The Desert of the Nations
There is an intriguing prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel directed at the Jewish refugees who secure an early return from captivity in Babylon: "I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you together from foreign countries among which you have been scattered. I will lead you into the Desert of the Nations and condemn you to your face." (Ez.20:34-35).
This desert reference relates to another, "As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so will I judge you -- it is the Lord God who speaks. I mean to make you pass under my crook and I will bring a few of you back; I will sort out the rebels who have rebelled against me. I intend to bring them out of the country where they are staying, but they shall not enter the land of Israel." (Ez.20:37-38).
Viewed in Christ, these prophecies seem to relate to the early reprieve from Babylon granted by God (through Jeremiah) to 'Jewish army leaders', and affirmed by the nations of Babylon very near the time of the End. (See 'Jerusalem Under Seige').
Jeremiah has decreed this to be an ill-fated return. The quotations above seem to be easily in agreement with Jeremiah's observation. The 'desert lands' in question are symbolic and therefore probably relate to areas where Christian preaching is either forbidden, or severely restricted.
Instead of pursuing the peaceful course of the scriptures which Moses said must be kept by all who want to live (Ez.20:21), and dwelling peacefully in the mandate which allowed them their return, the prophecies indicate that these rebels will grow more and more impatient as the days pass. (Ez.20:18).
Entering into a divinely forbidden pact with Egypt, the Jewish militants will align with the Arabs against the Persians. And, when all is in readiness, the soldiers of Jerusalem will travel north to meet the fate scripture has decreed for them: This reward for choosing to pursue violence over peace will occur, the Bible says, along the banks of the Euphrates river and it will annihilate the Israeli army and irrevocably divide Jerusalem into two rival camps.
In this division, one group of Jewish citizens will pursue peace, but the other will seek revenge and opt for more war. (2 Chron.18:4-22).
Jesus taught that God's 'land of Israel' is in heaven, not Palestine. That reality needs to be remembered when we read Ezekiel's warning that the refugees who have been retured ahead of schedule will not enter the land of Israel.
Although the Jews will be able to escape the captivity of foreign lands and make their way to Palestine, the only way they can reach the 'Promised Land' of God -- the 'Israel of heaven' -- is through righteous behavior.
The decimation of the Jewish army by the king of the Medes when he gains his power will bring these prophecies into sharper focus, and that is why there will be such division in Jerusalem as the final Day approaches.
'The Last Days of Babylon', Chapter 13, 'Jerusalem Under Seige'
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