“He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
“I will say of YHVH, He is my refuge and my fortress: my Yah; in Him will I trust.
“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
“You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day.
“Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday.
“A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
“Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked.
“Because you have made YHVH, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation;
“There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
“They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
“You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My Name.
“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.
“With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living Elohim: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
“Saying, ‘Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our Elohim in their foreheads.’
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
As we ponder the dark days of the tribulation before us, many of us wonder who the 144,000 will be. This select group of people are sealed in such a way that they, at the very least, escape much of the destructive harm that will pummel the planet. I think if most of us were honest with ourselves, we would all admit that we have a desire to be part of this group. After all, who wouldn’t want to evangelize through the terrors of the Great Tribulation, while escaping the death and torture befalling the people of the world?
But the reason I started this chapter quoting Psalm 91 is because of a verse that I believe is the most important in the entire chapter.
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My Name.”
Although I do not know who all the individuals are who will make up the 144,000, I do know one characteristic they will all possess. They will set their hearts, their love, upon YahShua. I’m not just talking about loving Yah with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. This should be the quality of every believer.
But I’m talking about the difference between a “Mary love” and a “Martha love”. Though both women adored YahShua, Martha busied herself preparing things, while Mary contented herself with sitting at the feet of her Master, gazing up into His eyes, holding onto each Word He spoke as if it were the last.
We know the disciples loved YahShua. Yet only one -- the Apostle Yochanon -- is singled out as the beloved apostle. Or -- “the one whom YahShua loved”. Only he was found, time and again, pressing his face into YahShua’s chest -- a child like abandonment of love if ever there was one.
I have a radical thought. Perhaps the best way to become part of the future band of 144,000 is to set your love upon the Lover of your soul. Hanging upon His every Word. Gazing into His eyes. Waiting on Him. Spending time with Him.
Imagine the clouds of thick incense rising from the altar in the Holy Place. Moshe, his eyes wet with tears, silently moves his mouth as he lays out face first before the alar. The Presence of YHVH deepens, pouring over this most humble man. Yet, as he rises from the floor, gripping his polished wooden staff, and departs the Tabernacle, he leaves someone behind.
The young man, many years younger than Moshe, still presses his face to the floor, unwilling to leave the sweet presence of his Creator.
Muttered whispers and rolling eyes from the crowds of those outside will wonder why this young man stays in the tent long after their leader has emerged. Some probably sigh out that Joshua is too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.
But the young man before the altar doesn’t care. His love is set on the Most High. He wants more of Yah. He wants far more. And he won’t jump up and leave until he has spent as much time with Yah as he possibly can.
So what of this Divine Protection? Evidently, these 144,000 are protected in ways that are not afforded everyone else on the earth. What does this Divine Protection look like? I’m sure we’ve all either experienced or heard stories of YHVH intervening in miraculous ways. Some of these tales are more amazing that others.
I have one that I would like to share.
It was still a few months before my 18th birthday. My cheap four-door junk car had broken down the day before, so my dad had graciously allowed me to drive his gleaming white Toyota mini-truck until I could get my car to the shop.
After working a busy shift at the local supermarket, I arrived late to a Saturday night church meeting of praise and worship. After the service, I climbed into my dad’s truck to head home. The Texas late winter twilight faded into hues of red, gold, pink and purple on the western horizon. Balmy and warm, the air gave ample warning that the mild winter would soon give way to the hot and humid summer, skipping Spring altogether.
As I drove home, the fading evening quickly dissolved into a star-pricked night, and a fat moon poured its lunar ambiance across the rolling hills of central Texas. I drove at 70 mph, the legal speed limit for this stretch of state highway just north of Austin. The thump of the road beneath the tires only made me feel carefree, even lazy, as I hummed to the radio, ignoring a passing car in the opposite lane who was flashing his lights at me.
The highway curved to the left around a squat blue water tank that gleamed silver in the moonlight.
Just around the curve, I noticed something very wrong. The unmistakable twin pools of car head lights speared into my eyes. A car, going the wrong way in my lane, barreled toward me.
I had no chance to swerve out of the way. No chance to even scream. I only remember, as the two headlights careened toward me, thinking one thing -- well, that was a nice life.
The headlights disappeared into blackness as the crunching of metal drowned out all other sounds. My body flung toward the windshield, held back only by the strained cords of the seat belt.
Blackness. Metal not just crunching, but shrieking in protest, as if the entire universe were constructed of steel and imploding around me, caving in at all sides.
Then another sound. A sound that swallowed even the shrieking metal. The thump and beat of hundreds, if not thousands, of wings. Not tiny bird wings. But massive, thick, strong wings, flapping furiously around me.
Moments later I blinked open my eyes. I still sat in the truck. Fresh clods of earth coated the windshield. Peering through the glass, I could see that I was on the side of the road, off the highway. I shoved open the mangled driver’s side door and staggered from the truck. The moon, still plump and white, revealed my dad’s truck as a twisted metal ball.
The adrenalin that coursed through my body temporarily covered the throbbing of my broken right wrist. I shouted out to the sky, “What happened? What happened?”
The strobe blue, red and white lights of emergency vehicles slashed the night. As I approached a medic, repeating my question, the man frowned at me.
“Please, we’re trying to attend to a head on collision. You need to get back into your car, sir.”
Pointing back to my dad’s deformed truck, I cried out, “That’s my car! I was in the accident!”
Later that night, as an ambulance whisked me south to downtown Austin, I would learn from a shocked paramedic the details of what had happened. An old woman driving with her grand daughter had forgotten to put her contacts into her eyes. She crossed over the double yellow line, going 70 mph. She hit me head on, with a total collision force of 140 mph. The paramedic, in whispered tones, said he had never seen anyone survive such an accident.
The grandmother had sustained a broken jaw due to a punch from her airbag. Her grand daughter, in the back seat, had escaped all harm.
I had a lacerated chin and broken wrist that would heal in three weeks.
To this day, every couple of years or so, I will get a subtle pain in my right wrist, a reminder of that night. As I rub my wrist, I am thankful for Abba giving me this life long memorial. What happened was never a question in my mind. Abba had dispatched hundreds, if not thousands of angels to protect me and the other two people involved in the accident. I had, at the young age of 17, experienced divine protection.
But there is a deeper point to this story. Shortly after that traumatic night, I would begin the slow change of giving up on all my hopes and dreams of becoming a famous screen writer in Hollywood, and instead devote myself to evangelism. With a fervency, I used the last few months of my senior year in high school to witness.
I had, through His Divine Protection, learned to start truly setting my love upon Him.
And this is what is needed in the hour of the Great Tribulation. We are to love not our lives unto death. We are to totally abandon ourselves to Him. We are to lovingly adore and wait upon Him, giving everything we are to the One who delivers us from all evil. We are to, simply put, trust under the shadow of His loving wings.