By: Nelson Walters
Author: Are We Ready For Jesus? How to Prepare for His Return (May 2015)
When something is important, really important, God paints multiple pictures of the event throughout scripture. This was true of the cross and will be true of end time events. In the upcoming book Are We Ready For Jesus? we look at the five different pictures that scripture gives us of the Cosmic/Earthly Disturbance Event that comes right before the Rapture of the Church. These five views of the same event provide amazing detail when looked at side-by-side (which we do in the upcoming book.)
If God’s Word painted five pictures of the Cosmic/Earthly Disturbance event, doesn’t it make sense that the seven-year Tribulation will be pictured as well? A reader of this blog and a fellow Christian writer, Josh Word, recently helped me uncover the 7 year Tribulation pictured in Psalms. The additional detail it provides is astounding.
OTHER PICTURES OF THE TRIBULATION
In the recent post FOUR HORSEMEN, JERICHO: A CONSISTENT PICTURE OF THE TRIBULATION we discussed several of the other “pictures” scripture gives us of the 70th Week of Daniel on a year by year basis. These included The Battle of Jericho, The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21), Daniel Great Vision Prophecy, and the seven seals of Revelation.
In this post we’ll look at another picture of the Tribulation period found in eight consecutive Psalms (11-18). I again have to thank Josh Word for sharing what the Holy Spirit revealed to him about this section of scripture. What is intriguing is that my Bible was already marked up (yes, I write in my NASB) with all sorts of end time references in these Psalms but I never realized that the eight Psalms formed a cohesive unit describing the Tribulation in full. Thanks to Josh for showing me that.
In a future post we’ll share yet another picture scripture gives us of this period which I believe is the most amazing and mind blowing of them all. But that must wait for another post.
We saw in FOUR HORSEMEN, JERICHO: A CONSISTENT PICTURE OF THE TRIBULATION that the Battle of Jericho is picture of the Tribulation with each day of the battle representing a year of the 70th week of Daniel. We also learned that the seven seals of Revelation found in Chapter 6 each also represent a year of the Tribulation. In this post we’ll discover that each of the successive Psalm in this series represent a year of the Tribulation (11 = year one, 12 = year two, etc.)
AN OVERALL VIEW OF PSALMS 11-18
The following table summarizes what conditions will exist in each year of the Tribulation from our other “pictures” we’ve studied and compares these to what we learn in this series of Psalms:
|Year of the Tribulatioin||Main Features||Psalm 11-18 Parallels|
|One||False Messiah, a Bow, a False Treaty, a Crown, Conquering||Ps. 11: Wicked bend the bow, prepare for conquest, God tests the righteous, YHWH hates the one who loves violence|
|Two||War, a Sword, Slaughter, Imprisonment, Flattery, Betrayal||Ps. 12: Flattery, Betrayal, Vileness is exalted|
|Three||Price Inflation, Economic Distress, Famine||Ps. 13: “How Long Oh, Lord”|
|Four||Abomination of Desolation, Persecution, Captivity, Apostasy||Ps. 14: “Abominable deeds”, Persecution, Captivity, Apostasy,|
|Five||Martyrs, God protects righteous Israel||Ps. 15: God protects righteous Israel|
|Six||Rapture||Ps. 16: Rapture|
|Seven||Wrath of God, Israel cries out to Jesus for help||Ps. 17: God has tested Israel, Israel cries out to YHWH for help|
|Eight||Second Coming, Jesus destroys the Antichrist||Ps. 18: Second Coming, YHWH destroys the Antichrist|
In their entirety, these eight Psalms paint an incredibly detailed fingerprint picture of the seven years of the Tribulation. No one looking at the similarities between the columns can deny the parallels. Let’s look at each year of the Tribulation separately and the Psalm that corresponds to that year.
TRIBULATION YEAR ONE: PSALM 11
The Psalm opens with numerous references to the Tribulation:
In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? For look! The wicked bend their bow; they make ready their arrow on the string that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. (Psalms 11: 1-2 NKJV)
In Matthew 24:15, Jesus instructs those “in Judea” to flee to the mountains when they see the Abomination of Desolation. The passage “as a bird” recalls Rev. 12 where Israel is given “two wings of a great eagle” to assist them in this flight.
We also notice a reference to a “bow.” We are told in the first seal of Revelation, the rider of the White Horse also had a bow. Scholars have debated about what “bow” means. In prophecy, the first use of a symbol in scripture is the meaning that symbol carries throughout. This is called the rule of primacy. The first reference to a bow in scripture is found in this verse:
And God said, “This is the guarantee of the covenant I am making with you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all subsequent generations: I will place my rainbow (bow) in the clouds, and it will become a guarantee of the covenant between me and the earth. (Gen. 9: 12-13 NET, clarification and emphasis mine)
Every English translation of these verses that I have seen has mistranslated the Hebrew word qesheth as “rainbow” when the correct translation is “bow.” This is a critically important mistranslation!! Some mistranslations are insignificant, this one isn’t. God is equating the symbol of a “bow” with a “covenant”. So when the Rider of the White Horse in Revelation has a bow, it means he has a “covenant.” This of course, fits perfectly with our picture of the Rider of the White Horse as bringing a deceptive False Covenant.
Likewise this first Psalm in the series of Tribulation Psalms includes a bow. It also adds the description of being made ready for arrows that will secretly be shot at the righteous. Again this is a perfect picture of the Deceptive False Covenant to come. The bow (the Deceptive Covenant) will make the shooting of arrows possible later. The inclusion of a “bow” in the second verse of the Psalm cements it as being about the first year of the Tribulation just as the first Seal of Revelation is about that first year. Both include a “bow.”
For those who doubt it is the Antichrist who carries the “bow,” we need look no further than Ezekiel’s description of Gog (a picture of the Antichrist).
Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. (Ezek. 39: 1-3 NASB)
This is a direct picture of the bow and arrows from Psalm 11. But notice in both of these cases the “bow” comes first, then the arrows. That is why the rider of the white horse in Rev. 6 is pictures with just a bow.
The very next verse provides us with new information about this first year.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps. 11: 3 NET)
In the Hebrew the word translated “foundations” mean the “foundations of society.” In the Greek Septuagint the word translated “foundations” means “that which is fitted or joined together.” In the context of the preceding verses about persecution this verse seems to mean that the protection that societies usually provide will not help the persecuted. Interestingly, Islam teaches their Mahdi will arise in a time of chaos. Is this what the Bible is also inferring in this verse? I think it may be.
The remainder of the Psalm reminds the reader that God has his eye upon the righteous and has planned to rain down fire and brimstone on the wicked and lovers of violence. Obviously this is an end time reference.
TRIBULATION YEAR TWO: PSALM 12
This psalm focuses on the deceitful nature of the times to come.
Deliver, Lord! for the godly have disappeared; people of integrity have vanished. People lie to one another; they flatter and deceive. (Psalms 12: 1-2 NET, emphasis mine)
This immediately reminds us of the picture of the Tribulation found in Daniel’s Great Vision Prophecy in Daniel 10-12.
With flattery he (the Antichrist) will corrupt those who have violated the covenant (Dan. 11: 32 NIV, clarification and emphasis mine)
After coming to an agreement with him (Israeli leader), he (the Antichrist) will act deceitfully. (Dan. 11:23, clarification and emphasis mine)
This also reminds us of Jesus’ first command in the Olivet Discourse:
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. (Matt. 24: 4 NIV)
Next, Psalms 12 makes another reference to the Antichrist:
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that boasts (Psalms 12:3 NET, emphasis mine)
This is an obvious reference to the “Little Horn” of Daniel 7.
While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully. (Dan. 7: 8 NIV, emphasis mine)
Finally at the end of the Psalm, another important reference is made to the Antichrist:
The wicked prowl on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men. (Psalms 12: 8 NKJV, emphasis mine)
This is another reference to Daniel’s picture of the Antichrist:
And in his place shall arise a vile person. (Dan. 11:21 NKJV, emphasis mine)
In summary, this short Psalm provides a multitude of end time references to clearly mark it as a picture of the Tribulation. It shows that the deceit and the flattery seem to begin here in the second year of the Tribulation. This is unique information we did not gain from our other pictures of the Tribulation and thus has great value.
TRIBULATION YEAR THREE: PSALM 13
This is another very short Psalm and provides us with the least information of this series of Psalms. It begins with a phrase that is directly quoted in Revelation 6:10, however, to prove its end time meaning:
How long, O Lord? (Psalm 13: 1 NKJV)
Of greatest interest to me in this Psalm is the final verse:
I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13: 6 NKJV, emphasis mine)
We know from our other pictures of this third year of the Tribulation (Daniel’s 70th Week) that there will be economic collapse (Rev. 6: 5-6) and famine (Matt. 24: 7). It is interesting to me then that this word translated “bountifully” is used here. The Hebrew word gamal used in this instance literally means “weaned.” I like this meaning. During this period God will be weaning his people from the economic system of the world, and at the same time, he will bountifully provide for them. What a perfect word to use in this instance.
TRIBULATION YEAR FOUR: PSALM 14
The fourth year of Daniel’s 70th week includes the Midpoint of the Tribulation. (See MIDPOINT OF THE TRIBULATION: EARTH’S PERSPECTIVE) It is the year that the Antichrist sits in the Temple of God and proclaims himself god, begins to persecute Christians and Jews, and sets up the Abomination of Desolation. Psalms 14 is incredibly rich in meaning and provides and exact fingerprint of this fourth year of the Tribulation.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds. .. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalms 14: 1, 3, emphasis mine)
This passage may be familiar. Verses 1- 3 of this Psalm are quoted directly by Paul in Romans 3:10-12 to prove that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s Glory.
This passage is a clear reference to the Abomination of Desolation that is set up in the fourth year of Daniel’s 70th week and to the great apostasy: the “turning aside” or “falling away.” The word this Psalm uses is translated “corrupt.” This is the same word used in Gen. 6:11 for the condition of the world before the flood. This word also means “destroy” and is the same word the angels of God used when speaking of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Both uses of the Greek form of this word from the Septuagint are found in Revelation:
And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy(corrupt) those who destroy(corrupt) the earth. (Rev. 11: 18 NASB, clarification and emphasis mine)
Psalm 14 then presents the persecution of the Jews and Christians, the “Great Tribulation,” which begins in this year:
Do all the workers of wickedness not know, who eat up my people as they eat bread. (Psalms 14: 4 NASB)
In the final verse of this short Psalm we see the captivity of the Jews which is detailed in many places including Luke 21: 24 which occurs at the midpoint of the Tribulation.
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people (Psalm 14: 7 NASB)
It is incredible that all these aspects of the fourth year of Daniel’s 70th week are found in this one 7 verse Psalm.
TRIBULATION YEAR FIVE: PSALM 15
The fifth year of Daniel’s 70th week is a year of martyrdom for most of God’s people as the Great Tribulation rages on. The fifth seal of Revelation which also pictures this year directly quotes Psalm 13 when these already martyred saints cry out: “How long, Oh, Lord?”
There is another aspect to this fifth year, however, the protection of God’s remnant. Psalm 15 focuses on this facet of the fifth year:
O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? (Psalm 15: 1 NASB)
The tent of the Lord is also seen as a place of refuge in Psalms 27, 61 and 90. Psalm 27 (which is read during the Jewish month of Elul which is a preparatory month for the coming Tribulation) links this tent of refuge with God’s “secret place.” (See THE SECRET PLACE.) It is in this secret place detailed in Psalms 91 that God will hide Israel’s remnant. Revelation refers to this hiding in Chapter 12 where “the woman” is Israel:
Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Rev. 12: 6 NASB)
The remainder of Psalm 15 lists those who will enter God’s tent of refuge. They are the righteous.
I find the use of the word “tent” here to be interesting. Might Israel again live in literal tents in the wilderness? Is this how God will preserve them from the Antichrist? Only time will tell.
TRIBULATION YEAR SIX: PSALM 16
I find this Psalm one of the most incredible in all of scripture. Hidden within this series of Psalms, God has shown us the year within Daniel’s 70th week when he will rapture his Church! It is at the very end of the sixth year. This is entirely consistent with all the other pictures of the Tribulation that God has given us.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalms 16: 10-11 NASB)
This is a very familiar passage. It is quoted by Paul in Acts 13:35 and is attributed to Jesus whose body never saw decay in the grave. Interestingly those who are raptured will never see decay either! They will be raptured without facing death. Notice the final line of the Psalm, “at your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Jesus is the Father’s right hand. This cannot be fully attributed to Christ. It must also be a picture of the rapture of the saints who won’t see decay.
Immediately before the rapture passage, this Psalm speaks of God’s guidance during this period.
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. (Psalm 16: 7 NASB)
Obviously the Holy Spirit will be guiding and instructing the surviving remnant to protect them, perhaps through dreams. (“in the night”)
TRIBULATION YEAR SEVEN: PSALM 17
In the seventh year of the Tribulation, the Church will have been removed. Only the righteous remnant of Israel will remain as YHWH’s people on the Earth. This Psalm is their prayer to Yeshua (Jesus), their only hope.
Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry; give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes look with equity. You have tried my heart; you have visited me by night; you have tested me and You find nothing. I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. (the remnant will not bow to the Antichrist) As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent. My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. (Psalms 17: 1-5 NASB, clarification and emphasis mine)
First the righteous remnant states its case. It has been tested but remained pure. Next it cries out to YHWH:
I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. . . Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. (Psalms 17:6-9 NASB)
“Hide me in the shadow of your wings” is a direct quote of Psalms 91 which we studied in THE SECRET PLACE. Notice in the following verses the focus shifts from the enemies that surround Israel (the Islamic nations) to an individual, the Antichrist. This is further evidence this is a end time Psalm.
He is like a lion that is eager to tear, and as a young lion lurking in hiding places. Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low. (Psalms 17: 12-13 NASB)
The lion references are also found in Nahum 2. Here the prophet prophesies about the overthrow of Nivevah in Assyria. Nahum 2: 11 asks “where is the feeding place of young lions?” This is another reference to the Antichrist being “the Assyrian.”
THE RETURN OF JESUS : PSALM 18
The first thing I am sure you are asking is, “what is an eighth Psalm doing in a series about the 7 year Tribulation?” The answer is that this Psalm pictures events after the 70th Week of Daniel ends. It is the return of Jesus and his pouring out punishment on the Antichrist and his followers. It is truly a great Old Testament picture of this event.
In Psalms 18:6 we see Israel finally crying out to Jesus for help.
The phrase used here “in my distress” is a quoted numerous times in the scriptures as “in the day of my distress” or “in my distress.” It is found in Gen. 35:3, 2 Sam. 22:7, Psalms 31:9, Psalms 59:16, Psalms 102:2, Psalm 118:5 (this is direct quote of Psalm 18:6 BTW), and Jer. 16:19. In the New Testament the primary reference is in 2 Thess. 1: 6-7 that we just discussed in our last post. (see WILL THERE BE A PRE-TRIB RAPTURE?) As we have learned earlier in this post, the first use of a phrase in scripture is the primary meaning of the phrase of symbol. This is the law of primacy in prophecy interpretation. Let’s look at the first use in Genesis:
Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (symbolic of the forces of the Antichrist) So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” (Gen. 35: 1-3 NASB, emphasis mine)
This primary reference is amazing. Has anyone realized what this event is yet? It is the day of Jacob’s Trouble or Jacob’s Distress referenced in Jer. 30: 7!
Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it.
This is proof all of these are references to the Great Tribulation, and the time Jacob ran from Esau (picture of the Antichrist) is a picture of that time. We will a post on this topic in the future.
Returning to Psalm 18, let’s see what else is revealed. In verse 7 we see an earthquake (Ezek. 38:19-20). In verse 9-11 we see Jesus coming on the clouds (see Dan. 7:13). In verse 12 we see Jesus’ Shekinah glory (Mt. 24:27). In verses 12-14 we see hailstones, fire, and lightening (Ezek. 38:22 ). In verse 15 we see the breath from God’s nostrils that destroys the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:8). In verse 16 we see Israel drawn out of “many waters” (many nations.) this is a reference to their captivity mentioned in Luke 21:24. These pictures across all of scripture are amazingly consistent.
In verse 37, the Psalm takes on a different mode. In this section Jesus is speaking and he shows how He pursues Israel’s enemies.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. (Psalms 18: 37-38 NASB)
Then we see Israel’s enemies become Jesus’ servants.
You have placed me as head of the nations; a people whom I have not known serve me. (Psalms 18:43 NASB)
Finally at the end of the Psalm, Israel praises YHWH for delivering them from the Antichrist (the violent man) and his followers.
He delivers me from my enemies; surely You lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from the violent man. (Psalms 18:48)
In conclusion these are an amazing set of Psalms, placing the events of the Tribulation in order.