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Through the Wilderness
Prophetic descriptions of The Way of salvation



Peter D. Goodgame
May 15, 2014


Within the New Exodus framework for understanding the end times the symbol of Babylon represents the spiritual wilderness of this dark, corrupt, and fallen world. The New Exodus that is currently underway, led by Jesus, is an exodus out of Babylon and through the wilderness, and on to the promised land of the New Jerusalem —the city of the redeemed in the New Earth.


The historical origin of Babylon can be traced back to the first city founded by Cain that was built following the murder of Abel (Genesis 4:17). In the ancient histories of Sumer this first city was named Eridu, which was a name later translated as "Babylon" by the Greeks. Eridu was also the location of the historical Tower of Babel which was the spiritual capital of Nimrod's empire, the world's very first superpower (see chapter six, pages 71-83).


In the Gospels Jesus equates the sins of Jerusalem with the crimes of this iconic "Babylon," essentially declaring that Jerusalem would be judged as part of Babylon's wicked system. In this way the complete destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD was a foreshadow of the final judgment against Babylon that will fall against all the cities and nations of the world.


Luke 11
(47) Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
(48) So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
(49) Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'
(50) so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
(51) from the blood of Abel [Cain murders Abel → Babylon] to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.


Babylon is first specifically named in the Old Testament as Babel, the epicenter of Nimrod's empire (Gen. 10:10) and the location of the infamous Tower (Gen. 11:1-9). In the Old Testament Nimrod is also known as Asshur, as shown in Genesis 10:11 and elsewhere. In Isaiah 14 the King of Babylon is named Asshur (v.25) and his crimes include turning the world into a wilderness and taking mankind into bondage:


Isaiah 14
(14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
(15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
(16) 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;
(17) That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?


Isaiah refers to Asshur as the founder of "the land of the Chaldeans" in Isaiah 23:13. Numerous texts connect the "land of the Chaldeans" with Babylon, including Isaiah 13:19, 43:14, and Isaiah 47-48, as well as Jeremiah 50-51. In Isaiah 23:13 we find that Babylon, the "land of the Chaldeans," was established for them that dwell in the wilderness. The truth is that all who are born into this world are also born into this spiritual wilderness, and therefore in need of redemption. In this way the wilderness of Babylon emerges as a central theme of the great eschatological New Exodus.


Near the very end of Israel's forty-year Exodus journey from Egypt we have the first prediction of a New Exodus given by Moses in Deuteronomy 30:1-6. This New Exodus was predicted to involve a final gathering of God's people out from all the nations of the world and back to the "Promised Land." This theme is picked up again by the prophet Isaiah where the New Exodus is announced by the cry of a voice that we know was fulfilled by John the Baptist:


Isaiah 40
(1) Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
(2) Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
(3) A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
(4) Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
(5) And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."


Just as the old Exodus was a journey of God's people coming out of Egypt and passing through the wilderness, we see that the New Exodus is the end-times journey of all of God's people, Jews and Gentiles, coming out of Babylon and through the wilderness towards the final promised land of the New Jerusalem. In addition to the numerous passages depicting the New Exodus in Isaiah 40-55 we also find it mentioned by prophets such as Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and several others. Here is Ezekiel's prediction of the New Exodus that is given in comparison with the old Exodus:


Ezekiel 20

(10) Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.

(11) And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them...

(21) Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me ... then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
(30) Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? And commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
(33) As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
(34) And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
(35) And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
(36) Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.


The prophet Hosea also makes use of the New Exodus theme in his prediction of the end-times salvation of a remnant of Israel. Note that Hosea 2:23 below is declared by both Peter and Paul as being fulfilled by the Church (see Romans 9:25 and 1 Peter 2:10). A similar description can be found in the Song of Solomon, widely recognized as the love story of Jesus and His Bride:


Hosea 2

(14) Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her... 
(19) And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
(20) I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
(23) And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. [Romans 9:25, 1 Peter 2:10]


Song of Solomon 8

(5) Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? Under the apple tree I awakened you. There your mother was in labor with you; there she who bore you was in labor.
(6) Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.


In first century Israel, when Jesus began to preach, Israel was still in exile. All of the twelve tribes remained in spiritual exile, while most ethnic Israelites remained in physical exile away from the promised land, scattered in the surrounding regions. Yes, there was a remnant that had returned to the land of Israel from Babylon in fulfillment of Jeremiah's "seventy years" prediction, but this was not the complete fulfillment of the "return from exile" prophecies of the Old Testament. These prophecies of a glorious return also included Israel's sincere repentance, the return of the Shekinah Glory to the Temple, and the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the people. None of these things had actually happened, and for this reason it was widely understood within first century Judaism that the predicted "return from exile" that was to be brought about by the sovereign hand of Yahweh was still in Israel's future.


When John the Baptist appeared on the scene declaring that Israel's deliverance was at hand, and that the people needed to repent to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God, he fulfilled both Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1, which is added to the "Isaiah passage" in the introduction of the Gospel of Mark:


Isaiah 40 (LXX)

(3) The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.
(10) Behold the Lord! The Lord is coming with strength, and his arm is with power: behold, his reward is with him...
(11) He shall tend his flock as a shepherd, and he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and shall soothe them that are with young.


Malachi 3

(1) "Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming," says the LORD of hosts.


Mark 1

(1) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
(2) As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way,
(3) the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"
(4) John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.


Bible scholar Rikki Watts explains that this simple introductory passage to the Gospel of Mark was meant to inspire in its readers a recognition of the entire New Exodus program found in Isaiah. They were supposed to recognize that John announced the beginning of Israel's deliverance from exile, and that Jesus was the One sent by God in fulfillment of Isaiah's Servant of the Lord passages, who would gather the "lost sheep of Israel" (which was predicted to include Gentiles), lead them out of their exile in "Babylon," and guide them "through the wilderness" on the "Way of the Lord" back to the new "Promised Land" spoken of in Isaiah.


The early Church understood all of this perfectly, and they recognized that they were at the forefront of the New Exodus procession. The Apostles had been chosen by Jesus to spread the Gospel to the entire earth, gathering all who would believe into this great end-times move of God, following Jesus along the Highway of Holiness, and setting their sites on the heavenly Jerusalem that is to come.


The New Exodus had begun! Jesus was the shepherd of this little flock of believers and they were His sheep! The twelve Apostles and early followers of Jesus had all sincerely repented and turned from their past lives to embrace the teachings of Jesus, and they had witnessed the Glory of the Lord in the form of Jesus return to the Temple! Furthermore, they had experienced the outpouring of God's Spirit at Pentecost and the spiritual "heart-circumcision" that had been predicted by Moses as a crucial component of the New Exodus (see Deut. 30:6). The physical circumcision of Israel was a marker that showed "covenant membership" among the people of God in the temporary Old Covenant, which Israel broke, whereas the spiritual heart-circumcision of the New Covenant is a marker that provides an entrance for the very Spirit of God to reside inside each reborn member of God's true end-times family!


Together the early Church knew that they were the chosen and redeemed remnant of Israel, and they also knew they were meant to adopt Gentiles into their New Exodus movement just as Isaiah had predicted. In this way the covenant borders of this newly reconstituted "Israel of God" were expanded far beyond the parameters of the Mosaic Law which was abolished and fulfilled in Christ. The Old Covenant was the old wineskin fillled with the wine of the laws of Moses, but the New Covenant is the new wineskin filled with the new wine of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost! Mixing the two has never been a good idea.


Evidence that the early Church viewed themselves as the redeemed remnant of Israel can be found in the very name that was first used for their movement. The early Church was first known simply as "The Way." This was a name rooted firmly in the prophecies of Isaiah concerning Israel's New Exodus. It was "the way" that Israel would travel as they faithfully followed the Lord out of their exile, through the wilderness, and back to the new "promised land" described in Isaiah, which is shown in the New Testament as being fulfilled by the New Jerusalem. There is no present-day "Promised Land" that God recognizes on the earth today. Yet the Lord is leading all who would choose to follow Him to the ultimate and final "Promised Land" of the New Heaven and New Earth that will be re-created after this corrupt world is judged and purified. It is there that we will find the New Jerusalem, the city of the redeemed that Scripture calls the "wife of the Lamb."



But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh,
which wage war against your soul.
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable,
so that when they speak against you as evildoers,
they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:9-12



The early Church knew that they had witnessed and were experiencing the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecies of the Lord coming to Israel and leading a faithful remnant out of exile and through the wilderness on the way of righteousness back to the promised land. Bible scholar David Pao shows that the entire book of Acts is developed with the theme of Isaiah's New Exodus acting as a template for the narrative. In addition to these themes of travelling "through the wilderness" and along "the way," the Scriptures also speak of Israel coming "out of Babylon," with Babylon playing the role of the archetypal worldly city of idolatry and wickedness:


Isaiah 48

(20) Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!"
(21) They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out.


Jeremiah 50

(8) "Flee from the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans..."


Jeremiah 51

(44) And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen.
(45) "Go out of the midst of her, my people! Let every one save his life from the fierce anger of the LORD! ...
(47) "Therefore, behold, the days are coming when I will punish the images of Babylon; her whole land shall be put to shame, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.
(48) Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, shall sing for joy over Babylon, for the destroyers shall come against them out of the north, declares the LORD.
(49) Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, just as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth.


From the framework of the New Exodus we see that the call to "come out of Babylon" is a call for God's people to separate themselves from the idolatry and wickedness of the kingdom of darkness. Babylon is much more than just a literal city or a specific nation. The spiritual understanding of Babylon the Great can be found by studying the descriptions of Babylon found in Revelation 17-18. This great "city" that stands as the parallel opposite of the New Jerusalem of the redeemed is introduced in Revelation as existing in the wilderness:


Revelation 17

(3) So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
(4) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:


The ultimate call to "Come out of Babylon" can be found within Revelation's depiction of Babylon the Great as the culmination of mankind's idolatrous rebellion against God and His righteousness:




Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
"Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says, 'I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.'
For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her."

Revelation 18:4-8



The New Exodus is the return from exile of all of God's people, Jews and Gentiles united in a new Israel, back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve's exile from Eden was history's very first exile, and Jesus came to redeem us from the bondage of sin, taking us out of Babylon's wilderness of spiritual darkness, and back to the Garden of Eden:


Isaiah 51

(3) For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.


Ezekiel 36

(35) And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.


Revelation 21

 (1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
(2) And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
(3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. [Ezekiel 37:27]
(4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." [Isaiah 25:8, 35:10, 43:18]


Revelation 22

(1) Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
(2) through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(3) No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
(4) They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
(5) And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. [Isaiah 60:19]


At the glorious finish of our New Exodus journey we will find that the Garden of Eden is reconfigured as the New Jerusalem, where we will once again live in unity and communion with God, with eternal access to the Tree of Life. The New Jerusalem of the New Earth is the true Promised Land which is the destination of the great end-times New Exodus led by our Savior, Jesus Christ.



Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27



We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 John 5:19-21