1: Jordan and God’s Church in Prophecy
Radical Islam is plotting to take over the small, weak nation of Jordan. Already, Iran and the radical Islamist camp have gained heavy influence over several powerful nations in the Middle East—Egypt, Iraq and Libya—and they are on their way to fully taking over these nations. Now the sights of radical Islam are also set on Jordan.
Jordan’s leader, King Abdullah, is deeply concerned, and for good reason. The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic organization with a radical past and aggressive ambitions, is trying to hijack the king’s efforts to reform his nation. “The king has replaced three prime ministers since the ‘Arab Spring’ began and has thrown a number of former officials into prison, but all this has not satisfied the Muslim Brotherhood,” the Gatestone Institute reported on May 30, 2012. “[A] Jordanian official said that his government has proof that ‘outside forces’ [that would be Iran, mainly] were backing Muslim Brotherhood’s scheme to ‘spread chaos and anarchy in the kingdom’ by exploiting demands for reform and democracy.”
Several powerful Middle Eastern nations haven’t been able to withstand the infiltration of the radical Islamist camp, or the “king of the south,” as the Bible calls it (Daniel 11:40). And now the gaze of radical Islamism is turning to this smaller and weaker nation.
Yet, for more than 50 years, God’s Church has said that the little nation of Jordan will not fall to the king of the south.
How could we possibly know that? When radical Islam is taking over powerful Middle Eastern nations, how can we say it will not take over Jordan? Because it is prophesied in your Bible. You can prove that, and you need to prove it because this is leading very quickly to the most momentous events you’ve ever heard of.
Bible prophecy reveals that Jordan is to receive some special protection from God. It also is to be punished by God. These events closely relate to God’s loyal Church. We need to understand why.
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Daniel 11:40-41). The king of the north is the Holy Roman Empire from Europe. The king of the south is primarily the radical Islamic camp—led by Iran. (You can prove the identities of these prophetic figures by requesting our free booklets Germany and the Holy Roman Empire and The King of the South.) This is a titanic struggle between two powers.
Anciently, Edom was located in the southern part of Jordan. The rocky fortress of Petra was at one time the Edomite capital. Moab was the central part. There is a small city in Jordan today called Moab. The children of Ammon were from the north. The capital of Jordan today is Amman (spelled almost the same as Ammon). The name of the capital city is only one indication of many that this is the area called Jordan today.
Study Daniel’s prophecy: The king of the north is going to be victorious in this battle. The radical Islamic camp will be conquered.
Shortly after that battle, Jerusalem will be taken captive by the king of the north. That means people all around Jordan will be conquered—but this prophecy says that Jordan will “escape out of his hand.” Why? The way this is worded, it’s as if Jordan was in “his hand,” yet escapes. The Hebrew literally reads, “And these will be saved from his hand.” God will save this area for a specific purpose.
Here is how the Moffatt Bible translates verse 41: “He shall also invade the fair land of Palestine, and myriads shall be killed. (But these nations shall be saved from him, the Edomites, the Moabites, and the main part of the Ammonites.)”
It is strongly implied, if not stated, that this area, called Jordan today, should have been conquered but was not. Why should this small piece of real estate escape when it is so close to the battle?
Great military leaders and nations often assume that they determine the outcome of warfare. Repeatedly, God shows us in the Bible that He is always working out His plan. Nothing happens that doesn’t fit into God’s plan.
This verse in Daniel is one of the many scriptures that illustrate this point. How long will it take men to learn this lesson?
The International Critical Commentary states, “The exemption of the lands to the east and south of Judea is entirely obscure …. It must be some local allusion whose significance escapes us ….” The International Critical Commentary can’t figure out why this little area will escape, and why God places that escape in the spotlight here. Jordan’s escape is contrary to what one would think. The commentaries are unable to explain why it happens. They see no “significance” to Jordan escaping.
However, God’s people see a very good reason why this occurs. They see that God emphasizes this event for a great purpose. This prophecy reveals that God will protect Jordan from the attack of the king of the north. That’s an absolute prophecy. But it also strongly indicates that God is going to protect His people in that very area from the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.
Many biblical prophecies reveal that God, in the midst of the unparalleled suffering that will besiege the world just before Christ’s Second Coming, will miraculously deliver His people to a place of protection.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth” (Revelation 12:14-16). Could this place of safety be in the wilderness of Jordan?
The last part of Daniel 11:41 connects the peoples of Jordan to God’s loyal Church: “[T]hese shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” God will spare Edom and Moab (Jordan) and the chief of the children of Ammon. Gesenius‘ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon shows that the word “chief” means, “with regard to time, first fruits.” This undoubtedly is referring to God’s people who, as Herbert W. Armstrong taught for so many years, are described in Scripture as the “firstfruits” to be harvested in God’s plan. These peoples will be saved out of the hand of the king of the north when he conquers and enslaves so many others.
The last part of the scripture is not talking about Jordan, but about God’s firstfruits—that little spring harvest that comes before the great fall harvest. It is about those people called out before Christ’s Second Coming to help Him harvest that great fall harvest. If they will support His Work today, God will use these people mightily.
Asiatic Hordes Attack
Other nations are also prophesied to fall to the king of the north (Daniel 11:42-43). This king and a great false church will gain control of Europe, North and South America, Africa and the Middle East. It will appear to most people that no power can resist this king (Revelation 13:4). But they are wrong.
God has a massive army assembled to humble the king of the north! The king of the north is greatly disturbed by what happens in Russia and China. “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many” (Daniel 11:44). This war, for the most part, will destroy the king of the north. The victorious nations from the northeast are prophesied to assemble the largest army ever—200 million soldiers! (see Revelation 9:16). They will sweep across Europe and the Middle East, destroying everybody in their path. This war will kill more human beings than any other war in the history of man!
Most of Jordan will also be slaughtered by these armies from the east and the north, or northeast. This time God only protects the small area in the southern part of Jordan. But why?
Sela Another Name for Petra
In an article about Petra in April 1962, the Good News focused on an important prophecy in the first five verses of Isaiah 16. This passage, the article said, “is a message to Moab—modern Jordan, in whose territory Petra or Sela is presently located. Verse 1 should read: ‘Send ye the lambs for the Ruler of the land from Sela that is toward the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion’ (compare the kjv with the [Jewish Publication Society] translation).”
The “daughter of Zion” is God’s Church—those loyal to Him today.
The Good News continued: “The time setting of this prophecy is the return of Christ to rule the nations. He is the King of the land. The Moabites are commanded to seek Him, to send Him an offering as a token of their submission. The offering comes from Sela. But why are the Moabites found in Sela, when only Bedouin dwell there today? The succeeding verses answer: ‘For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters’—descendants—‘of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.’ Other prophecies picture hordes from the east capturing the land east of the Jordan. (See Ezekiel 25:10.) As these [Asiatic] hordes plunge toward Palestine, slaughtering as they go, a pitiful remnant—described in Jeremiah 48:1-25—escapes at the Arnon (a stream running into the Dead Sea). The Moabite refugees flee southward for protection. Why? Is it perhaps because they have known of others already there in a place of safety? Now look at verse 4. God is addressing Moab: ‘Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler.’
“So there are others there already, ‘Mine outcasts,’ God calls them. God’s people, who flee from the world, refugees or outcasts!
“The fleeing Moabites are not to betray where they [God’s people] are. This makes verse 3 much clearer. The Moabites are commanded to ‘Give counsel, execute justice; make thy shadow as night in the midst of the noon day; hide the outcasts; betray not the fugitive’ (jps translation). Their flight is not to reveal where God’s own outcasts are.”
In verse 3, God tells Moab to hide His “outcasts.” These are God’s elect who are cast out of their countries because they deliver His message. The whole nation will have an opportunity to flee from the Asian onslaught. The nation must be warned by God’s people. Some of the Moabites will respond. They will trust God and flee to a part of their country where God will protect them. This is no doubt a reward to the nation for hiding God’s outcasts! God gives blessings to those who bless His people.
As all of this happens, God is teaching the whole world a lesson. Zion, or God’s elect, will number only 10,000 people out of more than 7 billion. Still, this Zion is the center of world religion. It is where God dwells. Even some carnal-minded Moabites can see that!
God’s Church is always a “little flock.” God’s people have learned to look to God, not men and numbers of people. They have deep, deep faith in the great God and trust Him implicitly!
These saints have a rare and precious faith. God’s elect have the faith to be a few “outcasts” among 7 billion people! That is why Christ is going to use them in His headquarters temple forever!
The word Sela in Isaiah 16:1 (Petra in the Greek) means a great rock fortress. It’s not just a cliff, a rock, a boulder. Sela is one of two Hebrew words commonly rendered “rock.” The other is tsur, and it more typically refers to a rock or boulder. For example, when Moses struck “the rock in Horeb,” he did not strike Sela (or Petra). He struck a tsur. So we have to make a distinction between these two Hebrew words.
Sela, where these outcasts are being hidden, is far more impressive. It is a fortress of rock! It is a physical type of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
Protected Amid Great Tribulation
Let’s look at a related prophecy in Isaiah 33 that helps us understand this. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Isaiah 33:14).
Zion refers to God’s Church, and this speaks of “sinners in Zion.” This is talking about saints in this end time who have become lukewarm, or Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-16). God is going to punish them for their rebellion against Him. The Laodicean hypocrites are to enter the nuclear Great Tribulation. They are hypocrites because they act like God’s loyal remnant but are not. They have been dishonest and compromised God’s precious truth. They will be surprised by this indescribable trial. They assume God will protect them.
There is another group that God does protect and for a clear reason. “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil” (Isaiah 33:15). The elect walk righteously, hate deceit and shut their eyes and ears from seeing and hearing evil.
These saints are building the faith now to become God’s outcasts. When they are cast out of their own nations, it will look very perilous to most people. But this act of great faith is God’s way of testing them and at the same time rewarding them. It is through this process that God takes them to a place of safety.
Those people with weak faith will falter in that time of crisis. They are destined to go into the Great Tribulation.
Daniel 12:1 reveals the severity of this Tribulation: “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.” The phrase “at that time” means the time of the clash between the king of the north and the king of the south. That warfare leads right into the greatest trouble ever on this planet! And it flows right into a time when God’s people will have to be protected or they would be destroyed like so many millions of other people will be.
This is all one vision—a prophecy of a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation! The worst suffering ever is building right now in the Middle East. And God makes plain here in verse 1 that He will give His people physical protection. It is the same protection, or escape, mentioned in Daniel 11:41. You can see why He has to protect His people: It is because nuclear bombs will be exploding in this catastrophic World War iii!
Strongholds of Sela
Isaiah 33:16 says: “He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” Here is what the Good News of April 1962 said about this prophecy: “This is a poor translation. The Hebrew word for ‘munitions’ is metsad, which means a stronghold, or a castle or fort. The Hebrew word for ‘rock’ is sela. It should read, ‘stronghold of Sela’—or Petra!
“And notice, the last part of the verse says, ‘bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’ Here also is supernatural provision! Remember what happened to the children of Israel in the Sinai wilderness? God supernaturally provided them food and water nearly 40 long years! God can do the same today! It is not those who heap up provisions that shall escape! It is those who obey God, who do His Work, and who trust Him to provide the necessities and the divine protection when that time arrives!”
Now study verse 17: “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off”—or, “they shall behold a land stretching afar,” according to the Jewish translation. Those in the place of safety will be able to see “the land” afar off”—Palestine. “Surely here,” the Good News wrote, “is another indication of the high rocky crags of Petra from which one may look northwest to the Promised Land.”
Jordan to be Punished by God
Soon the Ammonites are going to anger God. “The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them; And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity” (Ezekiel 25:1-3). Ezekiel is a prophecy for this end time. (Request our free booklet Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet.)
The people of Jordan will rejoice when Israel (primarily America and Britain) and Judah (the Jewish state of Israel) go into captivity—which includes God’s “sanctuary,” the Laodicean Church. Then it will be Jordan’s time to suffer God’s wrath.
God commands His faithful elect today to prophesy against the Jordanian people who will rejoice when Israel and Judah are desolate. Nobody but this Work is doing that!
“Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk” (verse 4). This is the terrifying outcome of the bad tidings from the east. Now they have to learn the pain of captivity.
But their fiery trial is going to produce wonderful fruit. “And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels, and the Ammonites a couchingplace for flocks: and ye shall know that I am the Lord” (verse 5). Amman, the capital, was called Rabbah in the past, another indication that Ammon is a part of Jordan today. You shall know that I am the Lord. Jordan is about to get to know the true God for the first time! Just like Israel, it doesn’t know the true God today!
“For thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast clapped thine hands, and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord” (verses 6-7). God has to “destroy” Israel and Jordan before they will accept and get to know the true God! They “shall” (future) know the omnipotent God. They do not know Him today.
Jeremiah 48 and 49 are parallel chapters to Isaiah 15 and 16. “Against Moab thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed. There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee” (Jeremiah 48:1-2). Moses saw the Promised Land from Mount Nebo. There is a monument to him today on that mountain in Jordan. There is also a town by that name, which is another indication that Moab is Jordan today. The entire area is to be punished. No city is going to escape! Every city is to fall!
“And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord hath spoken” (verse 8). It all happens just as the Lord hath spoken! This prophecy must be delivered to Jordan!
When did God speak, and through whom? People today are reading and hearing these very prophecies only through the Philadelphia Church of God! You are reading them now! Our television program proclaims this warning. The two witnesses will also deliver these prophecies during the Tribulation (Revelation 11:3-13).
The cities will be left without an inhabitant. “Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein” (Jeremiah 48:9). They will be decimated by deadly nuclear and chemical warfare.
“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood” (verse 10). This verse almost seems out of place. But here again we see God’s Work and Jordan closely related. God’s people are going to be protected because they did not do His Work deceitfully! If God commissions us to do a work, we must do it faithfully or be cursed. That is on the spiritual level. If a nation is appointed by God to destroy another nation, it must do so or be cursed. That is on the physical level.
God works with mankind on different levels. His plan is being worked out in spite of Satan and rebellious mankind.
Both Israel and Jordan trusted in false gods (verse 13). Many of the Jordanians “skipped for joy” when Israel was destroyed (verse 27). This is not the action of a God-fearing people.
There is still good news physically and spiritually for Jordan. “O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth” (verse 28). The obedient people of Jordan are to leave the cities and dwell in “the rock”—Sela, or Petra. This is the only fortress or place of protection for them.
Those who have the faith to flee will dwell in the sides like the dove. Strong’s Concordance defines “sides”: “a region across; … on the opposite side.” God probably protects them just outside or around Petra. Is that because His Church is on the inside?
At this time, the Jordanians have seen major prophecies fulfilled, and only God’s true Church proclaimed these messages. As a result, some of the Jordanian people will have the faith to flee, probably to where God’s true Church is.
I believe this is a very encouraging verse. It shows that God will protect carnal-minded people if they have the faith to flee.
Godly men like Noah and Lot took their families to a place of safety. Even though the families were not all righteous, they still had enough faith to follow the family patriarch. Those who are protected must look to God. Even Petra will not be a place of safety unless God makes it so.
Jordan, like other nations, has many flaws (verses 29-30). God is now warning Jordan and the whole world to repent. He is about to replace all the false gods of this world (verse 35).
This is all prophesied to happen in the latter days. “Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives. Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord. Thus far is the judgment of Moab” (verses 46-47). When are the “latter days”? When the king of the north and the king of the south clash. And when the Asiatic millions sweep across Europe and the Middle East from the northeast.
Tidings out of the north and east will trouble the Holy Roman Empire, Jordan and many other nations.
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the Lord. Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together” (Jeremiah 49:2-3). Whoever is king of Jordan at that time will go into captivity! (At least he will be ruling over most of Jordan.) His priests and princes will also be taken captive. Because of their failure to flee to the Petra area, these leaders will pay a tragic price. This is not a pleasant prophecy. But God commands that it be proclaimed.
God is going to intervene at the time of all these events revolving around Petra—the rocky fortress.
Isaiah 42 is another prophecy for today. Notice verse 11 from the Jewish Publication Society translation, according to the original inspired Hebrew: “Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit; let the inhabitants of Sela exult, let them shout from the top of the mountains.” The descendants of Kedar are the Bedouin Arabs who dwell in Jordan and other nations throughout the Middle East. They live a nomadic lifestyle, traversing the countryside, dwelling in black tents. But the verse also refers to the “inhabitants of Sela”!
“Any Bible student knows that Sela is the Hebrew name of Petra!” explained the April 1962 Good News. “Sela means Rock—in Hebrew; Petra means Rock in Greek! But Sela or Petra is fundamentally uninhabited today, save for a few dozen wandering Bedouin. These are not the inhabitants in this verse, for notice verse 12: ‘Let them’—the inhabitants of Petra or Sela—‘give glory unto the Lord’—the Bedouin do not know God— … ‘and declare His praise in the islands.’
“Which islands? The islands which Israel inhabits—Isaiah 41:1 and 8. God is certainly not going to use a few … Bedouin to declare His glory in the islands and coastlands of northwestern Europe—where Israel is today! This prophecy is speaking of the time of the resurrection and the return of Christ in power and glory. Christ is going to use His servants—[then] immortal in the Kingdom of God—to proclaim His intervention and the establishment of His Kingdom over all the Earth. He is going to use the very ones whom He is now using to proclaim His message. Then they will finally heed!
“Isn’t this prophecy a clear indication that the place of safety for the people of God who are now doing the Work of God—and broadcasting to the islands and coastlands of northwestern Europe—is in an Arabian wilderness, where the Bedouin dwell and is probably at Sela, or Petra?”
There are serious spiritual lessons we must learn today. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Moses was in Petra. Wadi Mousa means “stream of Moses.” It runs through Petra, but is dry today.
We must learn the lessons that Moses had to learn. “And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (verses 3-4). The Rock—Jesus Christ—led Israel in the wilderness. However, all of the adults died in the wilderness because they lacked faith.
Petra is a symbol of Jesus Christ. He is our spiritual fortress now. That is where we must keep our focus, or we will die in the spiritual wilderness today. Is it logical that our Rock—Christ—would protect us in a place that is a physical type of His omnipotent power? Obviously, our excitement must be about the spiritual Rock—not the physical fortress.
“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (verses 11-12). Those examples are to teach us today. David said, “The Lord is my rock” (2 Samuel 22:2). It is so easy to fall in the wilderness. We must rely heavily on God’s power to avoid this calamity. Now is the time for us to get ready for a place of safety, ready to marry Christ and ready to help Him rule the world and the universe!