The Great Deliverance

THE first three verses of Psalm 46 read, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” God’s people throughout all the ages of human experience have been people of trouble—trouble brought about in many instances by the persecution of their great adversary, Satan.

God has not promised to deliver them from trouble, but has promised to sustain them in their times of need; and when the trouble becomes more severe than they can bear, to provide a way of escape. We doubt not that the expression, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” has meant much to the Lord’s people.

Daniel 12:1 reads, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” We think that the trouble referred to in Psalm 46:1 is this prophetic time of trouble which, as described in Daniel, will be such as never was since there was a nation. Jesus referred to this prophecy of Daniel’s when, in presenting signs of his second presence, he said, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matt. 24:21,22

Jesus said concerning the effects of this time of trouble that men’s hearts would be “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” He said also that there would be upon the earth “distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” (Luke 21:25,26) Today we are living in a time when fear fills the hearts of the people—not only because of the chaotic conditions throughout the earth, but also because of man’s failure to find a remedy for the situation. It is indeed, as the prophecy of Daniel foretold, a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. And it is this trouble in which God is the refuge and strength of his people, “a very present help in trouble.”

We Do Not Fear

The connection between this thought and the prophetic description of the great time of trouble with which the present age ends is in the word “therefore” in verse 2 of Psalm 46. “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Because this prophetic psalm applies to a time when fear fills the hearts of mankind in general, the assurance that the Lord’s people will not fear is so very meaningful. They do not fear because they know what the ultimate outcome of this trouble will be—the establishment of the long-promised kingdom of Christ.

The reason the hearts of the world in general are filled with fear is that they see the earth being removed and the mountains being carried into the midst of the sea. They hear the troubled waters roar and the mountains shaking as a result. This, of course, is all symbolic language. The earth abideth forever, the Scriptures tell us (Eccles. 1:4), and, of course, this includes the literal mountains. But there is a symbolic earth referred to in the prophecies which denotes the social order as men have established it, and the mountains are the great governmental bulwarks which supposedly guarantee the stability of this humanly constituted social order.

The Roaring Seas

Jesus said that the fear which would fill the hearts of the people would be induced by the roaring of the sea and of the waves. We have an explanation of this symbolism in Isaiah 17:12,13: “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.”

Beginning with 1914 the world has witnessed the removal of many of the symbolic mountains of the earth. They have been carried into the midst of the symbolic sea; that is, they have succumbed to the clamor and the demands of the people, who have been dissatisfied with what human governments have provided for them. And this still goes on.

We do not fear because “there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy … of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” The marginal reading of this statement is “when the morning appeareth.”

Notice the difference in this prophecy between those whose hearts are filled with fear and those who do not fear, for they are made glad. They are made glad because of the assurance that God is in their midst; that they shall not be moved like the earth and mountains are moved, for God shall help them when the morning appeareth.

Streams of River

It is the streams of this great river which make glad the people of God—here referred to as the “city of God,” which is described as the holy of the tabernacles of the most High. “City” is used to symbolize a kingdom, but this is not the kingdom of God established in power and great glory, but the city which is represented in the holy of the typical tabernacle. And this holy of the tabernacle foreshadowed the people of God while still in the flesh, and before they are exalted to live and reign with Christ. The streams of the river which make glad their hearts are the streams of truth which flow out from the Word of God.

God is in the midst of these people because they are wholly devoted to him and dedicated to the doing of his will as revealed in his Word. He is in their midst to help in their every time of need, but, more important, he is in their midst to help in the sense of delivering them from this present evil world and exalting them to be with Jesus in his kingdom. They know this, and are comforted by the words of Jesus, “When ye see these things come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your deliverance draweth nigh.”

We could say that so far as the present social order is concerned this prophecy of Psalm 46 shows everything on the move—the earth is moved, the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea. In verse 6 we are told that the kingdoms are moved. But God is in the midst of his people. They are not moved. It is the time for them to look up and lift up their heads with the assurance that their deliverance is near. Verse 6 declares that the heathen raged. The word “heathen” in this instance does not carry the same connotation as it ordinarily does to us. It is a reference to all who are not the Lord’s people. It says, concerning the exercise of Jehovah’s power in that day, “He uttered his voice, the earth melted.” This is a part of the period that is described in the prophecies as “the Day of Jehovah.” But again we have the assurance that “the Lord of hosts [Jehovah] is with them; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Jehovah’s Desolation

Verses 8 and 9 read, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.” The destruction of war and the implements of war will indeed seem like terrible desolation to those who do not know the Lord. But to us who know what is being accomplished it is a desolation which will result in the eternal blessing of all mankind.

And what are these desolations? “He maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth.” That is a very desirable desolation. “He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.” These are references, of course, to the hardware of war as known in ancient times, but all we need to do is to apply this prophecy to the present methods of warfare and we see the encouraging picture. Jesus said concerning this time of trouble that unless these days be shortened no flesh would be saved, but he assured us that they would be shortened and all flesh would not be destroyed. Thus the destruction of all the means of war will be fulfilled.

“Be Still”

Verse 10 of the prophecy reads, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” This is a most interesting verse. Earlier in the prophecy we are told of the removal of the symbolic earth. We are told that the earth melted. But here, in the final picture of what this time of trouble is leading to, we find that the literal earth is still here, and we find God assuring us that his name will be exalted in it.

What a glorious outcome of this fear-instilling situation upon the earth today! Then it will be known that the Lord of hosts, the great Creator of the universe, the Jehovah of the Old Testament and our Heavenly Father of the New Testament, has had the situation well in hand, and has worked it all out to the fulfillment of his glorious design—the design which will answer every Christian’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Nations Destroyed

Another prophecy pertaining to this Day of Jehovah is Zephaniah 3:8,9. It reads, “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”

The Hebrew word here translated jealousy is frequently translated “zeal,” and indeed this is the true meaning. God has zeal for the accomplishment of his purpose; for the establishment of his will and authority, and for the dispensing of his promised blessings. Because of this zeal he sees to it that the selfish nations and kingdoms of the earth are destroyed, and that in their place will be established the kingdom of Christ which will turn to the people a pure language, or message, enabling them to know the Lord properly and to serve him—not in a divided way, but with one consent. What a glorious prospect, indeed, is before us!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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