God's Set Standard for this Time
05.07.2019, Daniel Glimm
‹bersetzung: Margit Kelly
When God reveals His standard in greater detail, He calls His people to a higher spiritual level, where He currently resides in the Spirit.
The Higher Level and the Measure of God
This higher spiritual level is connected to the loom of His divine standards, which require more of the believers and, in particular, of the leaders (note: leadership) within His people (see Luke 12:48b).
… 48b From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
God's measure is closely connected to His glorious presence.
In connection with this the LORD informed me that His presence as well as His standard never change, no matter whether the people on earth live by it or not (see Isaiah 41:4; Hebrews 13:8).
4 Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD – with the first of them and with the last – I am he.”
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
The Eventuation of Gods Presence and His Standards in the Temporal Time
Once God has decided to appear as the eternal One with His presence and the related divine standard in our temporal time here on earth, it might have painful consequences, if His people are unwilling to live by it.
Samuel, Prophet and Judge
In regard to this I was reminded on the time of Samuel, who was called by God as prophet and judge over the people of Israel. He related to them the standards of the LORD OF HOSTS (note: JAHWE-ZEBAOTH), who is enthroned between the cherubim (see 1 Samuel 4:4).
1 Samuel 4:4:
4 So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.
The Separation between Prophet and Priest
There was maladministration in the temple worship, that is, in the house of God in Shiloh (note: means „to rest, place of rest“) at the time of the prophet Samuel. This situation was caused by Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, who was acting high priest at the time. Eli, the high priest, did not take efficient steps to stop this maladministration (see 1 Samuel 2:12-26; 1 Samuel 3:13), so God chose Samuel to separate the priestly service from that of the prophetic ministry (see 1 Samuel 3:1-21).
Up until the time of Samuel, priests also carried the prophetic part and activated it every time the Spirit of God would speak to them. As unholiness increased in the priestly service, God had to separate the prophetic from the priestly duties in order to emphasize the measure of His holiness through His prophets.
By this divine separation the LORD established the prophetic institution through the prophet Samuel. It was his duty to establish once again Israels pure worship and to provide protection from any future potential self-indulgence of the priests.
This is why in a way (note: in a healthy way) the ministry of the prophet is “independent”, so that he can be seen as God's “mouth piece”.
This separation between priestly and prophetic functions serves primarily to uphold continuity and effectiveness of holiness among the people of God.
The life of Samuel is a good example for the current prophetic ministry and the appointed prophets, who are called to the various churches. Samuel was a consecrated man of God, who had been taught and trained in the priestly service by Eli in the house of God. He was in the center of God's revelation (see 1 Samuel 3:3).
1 Samuel 3:3:
3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
THE LORD OF HOSTS and the Cherubim
The mention of the LORD OF HOSTS, who is enthroned above the cherubim, in the book of Samuel points to the fierce character of God and the standard of His glorious presence. This can be seen in the fact that the cherubim are made completely of gold and they are connected with the ark of God (see Exodus 25:18; 1 Kings 8:6), which represents God's presence among men.
18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.
1 Kings 8:6:
6 The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’S covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim.
=> The Hebrew name „cherub“ means „glancing appearance, lightening“. The plural of the Hebrew word is „cherubim“, which means “great one, mighty one“.
According to 1 Chronicles 28:18 the cherub is the picture of the divine chariot, which reminds us of Ezekiel 1 and 10, where the cherubim form the living chariot, on which the God of Israel rides (see Psalm 18:11; 2 Samuel 22:11), on which He is enthroned to hold judgment (see Psalm 80:2; 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2). <= (note: part excerpt from the „Encyclopedia of Biblical Names“ by Abraham Meister, page 208)
Furthermore, the cherubim are set as watchmen over paradise (see Genesis 3:24) and they carry the throne of God (see Psalm 18:11; Ezekiel 10:1; Ezekiel 11:22).
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
1 I looked, and I saw the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli above the vault that was over the heads of the cherubim.
22 Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
Paradise is seen as the place in the supernatural that implies intimate fellowship with God, the Father.
God's presence leaves
As mentioned before, the sons of Eli were responsible for maladministration in the house of God in Shiloh. As no action was taken to stop this, God decided to lift His presence from Israel for a time by allowing the Philistines to attack His people, resulting in the death of Eli's sons and the theft of the ark of the covenant (note: symbol for the presence and the measure/standard of God) by the Philistines. When Eli heard that the ark of God had been stolen, he also died (see 1 Samuel 4:17-18).
1 Samuel 4:17-18:
17 The man who brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines, and the army has suffered heavy losses. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.”
18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy. He had led Israel forty years.
Because God's people in Shiloh did not live according to the standard of God – although the LORD was present among them with His standard – He created upheaval in midst of the place of rest (note: Shiloh). He was aiming to awaken His people, so that they would live in accordance with His divine standard once again.
The Ark of the Covenant is stolen
The theft of the ark of the covenant by the Philistines didn't present a problem to God, as His presence and standards never change. For the Philistines, who stole the ark of God, this meant that they, too, had the possibility to recognize Him as the God of Israel.
But the Philistines decided to move the presence of God (note: ark of the covenant) to their temple in Aschdod, where they worshiped their God, Dagon (see 1 Samuel 5:2).
1 Samuel 5:2:
2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon.
Confrontation by the Presence of God
Because the God of Israel is spirit (see John 4:24a) and Dagon was the God worshiped by the Philistines, a confrontation with the dark principality of “Dagon” took place in the supernatural realm, resulting in its judgment by the God of Israel, the LORD OF HOSTS, over night.
24 God is spirit, …
This supernatural confrontation resulted in the falling over of the graven image of Dagon in its temple the next morning, lying face down before the ark of God (see 1 Samuel 5:3).
1 Samuel 5:3:
3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place.
Despite this occurrence the Philistines put their idol back in an upright position, causing the God of Israel to judge the dark principality, that they served, yet again over night. The next morning the Philistines found the stature of their deity lying on the ground again, but this time it was broken, with its head (note: planning center of evil) and hands (note: evils ability to act) severed from the body (see 1 Samuel 5:4).
1 Samuel 5:4:
4 But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.
By this confrontation the God of Israel stated clearly, who is the one true God, and by this He even gave the Philistines the chance to submit under His rule, but – living in accordance to their own ideas – they refused.
The Tumors and the Devourer
Because the Philistines did not return the ark/presence of God to Israel, but sent it to five different cities (note: Aschdod, Gaza, Aschkelon, Gat, Ekron) instead, all the inhabitants of the respective regions were struck with tumors, and their harvest was destroyed by rats/mice (see 1 Samuel 5:6).
1 Samuel 5:6:
6 The LORD’S hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod and its vicinity; he brought devastation on them and afflicted them with tumors.
The Return of the Ark of God
As a result, the rulers of the Philistines planned to return the ark of God to the people of Israel. Concerning this matter, they asked their priests and diviners for advice on what further actions to take (see 1 Samuel 5:11; 1 Samuel 6:2).
1 Samuel 5:11:
11 So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.” For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy on it.
1 Samuel 6:2:
… 2 the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
The priests and diviners of the Philistines answered, that they shouldn't return the ark of God without a gift in form of a guilt offering.
The guilt offering consisted of five golden tumors and five golden rats/mice according to the number of the Philistine rulers. These images of the tumors and rats/mice were meant to acknowledge their aberration before the God of Israel and by this, give Him honor (see 1 Samuel 6:4-5)!
1 Samuel 6:4-5:
4 The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?” They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats (note: mice), according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.
5 Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.
It is no coincidence that the Philistines used the number “5” twice as part of their guilt offering, as advised by their priests and diviners, for this points towards the grace of God in heaven and on earth.
=> The number „5“ is an operative number. It is counted to the effect of grace that manifests and is implemented through the hand of God in ones life or ministry. The reason is, because everything the LORD does, is freely available and cannot be purchased with worldly currency. It is a gift of grace. <= (note: part excerpt from the „Prophets Dictionary„ by Paula A. Price, Ph. D.; page 221; 222).
Consequently, the grace of God is not cheap, but rather it is powerful and instructs us to lead a pure and holy life, and to be God's own, eager to do good works (see Titus 2:11-14).
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
=> The number „5“ resembles mainly the symbolism of the hand and represents the implementation of a pledge for the LORD. Furthermore, it is also used to describe a sacrificial service.
The number „5“ points to a promise of devotion, which is expressed by power in the hands of someone else (note: clasping someone's hands) to full fill something. The symbolism of the hand characterizes mainly the Tenakh and has been transferred to the New Testament through the apostle Paul in his presentation of the five-fold ministry.
In the Tenakh, the tabernacle and the temple already point towards the hand-completion of the New Testament church. The tabernacle had five pillars to support its structure, and the temple had five-sided doorposts in the entrance (see Exodus 26:37; 1 Kings 6:31). Thus the ministries of the office holders, elders and leaders are signified through this (see Ephesians 4:11 i.c.w. Galatians 2:9; Revelation 3:12). <= (note: part excerpt from the „Prophets Dictionary„ by Paula A. Price, Ph. D.; page 221; 222).
The New Chariot and the Ark of God
In connection with the return of the ark of God the Philistines built a new cart, as advised by their priests and diviners. Two cows that had calved and never been yoked before, were hitched to it. They placed the ark of the covenant of the God of Israel on this new cart and returned it to the people of Israel.
Because the cows pulling the cart were nursing, they bleated in pain, as their udders were full of milk. Their bleating became the announcing sound of the return of God's presence to the people of Israel, and it was heard by all the people nearby.
It was the ultimate destiny of these two cows to become a burnt offering for the God of Israel in the region of Bet Shemesh (note: house of the sun => house of God's glory)
In Bet Shemesh two kinds of worship and reverence for the God of Israel came into one's own, namely the guilt offering of the Philistines and the praise offering of the people of Bet Shemesh (see 1 Samuel 6:12-18).
1 Samuel 6:12-18:
12 Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight.
14 The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD.
15 The Levites took down the ark of the LORD, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock. On that day the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the LORD.
16 The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.
17 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the LORD – one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron.
18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers – the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the LORD is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
With this message we can see that God invites or prompts us as His people to live in accordance with His required standards, which entails the compliance (note: emulation) with His instruction, His order and His word.
We need to be aware that God is no respecter of persons, but acts upon His principles and standards (see Romans 2:11).
11 For God does not show favoritism.
God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, for this reason He desires that all people come to the knowledge of the truth (see Ezekiel 33:11a-b i.c.w. 1 Timothy 2:4).
11a-b Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. …
1 Timothy 2:4:
… 4 who (note: God) wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
The way in which God dealt with the Philistines indicates just how gracious He is. God didn't first judge the Philistines, but shook the evil power they were living under.
When they didn't want to follow God after His goodness appealed to them, God shook their so-called deity, which was connected to the spiritual realm of that place (see Ephesians 2:2).
… 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Only when the Philistines didn't take heed of this intervention of the God of Israel, did God begin to shake their bodies (note: personal existence) and economy (note: livelihood).
Hereby God demonstrated that He is the only true God, and that everything comes from Him, which was also confirmed by the instruction of the priests and diviners of the Philistines (see Luke 19:40).
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Hence we can see that the standard of the God of Israel becomes visible in the place where He dwells with His presence. This might be connected to a shaking, if people make a clear decision not to live according to His standard. Where people live in accordance with His standard, His presence, as well as His blessing increases (note: according to their divinely assigned purpose).
Amen and Amen.
In His Wisdom,