The city of Petra seemed to fade into myth and legend until it was found in 1867 by an explorer. This amazing city in the Jordanian Valley, is located approximately 50 miles or 80 km south of the eastern side of the Dead Sea. It has been hewn out of the rock, is a labyrinth of caves and tombs. The people who once lived here had a water source as springs come up out of the ground. One such spring there is known as the Spring of Musa. Musa is the Arabic name for Moses and it was here that he struck the rock and water sprang out when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert on their journey to the Promised Land. The Bible refers three times to the city as being called Sela, meaning Rock. Perhaps it was so named because of Moses striking the rock or perhaps because it was cut into the rock. There is a mystery as to why all the tombs are there and even information at the site says this. Have they been prepared for those who will perish in the End Times battle? Who knows, but in 110 AD Josephus said that Aaron and Miriam had been buried there. He said that when Miriam died they had a public funeral for her at great expense.
Take a virtual tour of this amazing archaeological discovery:
This next video tells of its many names, mentioned by the narrator, as found in the Bible. It was not always known by the Greek name Petra. The city was founded 3,000 years ago by Esau, brother of Jacob who became renamed Israel, and this was where the Edomites lived. This was then the city of Edom, the rose red city. The Edomites became well-known as enemies of the Hebrews, along with the Amalekites, the Moabites (the people living in the area around present day Madaba and Mt. Nebo) and the Ammonites (the people living in the area of today’s Amman, the modern capital of Jordan).
King David also is mentioned in connection with going to Petra. This is mentioned in Psalm 60:9, Psalm 108:10, and Isaiah 16:1. David fled there from Saul as this was a city of refuge.
Josephus, in his book The Antiquities of the Jews, written during the time of Jesus, mentions that Herod came here too and all of this confirms that the city was lived in and not just a place of the dead. The dead have no need of an amphitheatre too, which is also relevant.
Paul is thought to have spent some time here during the three years when he fled after his conversion on the road to Damascus. This was a time of great persecution of Christians and he had once been heading some of that persecution. It is known that he did go to Arabia. It is also highly probable that he went to this city of refuge, possibly fearing the same fate as those he formerly persecuted is likely. The reason I think this is that Paul made references to the Arabian province which Petra is situated in and had a lot of background knowledge of it. Check these passages in the Bible: 2 Corinthians 11:32-33 and Hebrews 11:18. A book entitled The Life and Epistles of Paul, says that he may have gone there to preach (page 80) and indeed, the amphitheatre there would have been a great place to preach from. It was created as a place for that kind of thing.
This is a highly interesting prophetic city as The Book of Revelation tells us that this will once again become a city of refuge and the people will drink from the very spring opened up by Moses.
Cities of Refuge:
We all know that in the ten commandments, one says: Thou shalt not kill, so this confuses many as there are wars in the Bible, the death angel kills in the name of God, and the disciples close to Jesus carried swords, as mentioned in the situation where Peter cut off the ear of a Roman with his. The Greek word machaira was used there and this actually refers to s short dagger-like sword. In Luke 22:36 Jesus even told them to go buy these if they didn’t have one. Now, I have to admit I have heard some silly rubbish preached, whereby the idea of Jesus advocating physical violence is being downplayed, mostly implying that he was only speaking figuratively and that He was just telling them that they would face a lot of adversity. That just didn’t ring true to me. He was issuing a direct instruction here, not talking in a parable where figurative speech would fit in. I’m not so sure about these sermons being correct. If we go back to the root of the thou shalt not kill issue, and look at the Hebrew wording used in that commandment, it is Lo tirtzach and it means murder, not kill. The word for kill is hariga. This commandment is actually referring to killing out of hate or for unjust reasons. When the God of justice let slaughter happen it was for a just cause, for protection of His children and for protection of the bloodline of the Messiah. This commandment really refers to it being wrong to kill someone who is innocent. We are all incensed when we read of children abused and murdered, and that is a good example. God permits killing as a means of corporal punishment, and also in the case of someone who is posing a clear and direct threat to the lives of innocents (Exodus 22:2). War, where the killing of innocent civilians is always wrong, we’d all agree. Terrorist attacks where non-military buildings like the Twin Towers are attacked killing the innocent, we would also agree is wrong. Having an army is a necessity. Every country has them. It is because of this that modern Judaism is not against Israel having an Army.
Cities of Refuge, however, were places where people who accidentally killed could go to to avoid being killed themselves as “an eye for an eye.” These cities were cities of the Levites, so the amphitheatre at Petra may have been used as a place of worship, where the Levites would play harps and sing psalms. The Levites didn’t inherit lands after the conquest of Joshua, whereas the other tribes were allocated land by the casting of lots. It is written that the Lord is their inheritance, so they were given 48 cities. Six of these were designated as Cities of Refuge. If someone killed a person, a member of their family could come after them to slay them. Their only hope was to flee to a place of safety, a City of Refuge. I have mentioned that David ran to Petra to flee from Saul, so it was at Petra and five other cities that people could avoid repercussions and tit-for-tat killing. The avenger of blood, named the goel, could not tough them there. I see a shadow picture of Petra with its red rock being a parallel to the teaching throughout the Bible that it is the blood which covers the sin. I allude to the blood sacrifices and the blood of Jesus which is key to salvation here. Will this red city be the place where God covers the children of Israel during the last battle and keeps them safe?
Passages in the Bible which concern this prophesy:
“Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voices, the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of the rock [Sela now named Petra] sing; let them shout from the tops of the mountains!” (Isaiah 42:11)
“For I have sworn by Myself, says the Lord, that Bozrah [in Edom, between Petra and the Dead Sea] shall become a horror, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all its cities shall be perpetual wastes.” (Jeremiah 49:13) So, if you are a person who isn’t interested in the scriptures and who thinks that the Bible is just a book, with no supernatural origins, and that none of it was written through God’s inspiration, how can you explain Jeremiah’s words when the area between Petra and the Dead sea is a desolate place? It is. How could he and other prophets have foretold this desolation and have foretold that Edom’s desolation would be perpetual? 2,500 years have passed and the place is still a desert and the Dead Sea is as dead as ever.
“Your [object of] horror (your idol) has deceived you, and the pride of your heart [has deceived you], O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock [Sela now named Petra], who hold and occupy the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as the eagle’s, I will bring you down from there, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 49:16) The background issue here is that of idolatry. This region became a Roman province and in that respect, it was an idolatrous one. Romans did indeed dwell in the clefts of the rocks, in the caves cut out there as homes in the city. Anthony and Cleopatra also came here. Anthony actually gave the city to her according to the historian Josephus. On the height above its ruins is the great high place, and other evidences of idolatry stand on neighbouring heights.
“And in that day, I will give to Gog a place for burial there in Israel, the valley of those who pass through on the east side in front of the [Dead] Sea [the highway between Syria, Petra, and Egypt], and it will delay and stop those who pass through. And there shall they bury Gog and all his multitude, and they shall call it the Valley of Hamon-gog [multitude of Gog].” (Ezekiel 39:10-11) This is relating to the foretold End Time battle of Gog and Magog. Sure, nowadays the words Gog and Magog sound silly, but names of people and places in the Bible are frequently found to be changed, as the example of Petra shows. In some of the Bible names are symbolic too, so what do we know about Gog and Magog?
Gog and Magog:
Ezekiel 38:2 states: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog,” and the Amplified Bible further elaborates on this naming Magog as the prince of Rosh, of Meshech, and of Tubal. Meshech and Tubal are actually the Moschi and Tibareni of the Greeks. These were tribes that inhabited regions in the Caucasus. Gog would therefore be the one who is their leader and the one who is antagonistic against God. Revelation 20:8 states of Gog: “And he will go forth to deceive and seduce and lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth to muster them for war,” and implies that this will involve a large amount of people as the verse states that “their number is like the sand of the sea.” A frightening thought for sure, but when you can see how world governments involve themselves in wars today and watch the involvements of the United Nations, it doesn’t really take a giant leap of faith to believe that such a thing is possible. Biblical scholars also connect Rosh with today’s Russia and there is a commonly held belief that they are a world threat.
How safe is this city of refuge?
These are the cliffs of the Siq, which are the narrow entrance to Petra. Some say it would be possible to get a tank through there, others say it wouldn’t. Regardless of that, defending themselves against a tank would not be impossible using the right weaponry, but, wouldn’t the natural instinct he to blockade the entire passage into the city? If one tank did get into the passage and was immobilised by those defending themselves there, the tank would block off the entrance and make further problems for those attacking the city.
The easiest way to attack there would be by sending in paratroopers, and people would be a sitting target for bombings too if they were known to be there. Would the God of Israel hide this city or protect those hiding there by supernatural means though? What do you believe? During the desert wanderings of the children of Israel they were protected. Will the cloud of God we read about in Exodus come and cover this city hiding and protecting the children of Israel at that time since The Mekhilta, which is a halakic midrash to the book of Exodus, we are informed that it was used to protect them from arrows and catapults which the Egyptians used to attack them Coincidence or not? The Hebrew word for chariot is merkava and chariots were used in battle. The Merkava tank was first introduced in 1978 and is currently in use and was used in the Lebanon War in 1982. Interesting? A catapult is a weapon used to hurl a projectile and so is a rocket launcher. Catapults used by the Romans were large devices which hurled big round rocks like canon balls. French troops used large catapults for hurling hand grenades long distances in World War 1. These were the inspiration for modern rocket launchers. My personal theory on the second coming of Jesus the Messiah is that He will return at the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot. Why do I think that?
Tabernacles, known properly as Sukkot:
This is when observant Jews around the world remember the wandering in the desert and in doing so they build a Sukkah. This is sometimes referred to as a booth and is a kind of temporary hut but one constructed under a set of rules. One of these is that the roof of it must not be solid and totally covered, but open to the sky.
When I think about the building of the Sukkah and Tabernacles I think of what is referred to as the transfiguration in the Bible. I believe that this took place during Sukkot. Luke writes of this in chapter 9. He says that Jesus took “Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. It was there that His face changes, his clothes became bright and Moses and Elijah appeared talking to Him. Here I compare how Moses went up into a mountain and spoke with God, coming down with his face shining leading to him using a veil over his face.
Jesus spoke to Moses and Elijah concerning his imminent departure from the earth. The passage continues “As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” The Bible states that he did not know what he was saying. I feel that he was misinterpreting the situation thinking that the three needed a Sukkah each for the Feast, rather than to dwell in. They certainly seemed confused and who wouldn’t be?
A cloud covered Jesus, Moses and Elijah and the voice of God spoke saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Then the cloud and the two patriarchs disappeared.
Is the city of Petra is going to become something akin to one big Sukkah?
Having read the Book of Revelation I assume that the End Times events prophesied have parallels in the calendar of the Jewish feasts. If so, the catching up commonly referred to as the Rapture though that term is not found in the Bible, will take place during the Israeli harvest time, a time of winnowing and threshing, and their feast of Pentecost. The last trump will be heard during Rosh Hashannah, the Feast of Trumpets which usually is celebrated during September or October. This is the Jewish New Year and symbolic of new life and new beginnings. Sukkot or tabernacles is the next Feast and since the trumpet has announced new life and new beginnings that is why I believe it would be the time of the Messiah’s coming to live on earth again and change everything. While there is much good in the world, it is still blighted by war, crime, rape, incest, paedophilia, child sex trafficking, poverty, and a lot of things which we all would agree are bad. The End Times battle is intended to rid the world of all that makes it less than as perfect as Heaven. Do you believe it?