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"From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering." Zep. 3:10
An obscure verse written by the last and least of the Minor Prophets provides an amazing clue to the location of New Jerusalem at the time of the end.
Zephaniah prophesied at about 630 BC during the reign of king Josiah. His message echoed the cry of earlier prophets Jerusalem was about to suffer a terrible judgment. But, like earlier prophets, his dire warning was followed by a promise of future glory and restoration.
Zephaniah turned away from ill-fated Jerusalem and looked west "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia". His anointed vision saw "the daughter of my dispersed", the regathered tribes of Israel far into the future.
The ten tribes of Northern Israel had been taken into captivity by Assyria from 741 to 676BC. And Zephaniah knew that the remaining two tribes were soon to be removed from the land as well. To prophesy that all the tribes would be restored and reunited was very unlikely.
Further, in the direction he was facing there was nowhere the millions of Israel could survive. The rivers of Ethiopia are the Nile Delta. And west beyond the Nile there is nothing but the Mediterranean Sea, the Sahara desert and an ocean which in Zephaniah's day had no end. The fulfillment of his prophecy seemed impossible.
The dust of centuries gathered on this prophets words and they were forgotten. But 2100 years later Christopher Columbus discovered America and the impossible became possible. Let's trace Zephaniah's vision from the promised land, Old Jerusalem to New Jerusalem.
The boundaries of Israel extended from the city of Dan in the North to Beersheba in the South (Judges 20:1). These were the borders of Israel until the captivity. Today, Israel extends south to the Red Sea, but below Beersheba, the Negev Desert was virtually uninhabited in Zephaniah's day.
The latitude of Dan is 33.14N and Beersheba is 31.14N. These two degrees of latitude extend 138 miles. If you were to draw a line west from Beersheba it would pass through Alexandria, Egypt, south of Tripoli in Libya and across the Sahara desert in Tunisia and Algeria. The line passes into the Atlantic Ocean just below Marrakech, Morocco.
A similar line drawn west from the northern border of Israel at Dan passes over the Mediterranean until it reaches Tunisia. It then extends over the northern Sahara into the Atlantic just below Casablanca. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and largely uninhabited.
Continuing on into the world that Zephaniah could only see by faith we travel 6300 miles from Beersheba to Brunswick, Ga. Here the line that marks the southern border of Jerusalem passes into "New Jerusalem". The southern line then passes west through Dothan, Ala, Hattiesburg, Miss, .Alexandria, La and Fort Hood, Texas.
The northern line which started in Dan and passed through Casablanca enters America just south of Georgetown, SC. It then moves west through Griffin, GA., Tuscaloosa, Al., Starkville, MS., and Texarkana, TX. Trace these lines on a map and you will be amazed.
This corridor is remarkable. It passes south of Atlanta and just above the counties which have a heavy French population on the boot of Louisiana. North Texas is cattle country. Zechariah had said than New Jerusalem would have much cattle. (Zech. 2:4)
The 138-mile corridor cuts through the predominately white Anglo Saxon protestant section of the U.S.A. Zephaniah called them "my suppliants" or worshipers. Zephaniah saw the Bible Belt! You cannot draw another 138 mile corridor from Jerusalem that passes through any other section of the world where there is a more representative population of the God fearing remnant of "dispersed of Israel".
Where then is New Jerusalem? It is precisely
due west of Old Jerusalem, the land
promised to the twelve tribes of Israel. Only an omniscient God who sees the end from the beginning could have revealed this to Zephaniah. For 2600 years ago this continent was an undiscovered wilderness and Israel helpless captives dispersed among the nations.
The Old Jerusalem is not the New Jerusalem