When do we flee? And do we flee “in haste?”
By Joshua Caleb
Until recently my understanding of the Tribulation was that we would flee into the wilderness and attempt to “endure until the end.” With this understanding I was thinking that we needed to get with like-minded Torah pursuant brothers and attempt to buy land and build shelters and store up food and water and medicine and supplies for the long haul—whether that be 3.5 or 7 years.
However, lately I have been leaning heavily toward the understanding that the first exodus is the pattern for the second exodus, as it says in Isaiah 46:10, “Making known acharim (end-times things) from reshit (the beginning), and mikedem (from ancient times) the things that have not yet happened…” In other words, the second Greater Exodus is going to look a whole lot like the first.
This seems to make sense—we end our exile in the nations on a future Passover, we’re gathered in the “wilderness of the peoples” (Ezekiel 20:34-35), and we travel back to Israel on the “highway of the remnant” (Isaiah 11:16, 35:8-10, 43:16 & 19, 51:10). He lowers mountains, raises valleys, dries up the seas, and leads us back by the cloud and the pillar. I’m not sure if cars and trucks will be functional or not, but we learn in Isaiah 66:20 that we will have horses, chariots, covered wagons, mules, and camels to assist our elderly and little ones.
And we don’t need to stockpile food or water or clothing or medicine. One, we likely wouldn’t be able to carry it all even if we had it. And two, YHWH will provide food and water to us in the wilderness like He did to Israel the first time His people were in the wilderness on their way to the Land. And the account of the first exodus makes it clear that their clothes didn’t wear out and that there was no sickness or disease in the camp (so long as there was no sin in the camp).
As for shelter, I’m not sure whether we are to buy tents that we take with us when the time comes or not. Or if that is part of the “plunder” we leave“Egypt” with when we plunder Babylon on our way out into the wilderness.
The Israelites don’t appear to have lived in tents in Egypt as they were not wanderers. We know they travel from Egypt to Succoth (Sukkot) the first day of the exodus, and there set up the first camp. We know that they lived in booths (sukkot) in the wilderness. But booths are apparently not tents as they are two different words—tent (ohel) and booth (sukkah). So did they build structures at each campsite? Or perhaps built their sukkahs at the first camp and then disassembled them and used them repeatedly? I’m not sure we know, do we?
But since the pattern is that YHWH provides for His children in the wilderness and leads them into the Land, providing their food and water and healing and protection, it would seem unlikely that He would leave us without shelter–regardless of how He chooses to provide it.
This is a long introduction and I apologize. But I’m trying to share my understanding and how it has become clearer over time. So here is what led me to post this today: I was reading in Isaiah when I came across this interesting passage in chapter 52:
10 The Lord has bared His holy arm
In the sight of all the nations,
That all the ends of the earth may see
The salvation of our God.
11 Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the Lord.
12 But you will not go out in haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the Lord will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
“But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives.” But didn’t Israel go out in haste the first time? I looked up the Hebrew word “chippazon” and it only appear three times in Scripture:
“Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.”Exodus 12:11
“You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy16:3
And then again here in Isaiah 52:12. The first two times are about the first exodus and the last time is about the second exodus. But here’s where my question came about, because the first two times say that the Israelites left “in haste,” but in Isaiah we read that we will not leave “in haste.” Same word.
If the second exodus is patterned after the first exodus and they left in haste, why do we in the second exodus not leave in haste and why do we not flee as fugitives? Is it because YHWH will go before us and be our rear guard? No, I don’t think so, since He did the very same thing during the first exodus.
The only thing I’ve come up with thus far is maybe Pharaoh (the anti-Messiah) and/or the kings of the nations of the exiles are simply destroyed on the front end this time around and therefore are not around to follow after us into the wilderness. But I honestly don’t know, so I thought I would ask and let iron sharpen iron.
And as to the “when” of the exodus, I have this question: If the pattern of the exodus holds true, then there should be 10 plagues before we head out of Babylon/Egypt. Do we know how long the original 10 plagues took? Days? Weeks? Months?
I know there has been some speculation that maybe the Tribulation starts this Sukkot. I guess that could be possible if the definition of tribulation includes the time of the plagues leading up to the Passover exodus, but wouldn’t this require the plagues to take 6 months? Did they take 6 months? Do we have a timeline from the Scriptures?
I don’t claim to know anything, I’m simply seeking truth. I fully appreciate the fact that “now we see dimly as in a mirror.” This is why I do not fight or divide over issues like the calendar. I think a couple of things are clear: We should practice what we know as of now and continue studying and seeking. We will all know definitively when He returns.
I fear for those in the camp who the Master returns to find beating one another. The second greatest commandment is to love one another, not tear one another apart because we are convinced that our view is the correct view when most of us didn’t have the same view of the same issues a year ago or 5 years ago or 10 years ago.
I love the body of Messiah and pray that we will love one another and have the unity of the Spirit while we continue to seek to be obedient and go deeper in the Word and seek His truth.