Jerash – Symbol Of Destruction :: by Ray Brubaker

Jerash is one of the most complete examples of a provincial Roman city to be seen anywhere.Hidden in a remote, quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead is this once powerful city. Greater cities have often vanished without a trace, but the remoteness of Jerash has saved it from total destruction.

The site of Jerash is along a modern highway that links Amman, Jordan with the northern boundary of the Kingdom of Syria. The drive takes around 40 minutes from Amman.

As one approaches the view of the ruins, he beholds a city that once existed in magnificence.

Some attribute the founding of the city to Alexander the Great, although the history of Jerash goes back to prehistoric times.

Without question, Jerash was at the height of its culture and wealth during the time our Lord was on earth and in the century that followed.

The South Theater containing 32 tiers of seats, which could accommodate about 4,000 persons. was one of its main attractions.

Then, too, there were the Baths which were an essential part of Roman life fulfilling the functions of a modern-day club by providing a setting for gay parties given by wealthy or ambitious citizens.

Most of the remains of buildings one views today are the result of this golden age when shrines and temples were erected to Roman gods and goddesses–to Zeus, Apollo and Diana, along with governors and procurators in whose honor inscriptions were made. By the middle of the fourth century there was a large Christian community in Jerash which found pagan shrines giving way to churches under construction. The last church was built in 611 A.D., and a series of earthquakes destroyed both churches and buildings and the remains were left intact as they fell.

Excavations have shown that the area of the Forum and South Tetraphion may have been occupied in the late eighth century. And in the twelfth century comes a crusader by the name of William of Tyre who speaks of Jerash as having been long uninhabited.

Another famous city which was a thriving trading empire, also in Jordan, is Petra. This city not only has a famous past, but some believe it will have an important future for the preservation of the Jewish remnant during the coming tribulation.

One cannot review the ruins of Jerash and Petra and points of interest in the Middle East without realizing the destruction that has come again and again to these regions.

As mentioned earlier, when Arabs want to speak of destruction, they liken it to the ruins of Jerash.

However, what has happened in the past, resulting in ruins and rubble such as we have witnessed today, only typifies what lies ahead.

The Apostle Paul relates how “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh…” (1 Thes. 5:2-3a)

This is almost a repeat of a prophecy given Isaiah, chapter 13, and verse 6 where we read: “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”

Isaiah, like the Apostle Paul, goes on to describe this destruction, saying: “They shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth … their faces shall be as flames.” (Isa. 13:8)

Without hesitancy, we see the destruction of the endtime as nuclear … with the book of the Revelation picturing the destruction of much of our earth.

Isaiah, too, records this message where God says: “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”

Now the question is asked–Would man destroy himself?. Would he push the button that unleashes missiles and rockets over our cities and bring on this great destruction? Is it not a destruction from the Almighty?

While God is in control of every situation, we must realize man is responsible for much of the destruction pictured in the endtime.

We blame God for wars, but in reality man himself is guilty. The evil heart of man is responsible for wars and bloodshed. Jesus said: “The thief cometh.. . to destroy.” (John 10:10) You ask, What proof do you have that man will destroy himself?

Dating back to the time of Cain, we hear him saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and he slays Abel. Man ever since has been at odds with his brother. Only through the grace of God in redemption can man be cured of this hatred, this animosity, that finds brother pitted against brother, race against race, and nation against nation.

Again turning to the book of the Revelation, we read that when the Lord comes, He will “destroy them which destroy the earth?” (Rev. 11:11B)

Did you hear it?
Who is seen destroying the earth? Man is the destroyer. Of course, behind all of this destruction is the devil.

In Isaiah 14 we have a picture given of Satan who rises up against the Almighty and is cast out from the presence of God and indwells the Antichrist seen arising in the endtime. Here is what we read: (Isa. 14)

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (v. 12) Satan is seen weakening the nations.

Then we read concerning Lucifer, “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof?.” Who is responsible for this destruction of our cities? The answer is “man” guided by Satan.

Again turn to the Psalms where we find the Lord’s permissive will involved.

We read: “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the nations; he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.”

Now notice, this is a reference to our Lord Jesus Christ who is seen as the one seated at the right hand of the Father. Remember, this is in the Old Testament. You ask–does the Old Testament refer to Christ? Indeed it does.

The Psalm begins by saying: “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psa. 110:1 ) Our Lord quoted these verses to the Pharisees to prove His divinity. So it is He, (our Lord Jesus Christ) who one day will make His enemies His footstool. At Armageddon He will destroy all resistance to His rule and authority. The communist with his fist raised toward God will ultimately be forced to recognize Christ’s rule in the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord.

At Armageddon by the sword proceeding out of His mouth, Christ will smite the nations. It is then that we read: “He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” ( Rev. 19:15b)

You see, our Lord is not willing that any should perish. He wants men to turn to Him for salvation–to receive the gift of Eternal life.

It is to be admitted that there are times when He intervenes on behalf of His children and on behalf of Israel.

Look at Ezekiel’s description of a northern army seen sweeping down into the land of Palestine.

What happens? We read: “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog (the Russian leader) shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.”

It is then that God allows the earth to shake, heavy overflowing rains to come, hailstones to fall along with fire and brimstone as He shows forth His wrath in judgment.

However, notice what else happens. We read where the Lord says, “1 will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God; every man’s sword shall be against his brother.” (Ezek. 38:21)

Here is just another example where the Lord permits men and nations to fulfill His will. Did you ever notice how difficult it is for the Arab nations to get along one with the other? They can’t live peaceably among themselves, let alone to live at peace with Israel.

So here is another example where man brings on the tribulation. As we read a moment ago, “The Lord.. . shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” Men and nations, we believe, bring on the tribulation, whereas God steps in to bring it to its conclusion.

Listen, Jesus described the tribulation as follows, declaring: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Think of the holocaust and the murder of six million Jews. Think of the days of the Romans when men were tortured by crucifixion and horrible, cruel whippings. But the tribulation will be far worse. In that day simply to identify with the political and religious system means martyrdom.

Then we read: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (Matt. 24:29) That’s not the end.

In Revelation, after a description of the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon becoming like blood, and the stars of heaven falling unto the earth, we read how men of earth call to the mountains and rocks and say, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:16-17)

Then the vials of wrath are poured out upon the earth. In Rev. 16 we find sores appearing on those who have accepted the mark of the beast. The waters turn to blood and all life in the sea dies. Earthquakes are felt which are so powerful they level mountains, and the islands of the sea disappear. Men are scorched with great heat and blaspheme the name of God who had power over these plagues.

Will you take a chance at going through these days of wrath just ahead? You don’t have to. We read in I Thes. 1:10 where we “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.” We do not look for WRATH, but for RAPTURE. Again we read, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 5:9)

We must point out, however, that in Ephesians believers are cautioned against fornication and such sins as covetousness in these words. Wrote Paul: “For this ye know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man (who is an idolater) hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye, therefore, partakers with them.”

May we run from sin as we would run from a viper. And may we be encouraged to live for Jesus every day, for He is coming soon.

One more evidence that man is seen destroying our world and God steps in to stop his reckless use of atomic weapons is pictured in Rev. 7:1 where we read, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

This scripture makes sense in light of the pollution which results from an atomic explosion. A scientist who had something to do with the making of the first atomic bomb recently declared that the pollution which results from a nuclear explosion is at least 50 times worse than we can imagine. So it can be understood why God sends angels to stop the winds from blowing. In grace and mercy He may be seeking to halt nuclear waste and radioactive fallout from covering the earth, polluting and killing everyone and everything in its path.

Our Lord reminded us, saying: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Mt. 24:22)

Hear me, God is a loving Father who has sent His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to save all who call upon His name. While wrath and destruction are ahead, we believe there is the possibility of escape.

John the Baptist, while on earth, cried forth his message that men “repent,” make straight paths for the coming of the Lord, and that they “flee the wrath to come.”

John was removed from the world scene. The church age was ushered in at Pentecost. But now the day of grace is about over. Israel’s reappearance as a nation signifies that the time of the Gentile has just about come to an end. So if you are going to make a decision for Christ, you had better do it now.

The destruction such as fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, that brought fiery death to the inhabitants, is a picture of coming destruction. As God sent a flood, so He is allowing fire to envelope the earth.

As Peter reminds us, “Whereby the world that then was, being over- flowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:6-7)

Paul, too, speaks of a time when Christ will come from heaven with His mighty angels, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thes. 1:8)

How terrible for those who do not know the Lord and who refuse to obey His Word! Today is an acceptable time when you can receive Christ, surrender to His will, yield to His authority, and be saved.

While we see destruction coming to this world, we would claim the promise of the Psalmist who rejoices in the Lord and in His benefits, “who redeemeth thy life from destruction…” (Psa. 103:4a)

We see the United States and Russia becoming involved in World War III in the days when Russian forces are seen marching on Israel. Ezekiel records this message where the Lord says: “1 will send a fire or Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles; and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

Dr. Charles Taylor, in his book, WORLD WAR III AND THE DESTINY OF AMERICA, says this is a reference to Russia and the United States. Magog is another name for Russia. And the word “isles” speaks of a land with vast coastlines which could be our Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. Destruction by fire is seen to be our lot.

Yet we would point out how our Lord likened His coming to be as it was in the days of Lot. Said Jesus, “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all, Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Lu. 17:29-30)

Ezekiel describes the day of Russia’s destruction with the loss of 5/6 of her armies as occurring during a time when there will be fire and brimstone.

So, we believe that before this endtime destruction, our Lord will come for His own. As angels came and literally dragged Lot and his family from Sodom before the fire fell, so we see God coming for His own before the bombs explode overhead. It’s not that we are any better than those in Europe whose cities were destroyed in two world wars. Rather, it is because in this third catastrophe the destruction will be so great that God has no choice but to pluck His redeemed saints from off the earth before the nuclear blast would annihilate man.

A secret document revealed that 85 million to 150 million Americans would be killed in a nuclear blast. Does this not concern us? Who knows whether a surprise attack could come in the middle of{he night where there would be no warning? Our only hope is the rapture. And as Lot was spared the destruction of Sodom, “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed,” said Jesus.

How will it be when He comes? Exactly as it was in the days of Lot. But escape is possible if we will only turn with all of our hearts to Jesus Christ.

Our Lord urged us, saying: “Watch ye, therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Lu. 21:36) Are you watching? Are you praying? Are you ready were Jesus to come yet today?

Indeed, be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.