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The Idumean Winepress 

[1] Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. [2] For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. [3] Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. [4] And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. [5] For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.  Isaiah 34:1-5.

There can be little doubt that Isaiah is speaking about one of the events of the latter portion of the Tribulation Period.  He speaks of the great slaughter of the nations that will come against the nation of Israel and her great city Jerusalem at the final battle of Armageddon.  He further testifies to a heavenly picture of the chaos previously described in many Birth Pang chapters.  And then, in verse five, Isaiah gives us a specific location where the great sword of God will streak down from Heaven to cleave asunder the land of Idumea.  This country of Idumea is also called Edom in the Scriptures, and any reliable dictionary or commentary locates it between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the northern tip of the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba (See figure 23).  This section of the earth’s crust will suddenly be torn apart by God’s power in the latter portion of the Tribulation Period.

It is not by accident that the great north-south crack in the mid-Atlantic, shown in figure 3, continues around the southern tip of Africa, through the Indian Ocean, down the Gulf of Aden, up the Red Sea floor, along both sides of the Gulf of Aqaba, northward across the Araba Desert, along both sides of the Dead Sea and Jordan River Valley, and finally through Lebanon to intersect another east-west fault in Turkey.  God will be using this great geological rift fault to fulfill many of His Tribulation Period prophecies.

By observing figure 25, you can visualize how God is rapidly spreading apart the Red Sea fault faster than any other geological fault in eastern Africa or the Middle East.  God has been bringing an unbelievable tonnage of red hot, flowing rock called magma upward through this Red Sea crack for a very long period of time.  As the liquid rock makes contact with the water cooled Red Sea floor it solidifies into new basaltic crust.  This new crust is pushing apart two large tectonic plates: the African and Arabian plates.  The crack in the crust of the earth through Idumea is kept locked together by horizontal pressure applied by God in the distant past and, consequently, the hot liquid rock beneath Idumea is kept locked deep beneath the surface.  However, the rapid spreading of the crust (to the south of Idumea in the Red Sea) will continue to induce more and more horizontal pressure in the opposite direction of the force that now locks the Idumean section of the fault.  In the latter portion of the Tribulation Period the splitting force of  the south  will exceed the locking force of the north, and the the center of the land of Idumea will suddenly rip apart as if a great sword from heaven had swept down to slash it.   When this occurs along a line from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, the land will suddenly become what geologists call a flood basalt plain.  It will be a valley filled with flowing blood-red lava at temperatures initially in excess of 2100 degrees Fahrenheit (1200 degrees Celsius), and will be accompanied by all the horrors of a flood basalt plain.

There were no Hebrew words in Isaiah’s day for magma pikes, lava intrusions, pyroclastic avalanche clouds, flood basalt plains, etc.  So when Isaiah received this vision from God, he used the most descriptive words of his language to fit what he saw.  We began this chapter with the terrifying picture of the judgment of God on the nations of the world and Idumea as outlined in Isaiah 34:1-5.  Now, bearing in mind that Isaiah did not have our geological jargon of today, let us discover what geologic horror is created in Idumea when God’s sword comes down by examining Isaiah 34:8 & 9.

[8] For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.  

Isaiah 34:8,9   

The rift in the earth’s crust will remain volcanically active from generation to generation throughout the millennial reign of Christ, but the deep opening itself will be cooled by the waters of the Dead Sea as they move southward to dump their high salt content into the Gulf of Aqaba.  This drainage of the Dead Sea will be covered with many Scriptures in great detail in later Birth Pang chapters.