Clearing away misunderstandings and twisted Scriptures.
Bible illustration of The Exodus, from Sweet Publishing
Illustration by Jim Padgett, under CCA-SA
2 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord‘s anger come upon you.
3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord‘s anger.
I recently came across “The Second Exodus” posted in the United News of the United Church of God (UCG). Overall, it’s actually not a bad article.
Yes, the wonders and miracles of that first exodus are recorded for us. But God says there will be another exodus, and that exodus will pale the first one into insignificance (Jeremiah:16:14-15)!
Near the end of the article, they state it will not be like the first exodus, where all of Israel was in one location, Egypt. Rather, God will draw the scattered Israelites from around the world, wherever they may be. It will take one or more miracles to make this happen, even as God performed great miracles for the first exodus.
Consider those last points. Doesn’t this sound similar to another doctrine that many of the COGs teach? Could it be that there actually is another exodus in between these two?
Place of Safety
Most COG organizations teach a Place of Safety for the Church during the 3-1/2 year period known as the Great Tribulation. And, no, it is not just “Tribulation”, for there has always been tribulation down through the ages. However, at the end times, there will be a “Great Tribulation”, and those are Christ’s words (Mt 24:21), If you want to call it something else, take it up with Him!
14 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.
As I have stated before, the woman is Israel, and her being given wings indicates a change that occurred after her child was taken up to Heaven. In essence, this is spiritual Israel. It is not exactly the Church, as the Church is just a subset of spiritual Israel. However, the Church will be the only part of spiritual Israel alive at that point in time.
It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but the details are important. Is the Church the bride or the mother of Christ? Will Christ marry His mother? You see the problem with being sloppy in language and in dealing with God’s word!
From whence will the woman flee? Jerusalem!
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
~ Mt 24:16
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
~ Rev 11:2
Is this not an exodus?
How Did They Get There?
In order for this to happen, it is evident that those who flee must be in or around Jerusalem. How do they get there? Why are they there?
We are not told exactly, but Zephaniah 2, quoted above, gives us a hint that a “nation not desired” is to gather together. It will be before the “day of the Lord‘s anger”, aka “Day of the Lord“, which is the last part of the 3-1/2 year period of the Great Tribulation.
Verse 3 goes on to call upon the “meek of the earth“, not limiting it to Judah or even Israel!
Is this an indication that somehow some will be gathered together prior to fleeing Jerusalem? It would certainly seem like it.
It isn’t that far fetched, either. However, how will you know when to move to Jerusalem? Answer: It will be obvious, but only for the obedient.
God sent Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. He did this by a series of miracles, which convinced all but the hardest of hearts (at least for a while). God sent two angels to take Lot and his family out of Sodom before destroying it. God was merciful and practically dragged them out of there.
Notice that Noah preached for 120 years, but no one listened. Lot pleaded with his sons-in-law, but they did not listen. And Lot’s wife kinda, sorta believed.
And, of course, Pharaoh did not really believe. He even chased after Israel after God killed all the firstborn of Egypt!
Some will be left behind because of any number of reasons. I’ll bet a lot of them have to do with fear (lack of faith) and a focus on the cares of this world (Mk 4:18-19).
Others will be deceived, like the Millerites, selling their homes and rushing out to see Christ.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
You know “eagles”, which actually should be “vultures”, don’t have meetings before circling a carcass. They don’t have planning meetings, project schedules, charts with dates and other things. They just know. The same will be when it is time to flee and when the resurrection occurs.
Those who are not in spiritual shape, who have allowed pride or the doctrines of men (or even demons) get between them and God just will not believe. They will have hard hearts.
Others, however, will have their dates and charts and be running here and there, to the desert or wherever, all the while discrediting the God they claim to serve.
The Overlooked Factor
Why is this important? I mean, what if you are not deceived? What if you do recognize the miracles? What if you have no choice (after all, we could all be rounded up and arrested)?
It is still important to realize it is an exodus. What happened in the original Exodus?
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
~ Ex 12:38
What’s that? Gentiles mixed in with Israel? And do we think that there will not be others mixed in with those in the Place of Safety? What of people whom God has just started working with? What if someone knows just enough to know to flee?
What if they never become converted? After all, the mixed multitude that came out of Egypt with Israel caused issues more than once during the journey.
However, it would be a good way to test our patience for 3-1/2 years, don’t you think?
God does nothing without testing the final product. That includes people who come out of the Millennium. Satan will be released shortly after the Millennium, and he will stir up the nations once again. So, why do we think that the 3-1/2 years in the Place of Safety won’t be a continuation of our training?