Palestine is a most remarkable country, both geologically
and geographically. Its most notable feature is the so-called
Rift Valley, extending roughly from just south of the Waters
of Merom (Lake Huleh) to about twenty-five miles south of the
Dead Sea. The Dead Sea itself, the outstanding feature of the
Rift Valley, is unique among the world's bodies of water. Less
than fifty miles long and ten miles wide, its surface lies nearly
1300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. To the east,
the plains of Moab rise 4,000 feet above the level of its waters,
while on the west, the Judaean hills rise to more than 3,000
feet above its surface.
The Dead Sea's waters are replenished for the most part by the Jordan River, which alone pours some 6,500,000 tons of water into it daily. Even with this tremendous influx of water, however, the level of the Dead Sea does not rise appreciably, for the rate of evaporation almost (but not quite) equals the rate of inflow. It is important to note, however, that if an additional perennial stream should pour its waters into the Dead Sea, its level would rise; for evaporation is barely taking care of the present inflow.
Geologists believe that in prehistoric times the Rift Valley was filled with water up to the level of the Mediterranean. The Hastings Bible Dictionary says:
"At the latter stage, corresponding to the close of the Glacial Epoch, the waters of the Jordanic Valley appear to have risen to such a degree as to have formed a lake whose area included those of Merom (Huleh), Galilee, and the Dead Sea, and whose south margin extended into the Arabah as far as Ain Abu Werideh; thus producing a lake which had a length from north to south of 200 miles, and whose surface rose to the level of the Mediterranean."
The writer intends to prove by
Scripture references that this condition will prevail again during
Naturally, it will be impossible for the level of the Dead Sea to rise unless an additional inflow of water comes about, and such an additional inflow would be most unlikely unless there is an increase in rainfall. Such an increase in rainfall is predicted by the prophets, and consideration of these prophecies will form the first point of our argument.
"Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter
rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give
them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month."
"Who covereth the heavens with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains."
"Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shall sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures."
"And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bonds of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them."
"He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."
"The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow."
"Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;"
It is not argued that all of these passages have primary
reference to increase in rainfall. However, it does seem quite
clear that there is at least a secondary reference to such an
event in each one of the passages. The passage in Malachi
might be questioned until it is compared with Genesis 7:11;
in which passage it will be seen that opening the windows of
heaven has to do with sending rain upon the earth.
As a result of this increase of rainfall it appears from several scriptures that streams will spring forth from rocky places, a by no means uncommon occurrence in Palestine. The following Scriptures testify that in the latter days God is going to cause streams and rivers to flow from the rocks.
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is
none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD
will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake
them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains
in the midst of the valleys I will make the
wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs
of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar,
the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine,
and the box tree together: That they may see, and
know, and consider, and understand together, that
the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One
of Israel hath created it."
"And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place."
"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal; yea ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be."
"Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; And, behold there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me. Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me. These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall ge given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."
"Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal: and the bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous, in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures."
"Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water; thou preparest them corn, when thou has so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness: and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing."
"He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river."
"He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease."
"Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the God of Jacob; which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters."
"Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder: To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?"
"Restore our fortunes, 0 Lord, as the water courses in the Negeb."
Psalms 126:4 (RSV)
Both Zechariah 14:4-8 and Ezekiel 47:1-12 tell of a particular
stream that will flow from the vicinity of the future temple
in Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea. Moreover, the former
passage states that the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst
towards the east and towards the west and half of the mount shall
remove toward the north and half toward the south and there shall
be a very great valley. It seems probable that one reason for
the cleaving of the Mount of Olives and the creation of this large
valley is that the stream mentioned might have ready access down
to the Dead Sea.
Ezekiel states that the river which he saw was a stream too large to ford at a distance of only 4,000 cubits, or less than one mile and a half from its source. There is a difference in elevation between Jerusalem and the surface of the Dead Sea of roughly between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, yet the horizontal distance is less than 20 miles. This tremendous rate of fall per foot therefore will make possible the generation of great quantities of hydro-electric power. However, as the waters of this stream go down into the Rift Valley from the Dead Sea, the level of the Dead Sea must inevitably rise and in the process of time will reach sea level. By this time the entire Jordan Valley, including Lake Huleh, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and the northern third of the Arabah will be completely flooded and the prehistoric dimensions of the inland sea will be restored. Even after this lake reaches sea level it will not find any natural channel to the sea and therefore must continue rising unless an artificial channel is created. The following are some passages of Scripture that appear to speak quite eloquently of such an overflowing of the land.
"Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of
the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall
overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and
them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all
the inhabitants of the land shall howl."
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountaln for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
"The LORD spake also unto me again, saying, Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah's son; Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks: And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, 0 Immanuel."
"Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up."
"So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."
"For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shall compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah."
"Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
"But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it."
It is particularly interesting to note the light that is
shed by this line of study on the last three passages quoted.
If the country around the Sea of Galilee, where the cities
anathematized by Jesus were located, is going to be flooded,
then his words take on added meaning. It is also likely that
Jesus had in mind this coming flood when he compared the days
of Noah to the days of the coming of the Son of man, and it is
also likely that he was thinking of this same flood when he spoke
of the folly of building a house upon the sands.
Sooner or later this body of water must find an outlet to the sea. The most desirable route would be southward through the Wady El Arabah, for otherwise it would overflow the Plain of Jezreel, which is only some 350 feet above sea level. The only drawback to the channel through the Arabah is, that while the northern part of the Arabah is below sea level, its floor rises to better than 700 feet above sea level at a point more than half the distance from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. In spite of this hindrance, however, the writer believes that a channel will be made through the Arabah, probably by divine power, for there are several passages of scripture that appear to so teach. In Isaiah 35:1-6 we read:
"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."
In verses one and six
the word translated desert is the Hebrew word Arabah.
Also, in Isaiah 41:17-20,
"When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilder- ness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it ."
Here, we again have it
declared that God will cause the desert to bring forth abundantly.
Again the word desert is the Hebrew Arabah.
In Isaiah 51:3,
"For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."
We again have a reference to the desert being made
like a garden and again the word desert is Arabah.
In Psalms 126:4, the Revised Standard Version of the Bible reads as follows:
"Restore our fortunes, 0 LORD, like the watercourses in the Negeb"
The Arabah is part of the Negeb.
Other passages that indicate that a channel will be made through the Arabah are:
"For the LORD has called you like a wife forsaken and
grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast
off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you,
but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing
wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but
with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,
says the LORD, your Redeemer. For this is like the days
of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should
no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not
be angry with you, and will not rebuke you. For the mounains
may depart, and the hills be removed; but my steadfast
love shall not depart from you and my covenant of
peace shall not be removed, says the LORD who has compassion
Isaiah 54:6-10 (RSV)
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early."
"Then he said unto me. These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert (Arabah) and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed."
"Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, 0 Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses."
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
"Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
How will this channel be formed? There are passages that speak of extensive earthquakes and volcanic action as taking place in the vicinity of the Arabah and it would not be at all surprising if a channel were created by such action that would allow the waters of this rising sea to flow southward to the Gulf of Akaba. It is believed that the following passages deal with future disturbances of the earth in the neighborhood of the Arahah.
"Give unto the LORD, 0 ye mighty, give unto the LORD
glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due
unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the
God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD
is full of majesty. The voice of the LORD breaketh the
cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and
Sirion like a young unicorn. The voice of the LORD divideth
the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shaketh
the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth
the forests: and in his temple doth every one
speak of his glory. The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea,
the LORD sitteth King for ever. The LORD will give strength
unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace."
"I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice. And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent; from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me."
II Samuel 22:4-18 (See Psalm 18.)
"GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore wil not we fear. Though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah."
"O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:"
"For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;"
"When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob, from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, 0 thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters."
"The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth."
"The waters saw thee, 0 God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine ar- rows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron."
"LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedest out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water. The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of Israel."
"For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the High Places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place."
"O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? Was thine anger against the rivers: was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters."
"The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft upon its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the corner gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the King's winepresses."
Zechariah 14:9-10 (RSV)
The last quoted passage from Zechariah should be noted carefully
according to the Revised Standard Version, The whole land
shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem
but Jerusalem shall remain aloft upon its site from the
gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate,. This means
that the hills of southern Judea with the exception of the one
on which Jerusalem is located are going to sink until the surface
of the land is like a plain with Jerusalem still situated aloft
on its mountain some 2,000 feet above the recently created plain.
This passage agrees very beautifully with the second verse of
the fortieth chapter of Ezekiel in which the prophet saw a vision
of the future city of Jerusalem situated upon a very high mountain.
Not only will there be a channel through the Arabah which will allow the water to flow from the enlarged Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akaba, but there will also be, according to scriptures, a sort of super highway through the Arabah which seemingly will be used primarily by the returning exiles of Israel. Such a passage is Isaiah 40:3,
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
The word desert is Arabah in Hebrew. It is not denied that this passage found a spiritual or figurative fulfillment in the ministry of John the Baptist; however, the writer believes that prophecy always has a literal fulfillment as well as a spiritual one and therefore is firmly convinced that such a highway will be built in the Arabah, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. Other passages speaking of a highway in the Arabah and other desert places are:
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring
forth: shall ye not know it? I will even make a way
in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast
of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls:
because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in
the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen."
"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein, No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
"For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn."
"Sing to God, sing praises to his name; his name is the LORD, exult before him! Cast up a highway for him who rides through the deserts."
Psalms 68:4 (RSV)
As a result of the waters rushing through their new channel in the Arabah, vast quantities of sand and soil will be carried down to the Gulf of Akaba and could eventually block the Gulf of Suez, thus causing both it, and its extension, the Suez Canal, to be dried up. That such a calamity will actually happen is strongly indicated by several passages of scripture. For example, Isaiah 11:15 states that when the kingdom is set up,
"And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod."
Even a casual glance at a map will enable one to see the resemblance of the Red Sea to some kind of sea monster, or crocodile, with the Gulf of Suez forming the under jaw, and the Suez Canal the tongue. It would appear, therefore, that the Gulf of Suez and, what is more important, the Suez Canal, as well as the Nile River, will be dried up. Other passages supporting this view are quoted as follows:
"And the waters ahall fail from the sea, and the
river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall
turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence
shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags
shall wither. The paper reeds by the brooks, by the
mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the
brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.
The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast
angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that
spread nets upon the waters shall languish."
"He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness."
"He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease."
With the Suez Canal rendered impassable, it would appear that the trade routes from the East to West will have to come by way of the Gulf of Akaba up to the enlarged inland sea and thence overland by way of Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea. However, in as much as the country south of Jerusalem will be leveled, it should not be a difficult operation to construct an artificial waterway that would allow sea trade to go entirely by water from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean. This would mean that virtually the entire commerce of the world will be passing through Jerusalem. It is not surprising, therefore, to find many passages of scripture which predict that in the Kingdom Age, Israel will eat of the fatness of the Gentiles. The very fact that all commerce going from West to East and from East to West must pass through Israel will do more than the blast of a trumpet to gather the Jews to their homeland. Some other passages that teach Israel is to live off the riches of the Gentiles are as follows:
"Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and
merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature,
shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine:
they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come
over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall
make supplication unto thee, saying Surely God is in
thee; and there is none else, there is no God."
"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees."
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee and the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD, thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. Therefore, thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. Thou shall also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shale call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day: neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time."
NOTE: I am greatly indebted to Dr. J. R. Graves for the basic
theory which I have amplified herein.
John H Mattox