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The Wilderness

A wilderness is often thought of as a barren wasteland, uninhabited, and perhaps even uninhabitable. The two original words of The Bible that have been translated as wilderness are the Hebrew word of the Old Testament pronounced mid-bawr, and the Greek word of the New Testament pronounced er-ay-mos. While both words are sometimes used to mean a desolate wasteland, they are also used to describe a very good place to pasture sheep - whether actual sheep, or God's "sheep."

The Tabernacle Examples of various uses of wilderness:

A Desolate Waste

"For The Lord's portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage. He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye." (Deuteronomy 32:9-10 RSV)

An Abundant Pastureland

"Thou visitest the earth and waterest it, Thou greatly enrichest it; the river of God is full of water; Thou providest their grain, for so Thou hast prepared it. Thou waterest its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. Thou crownest the year with thy bounty; the tracks of Thy chariot drip with fatness. The pastures of the wilderness drip, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy." (Psalm 65:9-13 RSV)

The Wilderness Journey Of God's People, Past and Present

"I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized [see Baptism] into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ [see Rock Of Ages, The Logos and Jesus Christ]. Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness." [see Wilderness Journey and The Tabernacle In The Wilderness]

"Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance." We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer."

"Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:1-13 RSV)

The Gathering

"I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, says the Lord God." (Ezekiel 20:34-36 RSV)

A Voice In The Wilderness

"The word of God came to John the son of Zechariah [see John The Baptist] in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." (Luke 3:2-4 RSV)

A Spiritual Wilderness

"And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names [see Who Is The Woman Riding The Beast?], and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations." And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." (Revelation 17:3-6 RSV)

The "Woman," God's People, In The Wilderness

"and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." (Revelation 12:6 RSV)

"But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent [see That Old Serpent] poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God [see The Ten Commandments and The Ten Commandments Now?] and bear testimony to Jesus" (Revelation 12:14-17 RSV)

Fact Finder: Will the "woman be nourished" in the wilderness for the same number of days that God's two witnesses are out prophesying to the world?
Revelation 11:3 and 12:6
See also The Two Witnesses, Are The Two Witnesses Here Now?, and Down Without A Fight?

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