jesus had been planned since before the world began.
1 Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Jesus’ death was the reason for Him coming here.
His birth from a virgin gave Him a body free from God’s curse of death on Adam’s seed.
His body enabled Him to die.
His death paid the legal penalty for sin.
His death was adequate for all men, because He was the Creator of all men.
His paying the penalty for sin enabled God to be just and yet forgive men.
His birth of the seed of David through His mother Mary made Him fit to be heir to the throne of David.
His death fulfilled the purpose for this present age which was to make a place where He could die.
We men are support players in this greatest saga of the ages.
The death of Jesus justifies God in permitting the corrution of the present order.

The day of Jesus crucifixion, like Dickens proverbial statement, was the best of times and the worst of times. This day glorious salvation in actuality was worked on the world, but this day the most cruel and wicked of actions was worked among men. The day of the crucifixion justified this present age, and gave promise of glorious days ahead, but on this day sin was at its blackest and God turned His back and turned out His light on a world plunged into the depth of sin.

The First Three Sayings Were the Man-ward Sayings of Jesus

Forgiveness for Sins of Ignorance
Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

What were they doing? They were executing a condemned man, but who was He? He was the Son of God, the One that had created the universe. They were executing a sinless man. Did they know that? No. But God has mercy on ignorant men. Christ died in order that God could have mercy on men like the ones that killed Jesus. Without Christ’s death, even ignorance was not excusable. With the blood of Christ, even sinful men can now be punished with few stripes (Lk 12:48), and God can still be just. Since Jesus has planned this event from the foundation of the world and put those men into their situation where He might be expected to have mercy, it was still hard for Him to do what He did. The pain was real. The loss was great. Death was still to be shunned.

He Demonstrated Faithful Execution of ResponsibilityJ
ohn 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Jesus’ father Joseph appears to have died between Jesus’ 12th year and his 30th, for though Mary and Jesus’ fleshly brothers appear in the gospel narrative of Jesus’ ministry (Mk 3:32), Joseph never does. Since Joseph had adopted Jesus as his own son, when Jesus died, He was legal heir to the throne of David, which, in accordance with prophecy (Amos 9:11), had fallen into serious ruin and He was supposed to raise up, but at the time of this utterance, it appeared impossible that He would fulfill this prophecy. He was not only still without the throne of David, He was dying and taking His support away from His mother. Since Jesus was the oldest son, He was responsible for supporting the family. Fittingly enough, Jesus does not transfer that responsibility of caring for His mother onto His unbelieving brethren (For not even His brothers were believing in Him—Jn 7:5). He transfers the responsibility for His mother to a fellow believer, the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus protects those that believe in Him.

At this point in Jesus’ ministry, unbelievers might point to His death as a failure to fulfill many prophecies. He was no warrior king as the prophets demand. He had not restored the house of Jesse. He had not introduced freedom, peace, and prosperity to Israel, but had instead brought a sword (Mt 10:34). The peaceful Jesus brought a sword and discord among the people. The warrior Jesus with His sword brings eternal peace.

He Justified Repentant Sinners
Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
At first both thieves reviled Him, but one, witnessing the behavior of Jesus and the world plunged into supernatural darkness thought better of his behavior as he drew closer to having to face God.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day [Now/As of this time] shalt thou be with me in paradise.

This thief was dying and Jesus was dying, but this dying thief has faith enough to say, “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” The thief said this in the face of the fact that all of Jesus disciples forsook Him and fled, and none of them was around the cross but Jesus’ mother and John. The thief made this statement in the face of the fact that both he and Jesus were dying, and the only way for Jesus to fulfull the thief’s request was for both of them to rise from the dead. The thief’s faith shows the truthfulness of Jesus’ statement, “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (Mt 21:31).

While Jesus, an innocent man, was dying, He had room in His heart for the plight of others. He was not wrapped up in bitterness and self-pity like so many become when calamity comes their way. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and He had time for sinners as He died on the cross. Jesus died to save sinners (I Ti 1:15), the sinners of the whole world (II Co 5:14-15). That was the reason He came into the world. God prepared a body for Him (Heb 10:5) in the womb of Mary in order that Jesus, the creator of men, might die for His creation, but not all will be saved, for God also gave men free will, and some exercise that free will to disobey God.

What is “today”? And where is Paradise?
Jesus’ statement about Paradise has caused a great deal of confusion because people think Jesus meant He was going to heaven when He died. However, Peter says that Jesus went to Hades (Sheol) after His death (Acts 2:27). Is Paradise in Hades? Hades is the dark and gloomy (Micah 7:8, Isaiah 42:7) unseen place of the dead (1 Pe 3:19) located in the nether parts of the earth (definition of Sheol, H7587, Strong’s). Paradise is in the City of God, New Jerusalem. After Jesus arose from the dead, He said He had not yet ascended to His Father who is where Paradise is, so Jesus did not go to Paradise when He died. If Jesus did not go His Father, neither did the thief. What, then, did Jesus promise? Obviously, Jesus promised the thief that the thief would go to Paradise “today”, but what does “today” mean? To harmonize Jesus’ statement with what happened, “today” must mean “now”, “now you will be with me in Paradise”. Because of the thief’s belief, at that time salvation had come to the thief, and He would be with Jesus in Paradise at some future time.

Salvation by faith only? Many people teach this, but the thief died under the Law of Moses. Jesus did not give His law until the day of Pentecost when He told believers to “repent and be baptized for remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Salvation is not by anything “only” (James 2:24). Many things work together to accomplish salvation—faith, repentance, confession, the blood of Christ, the grace of God. The salvation of the thief was Jesus acting as the Son of God. As God in the flesh, Jesus forgave several people during His ministry ( to show that He was the Son of God. He did no more on this occasion than He had done on several others. When Jesus arose from the dead He ascended back to the Father. Then He was given all power in heaven and on earth (Dan 7:13-14). By that authority He now commands men to be baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 10:48). Baptism is Christ’s command to us that saves us (1 Pe 3:21), puts us into Christ (Rom 6:3), and makes us to walk in a newness of life (Rom 6:4).

As He tells us to do, Christ is looking beyond the present time to the glory that shall be revealed. This life is not all there is. All debts are not settled today.

The Last Four Sayings Were the God-ward sayings of Jesus on the Cross:

Jesus Offered An Eternal, Once-For-All Sacrifice for Sin
Matthew 27: 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This dark and evil day was the culmination of God’s purpose for this world to create a sacrifice and remedy for sin, this despairing cry of Christ was recognition of His payment for sin and His thereby suffering an eternal loss. At this hour Jesus gave up forever complete equality with God. Christ’s humiliation extends through eternity where He Himself is eternally subject to God (1 Cor 15:28). God accepted His sacrifice where Jesus was made to be sin for us (2 Co 5:21), and raised Him up from complete separation from God to be God’s Chief ruler (Php 2:9). Jesus took our stripes upon Himself (Isa 53:5). The alienation from God that was justly ours, He, as our creator bore for us.

Christ’s Ultimate Concern For God’s Word
Luke 23:44 ¶And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

The prophecy Jesus was concerned about was:
Psalms 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Notice it was not Jesus’ thirst that concerned Him, but God’s word. His own desires, yes, even His needs, were secondary to honoring God’s will even when death was imminent.

While He was dying, He was still concerned that God’s word be true. Mere moments before His death, He fulfilled a pending prophecy that God may be true.

This Life is Not All There Is
46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Death is the separation of the body and the spirit. When Jesus died, His body was dead, because His spirit left it (Jas 2:26). His spirit, however, did not cease to exist. The spirit is eternal, because it is made in the image of God (Gen 9:6). At death, the spirit leaves the body, and thereafter continues to exist in a state of awareness (Lk 16:22-31). Annihilation of the spirit and soul sleep at death are both wrong (Rev 6:10, 1 Sam 28:14-19).

Peter says Jesus spirit then went to Hades (Acts 2:27). Jesus’ faith sustained Him in the hour of the valley of the shadow of death, He did not fear evil (Ps 23:4).

By His death, Jesus paid the price for sin, and satisfied God’s sense of justice. Because Christ died the death men could not die because their death is obligated, and because He was Creator of all men, and because He was sinless, His death was necessary and sufficient for all men of all ages. The continuity of Jesus with His creation is not only necessary for men who died before He was born, but it is necessary for all those who might sin in the world to come.

Jesus’ Death Created a Solution for Sin and Finished the Creation
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Many guesses have been made regarding what Jesus meant by this statement, because no one knows for sure what is the antecedent of “it”. That thought was locked inside Jesus’ head, and He did not tell us. In my opinion, He meant that by His death the creation was finished, for by His death He created an entirely new thing—an eternal solution for sin. The creation was finished when Jesus laid the capstone of Himself, the Creator, dying for His creation.

Jesus’ utterances as He hanged dying on the cross give great insight into the pure soul of the Lamb of God dying for the sins of the world. Thanks be to God that He willing to send His Son to die the death we could not die and thanks be to Jesus the Messiah for being willing to be the Lamb of God.

Posted in Biblical Studies, Christ | Leave a comment

Joseph and Jesus Reveal Themselves to Their Brethren in the Flesh

In Genesis 45:1-10 Moses gives the history of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. It is a touching and heroic scene where Joseph shows his willingness to sacrifice himself for his brothers in spite of their wickedness in order that they might live. He says it was not really their fault that Joseph went into Egypt, because God had led them to do it (Gen 45:5).

There is a lesson that can be learned from the type of Joseph and his brethren. Israel, its worship and its history are replete with allegories and types (Col 2:16-17), just like Paul says Hagar and Sarai were allegories of Israel and the church (Gal 4:22-28). The life of Joseph is parallel in many respects to the life of Christ. Just like Joseph in a single day was raised up from the dungeon to be lord of all Egypt, even so Christ in a single day was raised up from the dungeon of Hades to be ruler of the universe (Mt 28:18-20, 27:50-52, Eph 4:8).

If we look at the event in Genesis 45:1-10 from the perspective of Joseph being a type of Christ, the one who was sacrificed and sent ahead to save His brethren from death, we can gain some prophetic insight into what God has planned for Israel. Jeremiah 30:7 foresees a day he calls the day of Jacob’s trouble. It is a day when Israel is invaded by the Assyrians (Ps 83:8, Isa 10:24-34) and almost totally destroyed (Isa 17:6). The remarkable thing about this day is that the Lord comes forth from Jerusalem (Rom 11:26, Ps 14:7) to save Israel from certain defeat (Isa 10:32) , and complete loss of their country and people. He comes forth in a terrible storm that drives away Israel’s enemies as if they were chaff or a tumbleweed (Isa 17:13, Jer 30:23, Ps 83:13-15). Afterwards, He is present with them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night to protect them from enemies and from the elements (Isa 4:5-6). He is a shade from the heat of day and covert from the storm (Isa 4:6). We even find Him still there in the protective cloud when God sends word that the time has come (Rev 14:14).

Beyond the incredible deliverance the Lord works to save Zion from the Assyrian is the stupendous transformation He works in Israel after the invaders are routed. Jeremiah says that on the day of Jacob’s trouble, when the remnant of Israel witnesses the deliverance of the Lord, thereafter, “They shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jer 30:9). It is after this day of Jacob’s trouble that Elijah the prophet returns and turns the hearts of these children of Israel to their faithful fathers (Mal 4:5-6). It is at this time that Paul’s prophecy is fulfilled, “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom 11:26).

Now look at the amazing type of Joseph revealing himself to His brothers. Like Joseph, Jesus’ brethren hated him, and sold him into the hands of the Romans who crucified Him. Since the antitype always exceeds the type, Jesus didn’t have his coat dipped in an animal’s blood. His shroud was stained with His own blood. He didn’t almost get killed for his brethren like Joseph did; Jesus actually died for His brethren. Now Joseph was a long time in Egypt, and he was separated from those he loved. These brothers continued to harbor a hatred for him, but their hatred mellowed somewhat over time. In the fullness of time, in the hour of their direst need, Joseph revealed himself to them. Jesus does the same thing with the Jews. In their hour of greatest need, Jesus saves Israel from complete annihilation and preserves them alive and gives them a place in the fattest of lands. He reveals Himself to Israel through His prophet and His presence in the cloud and His deliverance from certain death. When Joseph saves his brethren, there are five more years of famine before God delivers the world from its plague. When Jesus reveals Himself to Israel on the Day of Jacob’s trouble, there are yet 20 more years of the Devil’s rule before Christ comes and delivers the whole world from bondage. He comforts Israel with the realization, as Paul had said centuries before, “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom 11:25).

Christ does not reveal Himself in His person, but He reveals Himself in the return of the cloud that protects Israel. There will never be another day like the day of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:7), not even the end of the world. It will the day of Israel’s purification and the day she finally recognizes her rightful Lord. His protection over Israel and those strangers who hear of what the Lord has done and that join themselves to her fulfills God’s promise of “the Jew first and also the Gentiles” (Rom 1:16, 2:9, 10) as Christ rescues Israel first before the end of the world. He is with Israel through all the lean years at the end of the earth. She will at last accept her Messiah (Jer 30:9), restore her ancient worship (Ezk 43:11), and be at peace (Ezk 38:11) until He comes and restores all things (Acts 3:21).

Posted in End Times, Eschatology, Soteriology | 2 Comments

Sin

There is no man that sinneth not (I Kings 8:46)
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)
There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:3)
Romans 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Posted in Adoption | Leave a comment

Are There Three Classes of People at the Judgment?

At the Judgment, all the nations are gathered before Christ (Mt 25:32), and He commissions His brethren (1 Cor 6:2) to separate the nations into two classes:  the sheep (the approved) and the goats (the condemned).  Christ pardons the sheep (Mt 25:34) and consigns the goats to torment (Mt 25:41, 46) after His brethren have finished the separation into the groups of the sheep and goats.  This shows that there are three classes of people at the Judgment:  the lost, the nations, and the elect brethren of Christ. 

The logic of Christ’s promise to the faithful that they will rule with Him (Rev 3:21) requires that a servant class must exist.  Likewise, the five foolish virgins simply being locked out but not punished implies they will be in a servant class in eternity (Mt 25:12).  The one talent man simply having his talent taken away from him (Lk 19:24), but not being punished further implies he will be relegated to the servant class.  The ignorant man that did things worthy of stripes, but who was only punished with few stripes (Lk 12:48) implies there is forgiveness for some sinners at the judgment, for the punishment of some is limited to a temporary punishment of few stripes, but an outcome where punishment is temporary is different from what happens to the wicked among the nations at the Judgment who are told, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” (Mt 25:41).  These people with few stripes also suffer temporal punishment after death in Hades (Lk 16:24, 28), but their outcome is different from the sons of God that go heaven when they die (II Cor 5:8-9, Php 1:22-23).  These differences imply there is a servant class in eternity.

The Bible deals mainly with how to become a Christian and how to please God, and so it is understandable that the two-state theology (you go either to heaven or hell) has emerged, because there is no instruction given as to how one might choose to be only good enough to just inherit the earth.  Given the fact that Christianity generally teaches a two-state theology, that limited outcome causes men to question the justice of God and in an attempt to justify His punishing ignorant sinners, it causes men to question the literal reality of hell.  Among believers who wonder about God’s justice in condemning the ignorant, you often hear the question, “But what about those people that never heard about God?”  If you accept a three eternal destinies theology, it satisfactorily answers the question of “what about those that never heard”.

Sometimes people object to God saving those that never heard, for salvation (eternal life) is conditioned upon belief in Christ, for Christ said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  However, if men see the power of God when He comes, and believe He is the true and living God, and believe they have been wrong, God is justified in saving these believers, for Christ died for all (II Cor 5:15).  Enoch says that God will be just and graciously grant those that did not know about Him the chance to believe in Jesus at His coming,

The righteous shall be victorious in the name of the Lord of Spirits: And He will cause the others [those that are not the righteous] to witness (this) That they may repent And forgo the works of their hands.

3 They shall have no honour through the name of the Lord of Spirits,
Yet through His name shall they be saved,
And the Lord of Spirits will have compassion on them,
For His compassion is great.
4 And He is righteous also in His judgment,
And in the presence of His glory unrighteousness also shall not maintain itself: At His judgment the unrepentant shall perish before Him.
5 And from henceforth I will have no mercy on them, saith the Lord of Spirits. (I Enoch 50:2-4)

The Bible teaches the three state theology, but it is subdued, because you cannot consciously choose to just be good enough to inherit with the nations (the sheep, Mt 25:34).  God’s grace places men among the sheep, and an individual cannot determine the miniumum amount required to receive just enough grace to inherit the earth, and even the effort to do so might prove fatal to the plan (Mt 25:25-30).  The sheep are those that failed to do good enough to inherit with God’s sons (Mt 25:12), and those that knew not the master’s will, but did things worthy of stripes (Lk 12:48) and who are willing to believe when they find out better (1 En 50:2).  Paul also implies the three-state theology when He says, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (I Cor 6:2).  Jesus likewise implies it when He says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Rev 3:21).  Obviously, Christ and the elect must have subjects over whom to rule.  In the world to come, the kings of the earth (the elect, 2 Ti 4:8) are permitted entry into New Jerusalem (Rev 21:24), but the saved of the nations may not enter into it (Rev 21:24). John admonishes his readers to so live that they might receive a full reward.  He implies it is possible to receive a reward that is less than full (II Jn 1:8), which would imply that some just receive a lesser reward, such as inheriting the earth.

Matthew 25:31-46 speaks of the Judgment of the nations.  In these verses the nations are judged.  Someone separates the nations into two classes: the sheep, and the goats.  Jesus then addresses the sheep and bids them enter His kingdom based on their kindness they showed toward Him.  The sheep reply they don’t remember ever seeing Him.  He then replies, “Truly I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  In this verse are three entities: “I”, “you” and “these”.  You can see the situation Jesus describes in pictorial form in the diagram.  The picture shows that while there are two destinies for the nations, there are three possible destinies for those that would serve God. 

Traditional theology is right about there being the saved and the lost.  The saved rise from the dead and never die.  The lost may or may not rise from the dead, but are cast into hell, the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.  However, there are two classes among the saved: the sons of God and the nations.  These are the antitype of the Jew/Gentile dichotomy that has prevailed on earth since Moses.  When you consider the two states of the saved, you see there are a total of three possible outcomes.  The chart below lays out the various possible states:

Servants of God Can: References
Be adopted as God’s sons (Mt 25:10, Gal 4:5, Rom 8:23, Col 3:24)
Inherit the earth (Mt 25:10-12, Mt 5:5)
Be cast into the Lake of Fire (Mt 25:30)
   
The Nations Can:  
Inherit the earth (Mt 25:34, Mt 5:5)
Be cast into the Lake of Fire (Mt 25:46, Rev 20:15)

 

Matthew 25 describes all five possible conditions, and these conditions are illustrated in the drawing. 

The sheep and the goats at the Judgment

By having three eternal destinies, you explain how the elect are said to rule when Jesus has promised all of the elect that they will receive the reward of being rulers (II Ti 4:8), because the elect will have the nations over which to rule.  The three eternal destinies solution also explains how God can be just and save people that never even heard of Him until He comes again (Rom 3:26, En 50:2).  If they believe in Christ when He comes and are willing to repent, God will grant them grace, but no glory (1 En 50:2-3).  It works much better than the two-state theology, and it is more faithful to the scriptures.

Posted in Judgment, Soteriology | Leave a comment

Chronological Outline of Revelation

As the text is laid out in Revelation, the events described there are not in chronological sequence.  This diagram attempts to outline the major sections of Revelation in a more chronological sequence of events.  The major portion of Revelation (Rev 8-22) is Christ exercising His power over the 7th seal, His control of the course of human history. 

Parallels Between Exodus, Crucifixion, and Second Coming

Posted in Revelation | Leave a comment

Adam Clarke and Matthew 16:28

Matthew 16:28 is often used by the preterists in an attempt to show that the Second Coming was the destruction of Jerusalem. They do that by reading Mt 16:28 where it says, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” They claim that “coming in His kingdom” is the Second Coming, and it would happen in the lifetime of His auditioners. They point out that it is not even possible that this verse is talking about the apostle John (one of those standing there as Jesus spoke) remaining until the end of the world (Jn 21:23), because “some” is plural. They claim that Matthew 16:28 has to be Christ coming in wrath at the destruction of Jerusalem and therefore, the Second Coming has already happened. If the Second Coming has already happened, then the resurrection, the inheritance, the Judgment, the new heavens and new earth, the bloody moon, the black as sackcloth sun, and any other end time prophecy has already been fulfilled.

Because Adam Clarke, who wrote a famous whole-bible commentary, believes Matthew 24 contains a prediction of the utter destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the whole political constitution of the Jews, he is a darling of the preterists (http://www.preteristarchive.com/Books/1810_clarke_commentary.html). I introduce Clarke here, because he presents significant evidence against the preterists’ position on Mathew 16:28. Clarke says four Greek manuscripts (Syriac, Coptic, Ethioptic, and Saxon) plus one copy of the Itala and several of the church fathers read “glory” instead of “kingdom”. Also, three of the manuscripts and the versions mentioned add the words “of His Father”, so the text would read, “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in the glory of His Father”. Clarke says that this reading harmonizes better with the idea presented in Daniel 7:13-14, which reads,

Daniel 7:13 “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Notice that the context of Daniel 7 is Christ coming with a the clouds of heaven TO the Ancient of Days. Jesus left the earth in cloud (Acts 1:9) on His way to the Father (Jn 16:28). He therefore came to heaven to the the Ancient of Days with the clouds of heaven. Then is when Jesus got the kingdom (Acts 2:34-35). He was crowned, received the Holy Spirit (Jn 15:26), and sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. That Day of Pentecost is when Clarke says Matthew 16:28 began to be fulfilled.

Clarke says in reference to verse 28, “This verse seems to confirm the above explanation, as our Lord evidently speaks of the establishment of the Christian church after the day of Pentecost, and its final triumph after the destruction of the Jewish polity.” So, we can gather two things from Clarke that damage his position: 1) Christ’s coming in the glory of His Father has to do with Christ’s coming to the Father in Daniel 7, and 2) the coming of Christ in the glory of His Father began on the day of Pentecost.

So, according to Clarke, the coming of Christ of which Jesus spoke was NOT the destruction of Jerusalem, but was a process that began at Pentecost with the establishment of the Church. Furthermore, the coming was Christ coming to heaven, not Christ coming at the destruction of Jerusalem. Clarke says the “coming” in Matthew 16:28 is a process, and he thereby admits Matthew 16:28 is not “the day” that the Bible describes as “the day of the Lord”. Clarke’s evidence therefore is that Matthew’s process of the “coming in His kingdom” is not the same thing as the singular “day of the Lord” of which the prophets speak (Isa 13:9, Joel 2:1, etc.).

When Jesus comes again, He will come TO the earth, not TO the Father (Lk 19:12. Micah 2:12-13). Paul says that the coming for which Christians wait is the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it was a day for which Paul in AD 54, when he wrote 1 Corinthians, was still waiting.

Posted in Second Coming | Leave a comment

Parallels Between the Exodus, the Crucifixion, and the Second Coming

The Exodus, the Crucifixion, and the Second Coming

Parallels Between the Exodus, the Crucifixion, and the Second Coming

Here is the Google Doc version

Posted in Christ, Exodus, Second Coming | Leave a comment

The Location of Mt Sinai and the Location of the Red Sea Crossing

The location of Mt Sinai and the location of the Red Sea crossing are closely related. The traditional site is in the middle of the Sinai peninsula and the choice of Red Sea crossing points has mainly been driven by the presumed location of Mt. Sinai. However, the traditional site of Mt. Sinai at St. Catherine’s monastery in the south central part of Sinai was chosen by Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine in AD 315 on the basis of a dream. Most of the places she chose based on her dreams have been proven to be wrong, and that also seems to be the case with the location of Sinai and the travels of Israel that depend upon its location.

Israels Wilderness Wanderings

Where is Mt Sinai and Where Did Israel Cross the Red Sea?

We can arrive at a more objective identification the location of the events of the Exodus through the use of a topographical map and a careful consideration of what God said about them in the Bible. Our first objective should be to pin down the location of Sinai, for certainly the route of Israel’s travels will be constrained by the location of their destination. We can gain a clue as to where Sinai is located by recalling the events following Moses flight from Egypt into Midian. Midian is a land east of the Gulf of Aqaba (see ISBE on Midian and map above).

During the forty years Moses was in Midian (Ex 2:15), he tended the sheep of his father in law, Jethro (Ex 3:1). While Moses was tending Jethro’s sheep, he had the experience with the bush that would not burn out. When Moses turned aside for a closer look at this strange event, God spoke to him out of the bush and made him a promise. God said, “When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain” (Ex 3:12). The mountain where Moses saw the burning bush presumably was in the region where Jethro lived, since Moses was pasturing Jethro’s flocks there. The traditional Mt Sinai is over 300 miles by land from Jethro’s home in a region where there is very little water or pasture. Also, to make an Arabic location of Sinai more certain, the Bible specifically says that Horeb (Mt Sinai–Dt 4:10), where Moses had the experience of the burning bush, is in Midian (Ex 3:1).

Of course, if Sinai is in Arabia, that location offers many more choices for crossing the Red Sea than a location for Mt. Sinai (Mt. Musa) at St. Catherine’s, for the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aqaba) is the border between Egypt and Arabia for hundreds of miles. Besides specifying that Sinai is in Midian, which is in what was Arabia during the time of Paul (Gal 4:25), the Bible gives many indications that Israel crossed the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba, not Lake Sirbonis or Bitter Lakes or North Suez. These latter sites are too far north, do not provide any reason why Israel should have been trapped there, and do not take into account the elapse of 25 days from leaving Egypt to the Red Sea crossing. Also, the New Testament makes explicit what the Old Testament implies. Paul says that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia (Gal 4:5), and Israel had to cross the Red Sea somewhere at the Gulf of Aqaba in order to stay out of the Promised Land and to get to Arabia (Ex 14:22, 19:1).

Scholars have supposed Israel departed from Egypt anywhere from Zoan at the mouth of the Nile near Goshen to all the way to Heliopolis near modern Cairo at the southern border of ancient Egypt (ISBE Definition for ‘RAAMSES; RAMESES’, article by C. R. Conder). Those are widely separated locations. Some proponents of the Heliopolis location cite as evidence the enormous constructions of Pharaoh Rameses II (the largest of all the pharaohs’ constructions except for the Pyramids of Giza) that are found there, for enormous amounts of slave labor were required for their construction, and the slave labor of captive Israel would be a solution to how Rameses could afford to build such structures. However, Gen 47:11 places Raamses in Goshen (Gen 47:27) on the Nile delta where Israel settled when he moved to Egypt. Since the Bible says Raamses was in the delta, we believe that’s where it was.

The Bible gives us information that enables us to calculate that there were 44 days from the time that Israel left Egypt until they came to Sinai. After Israel crossed the Red Sea, they came to the wilderness of Sin fourteen days before they came to Sinai. We can use this elapsed time and the location of their objective to calculate approximate locations for places named along their route of travel. We also assumed that the places named in the Bible were descriptive of unique features of the local geography.



Though Moses never promised that Israel would come back once they left, Pharaoh expected them to return (Ex 14:5). Israel successfully “borrowed” (Ex 12:35) valuables from the Egyptians, probably due to the Egyptians’ expectation that Israel would have to return, because a body of travelers the size of the Exodus could not live long term in the wilderness. In Pharaoh’s estimation, a trip of three days out and back plus the celebration should have taken no more than two weeks max. During this time of the Hebrew sacrifice the Egyptians were mourning the death of their firstborn. Probably, the more they mourned, the more angry they became, and when two weeks had passed and Pharaoh received word that Israel had fled and was not returning (Ex 14:5), he was of a mindset to set out after them. It appears from his heedless pursuit of Israel into the depths of the sea that Pharaoh was very angry at Israel and was driven more by an overwhelming desire to take vengeance on Israel for the death of his firstborn ones rather than any rational behavior.

That fact that Israel did not come back after a reasonable time may not have been sufficient cause in itself to have initiated Pharaoh’s pursuit. After two weeks Israel could have been anywhere, and Canaan, their most likely destination, was easily accessible in that amount of time. However, Canaan was inhabited by fiercely independent tribes protected by giants and strongly fortified cities (Num 13:33). If Israel had gone to Canaan, they very likely would have been destroyed or driven back to Egypt. God also agreed that Israel was not ready for an immediate assault on Canaan (Ex 13:17), and sent them to the Promised Land “through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea” (Ex 13:18). Pharaoh also knew that whole armies that ventured into this howling wilderness had perished in the barren waste. If Israel was dumb enough to go too far into the wilderness, Pharaoh knew that the wilderness might do his dirty work for him. It was indeed a lack of provisions in the wilderness that required God to miraculously supply food and water for His people (Ex 17:6). Knowing these things, Pharaoh may not have thought it necessary to pursue Israel since the Canaanites or the wilderness would likely eliminate Israel for him. Since Pharaoh did set out in pursuit of Israel about two weeks after they left, something must have happened to cause him to set out in pursuit.

The event that triggered Pharaoh’s pursuit after Israel was a message to Pharaoh via signal fire or carrier pigeon that Israel had fled (Ex 14:5), likely from the Egyptian outpost at Migdal (Watchtower) on the southern tip of Sinai. In whatever way Pharaoh got the message, the Bible says that Pharaoh was told that Israel had fled, and he knew where to take his army to go find them. Israel was in a location that indicated that they had fled from him, for it was more than three days journey away and they were moving away from Egypt. The message from Migdol would lead Pharaoh to believe due to the location of Migdol at the end of the wilderness that Israel was trapped in the extremity of the wilderness (Ex 14:3). The location by Pi-hahiroth satisfies all of the constraints that the text supplies. The name Pi-hahiroth (Mouth of Water) describes a unique mouth shaped bay at the southern tip of Sinai. There is really nothing else like it on the Sinai peninsula. The location by Pi-hahiroth is such that Israel would be able to travel from there to the wilderness of Sin by the 15th day of the second month, as the text requires (Ex 16:1). This camp at the Red Sea northeast of Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and Baal-Zephon placed Israel by a natural underwater land bridge that spans the whole Straits of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba. Archeologists have found the remains of an Egyptian settlement with a watchtower at the southern tip of Sinai. The Bible repeatedly speaks of a remote location, Migdol, as being at the extremity of Egypt, and the Watchtower at tip of Sinai certainly was (Ezk 29:10 NASB, 30:6 NASB, Jer 44:1, 46:14). This garrison would serve to notify Pharaoh of Israel’s whereabouts and the fact Israel was landlocked at Pi-hahiroth between the mountains at the end of the land and the Red Sea, but how did Israel get to such a remote location at the at the uttermost extent of southern Sinai?

Israel left Egypt in a hurry (Ex 12:11), and no doubt was anxious to put as much distance between themselves and Egypt as possible, but Israel had asked for permission to go a three days journey into the wilderness (Ex 3:18), so we would expect Israel acting under God’s guidance to do exactly what they said they would do. Since the Bible says that at some point in their journey they crossed the Red Sea, and they were headed toward the Promised Land, they would have had to travel east out of Egypt. Since they were not using the short Way of the Philistines and were not yet going into the Promised Land (Ex 13:17), they would have had to stay south of the River of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish, see map) that was the southern boundary of God’s land promise to Abraham (Gen 15:18). If God had led Israel across the Sinai wilderness south of the River of Egypt, they could have crossed into Midian across the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba, but they would not have been entangled in the land nor shut in by the wilderness (Ex 14:3) (See map above and also Steve Rudd’s book on the Exodus at http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-travel-times-distances-days.htm). Wherever the Red Sea crossing point was, it was a location that once Israel crossed the Red Sea, Israel was finally and forever free from the pursuit of Pharaoh (Ex 15:13-14). The only route that fits all the Bible constraints is the route along the west coast of Sinai (“the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea” Ex 13:17) to the land’s end at the Straits of Tiran on the Red Sea.

“The way of the wilderness of the Red Sea” that was Israel’s way to Pi-hahiroth would have been along the coastal plain that extends all along the west coast of the Sinai peninsula. Except for fifteen miles of rocky soil, the way is broad and easy, and provided for good travel, even with carts, livestock, children, and old folks, though there was no caravan road along this route, for it did not go anywhere where very many lived. The way was in a howling wilderness (Dt 32:10). Israel left Egypt from Raamses and went to Succoth, but the Bible does not say where Succoth was nor how long it took them to get there, but let’s reason from the record.

Israel’s deal all along with Pharaoh was to go a three day journey into the wilderness and hold a sacrifice (Ex 3:18). Since Succoth is their first camp (Ex 12:37), it probably was where they got to after a marathon three day journey. The three day forced march is likely on several grounds. One factor is that since Israel’s deliverance from Egypt serves as type of God rescuing His people from the slavery of this sinful world, God would likely want Israel to provide a type (Col 2:17, Heb 8:5) of what God’s people would be like when He rescues them at the Second Coming. At Sinai God even said that He bore Israel up on eagles’ wings (Ex 19:4), an apparent reference to their extraordinarily swift passage through the wilderness. Walking and not growing weary would serve as a type of God’s deliverance and glorification of the righteous at the end of the world (Isa 40:31). Also, Israel no doubt desired to put as much distance between itself and Egypt as possible, but they had promised it would be a three day journey, and God always keeps His word (Titus 1:2). Israel began its journey just before sunset (Ex 12:16). This is a very peculiar time to begin an arduous journey, if it was going to be the normal sort of journey, and this night journey followed a journey of the night before when they had traveled from all over Goshen to Raamses. The Bible also requires that the journey would not be leisurely but arduous, for God miraculously preserved Israel and kept them from getting tired and kept their feet from swelling (Ps 105:37-39, Neh 9:21). Based on these considerations Succoth probably is a location that was achieved as a result of a arduous journey encompassing three 24-hour days. Israel could accomplish this prodigious feat because God miraculously strengthened them. Further, in a wilderness that was deadly hot by day and pitch black at night, they could still travel continuously, for God gave them shade with a cloud by day and lit the way with a pillar of fire by night (Ex 13:21).

Where was this important first camp where Moses sanctified the firstborn and God gave Israel the first law? Obviously, it was in the wilderness, and, as we described, lay at a distance achievable by a 72-hour forced march from Raamses. Since the word “Succoth” means “block” or “stop the approach”, it probably was a geographic choke point. Rudd places it about midway down the eastern shore of the Gulf of Suez at a location where the coastal plain narrows and the rocky soil of the northern beaches gives way to a broad sandy plain that is easy to traverse. This location is 180 miles from Raamses, and it could have been achieved by a people enduring a non-stop 72 hour forced march in which they were supernaturally empowered by God to walk 60 miles a day.

When Israel arrived at Succoth, some important events transpired. First, God commanded that Moses sanctify the firstborn of both man and beast (Ex 13:2). The sanctification of the firstborn was the same thing as sanctifying the firstfruits, and the day that Israel arrived at Succoth (the first day of the week) and sanctified their firstborn was the event that serves as the basis for Feast of the Firstfruits, and is a type of the resurrection of the Christ and the 144,000 (Mt 27:52-53), which are the firstfruits of God (I Cor 15:20, Rev 14:4). Sanctification of the firstborn/firstfruits required either redeeming the firstborn by substituting another offering for the first born of the flock (it was to be redeemed with a lamb–Ex 13:13), or in the case of an unclean animal, such as a donkey, that would not be redeemed, its neck was to be broken. In the sanctification of the firstborn at Succoth, therefore, God kept His word that Israel would hold a sacrifice to the Lord. Later we find that Israel’s sanctified firstborn sons were redeemed by giving God the Levites in lieu of the firstborn of Israel and redeeming with money the 273 firstborn not covered by the number of Levites (Num 3:46-47), but that was a redemption of those that had already been sanctified, that is, set apart for God. God also give Moses a first law at Succoth (Ex 13:1-16). The events at this camp were also the prototype of the days of unleavened bread, so Israel probably remained in camp until the 8th day. The time required for Moses to receive the commandment of sanctification of the firstborn, to give this law to the people, to identify the firstborn, and to offer the sacrifices also suggest that Israel spent some time in this camp.

The calendar for the year of the Exodus matches the calendar of the year of Jesus’ resurrection. Based upon the requirement for two Sabbaths on the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, the need for Jesus to be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, and the fact no gospel records any events on Wednesday if Jesus was crucified on Friday, then we conclude Jesus died on Wednesday afternoon at the time the Passover lambs were being slain (Mt 27:46-50). Jesus was in the tomb night and day Thursday, night and day Friday, and night and day Saturday (3 days and 3 nights). He arose very early on the first day of the week before sunrise. In the same way Israel died to Egypt that Passover night and spent the next three days in the “tomb” of the wilderness from which God supernaturally raised them up to camp at Succoth and consecrate the firstborn.

When the days of unleavened bread were complete, God turned Israel further away from Goshen and led them deeper into the howling wilderness (Ex 13:20) in order that He might finish the deliverance of His people. They journeyed for another seven days to arrive at Etham on the edge or “the end” of the wilderness (Ex 13:20).

Wilderness Wanderings Times Succoth to the Red Sea

At Pi-hahiroth at the end of the wilderness, God turned Israel up the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba toward Etham. Etham (Hebrew: “shut in”) is a cul-de-sac on the east coast of Sinai where the coastal plain ends at a mountain range that extends to the sea. At this point Israel realized the true extent of their dependence upon God. Hemmed in by the mountains and the sea, Israel realized they were trapped, and God ordered Israel to turn back by the way they had come and pitch camp by the sea. Israel went half a day’s journey (9 miles) back to a location they had just passed and pitched their camp northeast Pi-hahiroth (“Mouth of Water”) and across from the island of Baal-Zephon. Their camp was a deserted location on the shore of the Red Sea between the Egyptian watchtower at Migdol and the Straits of Tiran (Ex 14:2). Here they waited for Pharaoh and his army to catch up and for God to show them what to do. At Pi-hahiroth God prepared Israel for an epoch deliverance from evil men by means of water by which He foreshadowed the deliverance and exaltation of the elect by means of fire at the end of the world. As Israel was baptized in the sea to emerge as a free people in a new world, so God’s elect will be delivered from the armies of the Antichrist on the day when they are baptized by fire (Lk 3:16) and emerge as the free sons of God on His new earth.

The scriptures do not say how long Israel encamped by the Red Sea, but we can estimate the time based on the 44 days they took to travel from Goshen to Sinai (Ex 12:51-Ex 19:1). After crossing the Red Sea they entered the Wilderness of Sin fourteen days before they got to Sinai (Ex 16:1) and thirty days after they left Egypt. Counting the camps backwards from the Wilderness of Sin, we find there were five travel days from the crossing of the Red Sea. Counting back from Israel’s arrival at Mt. Sinai, we can establish the following events:

Arrive Sinai 0 days before Sinai 44 days since Egypt
Arrive Wilderness of Sin 14 days before Sinai 30 days since Egypt
Red Sea crossing 19 days before Sinai 25 days since Egypt
2nd arrival at Pi-hahiroth 28 days before Sinai 16 days since Egypt
Arrive at Etham 29 days before Sinai 15 days since Egypt
1st arrival at Pi-hahiroth 30 days before Sinai 14 days since Egypt
Arrive at Succoth 40 days before Sinai 3 days since Egypt
Leave Goshen 44 days before Sinai 0 since Egypt

Counting their camps backward from the wilderness of Sin, we calculate that they crossed the Red Sea on the first day of the week five days before they entered the Wilderness of Sin. They stayed there before Pi-hahiroth seven days while God waited in the pillar of fire for Pharaoh to catch up with them. Israel’s camp by the Red Sea was in a boxed-in place where they would be trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the sea. The boxed-in location of Israel at Pi-hahiroth is typical of the servants of God making their last stand at Bozrah against the armies of the Beast at the end of the world (Bozrah—the sheep pen, Micah 2:12-13, Jer 49:22).

When Pharaoh arrived, God protected Israel by interposing the pillar of fire between Israel and the Egyptians (Ex 14:19) while He parted the sea and led Israel safely across. In what must be accounted as one of the most insane actions in the history of the world, the Egyptians that had just experienced firsthand ten devastating plagues, and could see in front of them a supernatural fiery cloud and a supernaturally divided sea, in an attempt to satisfy their bloodlust, rage, and wounded pride (Ex 14:27) decided to defy Almighty God and plunge into the depths of the sea. The rest, as they say, is history. The next day the 600 chariots of Pharaoh (Ex 14:7) were at the bottom of the sea (Ex 15:5) and the dead bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shores (Ex 14:30).

Israel in the Wilderness from the Red Sea to Sinai

Once the children of Israel got close to Sinai in Midian, they were close to the mountain where Moses had been tending Jethro’s sheep when Moses saw the burning bush. At this point Moses was therefore also close to Jethro’s home. It was when Moses was encamped in the wilderness of Sin in Midian that Jethro, priest of Midian (Ex 18:1), came from his home to meet Moses and to bring to Moses his wife and sons whom he had not seen in several years (Ex 18:5). Perhaps Moses’ reunion with his loved ones foreshadows our own reunion with those that we love and from whom we have been separated by death after we cross our Red Sea in which we are baptized with fire and after which we prepare to enter our own Promised Land.

Time for Exodus--Sinai to the Giving of the Law

It was the beginning of the third month when Israel encamped before the mountain of God in Midian (Ex 19:1). The beginning of the third month is almost three weeks after they crossed the Red Sea. At that time they had been gone from Egypt for six weeks. Only twelve days after they arrived at Sinai God spoke to Israel from the Mount (Ex 20:22). After God gave the law they spent the next several months encamped before the mount of God, and there they celebrated the first Passover since they left Egypt (Num 9:5). Israel left Sinai almost immediately after the Passover and journeyed to Kadesh Barnea (Petra/Bozrah/Kadesh Barnea). There they camped for the next 38 years until God’s curse on Israel had been fulfilled and the generation that came out of Egypt all died (Num 14:32). An interesting type is provided by Israel’s sojourn at Kadesh Barnea/Bozrah. Where they waited at Kadesh Barnea for God’s deliverance so that they might enter the Promised Land is the same as Bozrah/Petra and is the exact same place where the Lord has announced that He will return first (Jer 49:22, Micah 2:13-14) in the “tents of Judah” (Zech 12:7) to save the remnant of His people that await His return at the end of the world so that they might enter into the eternal land of promise.

As we have seen, there is excellent correspondence between the actual geography of Migdol, Pi-hahiroth, Baal-Zephon and Etham, and the Bible’s description of it. Our confidence that we have correctly located Israel’s camp at the Straits of Tiran is greatly strengthened by observing the sea floor topography there. The sea floor across the Straits of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf is the only place along the Gulf of Aqaba where the sea floor terrain would support the crossing of several million people with herds, children and carts without a supernatural modification of the sea floor, for the Gulf is very deep everywhere else, often over a mile deep along much of its length. In marked contrast the sea at Pi-hahiroth is only about 40 feet deep in places, and there is a strip of land a half mile wide that runs across the entire width of the Strait. On this land bridge there is only one 2400 foot wide channel where the water currently is over 600 feet deep. It appears that the growth of a coral reef in the middle of the straits of Tiran has caused sea-floor erosion of this channel due to tidal currents flowing around the reef. In support of the view that this channel has been eroded deeper in the 3500 years since Moses crossed here, we notice that the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba in Moses’ day was very obscure. Though the Gulf of Suez was well known, the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba was so obscure that it did not appear on maps until the 1800s. Because in Moses’ day the entrance to the Gulf was not well known we might then conjecture that storm tides and eddies around the coral reefs have eroded the channel to a depth greater than what existed at the Exodus. In any event God could easily have silted up the channel in preparation for Israel’s crossing, if He so desired. Even in the one spot that is now deep, the drop to 600 feet is spread over about a quarter of a mile, so there is only about a 27 degree slope to the depth.

From our study we have seen in the Bible that the mountain of God is in Midian and Midian is in Arabia east of the Red Sea. The fact that Moses did not cross the Red Sea for over four weeks after they left Egypt suggests that Israel traveled a significant distance to arrive at the Red Sea crossing point. The geography at Pi-hahiroth at the Straits of Tiran and the sea floor in the Gulf of Aqaba there both support the Bible’s description of the Red Sea crossing. Israel’s journey from Goshen to Sinai via this route was of sufficient length as to require much of the 44 days the Bible says that it took Israel to travel from Goshen to Sinai. After they crossed the Red Sea they crossed into Midian in Arabia, and as they came to Sinai they came close to Jethro’s home in Midian (Ex 18:2-3) at which time Jethro returned Moses’ wife and sons. The description of the events, places, timing, and geography of the Exodus exactly fit a scenario that locates Sinai in Midian at Horeb and the Red Sea crossing at the Straits of Tiran.

Posted in Biblical Studies, Exodus, Uncategorized | 2 Comments