When the Dragon is cast out of Heaven into the Earth, knowing that his defeat has been brought about by the elevation of the "MAN-CHILD" to the place of power, he will concentrate his hatred
and malice on the "Sun-Clothed Woman" (Israel), who gave the "Man-Child" birth. To the "Woman" will be given the "WINGS OF A GREAT EAGLE" that she may fly into the "Wilderness," into "HER PLACE" where she shall be nourished for a "TIME, TIMES and HALF A TIME," or 3½ years. This takes us back to the flight of Israel from Egypt, of which God said--"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on 'EAGLE'S WINGS,' and brought you unto myself." Ex. 19:4. As the "Woman" and the "Dragon" are symbols, so are the "Eagle's Wings." They speak of the rapid and safe flight of the "Woman" (ISRAEL) into the "Wilderness" where she shall be safely kept and nourished for 3½ years until the Dragon is bound.
The Prophet Isaiah speaks of this time when he says--"Come, my people (ISRAEL).enter thou into thy CHAMBERS, and SHUT THY DOORS ABOUT THEE: HIDE THYSELF AS IT WERE FOR A LITTLE WHILE (3½ years) UNTIL THE INDIGNATION (The Great Tribulation) IS OVERPAST. . . . In THAT DAY (the Day of the casting out of the Dragon) the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish 'LEVIATHAN' (the "Dragon" or "Serpent") the piercing SERPENT, even 'LEVIATHAN' the crooked SERPENT, and He shall slay 'THE DRAGON' that is in the sea." Isa. 26:20; 27:1. This may mean the "BEAST" that comes up out of the sea, the "ANTICHRIST." Rev. 13:1-2.
This is the time that Christ refers to in Matt. 24:15-22. "When ye therefore shall see the 'ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,' spoken of by Daniel the Prophet (Dan. 9:27), stand in the Holy Place (whoso readeth, let him understand), then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 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. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the ELECT'S SAKE (the elect of Israel) those days shall be shortened." The flight that Matthew here speaks about is not the same flight that Luke speaks about. "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. 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." Luke 21:20-24.
A careful comparison of these two passages will reveal their difference. Luke refers to the "Destruction of Jerusalem" by Titus, A. D. 70, at which time Jerusalem was compassed by the Roman Army, and the sufferings of the inhabitants of the city were so great that mothers cooked and ate their own children. This is past. And verse 24 has been fulfilled for the Jews have been "led away captive into ALL NATIONS," where they still remain, and Jerusalem has since then been "TRODDEN DOWN OF THE GENTILES," and will continue to be until the "TIMES OF THE GENTILES" shall be fulfilled. But the "flight" that Matthew speaks about is still future. He locates it at the time of the "Great Tribulation," which he says is to be preceded by the setting up of the "ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION," spoken of by Daniel the Prophet. The gods, or idols of the heathen, are spoken of as "ABOMINATIONS." Milcom, or Molech, was the "abomination" of the Ammonites; Chemosh, the "abomination" of Moab. 1. Kings 11:5-7. This interprets the "ABOMINATION" spoken of by Daniel, as nothing other than an "IDOL" or "FALSE GOD." In the "Middle of the Week," a "DESOLATOR" (Antichrist) will appear and cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease, and set up in the "Holy Place" of the Temple an "IDOL," and that "Idol" will be an "IMAGE OF THE BEAST." Rev. 13:14-15.
Let us now return to the "Flight of the Woman" and see if we can locate "her place," the "chamber" to which she is to flee, and "shut to the door," and "hide herself for a little while," and be nourished by God for a "Time, and Times, and Half a Time," or 3½ years.
THE CITIES OF REFUGE.
The "Cities of Refuge" of Old Testament times are a type of this "Wilderness Refuge" of the Children of Israel.
The "Cities of Refuge" were designated cities, 3 on each side the river Jordan, where the "Man-Slayer" could flee for safety from the "Avenger of Blood." If it was proved after trial that he had slain a man "wilfully," he was turned over to the "Avenger of Blood," but if he did it unwittingly, his life was spared, but he had to remain in the city until the death of the High Priest. If there were no "Man-Slayer" there would be no "Avenger of Blood," and therefore no need for a "City of Refuge."
Now if I find in the New Testament that a certain class of people are called upon to flee to a "Place of Refuge" for the protection of their lives, then I must believe that they flee because an "Avenger of Blood" is after them, and that they flee because they are guilty of "Manslaughter."
Such a class of people I find in the Jewish Race. They were the cause of the death of Christ, and though He was crucified by the Roman authorities they assumed the guilt for they cried--"His blood be on Us, and on Our Children." Matt. 27:25. At first sight it looks like "wilful" murder, yet from the prayer of Jesus on the Cross--"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," it is clear that Jesus' death was not so much a premeditated murder as it was a
murder committed in a blind religious frenzy. Paul says--"had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory." 1. Cor. 2:8.
It is clear then that the Jewish race is only guilty of "Man-slaughter." As the "Man-Slayer" of Jesus they have been for over 1800 years running for a "City of Refuge" and have not as yet reached it. The "Avenger of Blood" has been on their track and has hounded them from nation to nation, and the epithet of
"The Wandering Jew"
has followed them down the centuries, and the prophecy of Moses is being fulfilled that they should find no rest for the sole of their foot. Deut. 28:64-67.
If the Jews are the "Man-Slayer" who is the "Avenger of Blood"? Antichrist.
And now as to the "City of Refuge" that God will provide for Israel when the "Avenger of Blood" (Antichrist), who shall then be indwelt by the Dragon, is on her track.
When the Lord God brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt they journeyed from the Red Sea, tarrying for a while at Mt. Sinai to receive the Law and build the Tabernacle, until they came, one year, after leaving Egypt, to Kadesh Barnea. There they sent up spies to spy out the land of Canaan, but refused to go up and take possession of the land, and were compelled to wander in the Wilderness south of the Dead Sea. There God took care of them and fed them for 40 years. Now it is in the same Wilderness that God is going to provide for them a place of "Refuge" in the day when the "Avenger of Blood" shall seek to destroy them.
Speaking of the Antichrist, the Prophet Daniel says--
Now Edom takes in the Wilderness where Israel wandered for 40 years. And it is here in Edom that the "City of Refuge" that God has provided for Israel is located, and is known today as Petra. It was a great commercial centre in the days of King Solomon. In A. D. 105 the Romans conquered the country and called the province Arabia Petra. When the power of Rome waned Petra gradually fell into the hands of the Arabs and became completely lost to the civilized world in the seventh century, and remained so until it was rediscovered by Burckhardt in 1812.
It is located in the mountains like as in the crater of a volcano. It has but one entrance, and that is through a narrow, winding defile or canyon from 12 to 40 feet wide, the sides of which are precipitous and at times so close together as to almost shut out the blue sky above and make you think you are passing through a subterranean passageway. The height of the sides varies from 200 to 1000 feet, and the length of the canyon is about two miles. No other city in the world has such a wonderful gateway. The sides of the canyon are lined with wonderful monuments and temples carved out of the rocky sandstone of the sides. Once inside the rocky inclosure of the city we find the ruins of magnificent buildings, tombs and monuments. The cliffs
that surround the city are carved and honeycombed with excavations to a height of 300 feet above the floor of the valley, and the excavations cut as they are out of different colored strata of the rock, such as red, purple, blue, black, white and yellow, lend a beauty to their appearance that is indescribable and overpowering to the beholder.
When the time comes for the "Man-Slayer" (Israel), to escape from the hands of the "Avenger of Blood" (Antichrist), the rocky fastness of the ancient city of Petra will be her "City of Refuge." We read that when the "Woman" (Israel) shall flee into the Wilderness that the "Serpent" (Antichrist, indwelt by Satan) shall cast a flood of water out of his mouth after her to destroy her, but that the earth shall open her mouth and swallow the flood. That is, Antichrist will send his army after the fleeing Israelites, and it will probably be swallowed up in a "Sand storm" of the desert, and Israel shall safely reach her place of refuge, where she shall be safe, not until the death of the High Priest, but until the return of "The High Priest" (Jesus) from Heaven, who as "King-Priest" of the Armies of Heaven will deliver her and allow her to leave her place of refuge. During the period of Israel's 'hiding" in the Wilderness God will "nourish" her as He did during her 40 years' wandering in the same Wilderness in the days of Moses.