IN THE TRIBULATION GOD IS OUR REFUGE
Author John Holland
is no way of escaping the time of tribulation that is consistently prophesied
to come upon the world at the close of the age.
Those who have been prepared will know that “the LORD will be a
shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of
Published by COVENANT MINISTRIES INC
The Nature of the End Time Tribulation
What we are to do in the Midst of God‘s Judgment
The Blessings Procured by the Blood of Jesus
Entering into the Shelter of God’s Abiding Presence
THE NATURE OF THE END-TIME TRIBULATION
IN THE TRIBULATION GOD IS OUR REFUGE
The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.
LORD also will roar from
the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His
people, and the strength of the children of
It is a Time of God's Judgment.
Judgment of the Church
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God"? 1 Pet 4:17
The end-time tribulation is a time of God's judgment, firstly on the church, and then on the nations, or those who have rejected God.
Premillennialists would have us believe that the church does not have to face God's judgmental tribulation. Supposedly she is to be raptured into heaven before it happens. However before we try to evade God's imposed tribulation, we should understand its purpose.
Throughout the history of God's dealings with mankind, the same pattern emerged. God would bless His people--they would turn away from Him and commit apostasy with the surrounding nations--He would send tribulation by allowing them to be bound in servitude--they would repent and return to Him.
Tribulation leads to repentance and returning to the Lord. It opens the door to cleansing and refinement. If the church is to turn away from its apostasy and be prepared as a bride fit for the return of the Lord, then she must accept her measure of tribulation.
Judgment of the World
the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the
land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven
and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in
its going forth, and the moon will not c
Tribulation Spiritual in Nature
The Tribulation is
essentially spiritual rather than physical in nature, just as the battle of
Armageddon is spiritual rather than physical. In the battle of Armageddon, the
members of the world-wide church will not be congregated at
A key factor that precipitates the Tribulation period will be the withdrawal of God's restraints on the operation of Antichrist, so that his working may be brought out into the open.
"Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He (the Holy Spirit) who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." 2 Th 2:5-8.
This withdrawal will bring about the following outcomes.
That which was so subtle that it had the capacity "to deceive, if possible, even the elect" will now become obvious. The working of "the lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed." Antichrist will be revealed, not as a world acclaimed human identity, but as a spirit being who has been operating in the church throughout its existence. The Tribulation is very much about the increased activity of Antichrist and his deceiving spirits operating in both the world and the church at the close of the age.
Many will become disillusioned,
and leave the church. P
With the revelation of the works of Antichrist and of apostasy in the church, many previously deluded Christians will be faced with the decision to repent and "Come out of her," or remain and suffer God's judgment. "And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her (the apostate church), my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.'" Rev 18:4-5.
Hordes of Demon Spirits
The Book of Revelation and the prophet Joel pinpoint hordes of demon spirits (described figuratively as devouring locusts) as God's agents of judgment in the tribulation period.
opened the bottomless pit, and smoke (false doctrines) arose out of the
pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air (spiritual
light and truth) were darkened bec
On their heads
were crowns (crowns speak of
Many of the figurative pictures in Revelation have their counterpart in the Old Testament. This is one of the many examples. Joel commences by picturing the scope of the invasion--not just one type of locust or demon attack, but many. "What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten." Joel 1:4.
Joel likens the locusts to an army. Later they are called God's army of judgment. "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you." Joel 2:25.
Their teeth being "the teeth of a lion" establishes the figurative nature of the language, and its connection to Revelation 9:8. "For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion." Joel 1:6.
laid waste My vine (a symbol of the church), and ruined My fig tree (
"…the priests mourn, who minister to the LORD." Joel 1:9.
This will be a time
when false ministries will be exposed. Those who were not prepared and anointed
by the Lord will lament bec
Verse 10 outlines the result of the spiritual attack. "The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is ruined, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails." Joel 1:10.
"The field is wasted"--It is a time of spiritual barrenness. Jesus predicted a time of darkness when no man could work. "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work." John 9:4.
"the land mourns"--The world is in a state of depression.
"the grain is ruined" Grain is a symbol of spiritual truth--which is polluted by deception.
"the new wine is dried up" New wine symbolises joy and gladness.
"the oil fails." Oil symbolises the Holy Spirit. People seek after pleasurable spiritual manifestations rather than the real Spirit of truth, and so received lying signs and wonder.
The world is in a state of economic depression: "Has not food been cut off…seeds shrivel under their clods…storehouses are desolate…barns are torn down" Joel 1:16-17.
Chapter 2 continues
this figurative account using similar terms to those used in Revelation 9. "Blow
the trumpet in
Why Does God Allow This Attack?
This is the nature of God's judgment--to confront people with the fruit of their corruption. "I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jer 17:10.
In this case people
have chosen to fellowship with demons. P
People turn their
backs on sound doctrine bec
The bottom line is
this: people have rejected truth and turned to the "doctrines of
Tribulation Symptoms Prophesied by Jesus
Jesus foretold signs of the tribulation that will occur at the end of the age. It should be noted that they are spiritual rather than physical in nature. E.g.
Lying Signs and Wonders--"…and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matt 24:24.
In recent decades
there has been a major shift in the way people have approached Christianity.
Throughout the ages the bible has been our 'text book,' and our acceptance of
the governing role of doctrine provided us with a dependable guide in our
practice of Christianity. But now a growing number of people have supplanted
doctrinal integrity with the New Age approach of acquiring personal
satisfaction through soulish works of the flesh, through spiritual
empowerments, and other forms of self-gratification. P
The underlying thought that if it makes you feel good it must be right, has provided fertile ground for the introduction of charismatic lawlessness, as in the Toronto and Pensacola 'revivals,' where ‘Holy Spirit baptisms' and the resultant spiritual experiences have been given more credence than doctrinal integrity. Instead of doctrine being the beginning and end of truth, the initial assumption is that the experiences must be right, and subsequent efforts are made to make doctrine accommodate them.
When our search is for spiritual manifestations rather than truth, we are a ready prey for lying signs and wonders, which have their origin in the spirit of antichrist.
The resultant signs and wonders are so convincing that they can "deceive, if possible, even the elect." It is common for recipients to feel tremendously uplifted, experiencing a sense of deep peace and well being, and testify to having a much deeper love for the Lord and His body. This feeling of spiritual exaltation is so intoxicating, that desire for it is insatiable. It is common for the same people to present themselves for 'the experience' over and over again. But it should be understood that the desire for such experiences emanates from the soul and not the spirit. The end result is a final spiritual deadness and disillusionment that is hard to reverse.
Hatred and Betrayal--"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another." Mtt 24:10.
Being offended, hating one another, and betraying one another, occurs when one sees in another’s ministry that which he intensely disapproves, and so he reacts with personal hatred and vilification.
At the heart of lawlessness is a rebellious
self-centredness, which does not submit to doctrinal restraints, and which in
reality is opposed to Christ and His truth. This will affect others in the
Earthquakes Famines Pestilences--"And
there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences;
and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven." Luke
21:9-11. This speaks of both spiritual and physical manifestations of upheaval
International Turbulence--"And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring." Luke 21:25-26.
This verse is couched in figurative language depicting international turbulence. The analogy of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened is used frequently in the Old Testament to foretell calamity and overthrowing of nations. The sea symbolises the nations, and waves upheaval and instability.
Fear and Anxiety--"men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken." Luke 21:25-26.
Tribulation Symptoms by Other Prophets
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…"1 Tim 4:1.
"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first…" II Th 2:3.
But Isaiah predicts that though spiritual darkness will envelop the world, it is in this climate that the true children of light will shine forth.
"For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you." Isa 60:2.
And likewise Daniel: "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever." Dan 12:3.
False Prophets--"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." Mtt 24:11.
False prophets with world-wide television ministries have already risen, and by showing miraculous signs and wonders, they have gained world-wide credence.
A prophet’s main task is to
reveal the state of the church, so that people may repent of sin or apostasy
and return to God, and so escape His impending judgment. In Ezekiel, God warned
the false prophets, "Ye have not gone up into the gaps (a breach or
break in their wall of spiritual protection), neither made up the hedge (of
protection by establishing them in truth and righteousness) for the house of
Instead of boldly disclosing the church’s apostasy, and warning of God’s judgment, false prophets have proclaimed "peace; and there was no peace…" They have prophesied to please men, declaring forthcoming blessings—like global revival, individual acclaim promising world-wide ministries, and so on. "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word." Ezek 13:6
A Shaking of all Worldly and
Religious Institutions-- P
All institutions will be
shaken, or be put under extreme pressure, to ascertain their origins. All that
cannot be shaken has its foundations in the Lord, and so it will stand firm.
All that is of man or the flesh will not survive intact. P
"According to the grace of
God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation,
and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For
no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus
Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious
stones (legitimate works), wood, hay, straw (fleshly works), each
one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, bec
WHAT WE ARE TO DO IN THE HEAT OF GOD’S JUDGEMENT
The prophet Joel not only warns of the coming spiritual judgment, he outlines the measures we should take to know God as our refuge.
Joel foreshadows the Lord’s warning to all generations that they should watch for the signs of the last days. "Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything like this happened in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it, let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Joel 1:2-3.
Sound the Alarm
"Blow the trumpet in
The prophets and teachers have the responsibility of warning of the coming judgment when the day is at hand.
"Now, therefore," says the LORD, "Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning." So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm." Joel 2:12.
"Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; wail, you who minister before the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you who minister to my God; for the grain offering and the drink offering are withheld from the house of your God. Joel 1:13.
Repentance must be
whole-hearted--not merely with a show of words. True repentance will result in
forsaking the indulgences of the world and the flesh, and indifference to the
presence of apostasy in the church. It will result in returning to the Lord and
being fully consecrated to Him. Those who minister to God are especially
singled out bec
Consecrate a Fast
"Blow the trumpet in
To consecrate a fast is to dedicate
it to the Lord. Bec
"Then He said to him, ‘A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, "Come, for all things are now ready." But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, "I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused." And another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused." Still another said, "I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come."'" Luke 14:16-20.
The essence of this fast is to turn away from pre-occupation with the things of the world and of self, and be totally consecrated to the purposes of the Lord.
Assemble the Elders
"Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD." Joel 1:14. And, "…assemble the elders…" Joel 2:15.
In the pattern of the early church, it was the elders (plural) who had the responsibility of oversight, and spiritual care of the local church. "The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder…Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers…" 1 Pet 5:1-2.
For the sake of expediency, this pattern has been replaced with the practice of hiring a professional clergyman to take care of the affairs of the church. The true role of elders has all but disappeared. However it is the Lord who prepares and presents elders to the church (Eph 4:11), and He honours and anoints their role as overseers and shepherds. Now the call is to re-establish the office of the elders, so that there is true oversight at this critical time. It is important that they lead the congregation in anointed prayers of supplication.
Unite and Sanctify the Congregation
"Gather the people, sanctify the congregation…gather the children and nursing babes…" Joel 2:16.
This is a time for unity--for the true church to be solidly united. Even the very youngest must be included, and the whole congregation consecrated to the Lord God and placed under His protection.
Psalm 133 associates unity with the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the whole congregation. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron (a picture of Jesus our High Priest), running down on the edge of his garments (encompassing His children)." Ps 133:1-2. We are sanctified by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
True Ministers are to Cry Out to God
"Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" Joel 2:16-17.
In the New Testament pattern, the true ministers were prepared and anointed by the Lord. "And He (the Lord) Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (or elders)…" Eph 4:11. In the apostate church these true ministerial positions have been substituted with a hired clergyman, who attempts to minister to all the needs of the church. The ministerial offices are to be restored, and those who minister to the Lord are to unite in prayers of repentance and supplication. They are to stand in the breach between God and His children as Moses did, asking God to intervene and restore what was lost.
Then God Will Restore
God will never forsake those who turn to Him with repentant hearts, and so we are comforted with promises of restoration.
"Then the LORD will be zealous for His land, and pity His people. The LORD will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil, and you will be satisfied by them; I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations." Joel 2:18-19.
Put on Our Spiritual Armour
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." Eph 6:10-18.
We are to stand "in the power of His might." We must forsake reliance on our own inner resources, and put our trust in the might of the Lord in us.
"gird your waist with truth" We are to take our stand in what the Word says--particularly concerning the benefits of the cross. We are to wield "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." When we testify to what the word says, applying it personally to ourselves, it becomes a spiritual sword that the Holy Spirit can wield against our enemies.
"put on the breastplate of righteousness" We should be consistent in our application of the blood of Jesus, and our acceptance of the righteousness He procured for us by bearing the punishment for our sins in His own body on the cross. This removes every claim of Satan against us.
"having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace" The Greek word ‘hetoimasia’ usually means ‘preparedness,’ or ‘readiness,’ but in Hellenistic Greek it was used in the sense of ‘establishment,’ or ‘firm foundation’--which is more applicable to this reading.
"your feet" speaks figuratively of your direction or pathway, and so the reading may be interpreted, "Let your spiritual pathway and your decisions to be firmly founded in the peace of the Lord," or more simply, "be guided by peace."
"take the helmet of salvation" This speaks of more than our eternal salvation. The Greek word ‘sozo’ to save, has these additional meanings: ‘keep safe and sound’--‘to rescue from danger or destruction’-‘to make well, heal, restore to health’
God is continually
watching over us to keep us in all our circumstances. P
Take "the shield of faith" We are to put on the faith of the Lord who resides in us. In other words we are to trust the Lord to release His faith in us to meet our needs.
"being watchful to
this end with all perseverance" In like manner, Peter warns,
"Be sober, be vigilant; bec
supplication in the Spirit" P
the Blessings Procured by the Blood of Jesus
It is important that we do not neglect the blessings procured for us by the blood of Jesus.
The Pattern of the Passover
"And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night…" Exod 12:7.
blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the
blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you
when I strike the
"And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning." Exod 12:22.
God had allowed the
Israelites to suffer hard bondage under the hands of cruel taskmasters in order
to turn their hearts away from the luxuries of
When God was about to execute His last climactic judgment, He instigated a practice that was to save all those obedient to His decree. They were to kill a lamb without blemish, and sprinkle its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. When the angel of death saw the blood of the lamb, he was to pass over the house, leaving its occupants untouched by God’s judgment.
Lessons From the Passover
The blood of the Passover lamb is a type of the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore the lessons of the Passover lamb point to our application of the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." 1 Cor 5:7
The blood of the Passover lamb protected the whole household--the whole family. The angel of death had to pass over the house when he saw the blood of the lamb. We may apply the blood of Jesus (in prayer) as a protecting cover over our whole family, declaring them consecrated to the Lord.
The blood was a sign that those in the house belonged to God. They and all their possessions were consecrated to Him. Similarly, we may cover all our possessions with the blood of Jesus. We should consider that we, and everything pertaining to us, are the Lord’s, and subject to His protection.
take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has
made you overseers, to shepherd the
"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor 6:19-20.
The Israelites were required to stay in the house. If they ventured out of the house, they lost their protection, and were subject to death. When we are subject to spiritual warfare, we too must remain ‘in the house,’ "hidden in Jesus Christ in God," sheltering under the blood of Jesus our Passover Lamb. This is not the time for independence, or striving, or seeking the protection of the world. It is a time to enter God’s rest, trusting in His faithfulness.
They were told to eat the Passover lamb. Similarly we are told by Jesus to "eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood," in order to experience the power of His indwelling life.
First we are to receive the full blessings procured for us by His sacrificial death--redemption, righteousness, justification, the forgiveness of sins, nearness to God, and so on.
Secondly, we are to abide in Him. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him." John 6:56. Abiding is to remain in a state of union with the Lord. We are not to strive in the power of our own flesh, but to rely on His love and faithfulness, and His almighty power residing in us to meet our needs.
Thirdly we are to feed
on Him. "As the living Father sent Me, and I live bec
All Things Were Purified and Consecrated by Blood
"Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you." Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves (purified) with better sacrifices than these." Heb 9:18-23. The Greek word which is translated ‘purified’ has the additional meanings, ‘to consecrate by cleansing,’ ‘to free from the defilement of sin.’
In the earthly dispensation of Moses, almost all things were purified and dedicated by the blood of the sacrificial lamb. These things were copies of the things to come. And now that Christ has appeared, the writer of Hebrews says that the "things in the heavens," or spiritual things of the new covenant, should also be purified and dedicated "with better sacrifices"--with the blood of Jesus, our sacrificial lamb.
In the Old Covenant, the blood of the sacrificial offering was sprinkled or smeared on the objects to be dedicated. In the New Covenant dispensation, the blood of Jesus is applied through prayer. We should apply the blood of Jesus to our whole being--body, soul, and spirit, to our work, our possessions, our ministerial tools, to our spiritual walk—everything should be purified and consecrated to the Lord and placed under His protection.
Priests and their Vestments were Purified with Blood and Anointed With Oil
"Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons' garments with him." Exod 29:20-21.
The putting of the blood of the sacrifice on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot, was to consecrate all their faculties to the service of God--the ears to hear His commands, the thumbs or hands as instruments of ministry, and the toes or feet, signifying their walk or direction. The putting the blood on their garments signified their need to be clothed in righteousness--in our case by the righteousness provided by the Cross of Christ.
Entering Into the Shelter of God’s Abiding Presence
We should reckon the way into the presence of God is now made open by the sacrificial flesh and shed blood of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews invites us to enter boldly through the veil of Christ’s flesh, cleansed and sanctified by His blood, and present ourselves to our Father in heaven.
"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Heb 10:19-22.
We are to enter the
shelter of His presence, there to abide in His protective care. It is here that
we are to enter His rest, relinquishing all we have and all our circumstances
into His care and keeping, trusting in His love and faithfulness. To rest is to
stop striving, to stop fretting, or anguishing over our provision and the
affairs of our life, and to relinquish all things into God’s care. Our
lives should now be "hidden with Christ in God."
God Will Not Remain Silent
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous all around Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people: Gather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." Ps 50:3-5 This language is derived from the notion of a universal judgment.
"Gather My saints (those who are truly His) together to Me" is not referring to a physical joining of the saints, but a spiritual joining in a unified knowledge and commitment to God’s will.
"those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." This speaks of total consecration. They have entered into a solemn ‘covenant’ to be totally the Lord’s. They "did not love their lives unto the death."(Rev 12:11)
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal (undivided) to Him" 2 Chr 16:9.
God Is Our Refuge
Joel 3:16 "The LORD also will roar from
Psalm 46:1. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble"
Warfare can be very constant and draining. In these readings we are assured that as well as being a shelter, or shield against attack, the indwelling life of the Lord is our strength.
HEAR my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."
"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers, and under
His wings you shall take refuge; his truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.
No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
I will deliver him; I will set him on high, bec
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.’"
Be Still and Trust in God’s Faithfulness
A common theme throughout the Scriptures is that when confronted with the enemies’ attack, we are to be still, to be quiet, to trust in God and His faithfulness--to enter His rest. The following are some examples:
"And Moses said to the people, ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.’" Exod 14:13-14. The Hebrew word ‘charash,’ means ‘to be silent, to keep quiet.’
says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Ps 46:10.
"Those who trust
in the LORD are like
keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed (in an attitude of
dependence and rest) on You, bec
In the second book of Chronicles there is a story of how King Jehosaphat and his small nation gained the victory over a great multitude from three hostile nations. When threatened with annihilation, King Jehoshaphat’s immediate response was to unite the nation in seeking help from the Lord.
happened after this that the people of
God responded to their cry for help by assuring them that they need not be dismayed, for the battle was not theirs but His. All that they needed to do was to stand still and trust Him to overcome their enemies.
“Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon
Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of
Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he
said, "Listen, all you of
It was put on Jehoshaphat’s heart to relinquish the battle into God’s hands, and to engage in praise and worship.
“And when he had consulted with the people,
he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the be
We are in a similar position to Jehoshaphat in that the hosts of darkness confronting us are far too strong for us to overcome them in our own strength. Our only safe recourse is to retreat into the refuge of Almighty God and be still, relinquishing the battle into His hands. When we, with hearts of praise and worship, put our trust in Him, He will save us and keep us.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1Thes 5:23-24.