Where in the Temple Do You Live?
How to Avoid Being Trampled in the Great Tribulation
Rev. 11:1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 "Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
January 2, 1992
Introduction: Positions in Conflict
At this juncture in Church history, much confusion exists over the role of the final generation Church relative to the period known as the Tribulation. Some teach that the Church will march on in open victory till the Lord comes, overcoming all things under Her feet as she presses on to take "Canaan."
True, the Church will suffer great oppositions, but in the overall scheme, those oppositions will not be overpoweringly oppressive or debilitating. This is the present word of the emerging prophetic movement, a move descended from the charismatic and faith movements.
Others warn of the dire sufferings the Church is to endure through the Tribulation. They see no overt victory till the Lord comes, exhorting to preparation for the worst with an emphasis on faithfulness and endurance through the end of the Ordeal.
True, the Church is "victorious," but only through its enduring of otherwise virtual decimation by the final world system. This is the word of the "underground" or "desert" prophetic movement. This group consists of scattered, isolated bodies of believers who have suffered great personal deprivation and rejection in their efforts to follow the Lord on an ongoing basis, and who have been given visions of the destructions to come.
A third company insists that the Church will not even be present on earth during the Tribulation, so consideration of how the Church will fare at that time is a moot point. This is the word of the major portion of the general evangelical church in North America since about 1850, descended from teachings based on certain visions in the 1830's that a select number of saints would indeed be "raptured" before the Tribulation.
While I personally believe in this teaching according to the original version (i.e., a select number will be raptured, to which we will allude later), this article is dedicated to the understanding that the overwhelming majority of the Church will pass through the Tribulation. Therefore we will zero in on the conflict between the first two teachings.
So, just how will we fare through the Tribulation? Will we be openly overcoming as the emerging prophetic movement teaches? Or will we be decimated and slaughtered like the desert companies teach?
Let's examine the scriptural evidence to see what God might show us. As we draw upon prophetic insight to relate the various end-time prophecies and illustrations together, we will discover a woven tapestry of types, symbols, and key words throughout scripture that will answer these questions for us.I. The Temple of God
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? – You are…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by the Spirit. – You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ…the Cornerstone, -- a son over God’s house. And we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:19-22; I Pt. 2:5-7; Heb. 3:6
The first picture to be understood is that we, the Church, are God's Temple, His Dwelling Place. God does not inhabit buildings of brick and mortar except in the sense that He does when we gather in one. The New Testament is abundantly clear in its assertion that we are the House of God in its primary meaning.
The temple is a structure with various rooms and quarters. Jesus said, "In My Father’s house are many rooms." By this we understand that there are many different stations in God within the framework of His Body.
Though we are of one seed, we do not all occupy the same place in God. We do not fulfil the same callings or responsibilities. We are not all knit into the same visible body. We do not all have the same vision or possess the same lines of thought in God. We possess differing facets of His revelation. The Temple is not one big room, and the differences of station we have are expressed both among different bodies and within different bodies.
Some of these differences of station reflect diversity of function only. Other differences reflect the degree of spiritual maturity we have attained. In the first case, we see different callings: pastors, teachers, prophets, etc. These are purely differences of function, but do not reflect our closeness to God. Prophets are not closer to God than, say, pastors, or vice versa.
In the second instance, differences of station mark different levels of maturity and different levels of heart attitude. There are those whose faithful walk with God over many years has developed an intimacy with God not possible to a newborn babe in Christ. Again, there is a difference between those whose hearts are inclined toward obedient discipleship, and those whose commitments are halfhearted or who flirt with sin.
In this article, the focus is on the different rooms and courts of the Temple as they reflect the differences of maturity and heart attitude in the Church. The Presence of God was known to be centered in one place deep in the heart of the Temple called the Most Holy Place. All the remaining places in the Temple took their significance from their relative nearness to the Most Holy Place. The farther away the place was, the more common or mundane its function and accessibility.
The farthest place from the Holiest were the courts outside the Temple, especially the Outer Court. This was accessible to all people. Between the outside courts and the Most Holy Place was an interior room called the Holy Place. This was accessible only to priests and Levites who performed certain ceremonies, as were also those outdoor courts immediately adjoining the Temple building.
So we see three major divisions in the Temple structure: two within the actual Temple building, and then the courts outside the building. These three divisions typify three levels of spiritual maturity and commitment in the Body of Christ. The three divisions also correlate to other stories and parables that show a threefold segmenting of the Lord's people according to maturity and commitment.
A. The Outer Courts
The outer courts containing the altar and laver represent one's entrance into basic salvation through faith in the blood of Christ, sealed through baptism. In a broad doctrinal sense, it represents basic evangelical orthodoxy. From a perspective of maturity, the courts represent the believer whose relationship with God is strongly mediated through the light of his natural understanding of scripture and theology. The natural sunlight is what provided light to the outer courts, typifying the natural light of human understanding by which the outer court believer approaches his early walk with God.
From a perspective of heart commitment, the outer courts represent those believers and churches who are least committed to their walk with Christ, those who flirt with sin and/or remain strongly attached to the ordinary cares of life. The believer's concept of holiness is largely governed by his ability to obey and perform according to his understanding of God's laws and principles.
In the outer courts, not only is a believer's knowledge of God largely defined by his knowledge of scripture, and his holiness defined by his ability to perform, but he is also subject to the widest gap between doctrine and practice, word and deed, understanding and sanctification.
Rick Godwin teaches that, according to Jewish terminology, the actual Outer Court itself was referred to as the place of "outer darkness." This is because it was furthest away from the Shekinah glory of God that filled the Most Holy Place. By comparison, the natural light of the outer court was considered darkness. This again typifies the darkness that remains in the believer who approaches God through his natural mind, and the dark places in the soul of one who tries to live out sanctification through his ability to keep rules and principles.
Outer court Christianity is also typified by other Bible illustrations. These include the 22,000 of Gideon's army who opted not to face battle, the 30-fold level of corn production in the Parable of the Sower, and the "blade stage" of corn development in the Parable of the Seed Growing in Secret.
As the outer courts make up the largest of the Temple areas, so it represents the largest segment in the Body of Christ at large, and within any given church.
B. The Holy Place
From a doctrinal perspective, the Holy Place represents the estate of believers who have moved beyond basic orthodoxy and into the baptism of the Spirit. Here, the believer obtains eyes of Holy Spirit revelation and understanding, and he is activated to function in spirit gifting.
The maturity of this believer’s approach to God moves out from under the natural light of his understanding and into the light of revelational understanding accessed through his spirit. His knowledge of God becomes mediated through this understanding and remains defined by it. This illumination by dream, vision, and revelational understanding is typified by the candlesticks used in the Holy Place. Here, there was no sunlight.
From a perspective of heart commitment, the Holy Place represents those believers who have moved into a clear singular commitment to the Lord, but whose commitment remains to be brought to perfection through full purging of the inward man.
The Holy Place believer still finds his concept of holiness strapped to the perception of needing to obey spiritual principles, something that still depends on a certain ability to perform. The difference is that his obedience is to revelation rather than out-and-out written rules and interpretations of scripture.
Despite the remaining subjection to certain spiritual legalisms, the Holy Place believer has learned how to allow the grace of God to work out His righteousness to a much greater degree than the outer court believer. The gap between his understanding and his practice is much narrower, and so his life shows a much greater consistency. More than anything, he grasps the understanding of how to live by grace, even though that grace seems slow to come in certain areas. Yet his heart is set on learning.
Holy Place believers are like the 9,700 men of Gideon's army who were personally desirous to fight, but who displayed remaining lacks in character discipline that rendered them unready to fight. They answer to the 60-fold level of corn production in the Parable of the Sower, and the "ear stage" of corn development in the Parable of the Growing Seed.
The Holy Place Church makes up the "second line of defense" in the body of Christ. These are much more involved and dependable in the Lord's work, though not yet wholly given to it. Their numbers are smaller than those in the outer courts.
It is important to note here that, while a believer or a church may have a Holy Place "experience" and doctrine through a revelational maturity, they may yet have an outer court heart attitude. There are many, many people in what is known as the Charismatic movement whose sanctification is based on legalizing their revelational experience, whose commitment is halfhearted, and/or who flirt with sin.
So we must clarify that it is ultimately the Spirit baptism of our heart attitude, not of our mindset or spirit-processed experience that defines whether we are in the Holy Place or the outer court. Those with an outer court heart are essentially outer court Christians, despite a Spirit-baptized revelation or experience.
C. The Most Holy Place
The Most Holy Place represents that place in the believer and the Church where doctrinal outlook and heart attitude maturities have come into a perfected integrity through the complete invasion of the Knowledge of God into the inner man. In the Holiest of All, the Knowledge of God is not mediated through doctrinal perception of scripture, not through apprehension of revelation, but through its own undefinable intimacy in the soul of the believer.
Here, the Glory of God Himself is the only light by which one lives. All understanding becomes immersed in the cloud of God's Presence. There is no sunlight. There are no candlesticks.
In the Most Holy Place, one's heart has not only passed through the baptism of the Spirit, but through the full purging of the baptism of Fire. Thorough cleansing of the inner man secures the unconditional commitment of a loving bondslave able to respond to the slightest whisper of the Father's direction.
The concept of sanctification becomes subsumed in the same intimacy subsuming one's understanding. It is here that heart and mind come together in one flow. Points of doctrinal question and concern over obedience become lost in the wonder of His love. In the Holiest Place, the watchword is not doctrine, nor miracles, nor revelation, nor even obedience, but simply intimacy with the Father in the flow of his Life.
Those in the Holiest are the smallest segment in the body of Christ, yet they are the salt of the Church, the first line of war. They correspond to the 300 of Gideon's army who were fully trained and ready for war. They are the first line of intercession for mediating God's purposes through to His People.
These also correspond to the 100-fold level of corn production in the Parable of the Sower, and to the "Full-Corn-In-The-Ear Stage" in the Parable of the Growing Seed. As such, they are the closest to being harvested into the clouds by the sickle of the Lord in that event we call the "translation of the body" or "the rapture.”
II. Measuring the Temple
I was then given a measuring stick, like a rod, and told, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who are worshipping in the temple. But omit the outer courts of the temple. Do not measure them, because they have been given to the heathen, who will trample on the Holy City for 42 months. – And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. – The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days… And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end… Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.
Rev. 11:1-2 (TEV); Rev. 11:3 (NIV); Dan. 11:32-33, 35; 12:10 (KJV)
The foundational understanding of the Temple we have laid sets the stage for our understanding of what happens to the Church during the Tribulation by considering the above passage. In Rev. 11, John is given a rod to "measure the temple." The angel tells him however not to measure the outer courts because they are ordained to be trampled during the period of the Great Tribulation (42 months).
When plugged into our understanding of what the temple is, we see that during the Tribulation, a distinction will be made wherein part of the Church will be severely mauled, but the other part will be relatively unscathed. Those who live in the inside realms of the Temple (the Holy Place and Most Holy Place) will remain relatively untouched by the overwhelming forces of the last world system. The Temple abides under the protection of the resident Presence of God.
But those who dwell in the outer courts will be trampled! That is, the overwhelming body of untried Christians who have remained uncommitted and undeveloped in their walk with God will indeed be slaughtered by the multitudes. The Lord's protection is unable to abide on them because of the many doors in their lives left open to earth-bound pursuits and concerns.
When we take Daniel's account of this period into view along with John's description of the Two Witnesses, we again see two situations concerning the People of God. On one hand, we see a people who will manifest great powers and who will accomplish great feats. This answers to the word of the openly victorious church of the emerging prophetic movement.
On the other hand, we see many falling victim to sword, flame, and plundering, including some of those demonstrating such power. This answers to the word of the desert prophetic church.
Reading further in Daniel, we discover that the purpose of this trampling is to "purify, make white and try" those who are trampled. In other words, the subjection of the outer court church to the fires of the Tribulation is not just judgmental, but redemptive. It is to make up for a lack of something that those in the Temple had which exempted them and delivered them from the ravages of that time.
The obvious question becomes, "What did the inner Temple dwellers have that protected them, enabling them to escape the fate of those in the outer courts?"
III. Tried Gold, White Garments and Eye Salve
"I counsel you to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich;" [— that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.]
"— and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; [-- Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame,” –for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.]
"-- and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.”[-- without holiness, no one will see the Lord.]
Rev. 3:18a [I Pt. 1:7]; Rev. 3:18b [16:15; 19:8] 3:18c [Heb. 12:14 (NIV)]
In Revelation 3, Jesus was addressing the Laodicean Church. In short, the Laodicean Church was and is The Church of the Outer Court. Jesus told this church to buy three things from Him that would provide value, covering, and sight to them. They are things that Daniel alludes to in citing the redemptive purpose for the trampling of the outer court believers. If the church will obtain these things in advance, they may escape the trampling.
A. Tried Gold Faith
Daniel says that the church is allowed to be trampled to try it. This is a reference to the trying of faith spoken of by Peter, James, and even Job who said, "When He has tried me, I will come forth as gold." The first requisite for anyone who hopes to move out of the outer courts and into the protection of the Temple is a willingness for God to put his faith through the fires of testing.
We must allow God to take us where we are and bring us through whatever situations are necessary to move us from an earth-centered focus to a focus centered in the kingdom of God, specifically, in the Presence of the Lord. It means coming to an unconditional trusting of the Lord for our physical needs and soul desires.
Though the various sufferings under these testings may seem at times severe, they are nothing in comparison to the extent of suffering to be endured by those who have not come forth as gold by the dawn of the Tribulation.
Becoming open to faith testing begins with an act of surrender and consecration on our parts. We must willingly say "Yes, Lord," now while it is day, rather than wait to be forced to say it when night suddenly falls. We must cross a definite threshold where we move from relating to Jesus as a Savior, and into a dimension where we relate to Him as Lord. (Ideally, this is the way it should be from the start, but usually is not here in North America.)
B. White Garment Righteousness
The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white—“And I say to you that many will come from east and west and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into Outer Darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – And when the King came in to see the guests, He saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment… Then the King said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into Outer Darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – The Lord of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for Him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the Hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – “Cast the unprofitable servant into the Outer Darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?... These are the ones who come out of Great Tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Rev. 19:7-8; Mt. 8:11-12; 22:11-13; 24:50-51; 25:30; Rev. 7:13-14
Another redemptive purpose for the trampling of the Outer Court Church cited by Daniel is to make it white. This is a reference to white garments spoken of by Jesus and Revelation as necessary for entrance into the protected purpose of God, specifically for entrance to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Revelation identifies this fine white linen as the righteousness of the saints. Jesus elaborates by saying that, in God's economy, there are only two kinds of garments: white garments, or no garments! He warns that, at His sudden coming, any garment that is not white will be stripped away.
In other words, those who have not developed a life of righteousness according to the grace of God will be exposed for the nakedness of their self-righteous deeds. Their superficial religious works will be seen for the vanity that they are, and hence their hypocrisy will shame them.
But there is more than shame involved. We find that the white garments of righteousness are the only clothing of the Bride of Christ, and the only acceptable clothing for entrance to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Anyone attempting entry to that event without white robes will be denied access, and will instead be sent to — you guessed it! — Outer Darkness — back to the Outer Court — "back in the clink"— where what happens? There is weeping and gnashing of teeth under the trampling of the Tribulation. It is where all the Hypocrites and unprofitable servants will be relegated who fail entry to the Supper.
The word Hypocrites is significant. Remember that it is in the realm of the Outer Court Church where people's doctrinal understanding and their heart attitudes least line up. This is the definition of hypocrisy. It is the type of "righteousness" Jesus calls the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and which Isaiah calls filthy rags.
This is because it is a righteousness in concept only, but does not display the operation of the grace of God through the body. It is a code of rules and regulations, adherence to which is imitated (but not fulfilled) by raw human willpower.
The purpose for sentencing the Outer Court Church to Tribulation is to make white the righteousness of those who have not entered into it by the time it dawns. The Tribulation will effect the transformation of legalistic works-based righteousness into grace-based righteousness woven through the soul as many surrender their hypocrisy to the work of the cross.
John is given a vision of these very saints who finally obtained their white robes through the Tribulation. They failed entry into the Temple and the Marriage Supper, but nevertheless overcame at this period.
Jesus would save us, though, from experiencing this Ordeal. For this cause, He exhorts the Outer Court Church to buy white garments now. This involves a coming to terms with God where we not only allow Him to try our faith, but we open our souls to the operation of the cross. This is the operation whereby He puts to death the power of sin that courses through our mortal bloodstream, and re-infuses us with the resurrection Life of His Spirit.
This same power which brought Christ back from the dead becomes the power by which we carry out our obedience to the will of God. It is no longer our works, but our yielding to His working through us. Legalistic conceptual "righteousness" (i.e., hypocrisy) is supplanted by genuine righteousness by the grace of God. Our "buying" of this righteousness begins by the definite offering up of ourselves as living sacrifices.
— White Garments: New Bodies
Meanwhile we groan [in this body], longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose.
“I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained… Then each of them was given a white robe.”
II Cor. 5:2-4; Rev. 6:9,11
Paul's use of the word "clothing" to mean human body opens a new dimension to our understanding of white robes. Paul describes nakedness as meaning having no body. In Revelation, John describes saints with only a soul but no body, then says that to every one was given a white robe.
If a white robe is clothing, and clothing is a body, then we can see that white garments speaks to more than righteousness as a concept. It speaks to righteousness as deeds done in the body which ultimately becomes expressed through a new body. The white garments of righteous deeds becomes the white robe of a new body!
If we insert this understanding into the overall scenario, we find logically that the only way into the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is through a new righteous body. This body is the result and only the result of a life that has practiced righteousness to the point that the grace work of God in our mortal body finally transmutes the old body into a new body.
Paul says it is to this hope that we all have been ultimately called. The goal of righteousness is the putting on of a new body without seeing death. True righteousness carried out far enough, long enough in a straight line will produce the translation of our bodies. This has never happened as far as we know. Yet it is the redemption for which all creation longs.
By understanding that new bodies is the ultimate meaning of white garments, we are made aware of a vast spectrum of estates of saints through the Tribulation period. There will be those who enter into new bodies at the opening of the Tribulation. These are they who are ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Then there are those who are not ready for the Supper who instead are cast into the Outer Court for purification during the Tribulation.
Then there will be those in the Temple itself who, though not ready to put on new bodies at the beginning of the Tribulation, nonetheless are found in the safety and protection of the Temple, making final preparations for translation at the close of the Ordeal.
This gives us to know that, not only will saints find protection all together in the Temple, but, yes, some will be ready to escape that time altogether, entering into the Marriage Supper with new bodies at the beginning of the Tribulation. To this limited extent, even those who believe the Church will not be on earth during the Tribulation are right (i.e., they will not be here in mortal bodies).
C. Eye Salve Holiness
We return to consider what we must buy from the Lord if we are to escape the Tribulation. The third commodity we must have is holiness, which the Lord calls eye salve. Jesus rebukes the Outer Court Church for its blindness. In other passages we learn that the key to sight is holiness.
Hebrews tells us that it is only with holiness that we may see the Lord. Jesus said that only the pure in heart will see God. So He is telling the Outer Court Church that it must receive the eye salve of pure motivation and separation unto God if it is to obtain the eyes that will enable it to enter into the inner Temple sanctums where men may behold God in safety during the Tribulation.
We must remember that each sector of the Temple is governed by a different type of light, each requiring a different kind of eye to perceive it. Without the proper eye, we cannot function in a given realm. If at His coming we have not developed the spiritual sight through a pure heart necessary to behold His beauty in the inner sanctuary, then, like the naked wedding guest, we must be consigned to the Outer Darkness of the outer courts.
Why? Because our eye is unable to bear the glory of the Light of God's Presence. It is much like an eye that lacks vitamin A. When it turns on a light in the middle of the night, it can't stand the sudden brilliance. So it must turn it off again.
The trampling of those in the Outer Darkness will work to purify the hearts of many, producing the vision necessary to behold the Lord in His glory at His full coming. But the Lord would see us spared from this, so He exhorts the Outer Court Church to obtain eye salve now. In other words, the Lord requires a committed separation and pure heart by which we follow Him. He requires our commitment to develop a heart vision of Him that transcends the natural light of understanding.
We must move beyond "biblical scholarship" and natural interpretations of scripture in our approach to God. We must give up the dominance of our own mind's thoughts and ideas in relating to God, moving to the place where we are governed by the Light of His Presence in our inner man. We must also submit to the purging of our motives from all selfishness and double-mindedness.__________________________________
To summarize this entire section: Jesus offers and exhorts all saints of the outer courts to obtain tried faith, grace righteousness that will yield a new body, and purified motives that will enable them to move into the Holy Place and Most Holy Place in time to avoid the Tribulation.
It is those saints who are progressively obtaining these things now who presently live in the inner realms of the Temple. A number of those in the Most Holy Place will be completely ready for harvest and the putting on of new bodies for entrance to the Marriage Supper. All of this is reiterated in other passages to which we may now turn.
IV. Keeping the Word of God’s Patience
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. – “Because you have kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth."
Jms. 1:3-4; Rev. 3:10
In Revelation 3:10, Jesus promises the Philadelphia Church that it will be kept from the hour of Tribulation ["Trial" or "Temptation"] to come on all the world. The reason they are kept is because they have kept the word of His patience.
According to James, the word of patience is the word of persistent faithfulness through present tribulation. He says that we are made perfect through present testing so that we lack nothing (such as the five foolish virgins who lacked oil) at the Lord's return.
This is the perfection of the Most Holy Place. It's the place where our mental approach to God and our heart relationship become melded into one through the Knowledge of God in the inner man. The more we endure now of God's perfecting trials, the less we will have to experience at the time of Great Tribulation.
To be a Philadelphian church is to be a tried and proven church of the inner sanctuary. Here there is protection from the ravages to come. And it is from this church that any who are actually ready for translation prior to the Tribulation are taken.
The main point is that the promise of protection through or actual deliverance from the time of Tribulation is not unconditional. Being kept by God at that time is the consequence of keeping the word of His patience now unto the perfecting of our inner man.
V. Praying to be Found Worthy of Escaping the Tribulation
“For as a snare it will come on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always [so] that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. – Stay awake and pray [so] that you may be spared The Test. – This is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven,…do not bring us to The Test, but save us from the Evil One.’”
Lk. 21:36; Mt. 26:41 & 6:9,13 (NEB)
If the notions that either the Church will fully escape the Tribulation or that it will fully not escape the Tribulation were a foregone conclusion, then the exhortation by Jesus to be found worthy to escape it makes no sense.
Why pray to escape something you are already certain you won't have to face? Why pray to escape something you have no hope of avoiding? The exhortation of Jesus to pray to be found worthy to escape the Tribulation is the clearest proof that escape is both possible, but yet conditional.
We have an active, dedicated part to play in determining whether we will be qualified for "Sanctuary Duty" that will protect us from subjection to the Tribulation and that will bring us to full harvestable maturity for obtaining our translated bodies. Therefore we are exhorted to pray.
The idea of this praying is not [just] asking the Lord to be found worthy (e.g., "O Lord, 1 pray you will find me to be worthy on that day.”) It is more the idea that prayer itself is an exercise that will ensure our worthiness. We pray not asking to be found worthy. We pray in order that we will be found worthy.
Diligent, vigilant praying is the means God has given us for moving from the Outer Courts into the inner Temple realms:
By prayer we open ourselves to endure the present trying of our faith. By prayer we exchange filthy rags for white garments by which we become exercised in righteous deeds. By prayer we exercise our dull, natural eyesight by which it becomes transformed to receive the light of God's Glory in the Most Holy Place.
Therefore Jesus says, "Ask of me." He says, "Buy of me." This is the exchange of covenantal praying. And as we ask, as we buy, we obtain those soul commodities through perseverance. Thus we are transformed into that state of worthiness that exempts us from [the effects of] the Great Tribulation.
Two other exhortations of Jesus to pray were prophetically taken by early Jewish believers to seek deliverance from the Tribulation. The first was in the Lord's Prayer, and the other in His exhortation in Gethsemane to "Watch and pray." In both cases, early believers understood the Lord to be telling them to seek God's grace not to be led into or fall into The Temptation, i.e., the Tribulation. Based on this understanding, these saints used to pray the Lord's Prayer as follows:
"Lead us not into the Ordeal to come, but deliver us from the Evil Lord."
Understanding the conditionality of our subjection to the Great Tribulation is the key to understanding the role of the Church in earth immediately prior to Christ's full return. Spiritual watchfulness through dedicated praying is the medium that accesses us all the transformations necessary to ensure our escape.
VI. Why Intimacy with God Has the Power to Save Us from the Great Tribulation
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…. 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 your 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…. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation, No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”
Ps. 91:1, 3-7, 9-10
Psalms 91 paints a picture of the believers protected from the effects of worldwide tribulation, chaos, and destruction. Prophetically read, we see a promise of protection from such unthinkable devastations as nuclear war ("the arrow that flieth by day"), biological war and pandemic incurable disease ("perilous pestilence”) and the mass death these produce ("a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand”).
A key word that links these devastations to the Great Tribulation is the word "snare of the fowler." Jesus describes the Great Tribulation as such a snare on the whole earth.
This psalm communicates more poignantly than any scripture that the Presence of the Lord is its own force of protection. Like a cloud, it invisibly surrounds the believer and church that dwells in the heart of it. It acts like a super force field that repels all negative powers and elements, physical and spiritual. This is a radiating force of glory that is impregnable, making the one shielded within it untouchable and inaccessible to hostile force.
It is our own intimacy with God that invites the automatic secure protection that comes through our envelopment in His Presence. The secret place of the Most High to which David refers corresponds to the Most Holy Place in the Temple. It is the seat of His dwelling. Anything trying to attack someone in this secret place might as well try to attack God.
A type of this glory protection is seen when the glory cloud protected Israel from Pharaoh as they crossed the Red Sea. So will it be for those in the Sanctuary of the Temple during the Tribulation as they make their crossing from natural life into immortal life without tasting death.
It is the glory of God that brings us forth to translation. As we are daily transforming through our gazing upon that glory inwardly, so is it protecting us from outward evil. And so will it be at the time of the Tribulation.
At that time, the few who have reached the ripeness of maturity for translation will be protected through being translated into that untouchable realm. Those not ready but who are found in the Temple will also be protected in the Temple until they are brought forth at the close of Tribulation into their new bodies.
But those who abide in the Outer Court are not well protected. Those who fail to press into the intimate Presence of God are left open to many needless attacks. In the Tribulation, their lack of protection is what leaves them subject to the great devastations to come.
Not only is it God's glory working the transformation of our inner man that will bring us forth to translation, and not only will it be providing our protection throughout the Tribulation, but it is the force by which the mighty wonders will be accomplished during that time in open victory.
These are they who Daniel says "do exploits." They are the companies of Two Witnesses in Revelation 11 who display great power, yet remain untouchable. See how Jesus Himself was rendered untouchable during His ministry as He walked through hostile crowds. This is the kind of victory now being foretold by the emerging prophetic movement.
Does this mean that no one in the Temple will have to die or suffer for the Lord? Will only the Outer Court Church suffer death? No. There are those in the Sanctuary who also will give their lives for the Lord.
We see how the Two Witnesses die for the Lord at the end of their ministry, even as Jesus did. But this death is different than those who die for lack of protection in the outer courts. This death has a call attached to it. It is the call of the martyr. This is a death that is planned in advance and witnessed to by the Spirit. It is anticipated with joy by the martyr. It is intentional— a call willingly accepted by the obedient Temple dweller.
There is no fear in this death as there is among those in the outer court. Whereas they will fall as hapless victims of raging forces, the Temple Martyrs will have laid down their protection, giving up their lives to fulfil the Lord's purpose. No man will take it from them.
When held up to new prophetic light from scripture, problems concerning seemingly irreconcilable teachings on the end times become resolved. We do not have to choose between two, three, or four messages. If we just wait long enough, we will usually find a resolution of the differences in a more complete picture. As we come closer to the final end times, God is releasing more and more revelation that resolves mysteries created through previously disjointed understandings.
As we laid out in a previous teaching, moving toward the end times is like driving on a journey. In the beginning, we use a general road map. But when we reach the city of destination, we switch to a more detailed city map. The general road map is no longer useful. But then, to find the actual house of destination, we have to replace the city map with specific directions from the host using the aid of landmarks.
Even so, as we approach "D-Day" of the Lord's return, older general prophetic understandings and "theories" have to be retired. They become useless. More detailed revelation is required. Finally, the specific whispers of our Heavenly Host are given us for when and how to meet Him. God is even now giving us such details.
So we are able to see that both the present prophetic view and the desert prophetic view of the end are correct. There will be overt victory (with martyrdoms), with guaranteed protection of the spiritually prepared. But there, will also be destruction and decimation for the overwhelming majority of church people— those who inhabit the outer courts.
Beyond this, even those who believe the Church will not "be here" during the Tribulation are right to the small degree that a few people will actually be translatable prior to the Tribulation, a first fruits of God's final Harvest (more on this perhaps some other time).
The concluding point in today's article is this: Whether or not we are personally ripe enough for translation by the time Christ suddenly comes as a thief, we need to find ourselves prayerfully inhabiting the Holy Place, moving into the Holiest of All, moving from glory to glory, securing ever more "gold, white garments, and eye salve."
This alone will certify our protection from "the Ordeal to come, and the Evil Lord."
Submitted with respect, for prayerful study and evaluation,
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created September 19, 2016