At sea level, atmospheric pressure, when measured in pounds, equates to roughly 14.6/7 pounds of pressure exerted per square inch. All surfaces within that atmosphere, in each and every square, experience that level of pressure (mind you, this is pressure exerted on each surface by the weight of the air [as a product of gravity] surrounding and contacting all surfaces at sea level).

In order for surfaced items to not be crushed by what may seem to be a relatively weak amount of pounds per square inch or (p.p.s.i.), the item in question must exert back an equal or greater amount of internal pressure.

A balloon is a good example. In order for a balloon to not collapse and shrivel up, a constant p.s.s.i. must be maintained within the shell of the balloon. This is done by inflating the balloon with air until an equilibrium is achieved.

It’s the same with the human body. An internal p.s.s.i. of atmospheric pressure is pushing outward against the external weight of air and gravity itself. Should the human body not be able to exert sufficient resistance, the body tissues will crush and be damaged. An example is a collapsed lung (note, too, how, if you’ve ever had your blood pressure taken, this very self-same thing is being measured, i.e. a reading of 120/80 is equal to 2.32/1.55 pounds per square inch, in this case, of the various blood vessels. Too low of pressure, and it likely means you are hemorrhaging; too high of a pressure, and it’s likely you are verging on an aneurysm due to some kind of blockage).

When a person gets away from sea level, by either ascending the heights into the mountains or even the sky/outer space, or if they descend into the depths of the ocean, the amount of p.p.s.i exerted externally upon them changes. The higher one goes into the atmosphere, the less pressure exerted. This is why it becomes hard to breath. And although a person would freeze to death and become a solid mass before it happened, if living, organic tissue were to be left exposed in such a high altitude environment, the internal pressure from within would cause an explosion of the human body.

Contrawise, in the depths of the sea, when a sufficient depth is reached, the weight of the amount of water as caused by its mass, reaches an intolerable level of p.p.s.i. for the human body. This is known as crush depth. Without sophisticated diving equipment or a specialized submarine apparatus, a human body will not just die, but will literally implode upon itself as the internal p.p.s.i of the body is overwhelmed by the external p.p.s.i forces exerted against it.

We can say therefore, that the basic premise of surviving a low pressure or high pressure atmosphere is to achieve equilibrium. The internal pressure of the human body must either change, or the human body must be protected by something else up to the task (a suit, a sub, or etc.).

Now, let’s get spiritual.

Wherever in the New Testament the word tribulation/s is seen, it is always the following Greek word: thlipsis.

This word is a noun and it means, without a doubt, “pressure”. This word is used in every instance that we see “tribulation/s” (at least in the KJV). Note, however, other ways in which thlipsis has been translated (in the same version): affliction, trouble, anguish, persecution, and/or burdened, to be afflicted with X).

One key verse is the following:

Acts 14:22,

22. Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

This verse is a continuation of a passage that details the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, shortly after Paul was stoned in Lystra and left for dead. These two men, called prophets and teachers (Acts 13:1-2), as they went through the regions of their particular evangelism, specified that believers in Messiah Jesus will have to experience thlipsis, or pressure, in order to have an entrance into the Kingdom of God.

This isn’t just talking about one’s initial born again experience. This is talking about eternal life, i.e. making it to the end of your course faithfully, even if it costs you your life.

Here’s the rub: this pressure (while it can come from many different sources) all has, if you will, a p.p.s.i. exerted upon the souls of God’s people. While not measurable in any literal way, as Paul wrote, we can nonetheless be “pressed beyond measure“, when sufficient trouble or thlipsis is present (here the word “pressed” is kata, meaning down, under, and etc.)

2 Corinthians 1:8,

8. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life…

And when such pressure is present, and it pushes you down, it can cause despair. But what did Paul and his party of evangelists do?

They decided that they must be willing to die and so, committed their personal and spiritual safety, not to themselves, but rather, to “God which raiseth the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

In these last days, pressure/thlipsis is going to increase. As the spirit of antichrist and the mystery of iniquity works in the children of disobedience to bring about the Great Tribulation (or mega thlipsis), we had better believe the pressure is going to rise.

And if we are not careful, the despair that Paul mentioned just might lead into a spiritual atmosphere of crush depth.

So what can we do?

Well, we either have to exert an equal amount of pressure back, or we have to be especially protected by God so that He, and not us, experiences the pressing forces of the enemy.

What does this mean for us in the here and now?

Well, while there might be things I haven’t thought of, I nonetheless have created a list of things that I think must start to take place in the lives of every believer. The list is as follows:

1.) Set your face like flint and fix your heart (Isaiah 50:7 and Psalm 117, noting especially verse 7).

Some plan to run and hide, as if the devil can’t find a saint in the Canadian Yukon (or wherever). Just because you’re off the grid, and natural means may not secure your capture, it doesn’t mean that supernatural means are automatically thwarted. The demons overrunning the world don’t need drones, radars, satellites, or any other form of telecommunication equipment to find someone. Trust me, they don’t.

So instead, turn to face the enemy head on. To die is gain. Do as Paul did and pass the sentence of death upon yourself now. Why? Because already, “[Y]e are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Whether your live or die during the mega thlipsis, you are the Lord’s. The key is to stay that way.

2.) Do not let your love wax cold (Matthew 24:12). Here and now, when it is easy (that is, when the pressure isn’t threatening to collapse us), we need to learn to love one another fervently (1 Peter 1:22). This includes love for God, His Son, the Word, and also each other. It’s not just enough to have an affectionate feeling for these things, because affections are conditional and wear off over time. This kind of love must be based in duty, integrity, honor, obedience, and above all, holiness.

3.) Reproofs and rebukes must become a more regular part of our life in the Body (2 Timothy 4:2). I have said it before and I say it now, no pastor/preacher/elder/etc. is ever going to be harder on you now in this life than Jesus Christ Himself will be on you at the Day of Judgment if you are found wanting. So which matters more? Allowing someone to put the fear of God in you now, or letting the Son of Man put the fear of an everlasting torment in you later?

4.) Do away with all the stubble and hay of human tradition (1 Corinthians 3:11-13). We all know we do things simply because that’s the way we’ve always done things, and no one wants to change. Listen, God is going to take away our creature comforts sooner or later, and throw them in the fire where they belong. You may as well break yourself on the Rock now instead of the Rock falling on and pulverizing you and your traditions into powder.

5.) Separation from ungodly backsliders has to become a must (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)! You can’t save them and the devil already has them. Guess who’s going to be turning saints over to the Beast? You guessed it, BACKSLIDERS!!! If you don’t believe me, read Daniel 11:30 and ask yourself, how is it that the antichrist will have “… intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant“?

And finally,

6.) Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:12). When the ancients did this to God’s people, they went faithfully to their end for the promise of Resurrection was ever before their eyes. In the presence of God there is “fulness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). The Lord, for this very joy, endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). He knew that once He died, there wasn’t anything left for Him to do but come out of the grave with all power and authority in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).

What about us? Do we fear death? Do the End-times scare us? Does the idea of persecution and demonic pressure cause us to falter and fail the grace of God? Or has God given us a Spirit of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND (2 Timothy 1:7)?

I know we are not there yet, and none of us should boast about how we’re to going tough it out and face Satan’s gallows with great confidence. But one thing we can do. We can train now, toughen up now, and prepare now, for the long road of suffering that’s coming. If we do so now, we just might be able, by the grace of God and the Shadow of His Ever-Present Wings, be able to tough it out and go confidently before the Adversary and not cower before him.

Why, we might even laugh at him (Isaiah 14:16).

Peace and God bless,



~ by votivesoul on 02/14/2014.

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Mark Showalter's Blog

Always seeking to know God more

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

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