In last week’s post, The New and Improved Law (part 3), I went over the holy days of Leviticus 23 that I used to rigorously observe. For over 25 years I kept these days somewhat according to the Old Covenant’s commands to Israel of obeying God (I did not, of course, offer any animal sacrifices at a temple). Because I am gaining (note: gaining – I am still learning!) understanding of the New Covenant, I am highly awestruck by how Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the holy days that the Israelites observed.
These Old Covenant holy days, were just that – days that
picture Jesus Christ. They were not
prophecies that were fulfilled one by one
on a timeline. No, they were all fulfilled when
Jesus came onto the world scene and died for
the sins of humanity.
But, along with the observance of these days (which
I no longer keep) was my anticipation that, before Christ
returns to the earth, the Church would be affected
by tremendous turmoils and cataclysmic events
never before experienced on earth. And because of that,
I would be told to flee and be transported somehow
to a special place of protection – to an area somewhere
in the world – to a definite place of safety called Petra.
Can you believe that? Actually, I did consider this place
to be a temporary safe haven for me as a Christian.
I must be crazy telling you this! But that is
purpose of this post.
Petra is the place I used to believe the Christian church, not all of it, would go and be protected from the ravages of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:13, Daniel 12:1). Do I believe this now? Yes, to some extent. But why did I consider a place by the name of Petra?
There is an actual place with that name. Petra is a very old city about 100 square miles situated in southern Jordan. It was built around the 5th century B.C.
It is highly known for its archaeological value. The photo image on your right is the Al Khazneh, Treasury building located at this city.
The name Petra is a transliteration of the Greek word, Πέτρα, which means, a rock, ledge, cliff, a cave, stony ground. And. as most Christians
know, rock in the New Testament focuses
mostly on Jesus Christ.
You can read much about this city in the Internet and elsewhere if you want, but I no longer think of this city as a place chosen by God for sheltering the Church. I may be wrong here. But, I still believe the church (perhaps a remnant of her) may indeed be physically protected in the very last days. How and when? I do not know. Again, the Bible is not very clear on the details.
Here are some verses that I meditated on:
1) Matthew 24:21-22
For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
Who are the elect? I used to believe they were only Christians who have not turned their backs on certain of God’s laws of the Old Covenant such as the keeping of the seventh day (Saturday) Sabbath commandment – not Sunday worshippers in other churches.
2) Daniel 12:1
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered every one that shall be found written in the book.
God’s word here says His children, the church, will be given protection. She will escape the calamities happening all around the earth. But who will it actually be? Will it be one denomination at the exclusion of other church denominations? Or, will it be Christians from all Christian churches of the world? That is not clear. This verse may all be symbolic language for all I know.
3) Revelation 3:10-11
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown
The “you” in the above passage, in context, is referring to the Philadelphia Church who “have kept my word and have not denied my name.” I, ah, (ahem), naturally assumed I was in that church. I believed I was holding on to the “truths given to the early saints of the first century” (twisting the word faith in Jude 3 to only mean doctrines). I believed I was qualified to be spared and sheltered from the woes the earth was to experience.
Once again, I will not rule out the Church being physically protected for a time period (3 1/2 years maybe?) from the Great Tribulation and from all of the horrors of a World War. It is all God’s will.
4) Revelation 12:14
The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.
Note here that, because of Satan, the woman (the Church) is persecuted and driven into a certain place in the wilderness. There are eagle wings given to her enabling her to flee from the wrath all around her. Again, please note: This is to happen during the final few years before Christ returns.
But, the Bible is not clear what all this means. What are eagle’s wings? Is it aviation flight of some kind? How many in the Church will be taken there? Will it be only one Christian denomination that will be given the chance to be protected? I used to think so. Not so any more.
I was arrogant to believe that I would be one of those automatically delivered to safety because of my daily works of keeping the Old Covenant Law. But today I say to you: Believing in the gospel is to believe on Jesus Christ. It is not the gospel of “how to make sure you would be gathered with others to a place of safety”.
By the way, did you catch it? Did you catch something interesting in Revelation 12:14 quoted above? I will stop here and elaborate on it in my next post entitled: You Are My Hiding Place. Please stay tuned.