New Prophetic Discoveries
Concerning the End Time
Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., June 1981
Edited by David Sielaff, March 2005
Read the accompanying Newsletter for March 2005
Historical events prophesied to occur within the period of Christ’s Second Advent can now be understood as never before! The sequence of those events is especially revealing — and is so different from what most people presently believe. This article gives a proper countdown of major historical occurrences associated within the last year of the advent of Christ. This article shows an outline of that prophetic scenario which is backed up by plain biblical teaching.
All intelligent students of the Bible are anxious to know what the immediate future holds for us who live in the world today. It is obvious to many that extraordinary times are on the horizon. The Bible speaks of momentous historical events connected with the period near the close of the age — the time just prior to and including the return of Christ back to this earth. There are many plain and unambiguous prophecies that speak specifically of that time, but there are other prophecies (some involving entire chapters, even whole books of the Bible) that hardly a person today knows where to place in the order of events leading up to Christ’s advent. Much confusion has been the result.
About the only things that most prophetic interpreters seem agreed on is that a ten nation confederation of nations will arise in Europe (which many associate with the Common Market) that will develop into the Antichristian system described in the Book of Revelation, and that Russia, independent of the Common Market, will soon invade the little nation of Israel in fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39. In both cases the interpreters are absolutely wrong! Fundamental principles of biblical interpretation are being left out (or avoided) by those who advocate such things.
In this article I hope to bring some biblical sense into the confusion that now persists. I will only give an outline of the sequential events although a whole book could be written on the matter. Our approach involves a complete re-thinking of the biblical evidence. Principles of interpretation found in the Bible, that have lain dormant in many people’s thinking for years, should be revitalized by us who live in the 20th century. In many cases, the methods of interpretation practiced by the apostles to inform people what was prophesied to happen, will have to be brought back into use by us moderns. When this is done, a whole new way of looking at the prophetic future emerges on the scene that will surprise many who are living today. It can greatly inform us of the future in a way never suspected before.
There is a biblical method of teaching used by the early apostles that is seldom utilized by most schools of prophetic interpretation. That method is using history of the past as an indication of what will happen in the future. Even the few who have recognized this biblical principle have abused its use. These are mainly people of the British/Israelite school (who transport prophecies wholesale out of their geographical settings in the Middle East and wrongly locate them in Britain, the Commonwealth, Northwestern Europe, or North America). This attempt is not only contrary to the biblical revelation, but it does violence to historical records that have come down to us since the close of the biblical canon. 1
In spite of such misuse, it has to be recognized that the early apostles were active in applying historical events of the past to explain actions that were occurring in their day. For lack of a better phrase to describe this method of interpretation, we can call it the “duality principle.” Such teaching involved the use of past histories of individuals and of nations to help explain contemporary (or endtime) events. The teaching was well established within the pages of the Old Testament. Let us see how this way of thinking works.
King Solomon referred to this principle of “duality” about 1000 years before Christ. To him, all things in life and nature were cyclical — things would return to the former state (or position) in which they once were (Ecclesiastes 1:5). For example, Solomon called attention to the wind. He noticed that it moved towards the south, turned its direction around and headed back towards the north — it “returns again according to its circuits” (Ecclesiastes 1:6). The motions of the atmosphere were circular. Solomon looked at the ocean and saw that it provided the water vapor which formed the clouds; the clouds then moved over the land and dropped precipitation onto the earth; those waters were then gathered into gullies which merged into streams which finally carried the waters back to ocean from whence they originated. “Thither they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:7).
This circular effect was also seen by King Solomon as not only applying to things in nature, but the activities of humans also appeared in a cyclical fashion.
“The thing that has been, it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
To Solomon, future events will one day reflect the past in which all things originated. In another way of putting it, the past will inevitably return in the future. This was Solomon’s way of illustrating a means of prophetic interpretation: The past will one day return! This is certainly a biblical principle because it was used by other biblical writers — among them the prophet Isaiah. He made definite statements about cyclical prophetic teaching. God put in the mouth of Isaiah some statements by which mankind might know “what shall happen” in the future (Isaiah 41:22). “What shall happen?” Isaiah asks. God answers by saying:
“Let them show the FORMER THINGS, what they be, that we may consider them [the former things], and know the LATTER END of them; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter.”
There was no doubt in the prophet Isaiah’s mind that things which happened in the past would find a relevance in the future. King Solomon also had more to say on this principle.
“That which has been is now; and that which is to be [the future] has already been; and God requires that which is past [to understand the present].”
The prophet Isaiah further emphasized this concept of repetition (or circular effect) by saying: “Behold, the former things have come to pass” (Isaiah 42:9). In Isaiah’s manner of reasoning, those former things which had profoundly affected historical events of the past had again returned in his own time. Isaiah even admonished his readers to remember the past if they ever expected to comprehend the future.
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.”
This principle of looking at past events in order to understand the future was not limited to the Old Testament. The apostle Paul applied the same teaching in his letter to the Corinthians. To him, the experiences encountered by the Israelites on their journey out of Egypt into the land of Canaan (back in the Exodus period of Moses) was very typical and reflective of what was happening to the Corinthians 1500 years later.
“Now all these things happened unto them for examples [types]: and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world [ages, eons] are come.”
1 Corinthians 10:11
We will soon see that the period of the Exodus from Egypt that the ancient Israelites experienced in a physical manner was repeated by the Christian ekklesia in a spiritual way. The apostles felt the interpretation was not a simple “like begets like” — but it was a repetitious parallel ordained of God with different actors for different purposes. A cyclical pattern of typical characteristics was in operation when Paul interpreted his own times by the experience of the Exodus.
The duality principle is also found in the lives of individual human beings. Especially is this evident in the life of Christ. It is amazing how the New Testament writers brought parallels between the lives of men in the past to illustrate the supreme example of life as found in the personage of Jesus Christ. Indeed, it would be impossible to comprehend the full message of Christ — and particularly His importance in human history — without understanding the lives of many men in the past who typified Him.
Paul referred to Christ as the “second Adam” — the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47). How can one hope to know Paul’s teaching about the role of Christ in human redemption if one knows nothing about the “first Adam” who was in certain respects a person like Christ? As Adam was the headship of all human flesh on earth, so Christ (the second Adam) became the headship of all human beings to bring them into the spiritual family of God (Romans 5:12–19).
“Therefore as by the offense of one [the first Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the second Adam — Christ] the free gift [of salvation] came upon all men unto justification of life.”
Adam was not the only one who typified Christ. Isaac was also like the Messiah who was later to appear on earth. Note these correspondences between Isaac and Christ.
Time does not permit us to show how Joseph and King David were typical of Christ, nor the many others in the Old Testament. But one thing must be mentioned: No one of the Old Testament was more typical of Christ than Moses. We have the plain teaching of the Old Testament that a great prophet was to arrive in the future who would “be like unto me [Moses]” (Deuteronomy 18:15–19). The duplication of Moses’ life as found in Christ, as well as their contrasts, represents spectacular agreement. No two people fit so precisely.
There was one outstanding agreement: Moses was given an equality to God Himself in his role as lawgiver to Israel (Exodus 4:16). But who was Jesus? He was no less than God incarnate (John 1:1). And as Moses was the great legislator to Israel for the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy 18:15–19), Christ was the lawgiver to Israel for the New Covenant (Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7).
The point we wish to make is this: How can any of us thoroughly understand the teachings of Christ which He gave in His day, unless the historical biographies of His types who lived in past times are fully known? This again is the past being used to comprehend the future.
Now we come to the central theme of our article. The history of the nations of this world is also caught up in this cyclical concept of prophetic interpretation. Israel is prominently singled out by New Testament writers as an example of what will occur in the future. Gentile nations are brought into play as well — and some in a very profound way. Let us first look at a few examples concerning Israel.
The apostle Paul considered the history of ancient Israel as typical of activities relative to Christians at his time. He mentioned to the Roman Gentiles that the 7000 Israelites who refused to bow to Baal in the time of Elijah (900 years before Christ) were similar to the Christian remnants who were called according to grace (Romans 11:2–5). Especially important, however, is Paul’s explicit relationship of events connected with Israel’s Exodus from Egypt with what was happening in the Corinthian ekklesia in the first century (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).
This latter point is very cardinal to the whole issue that we now wish to discuss. What we want to show is that the history of Israel (particularly during its Exodus sojourn) is not only typical of the life that each Christian must undergo while on earth, but that Exodus period (essentially the last year of the 40 years) reflects what will occur just before the Messiah comes to earth to establish the true Kingdom of God. This principle of interpretation is found in the Book of Hebrews — from Hebrews 3:2 through 4:11. It is an example of what Isaiah was talking about when he asked God “What shall happen in the future?” And God answered:
“Let them show the FORMER THINGS, what they be, that we may know, the LATTER END of them — the things that are to come hereafter.”
Paul taught that the beginning of the Exodus with the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites was an example of Christian baptism in his day (1 Corinthians 10:2). The end of the Exodus of Israel was also significant. It typified the leading by the true Jesus (Joshua) 3 of his people into the Kingdom of God — the real “land of Canaan” that was promised to Abraham (Hebrews 4:8–11).
In the rest of this article, we will deal with the latter part of this Exodus period which Paul considered important. It can typically show an outline of prophetic events to occur in the near future. We will be particularly interested in the last year of the Exodus — from the time that ancient Israel left Kadesh-Barnea; (Numbers 20:22) on through the time they came to Edom, then Moab and Ammon, and then to the death of Moses and his burial in Mount Nebo opposite Jericho. This event was followed by Joshua (Jesus) leading the children of Israel across Jordan into the Promised Land (typical of the Kingdom of God). The truth is, and we hope that each person will be able to see the relevance of it, every one of these final events of the Exodus is scheduled to be typically repeated when the true Israel is brought into the real land of Canaan (the Kingdom of God) at the time of Christ’s return to earth.
The Jewish people long ago saw the typical character of the 40 years’ Exodus period. They saw it as being like the latter Exodus when the Messiah would lead them into the promised inheritance. Even our American Negro spirituals have as their predominant themes “going into Canaan’s land.” 4 Though such spirituals are songs of modern American origin, they well reflect the beliefs of the Jews in Christ’s time (with whom the apostles agreed) that the early Exodus of Israel was typical of what would happen in the end-time at the final redemption of Israel.
Let us now apply the past history of the Exodus period to prophetic interpretation for today — for the period just ahead of us. It is to the last year of the 40 years’ wandering that we need to pay attention.
After the Israelites left Kadesh-Barnea on their final trek into the Promised Land they came in contact with a certain group of people. Who was the first nation they encountered? It was Edom! This is important! It parallels what will happen at the end-time. The prophecies show that the first nation that Christ will judge when He returns from heaven (and before He even goes to Jerusalem) is also the nation of Edom! That is what the Bible says. He will judge Edom (and all the nations of the world who are assembled with them in Edom) before He touches His feet on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. There is a whole chapter of the Bible that shows this — and it is one chapter that almost no one refers to today.
What chapter is this? It is Isaiah 34. One ought to read all of it! It is a prophecy about a judgment upon Edom (spelled Idumea in the King James Version) and the nations of the world who are gathered there in a vast assembly. This judgment happens at the conclusion of the time of the end — a time when the heavens retreat as a scroll and the stars fall (Isaiah 34:4). Such astronomical occurrences are described in other parts of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) as associated with the return of Christ to this earth. This judgment will be the first that Christ personally accomplishes, even before He goes to Jerusalem! Interestingly, Edom was also the first nation that Israel had to deal with in their final march into the physical Kingdom of God (the Promised Land) some 1500 years before Christ.
“Come near, you nations, to hear; and hearken, you people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he has utterly destroyed them, he has delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea [Edom], and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea [Edom]. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.
For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. ...
They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing. And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
Seek you out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it has commanded, and his spirit it has gathered them. And he has cast the lot for them, and his hand has divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever [olam, for the age], from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.”
At the time of the Exodus, the Edomites refused to let Israel go through their territory — though Israel offered to pay for all food and water. See Numbers 20:18–21:
“And Edom said unto him, ‘You shall not pass by me, lest I come out against you with the sword.’ And the children of Israel said unto him, ‘We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet.’ And he said, ‘You shall not go through.’
And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.”
This refusal was unreasonable and unbrotherly. 5 Moses was not pleased with this. The Edomites became known as “the people of my curse” (Isaiah 34:5). This and later activities caused Israelites to reckon them as people whom God would condemn.
Little good is spoken about the Edomites in the later pages of the Bible. In actual fact, the prophets gave a good number of prophecies against Edom — more than any other individual nation. Almost every prophet had something to say in judgment of Edom, yet prophetic interpreters today seem almost totally unaware that Edom was, or is, important. However, the Bible says that Edom will be the first nation that Christ will judge in a personal way when He returns from heaven, and it will involve nations from all over the world!
What amazes us is the seemingly constant attention that people give to what they call “the Battle of Armageddon,” but they say nothing about this battle in Edom that will be one of the grandest battles of judgment that will ever occur on earth — the judgment on the world nations in Edom (Isaiah 34). In fact, one wonders why is there so much talk about Armageddon! It may come as an astonishment to some, but there is no such thing as a Battle of Armageddon even mentioned in the New Testament. The Book of Revelation simply says that armies of the world will gather themselves together at Armageddon (located some 70 miles north and west of Jerusalem), but it says nothing about any battle in that area to be fought by those armies (Revelation 16:16). This shows how careless people are in their interpretation of scripture.
What actually happens is this:
Along the way, these three columns of troops will affect a considerable amount of slaughter as they finally encircle Judaea and Jerusalem. The two chapters of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (long believed to be speaking about a thrust of Russian and Mongolian troops into the Holy Land) are really describing this same movement of troops within these three columns. This must be the case with Ezekiel 38 and 39 because Christ will meet with, and deal with, these same troops at His Second Advent (Ezekiel 38:20).
When “the Assyrian” and his army finally reach Jerusalem to do battle against it, he will find a powerful and mighty king in its midst. This king is described as “Immanuel” — “the Stem of Jesse and a Branch” (Isaiah 11:1). When “the Assyrian,” known as Gog (and a host of other names), arrives at Jerusalem, the Son of David will already be there.
“Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he [the Lord] shall cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
This great heathen general of the northern armies will then shake his fist at Immanuel — who will then be the king of Israel returned from heaven (Isaiah 10:32). His offensive gesture will be met with judgment! The “Assyrian” and his army will be cut down and destroyed (Isaiah 10:34). Isaiah said this man will be called “the Wicked One” (Isaiah 11:4) and he will be slain! “With the breath of his lips shall he [Immanuel] slay the wicked [one]” (Isaiah 11:4). The apostle Paul referred to this event with the same words,
“And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit [breath] of his mouth.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:8
This victory of Christ over “the Assyrian” and his armies results in the reign of the Messiah in Jerusalem as described by Isaiah from 11:5 onto 12:6. This will be the time for the beginning of the Millennium.
Let us now go back in our story to those troops that left Armageddon along the coastal and Jordan routes which went into the southern end of the Dead Sea to affect an encompassment of Jerusalem. What will Christ do with this vast horde of armed men?
These armies are to be gathered in an area known anciently by two names. From the southern end of the Dead Sea and up the eastern slopes of the mountains (and extending southward all the way to the Gulf of Aqaba) that region was known as Edom. Isaiah 34 is speaking about this particular area when he said the nations of the world would gather there for judgment at the end of the age. The western side of this same rift valley, and extending from the Gulf of Aqaba and northwards up the western side of the Dead Sea, was known as “the Valley of Jehoshaphat” (Joel 3:2, 12) or “the Valley of Decision” (Joel 3:14).
Though the location of “the Valley of Jehoshaphat” has been disputed by some commentators in the past, research has now shown that the region around the western part of the Dead Sea all the way south to the Gulf of Aqaba is the biblical “Valley of Jehoshaphat.” In the reign of Jehoshaphat the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites gathered an immense army, “a great multitude,” and encamped near Engedi, to the west of the Dead Sea. A great terror fell on Jehoshaphat and Jerusalem. He proclaimed a fast and asked God to protect Judah from such an array of armies. But while encamped in this area the heathen soldiers began to fight among themselves. They destroyed each other to a man. Jehoshaphat could hardly believe his good fortune, but God had come in answer to his prayer. He and Judah spent three days just gathering in the spoil from the great slaughter (2 Chronicles 20). Jehoshaphat saw the destruction of this great multitude as occurring in the “Valley of Decision” — called a short time later “the Valley of Jehoshaphat.”
This victory by the intervention of God so impressed the prophet Joel a short time later, that he reckoned this event to be like the destruction that would take place in the same location when the Day of the Lord would arrive on earth. One should read all of Joel chapter 3 to see how God will, at a time when the sun, moon, and stars cease shining, and with “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14), step in to destroy all the assembled heathen nations which will then be in that same area.
This “Valley of Jehoshaphat” is exactly contiguous to the nation of Edom (which is in the same valley but located primarily on the eastern side of the slopes). This battle mentioned in Joel is the one described in Isaiah 34 as occurring in Edom when all the nations of the world are assembled against Israel. The same celestial disturbances are to be witnessed (Isaiah 34:4) as in Joel 3:15. This is said to be the exact period when the Lord, in all His glory, will come through Edom “treading the winepress” of His fury.
“Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah [Edom’s capital]? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? ... I have trodden the winepress alone ... and their blood shall be sprinkled on my garments ... for the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
That same day of vengeance and the year of God’s redeemed is also referred to in Isaiah 34:8 (“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion”) — right in the midst of the chapter which speaks of the Messiah’s final judgment upon Edom and the nations of the world! The two references are identical and describe the same event.
This judgment of Christ on Edom, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, is the first time that Christ personally intervenes on earth and supervises a judgment of war at the end of the age. This will be done before Christ goes to Jerusalem to battle with “the Assyrian” whose army is approaching the capital city from the north. In fact, Christ’s feet will not even touch the ground while this judgment in “the Valley of Jehoshaphat” takes place. Revelation describes this scene as Christ “treading through the winepress” (Revelation 19:15). His feet will be bathed in blood.
But note this important point. The Bible describes Christ and His holy angels as riding white horses (Revelation 19:11, 14). And since Revelation 14:20 says that the blood from this battle will flow up to horse’s bridles for a distance of about 175 miles, it can be understood how the feet of riders on horses could be soaked with blood without their feet actually touching the ground. 6 As a matter of fact, the valley of Revelation 14:20 that is 1600 furlongs in length — about 175 miles — could hardly be a small valley around Jerusalem or anywhere else in Palestine other than the rift valley to the east and south of Jerusalem. Even this reference in the Book of Revelation helps to show that the region near the Dead Sea and southward is the only area which could be “the Valley of Jehoshaphat.”
Once this great slaughter is over, Christ then prepares to head towards Jerusalem to meet “the Assyrian” and his army that are approaching the capital. Christ’s feet and garments will be soaked in blood (Isaiah 63:16) from this war in Edom. But strange as it may seem, Christ does not immediately go directly north and a little west towards the actual location of Jerusalem.
The Bible makes it clear that Christ will arrive in Jerusalem from the east.
“For as the lightning [the sun] comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Since the disciples were on top the Mount of Olives when Christ told them this, it shows He will approach the Olivet ridge from the east — from the direction in which Jericho is found. Just east of Jericho, and across the Jordan River, is the region where Moses was buried (Deuteronomy 34:16). This burial spot of Moses may very well give us a key as to how far east of Jerusalem Christ will be when He starts His approach to the City of David.
Recall that the Exodus journeys of Israel were a type of Israel going into the Land of Promise at the end of the age under the Messiah (Hebrews 3:2 through 4:11). Also remember that the first nation Israel encountered on their journey from the desert into the land of Canaan was Edom. We have already seen that the first area that Christ judges as He prepares to lead His redeemed into the true Kingdom of God also was Edom (read Isaiah chapter 34, Ezekiel chapters 35 and 36, and Joel chapter 3 together).
Since ancient Israel during the Exodus (after their encounter with Edom) went to the King’s Highway in Moab and turned north to Mount Nebo (overlooking the Promised Land opposite Jericho — Deuteronomy 34:16), it could well be that Christ and His angels will follow the same route — directly to the place where Moses is buried, in preparation to enter the Holy Land!
The most perfect type of Christ in the Old Testament was Moses. The Bible says that Christ was “like unto me [Moses]” (Deuteronomy 18:15). And since the Israelites of old looked on Moses as the top prophet, it is reasonable that Christ (the second Moses) would come to the area where Moses was buried before he officially enters the Promised Land. There is good reason to believe that this is true. Notice one or two points that suggest the relevance of this point.
When Christ gave a vision of His Second Advent to three of His disciples, they noticed two personages standing in glory with Christ. One was Moses and the other was Elijah (Matthew 16:27–28 to 17:19). We know that Moses had been buried just east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho. It is interesting that the last official act of Elijah while he was on earth was to lead his successor Elisha from Bethel eastwards to the Jordan River, then to cross the Jordan dry shod (by a miracle) — similar to the time the Israelites crossed into the Holy Land under Joshua.
Elijah’s departure was in the direction of Moses’ burial spot. He was then taken up by a whirlwind into a cloud (2 Kings 2:11). Though we later hear of Elijah (2 Chronicles 21:12), it is no doubt symbolic that Elijah’s mission on earth was completed on the east side of Jordan opposite Jericho near the burial place of Moses. The completion of Moses’ and Elijah’s careers was in the same area. Could they be resurrected from the same region?
At the period of His Second Advent,
This suggestion has real possibilities. If the end-time order of events is (1) the first judgment on Edom and the nations, (2) the resurrection of the dead, and (3) Christ’s coming from the east with the saints to Jerusalem, then one section of scripture that has been a mystery for years can now make sense.
Look at Luke 17:22–37. Hardly anyone has been able to answer, until now, all of the details of this long section of prophecy given by Christ.
“And he said unto the disciples, ‘The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it. 23And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26And as it was in the days of Noe [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; ... 29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32Remember Lot's wife.
33Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.’
37And they answered and said unto him, ‘Where, Lord?’ And he said unto them, ‘Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.’”
First of all, the context of the prophecy is speaking about the exact time of the Second Advent. Notice how plain this is stated. It is so similar to Matthew’s account of Christ’s return from heaven.
“For as the lightning, that lightens out of one part under heaven, shines unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day [when He comes].”
After mentioning Christ’s coming as the sun from the east, Christ then talked about the unexpectedness of His coming by a reference to Noah.
The next thing He mentioned was a long reference to Lot — the nephew of Abraham in Luke 17:28–32. Why pay attention to the example of Lot? The answer has been there all the time, yet hardly anyone has seen the significance of Christ mentioning Lot. Why the importance of Lot in the story of the Second Advent?
Look at the matter closely. Right after stating the example of Lot, Christ then said that some people would be in bed, others grinding, and others in the field (Luke 17:34–36) and that some of each group would be taken somewhere. Where would they be taken?
Recall that this event takes place at Christ’s coming, not 7 or 3½ years before He appears. Why would they be taken to Petra (or somewhere else) to wait in safety until the Second Advent, if this was the time of the advent itself? The point is, the text seems to say they were taken somewhere at the exact time of the second coming. The disciples were curious as to the location of the place and they asked: “Where Lord?” (Luke 17:37). “And he [Christ] said unto them, wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”
What a strange thing to say. It seems to have satisfied the curiosity of the disciples, but can it satisfy us? What is meant by the proverbial statement that where a dead body is, there is where eagles will be, and where the saints will be taken at the Second Advent? The “where” is a gathering place.
Some of us have thought in the past it might mean Petra — because the proverb is a takeoff from a passage in Job 39:27–30 which mentions about eagles being in the rock 7 around where the slain are. But to be slain means that people have been killed. How could this mean a particular place of safety in Petra — or anywhere? Those who are in the safety of Petra are alive, but the terms being used in these references are “the slain” and a “dead body.” In no way could “Christ’s body” — or an ekklesia in Petra — be meant. That part of the “body” will be alive, not dead! This has always been a puzzle that did not fit the Petra identification. It is somewhere else other than Petra.
Still, Christ’s disciples seemed satisfied with His answer. This is all well and good, but what did He mean? The answer may come from a section of the context that has been overlooked for years. Christ took five verses in the prophecy to talk about the experiences of Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Why the emphasis on Lot? He said the disciples could escape at the Second Advent as did Lot if the example of Lot was followed. What did Lot do to escape the destruction of Sodom? He first fled to Zoar (a small village east of the Dead Sea) and then he went up “to the mountain” (Genesis 19:17, 30). This mountain must have been prominent enough that it did not need identification. But where would it have been? It was right in the vicinity where Moses was later buried! Lot fled to the region of Mount Nebo! 8
Christ is seemingly telling His disciples to pay heed to the example of Lot in regard to circumstances involving the Second Advent. Whereas Lot went east of Jordan into the mountain, the resurrected saints at the Second Advent will also be taken somewhere. “Where Lord?” asked the disciples (Luke 17:37). “And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”
They would be taken to where a dead body was. Relevant to this may be the strange reference in Jude about the archangel Michael and the Devil having a great confrontation — as though the matter was very important — over the dead body of Moses. “Yet Michael the archangel when contending with the Devil he disputed about the body of Moses, ...” (Jude 9).
No person in Old Testament times was more important than Moses. So significant was he that God even hid his exact burial place so that people would not retreat to the sepulcher to make idols out of the stones, etc. Satan wanted the place where Moses’ body was buried to be known to the world, but Michael stepped in to secure the command of God regarding its secrecy (Deuteronomy 34:5–6). No one to this day knows the precise spot where Moses is buried, though everyone realizes that it is up the eastern slopes of the Jordan rift opposite the city of Jericho (Deuteronomy 32:49).
This is where Elijah ended his career, and it is the exact area where Lot went to escape the burning fires of Sodom (typical of the future gehenna — Jude 7). Could it be that the “where” to which the resurrected saints will be taken to meet Christ in the air will be where the one significant “dead body” of all the Old Testament was once buried? If this is so, then Christ’s prophecy of Luke 17:22–37 makes sense, and the context of this section of scripture is compatible with others speaking about the resurrection from the dead.
Christ answered His disciples by telling them symbolically where the resurrected saints would assemble at the time of the Second Advent: He said in effect, paraphrasing Luke 17:37: “Wheresoever the dead body of Moses was buried is where eagles wings will carry those who are changed into immortality or are resurrected from the dead at My coming.” Of course, Moses would at the same time be resurrected from the dead and appear as he, and Elijah did, on the Mount of Transfiguration to the disciples (Matthew 17:1–9). But the key spot to identify the assemblage area for the resurrected saints is where the dead body of Moses was. This will be over Mount Nebo.
But that does not end the story. Paul said that Christ shall take those resurrected dead from around the world and “bring them with him” (2 Thessalonians 4:14). Bring them where? Bring them with Him to Jerusalem! Christ will have assembled all the resurrected saints (and those changed) over Mount Nebo on the east of Jericho and then head straight to Jerusalem. He will then appear to those in the City of David as coming with His saints and holy angels from the east (Matthew 24:27).
When Christ arrives over Jerusalem, He then descends at that very moment to stand on the Mount of Olives — “and his feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4). This will be the first time in over nineteen hundred years that His feet will physically be on earth (of which we have biblical record) (Acts 1:9–12). During the time when He and His angels were causing judgments upon the nations in Edom — “the Valley of Decision” — they were all seated upon white horses. Their feet did not touch the ground (Revelation 19:11, 14). But now, Christ has come to earth with His feet on the ground. He, His angels, and the resurrected saints are now in Jerusalem.
The northern armies that had gathered in the region of Armageddon had designs on conquering Judaea and Jerusalem. The two columns that surrounded Judaea by meeting in the area of the Valley of Jehoshaphat and Edom have now, in the story, been dealt with by Christ (Isaiah 34; Ezekiel chapters 35 and 36; Joel 3). Christ then followed the route of the Exodus and went to Mount Nebo. The resurrection of the saints — including Moses and Elijah — then took place. Christ brought those saints with Him to Jerusalem and stood on the Mount of Olives. And, at that very time, on the doorstep of Jerusalem, approaching with the last remnant of his armies, is “the Assyrian.” Isaiah picks up the story of this final battle when “the Assyrian” and his forces reach Aiath (Ai) about ten miles north of Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:28). Christ is in Jerusalem awaiting the battle.
Isaiah, from chapter 10 verse 28, describes the step-by-step movement of this final heathen force towards Jerusalem. They first, come to Michmash, then Geba, then Gibeah, and finally to Nob — the northern hill just opposite Jerusalem, where the central part of the city can first be seen. At that spot, “the Assyrian” shakes his fist in defiance at the Son of David (Christ Himself) now in Jerusalem with His angels and resurrected saints. He is about ready to war against Christ, but in a moment the wicked one is slain (Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8) and the flesh of his army is consumed away while they yet stand (Zechariah 14:12). The final conflict comes to an abrupt and calamitous end for the nations of the world. From then on, Christ reigns triumphantly in Jerusalem for the next 1000 years (Revelation 20:6).
The prophecies we have been mentioning in this article are in the Bible for all to see, but some of them are seldom referred to today. It is no wonder that people are so confused over what the future holds. It is time to get back to the methods of prophetic interpretation used by the early prophets and apostles, as well as to consider all the prophecies and place them into a logical order that all can easily follow. 9 If people will only look on the clues that the Bible gives to put historical “flesh” on the prophetical “skeletal” frame, much sense can be made out of the information in the biblical revelation.
What is important is to study the past as mentioned in the Bible to see how it fits in the prophetic themes that explain the future. Especially should one look at the types, whether of individuals or nations. The period of Israel’s Exodus is especially helpful in gaining a proper sequence of events to understand the time when God’s spiritual nation will finally secure, under Christ, the true Promised Land — the Kingdom of God.
The prophet Daniel promised that “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). He was speaking about “prophetic knowledge.” I believe that we are in that period of time of which Daniel spoke. One way God can show love and concern is to reveal what He intends to do on earth in the next few years. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
This article is only an outline of the prophetic indications leading up to the Second Advent of Christ. We have not had the time or space to show things in detail. True, there may be some adjustments here and there that will have to be made as we get nearer the times and see the events occurring in closer prospective. The Book of Daniel says that knowledge shall be increased as the day approaches (Daniel 12:4). Daniel was talking about knowledge involving prophecy, not general scientific or academic knowledge. So, as time goes on, we may have to revise some of the countdown events leading up to Christ’s advent in order to understand things even clearer.
However, what is already available is a great deal of information — so different from that believed by many in the world today, yet it is in accord with the overall revelation of the Bible. What we present is not intended to be dogmatism, but it is much food for thought in this age of confusion!
Since the information in this article may be new to some of our recent readers of A.S.K. material, we recommend that the research be read a second time, and that the maps be consulted in conjunction with all the biblical references.
Ernest L. Martin, 1981
Edited by David Sielaff, March 2005
1 For information to show the nonsense of the British/Israel theory that the white people of Britain and the USA are supposed to be descendants of Israelites from Palestine — see the three articles that deal with this subject the subject: “Just Who Is an Israelite Today?” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p041001.htm , “Who Are the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel Today?” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p900703.htm, and “Is David's Throne in Existence Today?” http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d020802.htm. DWS
2 Note that Isaac was younger and stronger than his father Abraham. No one knows the age of Isaac when this attempted “offering” occurred, but he was not a young man. The word “lad” simply refers to a younger man as distinct from one of old age. Isaac could well have been 33 years of age at the time, as was Christ. ELM
3 The name “Jesus” is the Greek expression and the same word as Joshua in the Old Testament. It does not have a pagan origin as some mistakenly believe. In the Greek Old Testament, the LXX, the word “Joshua” is spelled exactly as the Greek New Testament spells Jesus. Only the English translation is different. DWS
4 American Negro spirituals are a folk music of early America that came out of the south when many black people felt they were like the early Israelites in Egyptian bondage. ELM
5 Recall that Esau — the father of the Edomites — was twin brother to Jacob of Israel. They should have been more kind to Israel, but they responded with a lack of cooperation. ELM
6 The Greek likely means that the blood splashes up to the bridles of the horses as they travel through the valley, not that the blood was “up to” the bridles in depth. Whatever the case, that is a tremendous amount of blood and gore. DWS
7 The word in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament is “petra” in Job 39:28. DWS
8 The cities of the plain where Lot formerly lived were in the northern parts of the Dead Sea region, not in the south. ELM
9 Dr. Martin understood that the events in the book of Revelation were sequential and formed the basic skeletal time framework of prophecy. The book of Revelation has many allusions to other prophecies throughout the Bible which were obvious to the original audience that was primarily an informed Jewish audience. The original readers knew (or should have known) the background prophecies referred to in Revelation. For example look at Revelation 3:7–8 which is an unmistakable reference to Isaiah 22:22. Those other prophecies in the Bible can attach to that skeletal framework in Revelation, “fleshing out” and providing details to events that Revelation merely mentions. We should learn and know all those references in Revelation. DWS
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