I had to laugh tonight when I checked Bob Theil's blog. The non-ordained self-appointed leader of the Continuing ED Church of God has an entry up tonight about how COG members might have to wander from country to country before Jordan feels sorry for them and allows them into Petra.
Dennis and I were laughing about this last Sunday in a phone conversation. I told him how we had been told over and over that when everyone is supposed to be safely in Petra that God was going to place a cloud cover over it so that the enemy bombers could not find the location and bomb the COG members. Given the modern technology that can see through cloud cover, this is an absurd belief. Plus, can you imagine an Arab nation allow a bunch of crazy "Christian's into their midst for protection? Of course, Armstrongism has swallowed a lot of completely stupid teachings about Petra and the Place of Safety.
Gerald Waterhouse, Rod Meredith, Dean Blackwell, and others were some of those who came up with some of these incredibly stupid ideas.
Jesus taught, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Matthew 24:20) which is consistent with Revelation 12:14 which clearly states that it is a place to go to, it is in the wilderness, and it is away from the presence of the serpent. The word translated as wilderness, is translated as desert in the NIV. This word is eremos, which Strong’s defines as lonesome, waste, desert, desolate, solitary, wilderness. Thus, it is not protection in our own houses (as some have erroneously suggested), nor is it protection in a large city. It is somewhere in the wilderness.
Let’s fully quote Isaiah 16:1-4,
1 Send the lamb to the ruler of the land,From these verses, we learn that Moab hides the outcasts, those who escape and then wander–this could be God’s people as Jesus told them “pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape” (Luke 21:36). The fact that they are called wanderers suggests that perhaps they do not start in Petra. It could refer to the fact that they are from many lands and/or that they have wandered to different places before coming to ‘Moab.’
From Sela to the wilderness,
To the mount of the daughter of Zion.
2 For it shall be as a wandering bird thrown out of the nest;
So shall be the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.
3 “Take counsel, execute judgment;
Make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day;
Hide the outcasts,
Do not betray him who escapes.
4 Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab;
Be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler.
For the extortioner is at an end,
The oppressors are consumed out of the land..
We have seen that this place has something to do with Moab, Sela, and the wilderness. We know that some of the area that once was Moab is modern Jordan (while there also used to be Edomites there, we in the COGs tend to feel they moved much further north). We also know that Sela means rock. It is called Petra in Greek, which also means rock. There is a deserted town in Jordan named Petra, which is the place called Sela in Isaiah. Petra is not a city itself, and is in a lonesome, rocky, desert wilderness that contains caves. It is possible that some other place on Earth also meets these criteria, but thus far Petra appears to be the leading candidate.