Introduction to Israelology
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The name Israel was first given to the patriarch Jacob as chronicled in Genesis 32: 28 which according to archbishop James Ussher was about 1900 B.C. Jacob was the grandson of the patriarch Abraham who received a significant unilateral covenant from God. This covenant included a land, seed and blessings for both he and his progeny. In fact God gave Abraham the boundaries of the land that he and his offspring would some day inherit (Genesis 15: 18-21). He also told him that his progeny would be afflicted and spend four hundred years in a land that was not theirs. After this period they would leave that land with great wealth and substance (Genesis 15: 13-14).
Jacob had finally settled his strained relationship with his father in law Laban in Haran and was on the way home to Beersheba. When Jacob and his family reached a point just south of Gilead he had the last meeting with Laban ending his indentured servitude to him. He knew that he still had to deal with his twin brother Esau who twenty years earlier had threatened to kill him. It was this event and his mother’s insistence that drove him out of Beersheba to Haran. So, knowing this he sent forward messengers to meet with Esau in the land of Seir where Esau had settled. As soon as Jacob heard their report he was greatly afraid and distressed and responded in two ways. First, he made camp preparations by dividing the camp in two. One half was kept a significant distance away so they could escape from Esau’s soldiers who might have been seeking revenge on Jacob. Second, he began to pray. He asked Jehovah God to keep His promise to protect him as he followed God’s command to faithfully return home to Canaan. Jacob also acknowledged that all God’s lovingkindness and grace was laid upon him, an unworthy servant. He closed the prayer reaffirming what God had previously said to him, namely that there are more divine promises yet to be fulfilled.
Initially Jacob moved the entire family south of the Jabbok River to allow a hasty retreat if the encounter with Esau proved adversarial. So Jacob crossed the Jabbok River, which was a border between Gilead, and the area, which later became Ammon. It was nighttime when he took his women, children and all their possessions with him and crossed over the river. Now they were closer to the Promise Land but not in it yet. They were still on the east side of the Jordan River.
He left his family and possessions on the south side of the Jabbok River and went by himself back to the north side. He was probably checking that all the possessions had been moved to the south side of the Jabbok. This isolation set the stage for the third appearance of God to Jacob. The text of Genesis 32: 24 says that “there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”
Jacob wrestled with a celestial being that had the appearance of a man. We know this to be the Angel of Jehovah also known as a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hosea 12: 5 confirms the “man” as an angelic being and not an earthly man. The wrestling went on all night until the morning. The text says that the Angel did not prevail against Jacob. This is not because He was not able (angels are significantly stronger then men), but because He wanted the struggle to last. Jacob was going to come out of it a better, more refined man. Finally when the Lord wanted the wrestling to end He gave Jacob’s thigh a debilitating supernatural blow that dislocated Jacob’s hip. Still, Jacob would not release his hold on the Angel until He blessed him. Interestingly the Angel asked Jacob his name and he answered “Jacob.” The Angel then said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” So God renames Jacob “Israel”, which in Hebrew is Yisrael, or a combination of two Hebrew words sarah and el and it literally means “he who strives with God.” The word play helps our understanding of Israel and Jacob. The Abrahamic Covenant he was prophesied to receive by inference included him striving with Laban, Esau and God Himself. God gave Jacob’s uncle, Ishmael (future Arab nations), a prophecy regarding the perpetual struggle between the Jews and the Arabs (Genesis 16: 11-12). The history of the Nation Israel clearly fulfills this prophecy about the relationship of the Jews, struggling with the Arabs, other nations and God. Jews in their struggles with the world continually turned from God to follow after the pagan nations around them. Further insight revealed in the word play of the word “Israel” is that God protects and preserves for Jacob and God will protect and preserve Israel. Even though they sin terribly, God will be on their side as all the world’s nations seek to conspire against them. There is only one way God will abandon this protection and Jeremiah describes it in chapter thirty-one of his book:
35Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name: 36If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. 37Thus saith Jehovah: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith Jehovah (ASV 1901).
This story ends with Jacob asking the Angel to identify Himself. The Angel responded with a question, “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?” The Angel at Jacob’s request blesses him and Jacob renames the place on the north side of the river Jabbok Peniel: for, said he, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Peniel literally means in Hebrew, “the face of God.” Jacob is acknowledging that the Angel is indeed God and he has been preserved through the struggle and will be preserved in the struggles with Esau and the world in general as it turns against Israel. Throughout the book of Genesis we see the name Israel used interchangeably with Jacob. However, the frequency of usage of Israel increases as the chronological narrative of the Bible moves forward.
Genesis chapter thirty-four tells the story of the rape of Jacob’s daughter Dinah. In their condemnation of these events Jacob’s sons use the name Israel for the first time in reference to themselves as a nation and not just a family or an alternate name for Jacob. The emerging seeds of a nation are seen in this chapter.
Some time later the ten older sons of Jacob, in their envy, sold Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son into slavery to some itinerant Ishmaelite merchants traveling to Egypt. Joseph providentially rose up to become second only to pharaoh of the greatest nation on earth at that time and is charged with protecting that country from an imminent famine. In the process his family comes to Egypt seeking food. They reconcile with him and all seventy of them enter Egypt to live there under his protection.
When they emerged from Egypt four hundred years later traveling back to Canaan in 1445 B.C they were a bonafide nation with a population of more than two million citizens. Under the leadership of Moses, who was chosen by God, they become a theocracy. Over the next eight hundred fifty nine years until they fell to the Babylonians, they would intermittently trust God and relapse into the idolatrous practices of the nations around them. God would correct them but all the while loving and assuring them He had a future for them as a nation.
Leviticus 26: 42-44
42then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. 43The land also shall be left by them, and shall enjoy its sabbaths, while it lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred my statutes. 44And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am Jehovah their God; 45 but I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am Jehovah. 46These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which Jehovah made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by Moses (ASV 1901).
In His faithfulness He will someday completely fulfill His covenant with Abraham. This will follow the Great Tribulation by a blessing through Messiah to Christ-believing Jews and bring them into the promised land of Israel. The fullness of the covenant will be realized in the Millennium. However, He gave them sufficient prophecies insuring that they would be back in the land before that time but in a state of unbelief regarding Jesus as their Messiah.
SPECIFIC BIBLICAL PROPHECIES REGARDING ISRAEL’S RETURN
The prophet Ezekiel received prophecies regarding the future for Israel in the last days. Some of these focused on the period after the Great Tribulation such as the thirty-seventh chapter when they would be restored to the Land because then they will have believed in the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. This is commonly referred to as the “valley of dry bones” prophecy. Other prophecies he received made it quite clear that they would be in the Land as a nation before they experienced a national repentance and restoration. Two of these will be examined as well as one from the book of Zechariah.
Ezekiel 20: 33-38
33As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, surely with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, will I be king over you: 34and I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; 35and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I enter into judgment with you face to face. 36Like as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you, saith the Lord Jehovah. 37And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me; I will bring them forth out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am Jehovah (ASV 1901).
The Lord is giving this prophecy to Israel and using the Exodus as an illustration to compare what He is going to do in the future to what He did in the past. Sometime after Joseph died a pharaoh came to power that had no positive relationship with the Jews. He initiated a persecution of all the Hebrews up to and including killing their newborn babies to stop their population from expanding. God led them out from under this persecution and restored them into Canaan from where they originally came. They were rebellious in the desert as they left Egypt and, as a result, wandered for forty years. They were so rebellious that only two men who came out of Egypt made it into the destined promise land. All the rest died out in the desert. This was a judgment God placed upon them. So a new generation of Jews that did not know the Egypt experiences but were born in the desert came into the land that would become the nation Israel under General Joshua and his colleague Caleb. Much in the same way God led them out of the persecution by the Egyptians and moved them into the Promised Land He declared He would do it again. Looking back in time and remembering that this prophecy was given in the sixth century before Christ it is clear that He has already done that prior to this day (2012).
This time though, God interestingly says that He will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries (plural) wherein they have been. Since 586 B.C. they have been scattered throughout the countries of the world. He began regathering them out of all the countries in the world in the late 1800’s, which became known as the Zionist movement. The Ezekiel text says that they will be gathered out of wrath and for wrath. They were persecuted in many of the nations in which they lived and wanted a safe homeland. The judgment described must be significant in order to make it into the biblical text. The most serious judgment He brought on them was the Nazi holocaust when six million Jews were destroyed in the Nazi’s genocide of the Jews. This set the stage for world sympathy, which led to them becoming a nation. The regathering though was in unbelief. We can see in the passage cited above that this regathering, is with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. This is God saying to the nation Israel, and repeating it twice that he gathers them out of wrath and for wrath. The term outstretched arm means that God is exercising His wrath. Consider the imagery of a fist on His outstretched arm not an open hand offering peace. This is coming from wrath and then going into wrath. The wrath that He leads them from is the Nazi persecution. He brought them into the Land as a sovereign nation while still in unbelief. They will live as a nation for a while in unbelief until the Great Tribulation where the Antichrist will declare himself god and initiate the worst persecution the Jews will have ever seen. After that final wrath they will turn to Him and accept Christ as their Messiah. But from the Nazi Holocaust to the Great Tribulation there will be a period where they will have residence in the Land but not be regenerated as a nation. In other words God will not be their God and Christ will not be their Messiah. Never the less God loves them. Because He loves them and made promises to their ancestors the Patriarch’s, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob He will give them the Land they have been guaranteed. God’s promises are always kept; there are no exceptions to this.
The second passage is found in Ezekiel chapter twenty-two and further enhances the issue of being in the Land but in unbelief.
Ezekiel 22: 17-22
17And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 18Son of man, the house of Israel is become dross unto me: all of them are brass and tin and iron and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are the dross of silver. 19Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Because ye are all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20As they gather silver and brass and iron and lead and tin into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my wrath, and I will lay you there, and melt you. 21Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you with the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. 22As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have poured out my wrath upon you (ASV 1901).
In this passage the prophet Ezekiel is given God’s Word describing a regathering of the Jews to Jerusalem. Here He describes the fact that they are far from Him as He characterizes their spiritual condition like the impurities in metallurgical processing. Dross is the burn off of the undesirables while the metal is purified through the consistent application of a high temperature fire. Fire is used in the Bible to refer to the refinement process God uses to bring those that He has chosen into submission to His will. This is exactly how He describes what He will do to them in the future for the purpose of purifying them. But for the purposes of identification and setting the chronology of this verse, it is when they have gathered in the land and before the judgment. So today they in the Land regathered from the various nations throughout the world and Jerusalem is their capital. This is where the final judgment will take place. So they are back in the Land in unbelief not realizing that their judgment is coming. Although there are several more passages that could be cited to confirm that God has brought them back into the Land in unbelief the last passage that will be referenced is located in Zephaniah chapter two.
Zephaniah 2: 1-2
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation that hath no shame; 2 before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Jehovah come upon you, before the day of Jehovah’s anger come upon you (ASV 1901).
Again the text says that they are gathering together as a nation but they have no shame. This means that they are not recognizing their sinful ways. Therefore, they are gathered together but in unbelief. They will receive the judgment meted out by the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation referred to here as the “day of Jehovah”. This is the most common form of reference to the Great Tribulation in the Old Testament. The Tribulation will begin with the signing of a seven-year covenant between the Antichrist and the nation Israel. So this being before the Tribulation assumes that there are Jewish political leaders in a Jewish State. The Jewish State does exist, they are back in the Land in unbelief, and they don’t realize it now, but their judgment and refinement is nearing its time.
This then is the state of modern Israel as they compete on the world scene for recognition of sovereign status as an independent nation. Their recognition as an independent nation has been troublesome to say the least as their adversaries constantly attempt to eradicate them. Never ever think that God is not in control of all events. He has a plan for the Jews.
THE FUTURE ALLIED INVASION
There will be an invasion of Israel in the future, which is explicitly developed in the book of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Because of its complexity we will examine this independently in another posting. But suffice it to say now that through this invasion of the Muslim nations led by the Russians the Israeli’s will prevail. All the invading armies will be destroyed and not one Israeli will suffer as wound.
God says He will do this “To magnify Myself and sanctify Myself and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations and they shall all know that I am Jehovah (Ezekiel 38:23 ASV 1901).
The Future of the Nation Israel
THE FINAL BATTLE
The Bible reveals exactly how the coming world leader, known as the Antichrist, will suffer defeat for all the havoc he has caused on earth. And specifically, the greatest persecutions of the Jews this earth will have ever seen. This person will have great political acumen and will be a virtual sorcerer. During the holocaust under the Nazis approximately one-third of the entire world’s population of Jews were exterminated. That amounted to about six million people. At that time the people listened to the swaying words of Adolph Hitler enabling him to kill so many. The Antichrist and his pogroms will kill two-thirds during the Great Tribulation (Zech13:8). With Jewish worldwide population estimated presently at approximately 13.3 million that equals 8.86 million to be killed. Of the remaining one-third all will have been refined and finally accept Christ as their Messiah.
Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”(NASB)
In concert with this is Christ’s Words regarding the Jews finally accepting them as their Messiah.
Matthew 23:39 “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'”(NASB)
And finally the final fulfillment of Paul does prophesy regarding the Jews national salvation.
Romans 11:26-27 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (NASB)
During the last stage of the Great Tribulation, which we call the battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist, will move his forces into the Valley of Jezreel. His enemies, which are the underground or resistance forces who have been saved during the Tribulation, take the opportunity to destroy Babylon the world capital of the Antichrist. They do it unannounced and in rapid fashion. According to Isaiah 13:3, they will be Gentile believers of the Tribulation. Just prior to this they will make their way to Jerusalem to report to the Jews who are there. This sudden destruction of the world political and economic capital will cause great distress on the earth, but not in heaven. Because when Babylon gets destroyed it will signal to those in Heaven that the Second Coming is soon to occur!
Along with the destruction of Babylon the regeneration of the Nation Israel will occur shortly. Most of the Jews and their leaders will have fled Jerusalem and Israel. They will be at the sheepfold of Bozrah in the land of Edom, which is present day Jordan.
Micah 2:12 12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.(KJV)
This is known today as Petra. The name Bozrah in many modern Bibles gets translated as sheepfold, which is a protected area for sheep. Petra is the Greek word for a city in Southern Jordan, today that was know in Old Testament times as Bozrah. The word Petra means rock and the word Bozrah means sheepfold or fortress. It is located in ancient region of Edom southeast of the Dead Sea. Edom is also the name given to Jacob’s brother Esau (Gen 25:30) whose name means red (Gen 25:25). The rock in Petra is red and the city entrance (the siq) and interior have characteristics of a sheepfold. This is the city where the Jews will flee for safety during the last half of the Great Tribulation. This city meets all the requirements that Jesus gave for the location where they should flee.
The Antichrist’s main purpose is to completely destroy the Jewish Race. The allied armies of the Antichrist will march southward from Jerusalem to Bozrah.
Jeremiah 49: 13-14″For I have sworn by Myself,” declares the LORD, “that Bozrah will become an object of horror, a reproach, a ruin and a curse; and all its cities will become perpetual ruins.” I have heard a message from the LORD, And an envoy is sent among the nations, saying, ”Gather yourselves together and come against her, And rise up for battle!” (NASB)
So now the nations of the earth are gathered at Bozrah against the Remnant of Israel. The Jews are gathered at Bozrah.
The battle at Bozrah is actually the initial location for Christ’s Second Coming. For it is there that Jesus and the Antichrist fight and the battle continues all the way back to the Temple Mount eastern wall which overlooks a portion of the Kidron Valley which was known in Bible times as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Joel 3:12-13 Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. (NASB)
The Antichrist himself will be among the first to be conquered and destroyed by Christ. This false Christ will completely fail before the true Christ. Remember, Antichrist means to be in “place of Christ.” There is an unholy trinity just as there is the Holy Trinity. The Holy is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The unholy is; Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet. The Antichrist will be taking the role of Christ as the son. All of Antichrist’s earthly power will pale in comparison to the Lord Jesus. This particular moment in time will demonstrate that quite clearly. Habakkuk described this:
Habakkuk 3:13b You struck the head of the house of the evil To lay him open from thigh to neck.
The apostle Paul also described this slaying for us in II Thessalonians.
II Thessalonians 2:8: Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (NASB)
Finally the Antichrist, who claimed to be God in the middle of The Great Tribulation, and went into the Temple and made that declaration, comes to his end. This person derived his power from Satan and his soul will be delivered down to hell. His body has a different end on the earth, which will be address separately.
Isaiah 14:3-1. And it will be in the day when the LORD gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, ”How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased! “The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of rulers Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy. “Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’ “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. “They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps. Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you. And worms are your covering.’ (NASB)
Once the Jews are all saved at Christ’s Second Coming they will mock the Antichrist while proclaiming God’s majestic strength. The succeeding verses in this Isaiah passage describe Lucifer’s fall, not the Antichrist’s. The Antichrist controlled the world’s nations. In these verses we see the nations celebrating his death. When he enters Hell those that were prominent but unsaved figures on the earth will be very surprised to see him there. Then all the splendor of the worldwide reign of the Antichrist will terminate with his entrance into Hell.
Isaiah, after describing the Antichrist’s entrance to hell and Lucifer’s fall, begins to discuss the demise of the Antichrist’s body.
Isaiah 14:16-21: “Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?’ “All the kings of the nations lie in glory, Each in his own tomb. “But you have been cast out of your tomb Like a rejected branch, Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit Like a trampled corpse. “You will not be united with them in burial, Because you have ruined your country, You have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever. “Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter . Because of the iniquity of their fathers. They must not arise and take possession of the earth . And fill the face of the world with cities.”(NASB)
There will be much disbelief with those who are viewing the body that this Antichrist died so suddenly and easily when they consider the control he exerted over the entire earth. Interestingly and very fitting to the one who orchestrated the worst persecution of God’s people, his body will be trampled over by the retreating feet of his own army. His body won’t even be buried. It will be resurrected and cast alive into the Lake of Fire during the seventy-five day interval between the end of the Tribulation and start of the Millennial Kingdom. This is why Isaiah says that he will not be buried. His entire family will be destroyed so that they are unable to follow his path and attempt to rule the world.
There are several passages that demonstrate how Christ will slaughter the army by marching through the land in indignation and treading the nations with His feet. This will cause His garments to be stained with their blood. Zechariah describes this.
Zechariah 14:12-15 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.(KJV)
The method that God will use to slay the armies of the Antichrist as described in Zechariah chapter fourteen embody the characteristics of a nuclear explosion. One survivor of Hiroshima described the effects of that nuclear explosion of that population in two groups. One group in close proximity to the blast evaporated and the second, somewhat further away from the explosion, died shortly thereafter. Their physical characteristics after the blast are very similar to Zechariah’s description.
1. Those close to the hypocenter were instantly incinerated without leaving behind a trace, except for perhaps a shadow on a wall or street where their bodies had partially protected the surface from the initial flash of heat. One author notes that those closest to the blast “passed from being to nothingness faster than any human physiology can register.
2. Those slightly farther from the center of the explosion did not die immediately, but suffered from severe third-degree burns all over their bodies, in particular to any areas that were exposed directly to the heat. They suffered a period of intense pain before dying of their injuries. Those who witnessed the explosion and survived invariably describe these victims in the most horrific terms.
The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn’t tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin – not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too – hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road – I can still picture them in my mind — like walking ghosts.
Even though the leader has met his demise his armies continue to fight. They are moving toward the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Revelation 14: 19-20: So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.(NASB)
The city is Jerusalem and the winepress metaphor is the battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The armies come from Bozrah, which will end the battle. The blood stretches 200 miles at the depth of the horse’s bridles. Jeremiah best describes this:
Jeremiah 49:20-22: Therefore hear the plan of the LORD which He has planned against Edom, and His purposes which He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them. The earth has quaked at the noise of their downfall. There is an outcry! The noise of it has been heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.(NASB)
An incredible amount of blood is spilled. Since the fighting begins at Bozrah then moves to Jerusalem this could be the 200 miles spoken of in the Revelation passage. Trying to pinpoint the exact geographic flow of the blood is somewhat difficult.
The difficulty arises in measuring the lineal distances involved in the final stage of the Armageddon effort. Remember it starts in Bozrah then moves to Jerusalem. The distance from Bozrah to the Valley at Armageddon is about 200 miles. This region encompasses the Jehoshaphat valley. Christ spoke of birth pangs in the Olivet Discourse explaining the steps from the beginning of the first pang of the “Last Days” to the final arrival of the Messiah to set up His Kingdom on earth. In discussing the birth pangs of the Great Tribulation Jeremiah referenced Edom and the Red Sea. This might satisfy the question more specifically in terms of the area encompassed by the 200 miles of blood.
Jeremiah 49: 20-22 Therefore hear the plan of the LORD which He has planned against Edom, and His purposes which He has purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them. The earth has quaked at the noise of their downfall. There is an outcry! The noise of it has been heard at the Red Sea. Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the mighty men of Edom in that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor. (NASB)
Consider this vast amount of blood beginning to spill at Bozrah and continuing northwest to Jerusalem and on to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which runs into the Gulf of Aquaba (The Red Sea). The distance from there to Jerusalem is about 200 miles with blood at the four-foot level. This is indeed a fitting final end of the armies of the Antichrist who caused and executed the worst persecution of the Jews the world will have ever seen.
Daniel E. Woodhead