‘YOU LORD ARE MY REFUGE AND MY FORTRESS’ (PSALM 91:2) — Refuge and Protection for the Faithful in Christ During the Great Tribulations!
PSALM 91: THE LORD’S PLEDGE OF PROTECTION
The 91st psalm is both a comprehensive prayer of protection as well as a comprehensible assurance of divine protection. It demonstrates God’s interest in the protection of his people and lays out the divine plan of protection for Christians. Verse 2 of this psalm makes the Most High himself, the refuge and fortress of protection for the believer. It declares “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) God who is father, dos not leave his children to fate. God makes provisions of refuge and protection for everyone who believes in him and invokes his name; and this is more so, in the tribulations of the end-times, when it would matter most and when it would be needed most.
Just as God provided and protected Noah and Lot in the days of old, recent private revelations are now revealing to us that the Eternal Father has planned to protect His faithful children in ‘REFUGES’ prepared and protected by Himself here on earth, in the days of the coming chastisements. Just as He is already protecting and preserving His faithful children now, in the later days of the tribulations, God our Father, faithful and true, will fulfil the promise of Psalm 91 to the letter. All those who will acknowledge him and trust in him will be sheltered in his FORTRESS. All who will flee to Him will find REFUGE under His wings.
There, no harm, no snare, no plague or pestilence, no terror will touch them; until the Son of Man smites the army of the Lawless one with the sword of His mouth; until the One who sits on the great white horse captures both the beast and the false prophet and thrown them alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Rev. 19:19–21; 1:16; 2Thess. 2:8). There, the protection promised through the psalmist will be fully realised. There they would await the return of the LORD in great glory. This much — this truth of Scripture, this promise of God through the psalmist — several private divine revelations, have also confirmed.
‘AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH AND LOT’
The other passages used to support the popular belief in rapture are Matthew 24:36–42 and Luke 17:26–36. “As in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. … Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the left.” (Matt. 24:37–42). “Likewise, also as it was in the days of Lot … on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.…” (Luke 17:26–36) Contrary to the popular use of these passages to support the belief that the rapture will take faithful Christians away from the earth, some Scripture commentators, have rather tried to use these passages to show that those who are usually taken out from the earth, whenever God’s wrath is poured out are the unfaithful people.
These commentators point out that Noah and Lot and their families were actually ‘left behind’ and not ‘taken away’ from the earth after the events of the deluge of Genesis chapters seven and eight and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter nineteen. However, I believe that these passages, above all, indicate and assure us that, just as God took Noah and Lot to safety before the outpouring of His wrath, He will also, protect His children during the tribulations and chastisements of the end-times; even though the Scriptures have not told us exactly when, where and how, this will happen. Yet, as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, we can trust that the LORD will take His people into safe places where they will be protected from both the atrocities of the antichrist and his agents as well as the woeful catastrophes that would be let loose upon the earth by the hand of the LORD to purge it of evil.
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HE WHO STANDS FIRM TO THE END WILL BE SAVED
When you look at the very teachings of Jesus Christ Himself on the events of the end-times in the gospels, they do not give us the impression of the rapture taking Christians away to heaven before the tribulations or before the appearance of the Lawless one, as the popular rapture doctrine holds. The narratives of Matthew 24:1–31, Mark 13:1–30 and Luke 17:20–37, do not give us the hope that Christians will be taken away to heaven before the tribulations begin. A bit on the contrary, Jesus said: “Then they will deliver you over to be persecuted and killed, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Matt. 24:9; see also Mk. 13: 9). Mark 13:13 adds that though, “Everyone will hate you because of Me”, yet “the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Could it be that Jesus would like to see us bear witness to Him during the tribulations and remain faithful to the end? Likely! It seems so! Yet in the midst of this tribulation God is able to and will protect His own.
‘ONE WILL BE TAKEN AND THE OTHER LEFT’
We hear Jesus, in the apocalyptic passages of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 24:1–31, Mark 13:1–30 and Luke 17:20–37), talking about the phenomenon of ‘one will be taken and the other left’. These phrases which occur a number of times in the synoptic narratives of the end-time, are used to support the ‘take away’ nature of the popular rapture doctrine. But the truth of ‘one will be taken and the other left’ was to show the great and final separation that would happen on that day between the good and bad. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, … All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left” (Matt. 25:31–33)
An attentive contextual reading of these tests does not present the rapture scenario of a ‘take away’ event preceding the tribulations. Rather, they serve as a warning for us to be ever ready for the LORD’S return, since obviously, not everyone would be right and ready for the kingdom. ‘One will be taken and the other left’ is not so much a matter of being “taken away” from the earth before the tribulations; it is more a matter of being ready and right to meet the LORD at His arrival; which will come at an unknown hour. Read again: Matt. 24:36–41; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 17:26–36.
WHO WAS TAKEN AND WHO WAS LEFT?
None of the synoptic gospels in which the phrase ‘one will be taken and the other left’ stated clearly which set of people were ‘taken away’ and which were ‘left behind’; the good or the bad; the prepared or the unprepared. But contrary to the assumption of the popular rapture doctrine that the good will be taken away and the bad left behind, some critics are pointing out that Noah and Lot and their families were actually not taken away from the earth, but were left behind on earth, whereas the ‘bad people’, the unfaithful, the unprepared, were taken out of the earth by God, through death. Unlike in the case of the Ten Virgins, where the five WISE virgins were ‘taken in’ to the banquet of the bridegroom, and the five FOOLISH virgins were ‘left out’ (Matt. 25:1–13), it is not clearly stated here, who was taken and who was left. Again, the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which directly follows the discourse on Noah and Lot, in Jesus’ sequence of teachings about what the Kingdom of God is like (Matt. 24 and 25), speaks more about preparedness for the coming of the Kingdom of God than about a ‘take away’ event; thus, it cannot be used to justify the ‘take away’ and ‘left behind’ stance of the popular doctrine of rapture.
NO ONE KNOWS THE HOUR! SO BE READY!
“No one knows the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36) This very important verse of Jesus’ end-time teaching has been used to emphasise the ‘sudden’ and ‘instant’ nature of the popular rapture doctrine and has served the purpose of presenting the rapture in the light of a sudden and instantaneous escape from the earth, from the tribulation and the antichrist, by all good Christians. But rather than intending to fuel the doctrine of a sudden rapture, Jesus, in His teaching about the end of time and the coming of God’s Kingdom, used the warning about the ‘Unknown Hour’ to admonish His followers not to spend their time searching to know the day and hour of His return — as many do even to this day — but to be ready at all times to meet the LORD and be found justified in His just judgement. The is both a warning and a prediction that the Second Coming of Christ would still find many either unprepared or ill-prepared.
Michael Richmond Duru
May 9th 2020