THE TRIBULATION PSALM 91
THE PSALM FOR THE LAST DAYS
Much controversy has developed over the years within segments of the church over when the "rapture" of the saints occurs; before, during or after the period of great tribulation. To avoid the controversy I usually respond to that question with, "I believe in pre-trib, expect mid-trib and am prepared for a post-trib rapture". However, in all seriousness, I see from scripture the timing of the catching away of the saints as being close to the end which indicates we are going through some if not most of it - Mathew 24:13.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 we are told that certain events must occur first before the day of the Lord comes, and such events have not occurred yet. The main fact as to the timing of this "catching away" is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, referred to by many today as the "rapture". Verse 16 says that at "the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God" is the beginning of this event. Paul tells the Corinthian church about this same event but being more specific - 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. He said that this event occurs at the "last trump", or the sounding of the last trumpet blast. So the timing of the catching away is based on when this last trumpet sounds.
In another matter we should understand that we are to recognize the “season” of the coming of the Lord according to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, even though we cannot know the year, the day or the hour. (Note: there are 24 time zones on earth and the International Date Line when one day becomes the next; therefore it is not possible to designate one particular hour or day for this event to occur as it could transition two days and 24 different hours.) The season referred to in the above scripture is obviously during the fall festivals or God’s appointed time of celebration known as Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles; each being a prophetic representation of Christ, and are to be observed forever – see the article on God’s Holy Days). The Feast of Trumpets is obviously were the use of trumpets is employed, so let's look in scripture to see where we find the sounding of THE LAST TRUMPET.
Revelation 11:15 - "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
It is important to recognize that there are no more trumpets sounding in scripture after this one, so this is the “last trump”. Therefore we need to know what events, as described in the Book of Revelation, occur before this last, or seventh trumpet sounds; so a brief summary follows. First the Seven Seals are opened - Revelation 6:1-12; the 144,000 Jews are selected for a special purpose - Revelation 7:1-8; and Christ's martyrs are recognized - Revelation 7:9-17. Next begins the sounding of the trumpets by the seven angels; their respective events include: Silence in heaven, probably in awe of what they see about to occur on the earth - Revelation 8:1-2. The first trumpet brings hail, fire and blood cast on the earth burning up one-third of all vegetation - Revelation 8:7. The second trumpet results in one-third of the sea creatures dying and one-third of all sea-going vessels being destroyed - Revelation 8:8-9. With the third trumpet a meteor or asteroid hits the earth poisoning one-third of the earth's water supply - Revelation 8:10-11. The fourth trumpet shows the sun and moon darkened, probably by a huge cloud of debris that fills the atmosphere - Revelation 8:12.
Then an angel declares that things are about to get much worse for the people on earth, these are called the three “woes” - Revelation 8-13. The fifth trumpet is sounded and unnatural creatures are loosed from the pit and go about afflicting pain and torment on mankind for the next five months - Revelation 8:9-12. The sixth trumpet sounds and an unnatural army of 200,000,000 creatures are sent to kill one-third of those who reject Christ and oppose His coming kingdom reign on earth - Revelation 9:13-21. At this point certain things happen between Heaven and the apostle John who is receiving this message - Revelation 10:1-6. Note that an angel declares to John that at this point, "there should be time no longer" and with the sounding of the seventh trumpet "the mystery of God is finished"; in other words, IT'S THE END!
Mathew 24:13 - "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
Now let's look at the introduction of the seventh trumpet in Revelation 10:7 - "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound (the seventh and last trumpet), the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." It is interesting to note that here we have not only the sounding of the seventh or last trump, but also the voice of the angel as referenced in -
1 Thessalonians 4:16 - "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (rapture) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air...." .
Next comes the two witnesses and their work is revealed - Revelation 11:3-14.
(Note: some Bible teachers infer that Revelation 11:12 describes the rapture of the saints even though it specifically refers to the two witnesses; the timing seems right as the next thing that occurs is the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet.)
Now comes the seventh angel sounding the last trumpet blast -
Revelation 11:15 "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
What about the “seven vials” of judgment to be poured out on the earth that are listed after the trumpets? If you look closely at these seven vials you see they are very similar to the seven trumpets. The trumpets sound the warning or the alert as to what event is about to happen while the vials are the actual record of events that happen. The trumpets and vials are not consecutive as most people think, but are concurrent. Note especially the similarity of the last three events of each that are called “woes” – they are identical. The last trumpet is the same as the last vial and signifies the end. (See appendix at the end of this article to compare the trumpets and vials.)
Notice the heavenly voices make a profound declaration; Jesus is now taking over as ruler and governor of the earth. However, most of earth's inhabitants don't want any part of his kingdom or righteous government and they resistance him. Now God has to deal with these rebellions people, "making his enemies his footstool", as mentioned in Psalm 110:1 & Hebrews 1:13.
Since this seventh trumpet is the last trumpet blast recorded in scripture it is obvious that the catching away (rapture) occurs when this trumpet is sounded. This clearly means that the saints are here on earth during all the events prior to this last trumpet sounding.
Look at the testimony of the saints that obviously endured to the end:
Revelation 12:11 - "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Now that the saints are gone and being lined up for their eternal rewards, God now deals with the remainder of mankind on earth that rejects the rule of Christ on earth. The wrath of God is come on those who oppose the coming of his kingdom.
Revelation 11:18 - "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."
Revelation chapter 12 illustrates the past historic struggle that both Israel and the church had against Satan, the adversary. If the vials of God’s wrath are poured out on the earth subsequent to the Seven Trumpets rather than concurrent with the trumpets (which is a possibility), as listed in Revelation Chapters 15 thru 18, and shows God dealing with wicked and unrepentant mankind and his corrupt religious system referred to as mystery Babylon, political Babylon, financial and commercial Babylon, and all other vestiges of Babylonialism stemming from ancient Babylon under Nimrod that permeated the world. Remember that Christ took over rule of earth according to the declaration of Revelation 11:15, it is now His, given to him by God the Father, but God has to purge it of those who reject Him. God brings seven vials of judgment on the earth; with each one comes an opportunity for some to repent. (Note that it is the severity and goodness of God leads to repentance - Romans 11:22).
God, by his grace, made provision for his saints to live through, endure and overcome all the events he foretold that shall occur prior to our catching away. The word grace actually refers to his divine provision. That provision is documented in the 91st Psalm. We need to take very seriously what it tells us, for in it we find out how to endure unto the end. This introduces us to the main text of this article.
THE PSALM FOR THE LAST DAYS - PSALM 91 (THE TRIBULATION PSALM)
Psalm 91 is written for and about a select group of believers; it is for -
Psalm 91:1 - "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty".
Let's break this verse down to specific parts: the word dwelleth implies a place of abode, were one frequents and remains for extended periods of time. The secret place is where one shuts himself in with the Lord as in his prayer closet, shutting out all other influences, and spending time in communion and fellowship; not only speaking to him in prayer but intently listening and responding to him as he speaks and imparts.
The secret place also refers to being hidden and protected in a special secure place. It is actually a place of intimacy with Christ; a closeness that produces familiarity. It is through close fellowship and abiding in an intimate fashion that brings a greater and deeper knowledge of him, his will, his word and his purpose. The more time you spend with him the more familiar you become with him. He reveals more of himself, giving more knowledge and understanding. He readily responds to those who seek him intimately because they demonstrate that they prefer to spend time with him instead of wasting time in pursuit of self-indulgence and the material and social things of this world.
Intimacy is the privilege and comfort of being alone with him, to converse with him in solitude and hear his reply. He cherishes those that come to him in intimacy, and as such they become even more precious to him. Consider Jesus' disciples; of the twelve there were three that were closest and seemed special to him. With them he shared more revelation and experiences with. As such, Peter, James and John were often considered insiders with Jesus. That is because they were more intimate with him; spent more time with him, asked questions of him and wanted to know him better. They were the intimate core of his disciples. So we see that he gives special protection, provision, revelation, knowledge of himself and blessings to certain of his followers - the ones who seek him and dwell in that secret place of intimate fellowship.
Such are those who depend on him, trust in him, have their desire and longings for fellowship with him; those whose love for him replaces their love and desire for the things of this world:
1 John 2:15 - "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
These that "love not the world" are the ones that - "Shall abide under the shadow of the almighty": which means to be protected by God himself from that which can harm them. Being under his shadow means he stands between them and the bright sun, sheltering them from its intense heat. This means he himself stands between you and your adversary; he will take the heat, the strikes, and whatever is directed for harm against you - if you dwell in the secret place of the most high. Thus such a person can say:
Psalm 91:2 - "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust".
He is our refuge, our source of shelter; no earthly physical protection or shelter can compare with his. The fortress of God cannot be breached, shaken, brought down or even cracked; it stands strong. Now this is a place of shelter that you can really trust.
Psalm 91:3 - "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence".
"Snare of the fowler" refers to unseen entrapments or snares set by the enemy. These may be physical or spiritual as set up or motivated by Satan. The Lord will steer you away or direct you around such snares, entrapments and surprise attacks of the enemy that would otherwise catch you unaware. Even if you do become “snared” by a trap or ploy of the enemy, He is able to rescue you and set you free.
Luke 21:34-36 - "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (excessive partying), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always (being in that secret dwelling place of intimacy with him), that ye may be able to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
Psalm 91:4 - "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shall thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler".
Special protection is provided those having intimate fellowship with him, dwelling in that secret place (of the Spirit) which is actually abiding in Him, the vine. As you come to Him and depend on Him for shelter and protection, He puts His arm around you and holds you secure:
John 15:4-7 - "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (to produce this fruit). If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
What a special blessing for those who abide in intimacy with him, including protection from evil, (which means calamity).
John 17:15 - "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
Notice the shield an buckler are forms of protection used in the midst of battle, or tribulation. The weapons of the enemy strike the shield and buckler and not you. (Note: the shield is hand held protection that you can use to face any incoming threat; the buckler is a tall barrier the you can hide behind and joins with the buckler held by the person next to you to form a wall of protection.) The Lord will not only cover you with his protection but he draws you close for warmth and comfort so that you feel his presence with you. He lets you know that you are precious to him, as illustrated as being under his wings and drawing his covering over you.
John 17:17 - "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
His word is truth; a strong defense, forming both shield and buckler; capable of taking massive hits, even flaming arrows. God has provided spiritual armor, each piece having to do with his word (truth) and properly using it:
Ephesians 6:13-17- "Wherefore take unto you the whole aromour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation fo the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:..."
God's protection is both for spiritual attacks as well as physical warfare as in missiles and other forms of military or terrorist ordinance fired at you which will likely occur prior to the catching away. The results of such divine protection is:
Psalm 91:5-6 - "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."
This includes protection from terrorism; night-time attacks; missiles (arrows); biological or chemical weapons (pestilence), the use of which can't be seen but the results are seen all around you:
Psalm 91:7-8 - "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold the destruction of the wicked."
He even protects his own from the fear while people are dropping by the thousands that comes from spiritual and physical warfare, terrorism, military strikes and destruction from natural disasters. Remember, two-thirds of mankind will be killed before the seventh trumpet.
Isaiah 26:3 - "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
There is no natural protection or defense from nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, nor from spiritual warfare. Only God can protect us from such awful contrivances of Satan and of man who is motivated by Satan the liar, adversary, thief and destroyer:
John 10:10 - "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life (zoe: life as God has it, eternally) , and that they might have it (zoe) more abundantly (than material and physical life)."
Even though you see others dropping like flies all around you; "a thousand by your side and ten-thousand by your right hand"; you have divine protection - why? Because of your spiritual dwelling place of abiding in him; that is, if you are among those abiding in that secret place of intimacy with him.
Psalm 91:9 - "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;"
"Thy habitation" - or constantly maintaining and abiding faithful and dependent, trusting in him; not as those who are preoccupied with everything else but him, or those who put their trust in the things of man for their provision, protection and guidance. The secret dwelling place listed in verse one is that habitation.
Psalm 20:7 - "Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God."
Chariots and horses represent man's means of getting about and waging warfare; such things are not to be relied upon by those who rely on him - only if he directs as he did with the nation of Israel at times.
Psalm 118:8-9 - "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes, (earthly human rulers)."
He knows how to care for and protect his intimate ones who have made him their habitation! Note: not all believers are intimate with him as illustrated in the parable of the ten virgins, (Matthew 25:1-13). Only five of them made spiritual preparation (symbolized by oil). Only those five got into that long awaited place with the bridegroom. The others, though knowing him and anticipating his coming, failed to make adequate spiritual preparation and were left out. Spiritual preparation is the only way to prepare for the difficult times that precede the catching away.
Psalm 91:10 - "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
God knows your physical dwelling place and has even promised to protect you there as long as you have made him your spiritual dwelling place; even from plague (biological warfare) that penetrates through walls, windows and doors.
Psalm 91:11 - "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."
He has commissioned his angels to aid those who dwell with him in the secret place of the spirit. They come and stand guard over your physical dwelling as well as guard you as you go about on your pathways and highways. Such reports resulted during WWII when the British were trapped on the beach at Dunkirk while being strafed by German aircraft as those back home were praying.
Hebrews 1:13-14 - "But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Psalm 34:7 - "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
"...In all thy ways" of Psalm 91:11 - also implies that your ways are in obedience to him. Then he is bound by his word to protect you as you walk in obedience to his ways of righteousness.
Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Psalm 91:12 - "They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."
The angels even keep these intimate ones from stumbling over obstacles and things that may hinder their goings. They remain sure-footed; not only because of the angels aiding them but because they remain firmly on the spiritual Rock.
Psalm 91:13 - "Thus shalt thou tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet."
Then God gives them power over the adversary and all the enemy's ways and means of attack and hindrance, (ref. Luke 10:19).
Psalm 91:14 - "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name."
God commands that we love Him over and over in the New Testament; this shows a special and intimate relationship He wants and enjoys with those who frequent Him in the secret place. So, of course He is going to respond to them desiring the best for them. "Knowing his name" implies that knowing Him as all sufficient as His several scriptural names mean: El Shaddai - Almighty God; Adonai - Sovereign Lord; Jehovah Roi - The Lord My Shepherd; Jehovah Ropheka - The Lord Your Healer; Jehovah Jireh - The Lord My Provider; Jehovah Shalom - The Lord my Peace; Jehovah Nissi - The Lord my Banner or Leader; El Olam - The Everlsting God; Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord Our Righteousness; etc. These saints have come to know Him in all His characterizations and ways in which He reveals Himself to man. Knowing Him by all His names is further evidence of their intimacy and knowledge of Him and how He wants Himself to be known and recognized by His people.
Now see what God has to say about those who have entered into that secret place of intimacy with Him:
Psalm 91:15 - "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble (tribulation); I will deliver him, and honor him."
God is speaking here, giving His own promises, saying that He answers those who call upon Him. Of course this is directed to Jesus the Christ; but as He is the first-born of many sons, it also applies to those who are His. Their prayers are answered and they have confidence that He will answer when they call on Him:
Mathew 7:7-11 - "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knowck, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opned. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
His peace is also upon those who abide with Him, even when they have problems to overcome:
John 16:33 - "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (troubles): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
He will deliver them victorious through their trials;
Psalm 18:1-3 - "I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (lookout tower). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be delivered from mine enemies."
He will honor those who dwell with Him in that secret place:
1 Peter 5:6 - "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
Psalm 91:16 - "With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation."
Entering into this place is further assurance of salvation; eternal blissful life with Him. GOD KNOWS HOW TO PRESERVE THE RIGHTEOUS ! This is also why Jesus gave the command to "SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Jesus told us to make our first priority that secret dwelling place; "AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU - Mathew 6:33.
SELAH - Think on that!
COMPARE THE SEVEN TRUMPETS & VIALS
Trumpet 1 – What is about to be cast upon Vial 1 – is poured out upon the earth.
Trumpet 2 – What is about to be cast into Vial 2 – is poured out on the
sea. the sea.
Trumpet 3 – What is about to be cast into Vial 3 – is poured out on the rivers
rivers and fresh waters. and fresh waters
Trumpet 4 – What is about to affect the sun. Vial 4 – Is poured out on the sun.
The announcement of first of three Woes occurs
Trumpet 5 – A spirit being opens the pit of Vial 5 – Is poured out the
demons (spiritual darkness) beast producing darkness.
The second Woe
Trumpet 6 – Releases four angels bound in Vial 6 – Is poured out on the River
the River Euphrates to summon Euphrates making way for the
kings of the East. huge army of the kings of the East.
The third Woe
Trumpet 7 – Voice from heaven declares Vial 7 – Voice from heaven saying “It’s
the end of Satan’s rule as done” (finished).
Christ’s Kingdom now takes over.