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Petra, The Bible, and The Church

English: Sandstone Rock-cut tombs (Kokh) in Pe...English: Sandstone Rock-cut tombs (Kokh) in Petra (Jordan) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bob Barney:

For the most part the city of Petra has been forgotten in church prophecy. Yet Petra, first inhabited by Canaanite Horites, then Edomites, Israelites, Nabatean Arabs, is actually third third most mentioned place in the Bible!  Once a most important place to Ancient Israel and God, then lost to the world for 1500 years, now being investigated again since it’s rediscovery in 1812. Petra has many names in the Bible- The following link is from www.bible.ca:

 

Petra, Jordan (Kadesh Barnea)

Josephus says Kadesh Barnea was located at Petra in 1400 BC. The Treasury at Petra was carved by the Nabataeans in 100 BC and represents a reuse of the Hebrew city. This unusual "city of the tombs" carved into solid sandstone by the Nabataeans was the place Israel buried their dead for 38 years.

Since the time of Joshua, is has been called "The Rock" (Sela/Petra) because this is where Moses brought water out of the Rock.


Introduction: Reasons why Petra is Kadesh:

    1.    You can prove from the Bible that Kadesh must be Transjordan, east of the Arabah Valley. (see below or southern boundaries of Judah for more specific details.) When Israel departed Kadesh, they headed south towards the Red Sea and came to Mt. Hor where Aaron died. We know, therefore, that Kadesh is either at Petra, or just north of it.


    2.    Eusebius (325 AD), Jerome (400 AD) both said that Kadesh was located at Petra. They also said that in their day, they could still see the rock that Moses struck with his staff for water.


    3.    Josephus (110 AD), Eusebius (325 AD), Jerome (400 AD) all stated that Petra is where Aaron died on Mt. Hor. Mt. Hor was Transjordan outside the promise land only one stop from Kadesh.


    4.    All Bible maps since 1916 AD wrongly locate Kadesh Barnea at ein el-Qudeirat which is 27 km inside formal stated boundary of the promised land. Israel did not spend 38 years in the wilderness in the territory given to Judah. So the current choice of Kadesh at Qudeirat is wrong for two reasons: 1. it is not Transjordan. 2. It is inside the promised land. Both of these reasons are based upon explicit Bible passages.


    5.    The name "Petra" means rock, because this is the place where Moses "brought water out of the rock". The Bible refers to Petra three times as "Sela", which also means rock. In 325 AD Eusebius said that he could visit Petra and see the very rock that Moses split in two and water came out. We believe that the 1 km long crevice called "the Siq", is itself what was split in two. People are looking for a single rock that split, when in fact it was more like an earth quake that split an entire mountain in two. More on the rock that split.


    6.    There is an ancient tradition (Eusebius) of the "River of Moses" (Wadi Musa) that flows through the 1 km long crevice (Siq), past the Nabataean Treasury then down into the Arabah valley. This reinforces why it is called, "Petra". Both the Rock that Moses struck and the resulting flow of water are ancient traditions at Petra. There are several springs in the Petra area even today. The Siq is a complex geological feature that has many places where water could enter it.


    7.    Geologist, Dr. Don Patton has personally examined the "River of Moses" (Siq), and has concluded that the canyon has hydrological features consistent with water cutting. As you walk the Siq, there are many fissures where water came out of the rock and joined the main flow. The Roman road that was recently excavated below 15 feet of earth, proves that the Siq is a dead relic canyon that has not deepened in 2300 years. This indicates that a large continuous flow of water cut the canyon quickly.


    8.    Archeology has uncovered evidence an occupation of Petra of a people (perhaps Hebrew) before the Edomites (1400 - 950 BC), Solomon (950 - 930 BC) and the Nabataeans (350 BC - 106 AD) Romans (106 AD - 300 AD) There is an ancient "Neolithic" town at Al-Beidha, just north of Petra. This is the general area where we would expect to find Kadesh, although we are not suggesting (to make it clear) that these Neolithic remains are from the exodus period.


    9.    Archeologists look for candidate locations of Kadesh with large natural water supplies. Ein el-Qudeirat, for example, was chosen for just this reason. Today Qudeirat is the almost universal choice of location on all Bible maps because it is the largest spring in the Sinai Peninsula for a 100 km radius. But the real Kadesh was described as a waterless place with no crops, grazing lands or fruit trees. Only with a miracle of Moses hitting the rock, did a large river result. Although we can prove from Tell el-kheleifeh, that sea levels are unchanged, the water table levels have dropped dramatically since the Exodus. Even during the time of Christ there were many springs flowing at Petra. In 15 AD, Strabo: "The metropolis of the Nabataeans is Petra ... and the inside parts having springs in abundance, both for domestic purposes and for watering gardens. (Strabo. Geography 16:4:21, 15 AD) Yet today, the 5 springs of Petra, have almost all dried up. So Kadesh is likely located at a place with no springs at all that we can see today!


    10.    No one knows why the tombs of the dead are there. It even says this in the official site information. Moshe said this. it is because it is near Mt. Hor where Aaron and Miriam were buried.


    11.    Since they spent 38 years at Kadesh, the tombs were where the dead Israelites were kept. The Nabateans found the site continued in the tradition started by the Hebrews of using it as a burial city. "The city underwent major construction in the period 50 BC to AD 100 during the reigns of Obodas II (III) and Aretas IV (with construction of the Treasury, Q'asr al Bint, Temple of the Winged Lions and Theatre), and Roman and Greek technologies most probably influenced the water-system design." (The Water Supply of Petra, Charles R. Ortloff, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 2005, 15:1:93-109)


    12.    Moshe pointed out what he believed to be where the Israelite camp was at Petra.


    13.    There is no large flow of water now at Petra, the canyons are water cut relics of the past. Just like Mammoth caves in Kentucky are a relic of past events, so too Petra.


    14.    See the main page on Kadesh Barnea.


    15.    "Despite 75 years of excavation, only one percent of the city has been investigated." (How Petra was Built, Shaher M. Rababeh, 2005, p28)


    16.    It is very interesting is that the location of Petra was unknown in 1600 AD. It was rediscovered in 1812, by John Lewis Burckhardt. Yet maps from the 1600's knew of its existence but they were not sure where to locate it. For example, in 1587 AD, Abraham Ortelius had two locations for Petra and Kadesh Barnea. A precedent for mapping uncertain locations in two places is also found in the Madaba map regarding the location of Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal. Just as the Madaba Map has two locations for Gerizim and Ebal, so too does Abraham Ortelius's map have two locations for Petra and Kadesh Barnea. What is clear, however, is that Abraham Ortelius located Kadesh Barnea beside Petra. He just didn't know where Petra was! See our map page for more details.


    17.    After a careful research of the Bible and history, it became evident that Kadesh was either at or just north of Petra. 4 km north of Petra is Beidha which has traces of human occupation going back as far as the flood (3000 BC). The three occupational stages at Beidha occurred between 3000 - 1000 BC. Occupation by the Nabataeans about 100 BC is also evident. We believe that Beidha was part of Kadesh Barnea and represented public buildings used for various communal things. (Early Village Life At Beidha: Neolithic, Brian Byrd, 2005 AD)


    18.    Detailed look at Beidha, Jordan
 Petra in the Bible: Read the entire article here

God’s TRUE Church is pictured in Revelation 12. It is symbolized by a woman-(the bride of Christ). We see that by the end time, the true Church is hated by the world.  The great False Christian Church in Rome is not this church. The Church in Rome will be loved and a leader in the Tribulation times. According to verse 6 the true Church flees the first time from her persecutors for 1260 years - during the Middle Ages. But verse 14 unveils another flight of the Church-in the very last days. This time the duration is only 3y2 years! “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle”-supernatural deliverance-“that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time”--3 1/2 years.

Revelation 3:7-13. “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation”-the time of trial--“which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth’ (verse 10). Here is a world-wide terror that will come upon the entire world. This is not for the slow-moving past. It is a prophecy for the soon to come “last days” of human history--just before God intervenes to set up His Kingdom to bring peace to the world.

Isaiah 42:l0-13. Here is a prophecy for today-a time of divine intervention, verse 14. Now read 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”--the descendants of Kedar are the Bedouin Arabs who dwell throughout the Middle East in black tents. Here we have a wilderness located in the Arab world! But continue reading: “Let the inhabitants of Sela exult. Let them shout from the top of the mountains.” The inhabitants of Sela? Who are they? And where is Sela? (In the King James Version the word for Sela is translated “rock.” Sela is the Hebrew name of Petra)


Isaiah 33: Beginning with verse 13 God warns the House of Israel (which is The United States, Britain, and certain Western and Northern European nations)-the “sinners in Zion”-of their sins (verse 14). “Who will be able to live through the endtime warfare?” God asks (verse 14). Those who obey Him, declares verse 15. But where will they go?


Verses 16 and 17 answer! “He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks.. .” This verse is poorly translated in most versions because the translators did not understand the prophecy. The true meaning has been hidden. The place of protection shall be, not munitions of rocks, but the “strongholds of Sela!” The original, inspired Hebrew, mistranslated “munitions,” is metsad, and means a stronghold or a castle or a fort. And the word for “rock” in this verse is Sela, the name of Petra in the Hebrew language!


Petra is a dry, barren area. It hardly provides a few dozen Bedouin sufficient sustenance. How are all of the faithful people of God to be provided for? Continue with the end of verse 16: “...his 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!


Verse 17 completes the picture: “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. We shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2). Notice also that those in safety see “the land”-Palestine, the promised land stretching into the distance. Surely here is another indication of the high rocky crags of Petra from which one may look northwest to the promised land.


In Isaiah 16,  in verses 1 to 5, the prophet foretells, “Send the lambs for the Ruler (Christ) of the land from Petra that is toward the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion” The time setting of this prophecy is the return of Christ to rule the world. 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 Petra.  Other prophecies also picture peoples from the east capturing the land east of the Jordan. (See Ezekiel 25:l0.) As these 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."


 "Mine outcasts," This is what God calls them. Now compare this prophecy with Jeremiah 48:28, “O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock”--Petra--“and be like the dove that makes her nest in the sides of the holes mouth...” This is a great description of Petra, with its caves!
Isaiah 16:5 then reveals the very next prophetic event to occur: “then God will establish one of David's descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right.”

The longest continuous prophecy, covering event by event over 2500 years of history, is found in Daniel chapters 10 - 12. In the eleventh chapter, verse 41, is a prophecy for the “End Times.” The final ruler of the Roman Empire--the King of the North (Europe) -- overruns Egypt and invades Palestine. “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” (v. 41). The ancient territories are today all found in one modern nation- Jordan! And in Jordan today is Petra!


Does not this prophecy imply that Jordan escapes because God has chosen this land to be a place of safety? Every one of these prophecies point to the mysterious city of Petra as a place of safety! Not all of the Church will end up here, as the Bible does not preach “protectionism” to the saved. Many Christians are to be slaughtered for the sake of Christ, others will be tortured and imprisoned, but a few will be protected by God in the wilderness - and that place may be Petra...

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