On October 1, 2019, I received a warning dream for America, showing two or three super- tornadoes (I couldn’t remember specifically) aligned side by side, that were about to hit. The tornadoes represented at least two massive events to come upon America. There was only one place of safety and stability in the house: our beds, which suddenly turned into our altars. This was a warning from God for His people to wake up from spiritual slumber and return to the fervent altar of prayer and wholehearted dedication to Him. As we cried out repentantly for mercy, the winds of destruction, which stripped the the “heartland” of America, “passed over” us, leaving us remarkably untouched. When I awoke, Psalm 91 was heavy upon my heart. This was followed by a strong exhortation to observe a “solemn assembly”, setting ourselves apart to God afresh and to earnestly pray for our nation.
(You can view a full description of the dream and its basic interpretations in Part One, “Warning Dream to America”, by going to heavenshopeunveiled.com and clicking on “blogs”).
In this article, we will begin by defining Psalm 91’s “Secret place of the Most High”, and what it means to dwell therein.
Beginning with verse 1, it says,
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
In the original Hebrew, this “secret” place is defined, “hiding place”, or a “hidden” place. Most people would define this as being God’s presence, predicating it on Psalm 31:20:
“Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence…”
And, of course, they would be correct– in the broadest sense of the word, anyway. However, by simply taking into consideration the history and culture of the Psalm’s author, a whole WORLD of revelation opens up to us!
Psalm 91 was not written from the standpoint of the western world, by any means. The Old Testament in its entirety was written by Jews. What would this Jewish author, living during the time of Moses, have been picturing as he wrote about “the secret place of the most High”? What would have been his interpretation of the presence of God? None other than the Holy of Holies– the most hidden room in the Tabernacle of Moses! We see this in other writings in Psalms, such as Psalm 27: 5:
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me.”
The Tabernacle was built for God’s presence to dwell in, providing the means for His people to approach and worship Him . It was God’s blue print, manifested in the natural, as to how to have an intimate relationship with Him. Every detail of this “blueprint” was based on Heavenly Realities, and contained types and shadows of the finished work Jesus would one day accomplish through his Cross for the world. (Hebrews 8:5) Therefore, Moses was instructed to follow God’s blueprint to the letter when constructing it. This is what it looked like:
Inside a bordering white curtain (representing the righteousness of Christ), with one doorway (symbolizing Christ, “the Door”, John 10:7), the seeker would enter the outer court. This contained the Altar of Burnt Offering, (also called the Brazen Alter), and the Bronze Laver. The Brazen Altar was the first thing the seeker of God encountered, where various offerings were offered on behalf of the worshiper. It symbolized the Cross of Christ, where He bore our sins and reconciled us to God, presenting us holy and acceptable to Him. Now the seeker was ready to encounter the Bronze Laver, which was used to wash one’s hands and feet, (symbolizing the washing of the water of the Word, Ephesians 5:25-27). Now the priests (which now include every believer under the New Covenant) were ready to proceed into the first chamber, called the Holy Place. We will come back to these later in this series.
Moving forward, the next, innermost room, was the “Holy of Holies”, meaning, “Hallowed, sacred, consecrated, dedicated, set apart, sanctified, most holy place.” This innermost room, situated behind a thick curtain (veil), was the most “hidden place” on the face of the earth, for absolutely nothing unholy could enter it. Inhabited by such pure holiness, one would be killed if they dared enter it in their sinful state. Only the high priest, Aaron, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and not without sacrificial blood shed for the remission of sins, which he transported from the Brazen Altar in the Outer Court.
Within the Holy of Holies stood the “Ark of the Covenant”, a chest overlaid with pure gold. Inside the Ark were kept the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments given at the inauguration of the Old Covenant on Mt. Sinai. Additionally, it contained Aaron’s rod that budded, revealing God’s choice for His Old Covenant high priest, a type of Jesus, the True, Eternal High Priest, and a jar of manna, also symbolizing Jesus, the Bread of Life. (John 6:35)
The Ark was covered with a lid made of pure gold, called the “Mercy Seat”; “Mercy”, meaning, “propitiation”, or, atonement, restoring God’s favor, reconciling the sinner to God. On either side of the Mercy Seat knelt two golden cherubim gazing down upon the Mercy Seat with their wings outstretched.
In one sense, the Mercy Seat symbolized God’s throne. In another sense, the Ark (God’s Moral Law kept within) together with the Mercy (propitiation) Seat, was a picture of Christ Himself, Who would willingly go to the Cross for us and become our Eternally Enthroned Great High Priest:
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering thou hast not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)
So, there you have it! The Ark of the Covenant and its Mercy Seat! This was what the Tabernacle was all about! This was what all the furnishings in the outer court and the Holy Place led up to! It was here that the breath-taking presence of ALMIGHTY GOD dwelt!!!
“There I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony.” (Exodus 25:22)
Access to God, however, was extremely limited under the Old Covenant. Only on one day each year, the Day of Atonement, Israel’s high priest was to enter the Holy of Holies, to intercede for the sins of the people. Aaron was to take some of the sacrificial blood that was shed on the Brazen Altar and sprinkle it upon the Mercy Seat– once for himself and once for the congregation– while repentantly confessing their sins. His sins and theirs were thereby covered until the following year, maintaining their limited access to God.
Interestingly, this Atonement would have reminded Moses (to whom the tabernacle blueprint was given), and the entire congregation that Moses led out of Egypt, of the Passover lamb— the blood that exempted them from the plague of the death angel and ultimately freed them from Egypt!
All of this was symbolic of Jesus, of course, who, as our Passover Lamb was to die for our sins on the cross. Indeed, having been sentenced to death in Pilate’s “judgement hall”, taking place during the actual preparation of the Jewish Passover feast (John 18:28), Jesus permanently satisfied our sin-debt which separated us from God. In so doing, He spared us from death, meaning eternal separation from God. Having breathed his last breath on the cross, the “veil” in the temple, which had previously shut man out of the Holy of Holies, tore wide open from top to bottom, symbolizing Jesus’s torn body opening the way into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:20). After rising from the dead, He ascended to the right hand of the Father, essentially applying His Own blood to the Mercy Seat– in the true Holy of Holies,—where He is seated as our Eternal High Priest. Now, the redeemed have permanent, unlimited access to a Thrice-Holy God–Who is all we could ever need and more! Because of the Cross, even physical death will eventually be forever swallowed up. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
In the mean time, those who “die in the Lord”, never really die! The real us–our spirit and soul– simply passes into the fullness of God’s Glory in heaven! One day, all believers will be joined together in that place where there will be no more death, sickness, sorrow or tears, and no more goodbys! (Revelation 21:4)
In short, because our High Priest lives forever, so does our Hope!
“We… have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever…” (Hebrews 6:18-20)
Amazingly, this is only the beginning of the miracle of Christ’s finished work of the cross, and why it is an incredible “anchor for our souls”— even in the midst of the worst tornadic mega- storms imaginable!
This brings us to Psalm 91:1:
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the wings of the Almighty. “
Firstly, it is important to note that all the wonderful promises of safety and deliverance contained in Psalm 91 are predicated on the word, “Dwelleth.” It is those who dwell in the secret place of the most High that the promises pertain to. What, then, does it mean to “dwell” in the Secret Place?
“Dwell” means “to sit down; to remain, to inhabit, to abide.” (Strong’s #H3427) This speaks of abiding in the Secret Place continually, permanently.
Here’s the connection.
Ephesians 1: 20-22 teaches that after the Father raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus permanently “sat down” at his own right hand in heaven. Furthermore, he sat down-–“far above all power, and principality, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, and placed all things under his feet (rule)“.
This is where Psalm 91 gets MORE interesting!
Ephesians 2:5-6 reveals that when God raised Jesus up, He raised US up WITH him– and made US to “sit down” together in heavenly places in Christ!
Positionally speaking, WE are seated WITH Jesus in the Holy of Holies, as sharers of His victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil! Because we are His body– (the fullness of Him), this means that the world, the flesh and all satanic powers are under our feet as well! (Ephesians 1:22-23) No wonder Psalm 91:13 says of those who “dwell” in the secret place of the most High,
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon thou shalt trample under feet.”
Let’s go deeper.
The redeemed are not only “seated“ in heavenly places in Christ. According to Colossians 3:3— we are actually “hid with Christ in God.” In other words, God IS our dwelling place! He IS our habitation! He IS our refuge. Jesus, Himself, IS the Secret [hidden] place of the most High!
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him I will trust.
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (habitation) (Verse 2, 9, 19)
If Almighty God is our habitation, Whom no evil thing dare touch, than those who dwell “in Christ” are dwelling in the safest place of all! (To learn more about this subject, feel free to download my free chapter, entitled, “Our Safe Place”, found on my website under blogs. Here I wrote of how this revelation brought me victoriously through the fear, panic and anxiety of severe PTSD.)
But, we are just getting started!
Like everything else in the tabernacle that was symbolic of the Eternal Heavenly Realities, so were the cherubim. Various scriptures reveal that God really is seated between the cherubim:
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Isaiah 37:16)
“The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he that sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.” (Psalm 99:1)
The prophet Ezekiel actually witnessed this. In Ezekiel chapter 1, he describes seeing four cherubim with four wings and four faces each. These faces seem to represent the power and glory of God as depicted in Christ as Servant, King, Son of Man, and Sovereign God. In Ezekiel 10, he records seeing the cherubim in a vision with the throne of God appearing just in between them, above their heads.
In Ezekiel 28:14, God goes on to address the “anointed cherub that covereth”, seemingly a veiled reference to Satan and his original position in heaven before he sinned. This gives us key information as to God’s intended role for the cherubim: “Covereth” is defined, “To entwine as a screen; by implication to fence in, cover over, protect; Cover, defense, defend, hedge in, join together, shut up.” (Strong’s #H5526) This would explain the cherubims’ overshadowing wings that “covered” the mercy seat and that were embroidered on the veil covering the Holy of Holies.
In Genesis 3:24, we see the cherubim guarding the tree of life after Adam and Eve fell into a state of sin and were cast out of the garden. Perhaps a symbolic picture of this is the cherubim that were embroidered on the veil that covered the Holy of Holies. (Exodus 26:31)
Again, in Ezekiel 8-10, we see how the cherubim acted as agents of God’s judgement, as well as chariots for God’s presence as He departed from the Jewish temple due to gross idolatry.
In summary, scripture indicates the cherubim as being protectors and guardians of God’s holiness and the holy things of God, and agents that accompany God in both judgement and blessing. It appears that their rank in the hierarchy of God’s Kingdom in the heavenly realms is number two to God Himself– the King of all creation ruling over all– and His will being administered through the cherubim to the archangels and angels. This would make these winged creatures that “cover” the throne of God the most powerful created beings in the heavenly realm. Now, considering the role of the “cherubim”, the promises for those who “dwell in the secret place of the Most High”, coming from Psalm 91:4-7,10-12, make even more sense:
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror of night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked… There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. ”
For those who are made holy by the blood of Jesus and are seated together in heavenly places in Christ, the same cherubim that guarded the tree of life from fallen man and were depicted on the veil covering the Holy of Holies, actually hedge us in WITH Christ! The same powerful cherubim that closely guard the holy, consecrated things of God from a sinful world, and a sinful world from a thrice-Holy God, now closely guard us with their wings outstretched! The same authoritative cherubim that mete God’s awful judgement upon things unholy, now protect us from it, causing it to “pass over” us! No wonder those who “dwell in the secret place of the Most High rest secure, ” rejoicing under His wings!” (Psalm 63:7)
In these last days, according to the Holy scriptures, we are going to face unprecedented circumstances. However, the Bible teaches that we are never to fear. In my times of prayer I have sensed that God is presently raising up an army of believers who are being taught their position in Him like never before–fully aware that the Almighty power of the MOST High is working on our behalf and faithfully protecting His redeemed! Are angels real? They are, indeed! And, I believe we will be seeing their activity increase in the earth, even as darkness increases its activity. The armies of heaven stand at attention, swiftly bidding the Almighty’s every command, on behalf of the heirs of salvation! As my daughter, Angie Dahlstrom, would say, (who named her new album as such), we are on the “Winning Side”!
Finally, “dwelling” in the Holy of Holies means wholehearted dedication to God, spirit, soul and body. How so? The definition of the “Holy of Holies” itself, a double use of the word, meaning, “hallowed, dedicated, sacred, consecrated, set apart, sanctified, most holy place”, implies the reverential fear of God:
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that FEAR him, and delivereth them.” (Psalm 34:7)
Dwelling in the Holy of Holies is all about living in unbroken, deep intimacy with God. The word, “Intimacy”, indicates deep transparency, or, allowing God (Along with His Glorious, Transforming Light) into the deepest secrets of our heart, allowing His Heart to be revealed to ours. It is where we get to bask in the sweetness of His Presence to our heart’s delight, satisfying our soul’s deepest thirst, and where we fall down prostrate before Him while worshiping the Beauty of Holiness along with myriads of angels! It is where we are forever changed.
Communing with Him, our “Mercy Seat” in full view– the Lamb Who purified us with His Own Blood that we might enter in–is where His Heart and ours become one. Realizing the awful price He paid, that we could gaze upon His Glory, there can be only one sane response: Wholly surrendering our self to Him as a living sacrifice— actually becoming His Heartbeat to the world! (Romans 12:1). This is, in fact, what is being eluded to in the final verses in Psalm 91:
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath 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 shew him my salvation.” (vs.14-16)
In closing, James wrote to Christians who were dominated by their selfish, self-centered desires, in love with the world instead of Christ. After pointing out that sin prevents us from intimately drawing near to God, He goes on to teach how to rectify this. First, God’s grace, which is much greater than our sin, is lavishly given to the humble—those who honestly admit their true spiritual conditions-–and, asking for His forgiveness and help, repentantly submit their lives to Him. Repentance entails “cleansing our hands” (admitting and forsaking our sinful actions) and “purifying (sanctifying) our hearts”. “Sanctify”, another word for “consecration”, is setting our heart and life apart, in full dedication to God. Not with any pretense, of course, but with transparent introspection and honest confession, broken with sorrow over our sin and how it effects God’s Heart. For those who will “draw near to God” accordingly, “He will [readily] draw near to us”! (James 4:6-10)
A perfect example of what James was talking about, and how it fulfills God’s promises to those who “dwell” in the Secret Place, is found in 1 Samuel 7:3″
“Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hands of the Philistines.”
In this passage, the Ark of the Covenant, Israel’s symbol of God’s abiding power, presence and glory, had been captured by the Philistines. Because it brought ensuing great disaster to this idol-worshiping enemy of God, they got rid of it by sending it back to Israel. When Israel recaptured the Ark, however, they irreverently disobeyed God’s commands on how it was to be handled, taking dangerously lightly the holy things of God. As a result, those surrounding the Ark were instantly killed. This offended Israel, so they, too, sent the Ark away.
They went twenty long years of living without the presence of the Lord. Finally, Israel began to “lament” (“To groan, bewail, cry aloud“) after Him.
Like James in James 4:6-10, Samuel then informed the Jews that coming back to God with all their hearts meant putting away their strange gods, “fully dedicating their hearts unto the Lord”. Whilst wholeheartedly recommitting their hearts to the Lord with fasting and prayer, the Philistines drew near to attack. God quickly came to Israel’s aid like a Man of war, completely subduing their enemies! This is a perfect example of Psalm 91’s promises of protection and deliverance for those who “dwell” in the secret place of the Most High, who have wholly “set their love upon Him”.
In my times of prayer, I have clearly heard that God is RIGHT NOW calling each of us to purify our hearts, to put away every idolatrous affection, and to fully“dedicate our hearts unto Him.” He is using this devil-inspired Coronavirus, which is ultimately shutting us away from the usual distractions, to that end.
In light of the unprecedented events that we are experiencing, and that are COMING, seeing that “a house divided cannot stand” (Matthew 12:25), it is IMPERATIVE that we fully “dedicate our hearts to the Lord”. I am hearing, “a few short months” before things get MUCH more dangerous.
Confessing Psalm 91 over ourselves is good. However, now is the time to make sure that we really are dwelling in the Secret Place of the Most High.
Of course, this is only a short summary of how it works. Every aspect of the tabernacle, God’s symbolic blueprint for intimacy with Him, reveals more about Christ and His Finished Work, and ultimately brings us closer and deeper into the glories of intimacy with Him. To learn more about the tabernacle and its symbolism, please go to part 3, “”Is God Your All-Consuming Fire?”, a powerful, Spirit-led study of the Brazen Altar, under “blogs” at heavenshopeunveiled.com.