Place of Safety: Petra, Bozrah, or Somewhere in Jordan?


Someone recently asked me about the possibility of Bozrah being the “place of safety.”

After doing some scriptural research, I ran across the following warning about Petra being the place from Tim McHyde:

Is Petra the “Prepared Place” of Safety For Israel or You?

Petra, Jordan was once the stronghold of the Edomites and later the capital city of the Arab Nabateans. …

Will Petra become the number one safe destination of Israelites in the end times, as well? Some people think so and feel they have Bible prophecy to back this up.

The most popular version of the speculation around Petra is that the Jews escaping from the Battle of Armageddon will find refuge there. Some Old Testament passages mentioning the city are used to support this idea …

Others, believe Petra to be the place that the “true church” will be protected in fulfillment of Revelation 12.

Both views argue based on Scripture and the city’s excellent defensive structure. It is mountainous and its main entrance is a long narrow rock wadi, called the Siq. What better location for people to be safe from attack, right?

Supporters also claim that the city could hold 144,000 people, the number of Israelite evangelists listed in Revelation 7 and 14. The Worldwide Church of God believed that there would be 144,000 of their members who made it to there.

The Petra theory has its appeal. But is it truly grounded in Scripture or even realism?  …

If you search the Bible for the name of the city Petra, you will not find it. Instead of that modern Greek name for the city, you have to search for the Hebrew equivalent, Sela (or Selah). Both words mean rock. …

It seems like the main basis of the Petra speculation is the area’s natural features. .. The springs have dried up long ago. …

As far as how many people can comfortably live there, it’s woefully inadequate. This is a small city with an estimated past top population of 20,000. Whether you think Israel or Christians will be sent by God there, it equals far, far more than 20,000 or double that. The remnant of either Israel or the church is more likely to be in the millions. …

As for the theory about Israel fleeing the land before Armageddon, that also is problematic.

Doesn’t Revelation 12 Say Israel Is Protected?

Revelation 12 is a key passage that seems to contradict what Zechariah says:

Revelation 12:1, 5 (ESV) — And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 5 She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne

Here we have a coded description of Israel. The twelve stars, moon and sun hearken back to Joseph’s dream of his family, Israel (Gen 37:9). The child taken to heaven who will rule all nations is obviously Jesus. He came out of the nation of Israel, through Mary of the tribe of Judah.

However, keep reading to get the full flavor of the protected Woman:

Revelation 12:13-17 (ESV) — 12 When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. 15 From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. 16 But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. 17 So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus.

Notice the main attribute of the Woman given at the end is that her offspring are the ones who keep God’s commandments and have the faith of Jesus (Rev 12:17).

This description does not fit national Israel in the end times or any time in their history. … They were never a nation … with the testimony of Jesus even after Jesus came. …

What the Woman is showing us is not national, secular Israel, but God’s faithful righteous including Israel but not limited to Israel. Righteousness is not a matter of race, but of faith. The faith of Jesus can be adopted by anyone. …

Bible prophecy offers one place in connection with the Antichrist’s domination of the world which it says he cannot take over. It is not Petra, or, at least, not exactly Petra. You can see it in Daniel’s prophecy of the King of the North (the Antichrist):

Daniel 11:41 — He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

OK, that looks like three places, right? In ancient biblical times it was.

But in modern times there is one nation encompassing those exact three peoples. You may have already guessed it from the name Ammon. As in the capital of Jordan.

Objections and Questions Answered

Now you probably have the following questions:

  • Q. What about Bozrah?
    A. Like Petra, Bozrah is part of Jordan, so what I’m saying here does not negate those theories completely, just expands them to the whole truth).
  • Q. Isn’t Jordan a Muslim country? What about the Jordanians there?
    A. Jordan will be evacuated after the country is laid waste in the attack against Israel.
  • Q. Will we need passports?
    A. Things will be normal when we leave, pre-Wormwood and therefore passports will be needed.
  • Q. How do we know when it’s time to go?
    A. God must send some prophet since no man knows the day or hour.
  • Q. How much time do we have?
    A. I think we won’t see the prophet until the 2020s at the earliest.

While I do agree, based upon many scriptures, that Jordan seems to be the place and God will likely use a prophet to say when (and where), I disagree with the author’s view on many points. But I do agree that Revelation 12:14-16 is talking about protection for faithful Christians and NOT physical Israel. As far as the old Worldwide Church of God goes, it speculated, but did not insist, on Petra being the place (for details, see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).

Petra is large enough for the Philadelphian Christians to be protected–and they are the ONLY Christians promised protection from the Beast (cf. Revelation 3:7-10)–most Christians will NOT be protected (cf. Revelation 12:14-17).

The reason I found this article was because of looking for views of some on the place of safety and Bozrah.

As far as Petra or Bozrah go there are several clues in the Bible that suggest that a Jordanian location makes sense. But part of this is based upon where the place of protection is not.

Some Clues about Where the Place Isn’t

Although some have suggested that the Bible gives no clue about where the place of safety will be, this is inaccurate. First notice that apparently some of God’s people will apparently be in the area of Judea and Jerusalem around this time:

5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry, ‘Gather together,’
And say, ‘Assemble yourselves,
And let us go into the fortified cities.’
6 Set up the standard toward Zion.
Take refuge! Do not delay!
For I will bring disaster from the north,
And great destruction.” (Jeremiah 4:5-6)

The above passage is suggesting that there will be a time that will come that those in Judea and Jerusalem will have to flee into a place of defense. This is consistent with what Jesus told His followers to do in Matthew 24 :15-16 when they see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel (which happens right after the sacrifices, which have not yet started, have been stopped). And Jeremiah is basically warning that disaster will come from the north–in this case apparently the King of the North. And this may be because some of God’s people have fled to Judea/Jerusalem in order to escape from some of the persecutions from this northern power (for more information on WHEN to flee, please see the article Who is the King of the North?).

In Luke 21:20-21, Jesus confirmed the concept that some of His people would be in the same area and would need to flee:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

It thus appears that the place of safety is not in Jerusalem or Judea.

Since the Bible also warns that God’s people should flee Babylon and go out of Chaldea (Jeremiah 50:8;51:6,44-45; Zechariah 2:7; Revelation 18:4), Babylon and Chaldea apparently are not the places either.

Notice the following,

“Flee from the land of the north”, says the LORD…Up Zion! Escape you that dwell with the daughter of Babylon (Zechariah 2:6,7).

This not only suggests that the place may not be in a northern land, but that some Christians will have need to flee from the land of the north.

Since the Bible seem to forecast near total destruction to the islands of the world (Revelation 6:12-14; 16:17-21), no island seems to be a likely place (more information can be found in the article Islands and Bible Prophecy).

More Information About the Place

“He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:15-16)…”Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations” (Isaiah 45:20).

Isaiah thus indicates this place will be a fortress of rocks for those that escape from the nations (note: the escaping from the nations suggests that groups with origins in CGI, such as ICG and CEM, are in error for teaching that God intends to protect people where they are).

It is also of interest to note that those that escape will be assembled–they are not lone independents–this is also consistent with Zephaniah 2:1-3

Gather yourselves together, yes gather together, O undesirable nation, Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the day of the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger.

The Hebrew words translated as Zephaniah means “Yahweh Hides” or “Yahweh Has Hidden” (Holy Bible: Vine’s Expository Reference Edition, p. 826). Notice that a decree is issued, apparently by a church leader–and I believe that the leader will be part of the Continuing Church of God. This would seem to happen after the gospel has been preached enough to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), Jewish sacrifices are stopped, and the abomination is set up (Daniel 9:27; 11:31) per Jesus’ statements in Matthew 24:15-16.

It remains my prayer that those who are Philadelphians and are scattered in groups will soon assemble together, before it is too late.

Furthermore, Zephaniah continues by suggesting that the place will not be in Gaza, at the seacoast, nor Canaan, the land of the Philistines,

For Gaza will be forsaken, And Ashkelon desolate; They shall drive out Ashdod at noonday, and Ekron shall be uprooted. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast; The nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, the land of the Philistines (2:4-5).

According to the commentary at Nelson’s Study Bible on these verses Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron are major cities of the Philistines and Cherethites is simply another name for Philistines. The land mentioned is currently primarily occupied by the Palestinians.

Since people are to leave Judea, are not to go to Gaza, nor Canaan, nor to various places in the north, which direction can they go? Well, they cannot go west because the Mediterranean sea is in the way. This would seem to suggest going east, south, or possibly southeast (southwest would take one to Gaza).

Where is the Place?

David wrote, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5). This may have a dual meaning. It may be referring to the tribulation and may also be referring to an interesting event in David’s life. David was hiding in the woods from Saul (I Samuel 23:19), and “When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon…So David made haste to get away from Saul…so they called that place the Rock of Escape” (I Samuel 23:25,26,28). The word translated ‘Rock’ is Sela and the word translated as ‘rock’ are derivatives of the same word. Thus there was a Sela of Escape for David.

Jesus taught, “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Matthew 24:20) which is consistent with Revelation 12:14 which clearly states that it is a place to go to, it is in the wilderness, and it is away from the presence of the serpent. The word translated as wilderness, is translated as desert in the NIV. This word is eremos, which Strong’s defines as lonesome, waste, desert, desolate, solitary, wilderness. Thus, it is not protection in our own houses (as some have erroneously suggested), nor is it protection in a large city. It is somewhere in the wilderness.

Petra, the rocky outpost in Jordan has been speculated to be the place. And where is Petra?:

Situated within the harsh desert, Petra’s vitality was dependent upon an intricate hydraulic system fed by a perennial spring. This spring, the Ain Musa (Spring of Moses), is fabled to have been one of the places where Moses struck the rock with his staff to produce water for his wandering people after their flight from Egypt. Not surprisingly, the valley in which Petra is situated, the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses) is also named after the Biblical patriarch. In addition, Moses’ brother Aaron is believed to be buried atop the Jebel Haroun (Mount of Aaron), a mountain just south of the city. The belief that Aaron was buried so near Petra is especially noteworthy because it played an important role in Petra’s rediscovery by John Burckhardt (Petra: History, Myth, and Earthquakes; website).

In terms of its location from Jerusalem, Petra (Sela on some Bible maps) is mainly south and slightly east of Jerusalem. Bozrah is also in the right general direction, as are other locations in Jordan.

Now it is also possible that the actual place of protection could simply just be near Petra or perhaps the location will be far from it.

What About Bozrah and Petra?

Some have wondered about Bozrah. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah wrote:

5 “For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom, And on the people of My curse, for judgment. 6 The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, It is made overflowing with fatness, With the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 The wild oxen shall come down with them, And the young bulls with the mighty bulls; Their land shall be soaked with blood, And their dust saturated with fatness.” 8 For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, The year of recompense for the cause of Zion. (Isaiah 34:5-8)

20 Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord that He has taken against Edom, And His purposes that He has proposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out; Surely He shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. 21 The earth shakes at the noise of their fall; At the cry its noise is heard at the Red Sea. 22 Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs. (Jeremiah 49:20-22)

12 I do surely gather thee, O Jacob, all of thee, I surely bring together the remnant of Israel, Together I do set it as the flock of Bozrah, As a drove in the midst of its pasture, It maketh a noise because of man. 13 Gone up hath the breaker before them, They have broken through, Yea, they pass through the gate, Yea, they go out through it, And pass on doth their king before them, And Jehovah at their head! (Micah 2:12-13, Young’s Literal Translation)

It is the eagles wings (cf. Revelation 12:14) and the idea the the most faithful are God’s sheep (cf. Psalm 95:7; 100:3; John 10) that get some to wonder about Bozrah.

Anyway, Bozrah is in the right general direction. But, since this seems to mainly be a prophecy for Edom, it is not clear it is related to the place of protection for the Philadelphians in the wilderness. However. if the Turks were to turn against God’s protected people, then this could be the place where the Turks (Edom in various prophecies) and/or Jordanians (as some Edomites are likely there) are destroyed (cf. also Obadiah). The Philadelphians are the most faithful remnant of spiritual Israel (cf. Romans 2:28-29; Revelation 3:9)–so we will see about Bozrah. Now, because of how the Turks are expected to betray the physical nation of Israel (and perhaps also the faithful Christians), God has a special punishment. More on Turkey can also be found in the video What Should You Know About Turkey in Prophecy.

Now, I have long wondered if Petra would be the actual place.

The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, wrote:

Incidentally, I know many of you seem to have your hearts set on going very soon to Petra as “the place of safety” during the soon-coming Great Tribulation. Well, GET YOUR MINDS OFF PETRA. Brethren, I HAVE NEVER said that Petra definitely is the place of protection where God will take us. I HOPE IT IS NOT! One reason it could be the place is that it is a place NOBODY ELSE WOULD WANT TO GO. It would be the most UNpleasant, UNcomfortable, miserable place you could go! There is nothing to be desired there. But, just in case, God HAS miraculously given me very gracious favor in the eyes of King Hussein and also his brother, the Crown Prince. They are very friendly to me personally (Letter, July 16, 1982).

There are local reasons to consider that Petra may not the be place.

Realize that Petra is one of the leading, if not THE leading, tourist destination in Jordan, hence there could be economic and other factors against that precise location itself (though if only a small amount of Christians flee, that might be tolerable, and even helpful to, the tourist industry possibly as a ‘side-show’ or to be of cultural or prophetic interest). Other than the aspect of caves (which does not mention the amount of caves), it should be noted, that many other areas in Jordan also are in the right direction and fit the description of the place–so it is possible that the Church may flee into Jordan and not stay in Petra, but somewhere else in Jordan or a neighboring area.

It is also possible that the true Philadelphian Christians will stay in Petra for a time and then go elsewhere–and that is something I have written about before.

Philadelphians and the Wilderness

In the New Testament, while not all Christians are promised physical protection, the Philadelphians are promised to be protected from the Great Tribulation and this place is in the wilderness according to the Book of Revelation:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10)

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:13-17)

Notice that there are two groups of end-time Christians according to Revelation 12:14-17–one group that is protected, and the other that is not. Revelation 3 shows which group gets protected.

Places such as Petra are in the wilderness and are in biblically possible locations for the place of safety. But I should add that a place other than Petra might make more sense because of economic and political considerations.

While Petra may not be the place, it is one place to be considered. A YouTube video of interest could be Might Petra be the Place of Safety?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. Two sermon-length videos of relaled interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and Might Petra be the Place of Safety?  Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2018, 2019, or 2020? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

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