Will God Protect Israel During the Great Tribulation?
Manfred E. Kober, Th.D.

The last three and a half years of the tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation, will be a time of unprecedented judgment upon a Christ-rejecting Gentile world.

After the rapture, Antichrist, the Roman dictator (Dan. 9:26), will sign a seven-year covenant with Israel, but after three and a half years he will break his covenant (Dan. 9:27). For the last half of the tribulation Antichrist persecutes Israel but God has a wonderful refuge prepared for Israel just east of the Jordan and Dead Sea.

A brief outline of God's protection of Israel during that time and subsequent punishment of the unsaved may help us to understand the numerous Scripture passages relating to this remarkable refuge.

The Refuge for Israel

I. The Promise of a Refuge.

A. The place:

While Antichrist's kingdom extends over the entire earth (Dan. 7:23), one area exempt from his rule appears to be the mountainous area of Ammon, Moab and Edom (Dan. 11:41) to the northeast, east and southeast of the Dead Sea. This would include the mysterious city of Petra, where some 2400 rock-hewn buildings comprise an ideal refuge.

B. The protection:

In the Olivet Discourse Christ warned the Jews that when Antichrist moved into Jerusalem and desecrates the temple (“abomination of desolation”, Mt. 24:15), then the Jews should “flee into the mountains” (v. 16, cf. Mk. 13:14 and Lk. 21:22). From the top of the Mt. of Olives, only one mountain range is visible and that is the mountains of Moab to the east of the Dead Sea. The escape route would be all down hill. The Dead Sea is only 15 miles away.

C. The period:

In the middle of the tribulation Satan is cast out of heaven. The scenario is described in Revelation 12:6ff. The serpent (Satan) pursues the woman (Israel), “and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God that they should feed her there for 1260 days”. Satan attempts to drown Israel but the earth swallows the flash flood.

II. The Procedure of Reckoning.

A. The prosecutor:

Soon after Christ returns to the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4), He will also be in Edom with Bozrah, its capital. Isaiah asks, “Who is he that cometh from Edom, with dyed garment from Bozrah?” (Is. 63:1-2). The bloody garments are the result of Christ's judging the Edomites or, more plausibly, the Jews, some of whom have been hiding in Edom for 42 months.

B. The purging:

Ezekiel describes the judgment of Israel. God predicts, “I will bring you into the wilderness of the people . . . and will cause you to pass under the rod . . . and will purge out from among you the rebels” (Ez. 20:35-38). This wilderness where the judgment will take place may well be the wide valley extending 120 miles from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, known as Wadi Araba. In contrast, the Gentiles will be judged in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, somewhere near Jerusalem (Joel 3:2,12).

C. The percentage of the redeemed:

Once Christ has removed in judgment those Jews who still did not trust Him as Savior, how many believing Jews are left? Perhaps the answer is found in Zechariah 13:8. While two-thirds of Israel will die as unbelievers, one-third of the Jews living during the tribulation will be saved. A mass revival will bring salvation to millions of Jews. And this believing remnant (Rom. 11:26) will be the recipients of the new covenant and inherit the land promised so long ago to Abraham and his descendents (Gen. 15:18).

© Manfred E Kober
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