The Last Days Calendar – Bible Prophecy & The Rapture

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The Last Days Calendar truly interprets end time Bible prophecy concerning the last days within the context of Jewish culture and the Hebrew calendar.

Studying Scripture in light of the historical setting and culture in which it was first proclaimed reveals fresh insight into events of the last days, the Book of Revelation, the timing of the Rapture, the identity of the Two Witnesses and the nature of the Millennium. Our web site provides detailed teachings concerning these topics.

Bible prophecies that concern the events of the last days, including the rapture, are foreshadowed in the Festivals of the LORD. The Festivals of the LORD are the ordained “Appointed Times” of God’s ceremonial calendar for Israel. These seasonal feasts are prophetic pictures of the Messiah.

The four spring Festivals of the LORD: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and The Feast of Weeks all take place within the first three months of the Hebrew calendar. The spring cycle of biblical festivals was literally fulfilled by the First Advent: Redemption (the Passover), Sanctification (The Feast of Unleavened Bread), Resurrection (Firstfruits) and the birth of the Church (Pentecost).

The first of the fall cycle of the Festivals of the LORD is the Feast of Trumpets. Yom Teruah (the day of shofar blasts) foreshadows the Rapture when God’s elect will be translated in the blinking of an eye and gathered into His presence to be forever with the Lord. The most solemn and holy day for the Jewish people is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which is the day on the Hebrew calendar when Yeshua (Jesus) will return and rescue God’s chosen people. The final festival of the fall cycle of biblical festival and the final of the seven annual feasts is Sukkoth – The Feast of Tabernacles. This feast foreshadows the wedding supper of the Lamb and the Millennial reign of Christ.

To learn more about The Festivals of Yahweh (the LORD) check out the blogs in our “Feasts & Festivals” category.

A cult is a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader. Our “Cults and Religions” category (at the top of the page) includes:

  •        Christianity versus Cults and Counterfeits – Defining Cults   
  •        Church of the Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith & the Mormons  
  •        Is Catholicism True Orthodox Christianity or a Christian Cult?  
  •         Is this the Dawn of a New Age or just Old Fashioned Paganism?  
  •        Is Seventh-Day Adventism Christianity or is SDA Cultism?    
  •        ISLAM:  The Religion of “Peace” Bent on Conquest  
  •        The Claims of Freemasons vs. the Hidden Truth of Freemasonry  
  •        The Jehovah’s Witnesses: True Christianity or Christian Cult?  
  •        The True History and Practices of the Church of Scientology!  

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Isaiah 46:9-10

Only the one true God and Creator is omniscient and knows the end from the beginning. Our expository teachings from the book of Genesis are not only historical accounts, but are often prophetic pictures of future events. Each month a new chapter from the book of Genesis will be posted until a verse-by-verse commentary on entire book of Genesis is completed.

Judges 7 – The LORD said to Gideon, “You Have too Many Men.”

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The Lord told Gideon that he had too many men. He could not deliver Midian into their hands, or they would boast that their own strength had saved them.

Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. Judges 7:1

Gideon had been obedient to Yehovah by destroying his father’s altar to Baal and cutting down the Asherah pole beside it. The townspeople were so furious at what Gideon had done that they wanted to kill him. Joash, his father, defended his son actions and proclaimed, “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar” (Judges 6:31b). Therefore the townspeople gave Gideon the name, Jerub-Baal which means, “Let Baal contend with him.”

Gideon and his troops from his own clan and tribe of Manasseh as well as from the northern tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali camped south of the Midianites by a spring.

 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. Judges 7:2-3

Although 32,000 men of Israel came to Gideon to fight against the eastern armies, the LORD did not want the Israelites to think that it was their strength or numbers that would secure the victory.

In Deuteronomy 20, Yehovah first encourages the fighting men and then gives commands to the Israelites concerning how they are to engage in battle.

Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.” Deuteronomy 20:8

After Gideon makes his announcement to his army, twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”

So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. Judges 7:4-6

The vast majority of Gideon’s men immediately got down on their knees to drink because their main concern was their thirst. But three hundred of the men took the water out of the stream in the hollow of their hands and then lapped it while standing upright. Their main concern was to keep a watchful eye out for the enemy as they drank.

The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. Judges 7:7-8

Yehovah promised Gideon that with only 300 men who had been chosen, Gideon would be victorious over the Midianites and would not suffer any harm in the battle. These men took the provisions and the trumpets of those who left. The word translated from Hebrew into English as trumpet is actually “shofar” which means “ram’s horn”.

During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. Judges 7:9-12

Gideon had asked for a sign to confirm that it was Yehovah speaking to him when Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. When a fire flared out from a rock and consumed Gideon’s offering, Gideon was convinced that it was Yehovah who had been speaking to him.

Gideon then asked Yehovah for two more signs using a fleece both times before Gideon would agree to lead the Israelites in battle against the Midianites and the other eastern peoples.

Facing the prospect of engaging in combat with only 300 men against an innumerable enemy, Gideon was understandably hesitant to attack. Therefore, God again was gracious to encourage Gideon by directing him to go down into the enemy camp with his servant.

Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”

His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” Judges 7:13-14

The dream was a prophetic picture that confirmed that indeed Gideon would be victorious over the Midianites. But what does a loaf of barley bread symbolize?

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. John 6:47-48

Jesus our Messiah is the bread of life. We know that He was crucified on Passover.

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. Leviticus 23:9-11

The seventh day of the week is the regular weekly Sabbath. Passover is observed at twilight on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar which is the second Sabbath of the month.

The next day is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and is an additional or High Sabbath. Crucified on the weekly Sabbath, Jesus was raised from the dead on the day after this special second Sabbath. The women went to tomb on the day after the High Sabbath which was first day of the week. Jesus arose on the Festival of Firstfruits. He is the “Firstfruits” of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20).

The first grain that is harvested in the spring in Israel is barley. Jesus the bread of life arose on the day that the firstfruits of the barley harvest were offered. The round loaf of barley bread that overturned and collapsed the Midianite tent and who would give the enemy into the hands of Israel symbolized Messiah Jesus – the angel of Yehovah!

 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside. Judges 7:15-16

Each man who comprised the three companies of one hundred men held a shofar in one hand and a lit torch covered by an empty jar in their other hand.

“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’” Judges 7:17-18

Gideon’s orders to have his troops blow shofars and shout before the battle, is strikingly similar to the command that Joshua issued before the attack on the fortified city of Jericho.

After wandering in the Sinai desert for 40 years, the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River and enter the Promised Land. Before making the crossing, however, Joshua, the Israelite commander, dispatched two spies to reconnoiter the city of Jericho. Narrowly escaping capture, the spies brought back valuable intelligence collected from Rahab, a harlot who lived within the city wall. Although the Jordan was in flood at the time the Israelites crossed, the waters were miraculously stopped and the Israelites were able to cross “on dry ground.” They then marched around the heavily fortified city daily for seven days.

The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. Joshua 6:16

Just as the commander Joshua informed his men that Yehovah had given the Israelites the city of Jericho, and at the sounding of the shofar blast they were to shout; so did Gideon tell his men that Yehovah had given the Midianite camp into their hands, they were to blow their shofars and then shout.

Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands. The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled. Judges 7:19-21

The pagans divided the duties of their watchmen into three watches of four hours each. The first watch was from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Most of the men would have gotten to bed early in order to rest up for the battle they expected to engage in on the following day. By 10:00 at night, they were sleeping soundly.

As one set of guards were leaving their posts and a new set of guards were taking their positions, the enemy soldiers were suddenly aroused out of their slumber. They were dazed and confused by the sudden blast of the shofars and the wild shout of a war-cry yelled from every side. They stumbled out of their tents, without leaders and without knowledge of the numbers of their foe. All around they saw the flaring torches and heard the trumpet-blasts which seemed to indicate an immense attacking force, so they fled crying out in panic and in the midst of chaos.

When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. Judges 7:22a

When will there be a great shout, the blowing of trumpets (shofars) and these jars of clay (our bodies) opened up to reveal the light inside (treasure in jars of clay)?

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 1Thessalonians 4:16

The supernatural defeat of the Midianites is a prophetic picture of the Rapture!

Where did the battle take place in which God defeated the Midianites? The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh (meaning teacher or teaching – where the ungodly are taught it is not by might or power that victory takes place).

The valley near the hill of Moreh is the valley of Jezreel which lies in the view of Megiddo which is the location of the final battle of Armageddon!

The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites. Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.”  So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah.  Judges 7:22b-24

The Midianites initially fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah, (Shittah is the same acacia wood of which the ark was made).  So it could be translated: “the house of [acacia] wood of the tying/binding.” Or put another way, “the tying/binding of the house of the [acacia] wood.”

The army of the Midianites fled as far as Abel Meholah near Tabbath, but in Hebrew it is: “Avel-Mecholah of Tavat” This can be translated: Avel = mourning, Mechola = affliction; and Tavat = slaying.  This can be put together as “the mourning of the afflicted one [on account of] the slaying.”

Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it. He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” Judges 8:4-5

Sukkoth means booths or tabernacles.

From there he went up to Penuel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had.  So he said to the men of Penuel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.” Judges 8:8-9

Penuel means “the face of God.”

They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb ,and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan. Judges 7:27

Gideon pursued the leaders of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, just past Sukkoth toward the tower (migdal) Penuel.  So he was chasing these two kings from the place of the “booths/tabernacles” to the “watchtower [of the] face of God.”

The chronology of the flight of the Midianites:

1) The Midianites first fled to Beth Shittah (a picture of the First Advent).

Beth Shittah means, “The house of wood of the tying/binding.”  It is a picture of the crucifixion of the Messiah (See – Genesis 22, known as the “Binding of Isaac”).

2) Then as far as Abel Meholah near Tabath which is symbolic of the “Second Coming.”

“The mourning of the afflicted one [on account of] the slaying”

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.  Zechariah 12:10-11

3) Then Gideon pursued the leaders of the Midianites, Zebah and Zalmunna past Sukkoth (booths or tabernacles). The feast of tabernacles is a picture of the millennial reign of the Messiah.

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Zechariah 14:16

4) Finally the enemies of God’s people were pursued to the watchtower of Penuel which means “the face of God.” This is a picture of the White Throne Judgment of the unrighteous after the Millennium.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence (the face of God), and there was no place for them. Revelation 20:11

 

The Israelites were given into the Hands of the Midianites!

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The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Judges 6:1-2

After the death of Deborah and Barak, during whose lifetime the Israelites kept to the pure worship of God, Israel’s sin was renewed and Israel’s troubles were repeated.

The Midianites were an Arabian people who descended from Midian; one of the sons of Abraham and his wife Keturah. They principally inhabited the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe. Like all Arabians, they were a nomadic people.

After the Exodus, the Midianites were friendly to the Israelites, so long as they traversed only their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah. But when the Israelites passed the southern end of Edom and entered into the land of Midian, the Midianites joined with Balak, the king of Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Numbers 22:4-7).

Balak, the king of Moab, employed Balaam, a diviner from Mesopotamia, to try to manipulate the God of Israel so that He will curse the Israelites, rather than bless them. His hope was to weaken the nation Israel militarily, so that the Moabites and Midianites might defeat them in battle and drive them out of the land. Balaam, who had been sent for to curse Israel, could only bless them in accordance to Yehovah’s will.

But Balaam devised a devious plan. He would cause the Israelite soldiers to disobey their God and place themselves under a curse by seducing them with the Moabite women. This plan was to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them. Numbers 25:1-3

During the time of Moses, the Israelite army was unable to be defeated by the military strength of Moab and Midian nor was Balaam able to place a curse on them. But the men of Israel were seduced by Moabite and Midianite women and Yehovah burned with anger and sent a plague through the camp.

Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman’s stomach. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000. Numbers 25:6-9

The Midianites so fiercely oppressed the Israelites that they hid in mountain clefts, and caves and sought refuge in strongholds.

Ironically, the Midianites who had seduced the Israelites during the time of Moses and caused them to sin are now being used to chastise the Israelites during the time of Gideon for their sinful idolatrous practices.

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14

The Israelites failed to learn from their own history that Yehovah will not tolerate spiritual adultery.

Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. Judges 6:3-6

The invasions of these Arab tribes were overwhelming and totally devastating. They preferred looting and pillaging to sowing and reaping. They let the Israelites do the work of plowing the fields, sowing their crops, and tending to their animals. When the harvest was ripe, hoards of marauders came to reap and carry away their produce and livestock.

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.” Judges 6:7-10

After seven years of cruel oppression by the Midianites, the desperate Israelites cried out to Yehovah who answered them by sending them a prophet. The prophet delivered a message from the God of Israel and reminded them that it was Yehovah who delivered them from the bondage they suffered in Egypt and gave them the land of the Canaanites. Yet, the Israelites persisted in disobeying their God and worshipping the gods of the Amorites.

The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12

A threshing sledge was usually made of logs and had sharp flints embedded in the under surface. First, cut stalks of grain were spread on the threshing floor and a threshing sledge was pulled over the stalks by oxen. When the oxen dragged the sledge over the stalks of wheat on the threshing floor, the stones ripped the husk away from the grain. Threshing the wheat could also be accomplished by having the oxen walk over the stalks or by beating the stalks of wheat with heavy sticks.

Wheat is usually threshed on a hill top or mountain because of breeze. The grain is heaped and then winnowed. The winnowing fork is a several-pronged pitchfork and is used to toss wheat against the breeze to free it from chaff and crushed straw. Since the grain is heaviest it falls straight to the ground. The straw is blown a short distance and collects in another heap, while the chaff is completely scattered by the wind.

Gideon was threshing the wheat in a wine press where ordinarily the grapes would be trodden. It was a tank or trough excavated in the rock, and connected by a drain with the wine vat into which the juice ran. The threshing-floor was situated in an exposed place and Gideon would have been seen from a distance. Instead he threshed the wheat by hand in a winepress under a tree.

The pre-incarnate Messiah appeared to Gideon. He called Gideon a mighty warrior and told him that Yehovah was with him.

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13

Gideon had not forgotten the mighty works that Yehovah had performed when He delivered His people from their bondage in Egypt. But Gideon wondered why would the miracle working God of Israel allow His people to be severely oppressed by the Midianites?

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14

Note that Yehovah did not answer Gideon’s question but ordered Gideon to lead the Israelites in battle against their enemy.

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Judges 6:15-16

Although the angel of Yehovah called Gideon a mighty warrior, Gideon confessed of the weakness of his clan and the lowliness of his position in his family. Gideon understood that in his own strength he could not accomplish such a great feat.

Gideon was not the only prominent figure in the Bible that spoke to God about his inability to perform the task God had chosen him for; nor was God taken by surprise of the shortcomings of the person whom He had selected to perform the task.

Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6

The protestations of Gideon, Moses and Jeremiah evidenced their humility.

Therefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. James 4:6b

Their natural inabilities would be a testimony to the power and presence of God in their lives.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

God is not selecting us for our natural ability when He puts a call on our life. He is not seeking our ability but our availability. If we are obedient to the call, He will provide the strength, wisdom and resources for us to fulfill His call.

 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” Judges 6:17-18

Gideon asked for a sign to prove that he was actually speaking with Yehovah.

 Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. Judges 6:19-21

The wondrous sign that proved that the person speaking with Gideon was no ordinary man or ordinary angel was fire that flared out from a rock and consumed the offering.

For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29

 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” Judges 6:22-23

The only person in Israel who could come before God’s presence in the Most Holy Place was the High Priest. He only went behind the veil once a year at Yom Kippur after He took the lit altar of incense from the Holy Place and placed it behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies. The High Priest also needed to offer acceptable blood sacrifices or he would die. Gideon understood that when he saw the angel of Yehovah face to face, he saw the face of God and could die.

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:9

The angel of Yehovah, who is also referred to as the angel of God, is the pre-incarnate Messiah. Although Gideon said that he saw the face of the angel of Yehovah, it was Yehovah that said, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6:24

Yehovah Shalom is the Prince of Peace.

That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” Judges 6:25-26

Gideon, who had refrained from threshing his wheat on a high hill for fear of the Midianites, was commanded to tear down his father’s altar to Baal, cut down his Asherah pole and then build an altar and sacrifice to Yehovah on the same high place.

So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. Judges 6:27

Gideon was obedient to God’s command but he used discretion and was able to complete the task unhindered by waiting until nighttime.

In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!

They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” Judges 6:28-30

The townspeople were so furious at Gideon for destroying Baal’s altar and cutting down the Asherah pole beside it that they wanted to kill him. Gideon’s name is from the Hebrew root word, “gada” which means to hew or cut down. Gideon who became a warrior judge of Israel fulfilled his prophetic name and cut down his father’s Asherah pole.

But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.” Judges 6:31-32

Joash, who had succumbed to idolatrous practices, was not angry with Gideon but staunchly defended his son actions. He proclaimed, “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”Joash also fulfilled his prophetic Hebrew name, “Yoash” which means “Yah is strong.”  Joash understood that only Yehovah is really God who needs no one to defend Him.

Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them. Judges 6:33-35

After the enemies of Israel crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel, Gideon was empowered by the anointing of the Spirit to muster troops from his own clan, his tribe of Manasseh, which occupied territory on both sides of the Jordan, as well as from the northern tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali.

Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Judges 6:36-38

Gideon was bold and asked God for reassurance by showing him a sign before going into battle. God was gracious and did what Gideon had asked. But a wool fleece absorbing water around it is not an unusual phenomenon.

Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.”  That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Judges 6:39-40

The second test was no doubt miraculous with the ground covered with dew but the fleece remaining dry.

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Matthew 15:24

Origen was an early Christian theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. Origen’s main lifework was on the text of the Greek Old Testament and on the exposition of the whole Bible. In his eighth homily on the book of Judges Origen writes of the symbolic significance of the tests of the two fleeces:

The fleece is the Jewish nation. The fleece covered with dew, while all around is dry, the Jewish nation favored with the law and the prophets. The fleece dry, the Jewish nation cast off for rejecting the Gospel. All around watered, the Gospel preached to the Gentiles and they converted to God.

For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Romans 11:15

Because of the rejection of the gospel by the Jews, salvation was preached to the Gentiles. But there is a day coming when their acceptance will be life from the dead.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.” Romans 11:25-26

When the full number of Gentiles has accepted Yeshua as Messiah, the dead will rise to meet the Lord in the air. Then all those from the nation of Israel who have survived the Great Tribulation shall be saved when Yeshua returns to Zion.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Judges Chapter 4 – Deborah led Israel now that Ehud was Dead

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Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Judges 4:1-2a

Ehud had delivered Israel from Eglon king of Moab and the Israelites lived in peace for eighty years. The Israelites, who should have been thankful to the LORD for their safety and the abundance of the Promised Land, instead returned to their wicked ways and idolatries after the death of Ehud.

In an act of divine discipline, the LORD allowed the Canaanites to subjugate the Israelites. Jabin king of Canaan ruled in Hazor which was a stronghold in the mountains of northern Canaan. “Jabin” was a royal title like “Pharaoh” the ruler of the Egyptians or “Abimelech” the ruler of the Philistines.

Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. Judges 4:2b-3

Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Haggoyim means the nations other than Israel. Harosheth means clay or potsherds. “Clay nations” is a metaphor for nations with no solid spiritual foundation. Clay is like adobe and adobe houses over time erode and eventually wash away. Potsherds are fragments of pots. Pots of clay can become broken over time and can eventually erode back into the earth from where they came.

On the other hand, Israel is the only historical group of people which has endured through thousands of years of captivity and persecution, not as nations of clay, but as the Chosen Ones who are to occupy the Promised Land.

The nine hundred chariots of the Canaanites were covered with iron and  armed with iron scythes or had iron scythes projecting from the axle on each side, by which opposing infantry might be easily cut down or thrown into confusion. The army of Sisera had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. In desperation, the rebellious Israelites finally cried out to the LORD for help.

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. Judges 4:4-5

Deborah was a prophetess and the fourth judge of Israel. דבור (Devorah) means “bee” in Hebrew and comes from the root רבד (Davar), meaning to speak or pronounce. Davar means more than just to speak or say, it means the vocal conveyance of a whole message. Deborah is a fitting name for a prophetess whose words could sting like a bee in order to bring a message of rebuke to the tribes of Israel who had returned to their apostasy and were being cruelly oppressed by the Canaanites.

Deborah held court between Bethel to the north and Ramah to the south under the Palm of Deborah in the hill country of the tribe of Ephraim. As a prophetess, she was inspired by the Holy Spirit with wisdom and understanding to settle disputes and decide on legal matters.

She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” Judges 4:6-7

As an oracle of the LORD, Deborah spoke with divine authority when she summoned Barak.

Barak means “lightning.” He was the son of Abinoam. The name Abinoam consists of two elements. The first element is the word אב (ab), meaning father. The second part of the name Abinoam comes from the root-verb נעם (naem), meaning to be pleasant or beautiful. Barak was from a city in Naphtali called Kedesh which is a name associated with Kadesh. The name Kadesh comes from the verb קדש (qadash) to be consecrated, hallowed or sanctified.

Naphtali and Zebulun were two tribes located in north central Israel. Barak was to lead 10,000 men from these tribes up to Mount Tabor. The broad flat top of this strong, beautiful, and easily fortified mountain (which is nearly a mile in circumference) would serve the double purpose of a watch-post and a stronghold. It was in the district of Issachar, about six miles from Nazareth. Mount. Tabor sits at the eastern end of the Jezreel Valley.

Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” Judges 4:8

Although Yehovah Elohim (the LORD God) had commanded Barak to lead the fighting men from Naphtali and Zebulun into battle against Sisera and the Canaanite army, Barak refused to go unless Deborah went with him. It may have been wise of Barak to ask Deborah to come with him. Yet, the fact that he demanded it showed that he trusted more in Deborah’s relationship with God than with his own relationship with God.

“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him. Judges 4:9-10

Deborah agreed to accompany Barak, but because of Barak’s lack of faith in God, she told him credit for the victory would not go to him, but to a woman.

Barak summoned the men of Zebulun and Naphtali, either by the sound of a trumpet, as Ehud did, or by sending messengers to them. Barak then led ten thousand men up to Mt. Tabor and Deborah accompanied them.

Now Heber the Kenite had left the other Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, and pitched his tent by the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

When they told Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, Sisera summoned from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River all his men and his nine hundred chariots fitted with iron. Judges 4:11-13

Heber the Kenite was a descendant of Reuel the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses. He had separated himself and his wife Jael from the other Kenites and pitched their tent in the plain of Zaanaim, which is near Kedesh in the tribal territory of Naphtali.

The migration of Heber the Kenite, with a portion of his tribe, from the south of Judah to the north of Naphtali had clearly taken place recently. It may have been caused by Philistine oppression. The news of the great muster of the Israelites at Kedesh had been carried to Sisera by some members of this tribe.

The army composed of men from the Israelite tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun had gathered on Mount Tabor. The Canaanites were assembled at Harosheth Haggoyim (likely on the opposite side of the Jezreel Valley).

Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men following him. At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. Judges 4:14-15

Barak led the Israelite charge of 10,000 men against Sisera’s army. It seems that the LORD’s intervention on behalf of the Israelites was in the form of a rainstorm causing the Kishon River to flood which made chariot travel for the Canaanites extremely difficult.

 Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim, and all Sisera’s troops fell by the sword; not a man was left. Judges 4:16

As the chariots became bogged down in the mud they would overturn and the charioteers would be easy prey for the Israelite foot soldiers.

Sisera, meanwhile, fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Jabin king of Hazor and the family of Heber the Kenite. Judges 4:17

With his troops slain by the sword, Sisera needed refuge and a hiding place. He fled to the tent of Heber’s wife Jael because Sisera’s king had made an alliance with the family of Heber. The environment of the desert and arid land in most of the Middle East is harsh. For a traveler, access to water and food was a matter of life and death. Most settlements were built near available water or wells. Yet, it was also important for the settled community to have protection. As a result, strict codes of conduct developed to govern such encounters. These conventions of hospitality also applied equally to the nomads who lived in tents as they followed the grazing herds. They were obligated to provide for travelers that stopped at their tents, and under these customs could expect some protection from hostile actions from the “stranger.” The host was obliged to provide the traveler with food, water, and shelter. Especially because of the peace agreement between the Canaanites and Heber, Sisera was able to appeal to the wife of Heber to take him in.

Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she covered him with a blanket.

 “I’m thirsty,” he said. “Please give me some water.” She opened a skin of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him up. Judges 4:18-19

Sisera was physically and emotionally exhausted and thirsty. Although he had asked for water, before covering Sisera with a blanket, Jael had given Sisera some warm milk to ensure that he would sleep well.

 “Stand in the doorway of the tent,” he told her. “If someone comes by and asks you, ‘Is anyone in there?’ say ‘No.’” Judges 4:20

Sisera wanted to ensure his safety in case some Israelites came looking for him amongst the tents of Heber’s family. Believing that he would not be discovered, Sisera could let his guard down and fall asleep.

 But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. Judges 4:21

Although the conventions of hospitality and the alliance between Jabin king of Canaan and Heber the Kenite militated against an act of hostility to a guest, Sisera was an enemy of Israel and the Heber was a descendant of Moses’ father-in-law.

Nomadic tents were larger than most modern tents, having two separate sections, front and back. The front section was used for work. It was the public area of the tent, open to visitors. The men of the family lived here, gathered here with family members or friends, and conducted business if necessary. The men ate their meals in this area. The front part of the tent would be left open in warm weather. The second or rear part of the tent was private. A dividing curtain separated it from the front area. It was here that the women, children and babies lived and slept. Tents were made from goats’ hair or dark sheep’s wool, woven in rectangular strips on large looms. Women wove the fabric for the tents, stitched them together, and kept them in good repair. In effect, they were the craftspeople who produced the housing.

They also set up the tents each time the clan/tribe moved to a new site.  They selected a suitable site, then using wooden mallets and tent pegs they hoisted up and secured the unwieldy tents. When it was time to move on, they took down the tents, folded them and stowed to for the journey.

Jael used the privacy of her tent and her skills setting up tents to hammer a tent peg through the skull of her sleeping enemy.

Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. “Come,” she said, “I will show you the man you’re looking for.” So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple—dead. Judges 4:22

The glory of having slain the general of the enemy passed to a woman. Barak did not achieve this honor because he was not willing to go into battle without Deborah at his side.

We will see that the wooden stake piercing through the head of the enemy of God’s Chosen People due to a woman is a prophetic picture according to the following scriptures:

So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust

all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15

The serpent had deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. A woman’s sex cell is an egg or ovum. It is the male sex cell which is usually referred to as the seed. The seed of the woman is a prophecy of the virgin birth of Messiah. His heal will be struck at the crucifixion when his feet will be pierced through by a spike.

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Matthew 27:33

The place of the skull is where the execution stake was hammered into the ground. Jesus was attached by nails. He was laid on the ground, with his shoulders on the crossbeam. His arms were held out and nailed to the two ends of the crossbeam, which was then raised and fixed on top of the vertical beam. His feet were then nailed down against this vertical stake.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:51-54

Golgotha resembled a skull. The most common symbolic use of the skull is as a representation of death and mortality. When Adam and Eve sinned it brought sin and death into the world. When Jesus had finished His work of redemption and had paid our sin debt in full, He died. The vertical beam of Jesus’ cross was a wooden stake hammered into the ground. The earthquake split the place of the skull, the symbol of death. This scene is a symbolic picture of the fulfillment of the prophecy that the seed of the serpent would bruise the Messiah’s heel but the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent.

On that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan before the Israelites. And the hand of the Israelites pressed harder and harder against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed him. Judges 4:23-24

On that day God orchestrated that Jabin king of Canaan would be killed by the Israelites. Israel was finally free after 20 year of being subjected to his cruelty.

According to Josephus, “Barak also fought with Jabin at Hazor; and when he met with him, he slew him: and when the general was fallen, Barak overthrew the city to the foundation, and was the commander of the Israelites for forty years.”

Israel was finally free after 20 year of being subjected to his cruelty.

Judges Chapter 3 – The Israelites Lived Among the Canaanites

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The Israelites lived among the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites to test whether or not they would obey the LORD’s commands.

These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. Judges 3:1-4

The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, settled in the area that God later promised to give to the descendants of Shem. The Canaanites were Hamitic in origin, but they adopted a Semitic language and culture, as we know from both the Bible and archaeology.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. Genesis 9:20-23

Nakedness in the Old Testament was from the beginning a thing of shame for fallen man. As a result of the Fall, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and knowing they were naked, they covered themselves. To them as sinners the state of nakedness was undignified, shameful and vulnerable. The covering of nakedness was a sound instinct for it provided a boundary for fallen human relations. Nakedness thereafter represented the loss of human and social dignity. To be exposed meant to be unprotected; this can be seen by the fact that the horrors of the Judah’s exile to Babylon are couched in the image of shameful nakedness.

Nakedness is also a punishment to be meted out to the enemies of God:

You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Habakkuk 3:13

Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. But to you also the cup will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked. Lamentations 4:21

To see someone uncovered was to bring dishonor and to gain advantage for potential exploitation.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:24-25

The curse of slavery was upon Canaan and his descendants. The curse would rest upon the Canaanites who dwelled in ancient Palestine, Phoenicia, and Carthage. The Canaanites detestable practices included idolatry, fornication with temple prostitutes, divination and child sacrifice. The prophecy was fulfilled when the Canaanites were enslaved because of their wickedness by the ancient Israelites – first by Joshua (Joshua 9:23) and later by Solomon (1 Kings 9:20-21).

But why was Noah’s grandson Canaan cursed because of the sin of his father Ham? I think that there are at least two reasons that the curse fell on Canaan. First of all, God foreknew Canaan’s wickedness and how Ham’s disrespectful and dishonoring attitude would wax even worse in Canaan. Secondly, children are to be a blessing and are to honor their parents. Just as Noah’s son Ham did not bring Noah honor but shame, so would Canaan bring dishonor to Ham and not blessing.

The Canaanites and the other nations were left in the Promised Land for a dual purpose. The first was to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience. The second purpose was to test the moral and spiritual discipline of the Israelites to see if they would observe God’s commandments.

The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 3:5-6

The LORD God had forbidden the Israelites from intermarrying with the peoples of the surrounding nations. He told them of the consequences they would suffer if they disobeyed His command.

When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.   Deuteronomy 7: 1-4

The Israelites failed to heed the LORD’s warning concerning intermarriage, and just as He had predicted, their children turned away from the LORD their God.

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. Judges 3:7-8

Baal, or “lord,” was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Asherah was known as the goddess of motherhood and fertility. She was called “Lady Asherah of the Sea.” Asherah or Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity and Baal’s consort or wife. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Asherah to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus.

Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or “lords.” The Canaanites believed that Baal was in absolute control over nature and over people. They believed that Baal was in charge of the rain and the weather, and man’s survival was dependent upon his provision.

Worship of Baal involved imitative magic, the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution. Sexual acts by both male and female temple prostitutes were understood to arouse Baal who then brought rain to make Mother Earth fertile.

After the Israelites intermarried with the heathen people from the surrounding nations, they followed their pagan gods and committed natural and spiritual adultery. They were unfaithful to their own spouses as well as unfaithful to the LORD their God.

The name Cushan-Rishathaim is interpreted, as “man from Cush, he of the twofold crime.” Cush was the eldest son of Ham, and the father of Nimrod. The land of Cush probably derives its name from this son of Ham. The Cushites appear to have spread along extensive tracts, stretching from the Upper Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris.

Cushan-Rishathaim was a king of Mesopotamia who was chosen by God as his tool to chastise the Israelites for their idolatry.

But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died. Judges 3:9-11

Aram means high, or highlands. Aram is the name of an ancient country noted by its elevated region extending from the northeast of Israel to the Euphrates. It corresponded generally with Syria and Mesopotamia of the Greeks and Romans.

The Israelites were punished for turning from the LORD and worshipping the Baals and Asherahs by being subjugated by the king of Aram for eight years. When they finally cried out to the LORD in desperation, in His mercy, the LORD raised up and anointed Caleb’s younger brother as Israel’s first judge.

The Judges were both prophets and warriors who sought to bring God’s people to repentance and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Their role was to turn the people back from idolatry to the worship of the LORD and the observance of the Torah. The judges were leaders or rulers who took charge of the affairs of several tribes in times of war and who also assumed leadership of their respective tribes in the subsequent times of peace.

Othniel in his role of warrior led Israel in battle and defeated the king of Aram and his army. He then served in his peacetime role of judge for the next forty years.

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. Judges 3:12-14

The Moabites lived just east of the Dead Sea. The Ammonites occupied the countryside north of Moab were both tribes related by blood to Abraham. They were descendants of his nephew Lot. The name Moab, the son of Lot from his older daughter, means “from the father.” The name Ben-ammi, his son by his younger daughter, means “son of my people.” These sons conceived through incest gave rise to the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Given the incestuous origins of Moab and Ammon, we are not surprised that contact with these peoples often brought much trouble for Abraham’s children as these peoples sinned like their parents. Moab led Israel into Baal worship on its way into Canaan (Numbers 25:1-3). Both the Ammonites and the Moabites hired Balaam to curse Israel as it journeyed toward the Promised Land and were thus forbidden to enter the Lord’s assembly for ten generations (Deuteronomy 23:3-4).

The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz and the grandson of Esau who had despised his birthright. They were related the Edomites. The Amalekites waylaid the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. They waited in ambush and attacked all who were lagging behind mostly women, children, the aged and the infirm.

The armies from these three nations attacked Israel and took possession of the City of Palms (Jericho). The LORD chastened the Israelites for their disobedience by handing them over to Eglon king of the Moabites who subjugated them for eighteen years.

Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Judges 3:15

The Hebrew Bible mentions left-handed people on three occasions: the story of Ehud’s assassination of the Moabite king (Judges 3:12–30), the 700 Benjamites who could use the sling with deadly accuracy (Judges 20:16) and the two-dozen ambidextrous warriors who came to support David in Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:2). All of these accounts of left-handed people in the Bible appear in military contexts and all involve members of the tribe of Benjamin.

Benjamites may have been genetically disposed to left-handedness at birth, but the trait may also have been encouraged in soldiers to give them a strategic advantage in combat. Ironically, the name Benjamin means “son of (my) right hand.”

Ehud was selected by the LORD as the next judge or minister of Divine justice of Israel. He was chosen to deliver the Israelites from Eglon the king of the Moabites.

Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. Judges 3:16-18

Since the Israelites had been submissively paying large sums to Eglon for eighteen years, the king would not have been suspicious of meeting with Ehud who was bringing him tribute. Then, to avoid endangering his comrades, Ehud sent away his men who had carried the tribute to the king.

But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left. Judges 3:19

Ehud left Moab and traveled as far as Gilgal before returning alone to Eglon’s palace. The stone images may have been idols that the Moabites carved out of the 12 stones that were erected as a memorial when Joshua and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River.

This allotted for enough time for the soldiers who guarded the king during the presentation of the tribute to leave. The king was intrigued by Ehud’s secret message and sent away his attendants.

Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them. Judges 3:20-23

After dismissing his servants, the king left the public hall on the main floor and went to the upper room of his palace. The king was sitting in his cool roof-chamber when Ehud approached him and said, “I have a message from God for you.” The king rose from his seat and no suspicions were raised concerning Ehud, who was left-handed, as he drew his sword. Ehud then plunged the sword into the king’s belly and did not pull the sword out. He locked the doors of the upper room behind him and made his escape out the porch.

After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead. Judges 3:24-25

Finding the doors locked, the servants thought that the king was relieving himself. The irony of the situation is that – when Eglon had been killed the thrust of Ehud’s sword, the king’s bowels had discharged. When the servants finally unlocked the door, they discovered the dead body of their lord.

 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them. Judges 3:26-27

While the servants waited for the king to emerge from the upper room of his palace, Ehud had enough time to travel passed Gilgal. He escaped to Seirath which was “the forest” or “rough” which bordered on the cultivated plain near Gilgal, and extended into “the hill country of Ephraim.” He blew a trumpet which was a signal to gather the fighting men.

“Follow me,” he ordered, “for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years. Judges 3:28-30

Ehud went down from the mountain of Ephraim into the Jordan valley beneath it, straight to the Jordan fords. These were the places where the water was shallow enough to be crossed by wading. The purpose of possessing the fords of the Jordan was to keep the Moabites on the west side of the Jordan from joining their countrymen on the east side of the Jordan. Having struck down about ten thousand Moabites, Moab was made subject to Israel and the land had peace for eighty years.

After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. Judges 3:31

The south-west area of the Promised Land was inhabited by the Philistines. The Philistines were a sea people that most probably came from the Aegean Sea. God raised up Shamgar to deliver Israel from these enemies. Since he had neither sword nor spear, he used an oxgoad as his weapon. An oxgoad is an instrument of wood about eight feet long, armed with an iron spike or point at one end, with which to spur the ox to plow. It also has an iron scraper at the other end with which to scrape off the earth from the plowshare when it became too clogged to make furrows. Shamgar used his oxgoad and struck down six hundred Philistines. This supernatural act was probably empowered by the Spirit of the LORD coming upon him.

From this verse and Judges 5:6 we may gather that Shamgar was contemporary with Jael, and that he only procured a temporary and partial deliverance for Israel by his

Judges 2 – The Israelites Disobeyed the Angel of the LORD!

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The angel of the Lord brought the Israelites up out of Egypt but the Israelites disobeyed him. They stopped serving the LORD after the death of Joshua.

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Judges 2:1-2

It was “Malak Yehovah,” the “Angel of the Lord” who had appeared to Joshua in Gilgal at the beginning of the campaign to occupy the land of Canaan and issued His orders as the “Captain of the LORD’s host.”

Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”Genesis 17:8

God promised Abraham that his descendents would be delivered out of the land of bondage and take possession of the land of Canaan. God not only confirmed his promise to Isaac and Jacob, but stated He would give their offspring the Promised Land as an everlasting possession.

Now the great Angel of the covenant, the Word, the Son of God, reappears and speaks with Divine authority and calls the Israelites to account for their disobedience.

“‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.” Numbers 33:55

Before they entered into Canaan, the LORD had warned the Israelites several times about the importance of clearing out the Promised Land of the idolatrous Canaanite peoples but they failed to obey him.

And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”

When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord. Judges 2:3-5

Bokim is the Hebrew word for weepers. The people wept there, crying out against their own foolishness of disobedience and ingratitude to the LORD who had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. They sacrificed there to the LORD to atone for the sins they had committed. This was an indication that they were near Shiloh, where the tabernacle was located.

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Judges 2:6-7

The author of the book of Judges is recounting a history of the tribes of Israel, from the division of the land by Joshua to the time in which the angel of the LORD speaks. Joshua divided the land among them by casting lots in order to determine God’s will for the territory allotted to each tribe. Joshua urged the people to be obedient to the LORD and the Israelites solemnly promised to obey God’s commands. They continued to be faithful during Joshua’s lifetime and during the lives of his contemporaries who had survived him.

When all that generation who had seen the wondrous works of God in their behalf had died, the succeeding generation worshipped the Baals and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Canaanites. They provoked the LORD to anger and they were therefore delivered into the hands of their enemies.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. Judges 2:8-9

Joshua was called the servant of the LORD as was his mentor Moses.

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. Deuteronomy 34:5

Only two other outstanding men were known as servants of Yehovah in the Bible.

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1

Moses the deliverer, Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land and David, Israel’s greatest king, were servants of the LORD and types of the Messiah.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1

See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Isaiah 52:13

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. Judges 2:10-11

Ba’al was a title and honorific meaning “lord” or “master.” Baal, the sun-god, was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. Baal religion revolved around the cycles of nature necessary for survival and prosperity in the ancient world, primarily growing crops or raising livestock, as well as the growth of human populations.

Baal was also a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Different regions worshiped Baal in different ways, and Baal proved to be a highly adaptable god. Various locales emphasized one or another of his attributes and developed special “denominations” of Baalism. The Israelites did evil by serving the Baals.

In the Baal religion, base sex worship was prevalent, and religious prostitution even commanded; human sacrifice was common; and it was a frequent practice–in an effort to placate their gods–to kill young children and bury them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction.

The first Holy Roman Emperor Constantine rejected the seventh day Sabbath for the venerable day of the sun. The Roman calendar which names its days and many of its months after pagan gods is a solar calendar.

Mithra, the Light of the World, is an ancient sun god identified with Sol Invictus, who was born on December 25th. Mithraism was popular in the Roman Empire with many Emperors following, not just the populace. It had seven sacraments, the same as the Catholic Church, baptism, and communion with bread and water. The Eucharist hosts were signed with a cross, an ancient phallic symbol which originated in Egypt, and the Egyptian cross (the ankh which represents Tammuz), still shows the original form which included the female symbol. The Roman Catholic Church incorporated pagan traditions into their rituals in order to attract the masses and codify their power, wealth and influence as a Holy Roman Empire.

The Monstrance is used to display a round wafer of bread, called the host, which is used in what is called the Mass, Lord’s Supper, Communion or Eucharistic meal. The Catholic believes this wafer of bread turns into the actual body of Christ when consecrated during the Mass. During the baroque period, the Monstrance took on a rayed form of a sun-monstrance with a circular window surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays. The priest sometimes holds up the sunburst monstrance with the host encased for the congregation to adore and venerate. Virtually any time the monstrance, a pagan sun symbol, is viewed by the congregation, they kneel in submission. The Catholic Church describes itself in its documents as engaged in the act of worshipping the Eucharist, which is also called adoration or veneration.

“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” Revelation 17:9

The woman on the beast of Revelation chapter 17 is known as “Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots.” The topography or terrain that marks the geographical location of the center of the false religion is noted for its seven hills. The Whore of Babylon is a religious system that is characterized as prostituting itself. Spiritual fornication is idol worship. The Empire of the Caesars had its capital in Rome which was built on seven hills and was well-known for its many statues of its Roman gods and goddesses including the Caesars. Julius Caesar as Rome’s Pontifex Maximus held supreme religious authority in Rome. He was not only the ruler of the state but the high priest of the pagan Roman religion.

The term “Pontifex Maximus” is applied to the high priest of the Roman Catholic Church today. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition: ‘For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise.” Not only does the Pope continue under the titles of the Caesars of Rome but claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. The Pope claims to be authorized to act as the substitute or agent of Christ on earth. Jesus himself promised us that He would send the Holy Spirit to act on his behalf and not a fallible man. As Christ Jesus had been the Master, Counselor and Guide to believers, He promised to send the Holy Spirit as His substitute so that He might abide with them forever (John 14:16).

The Roman Catholic Church noted for its widespread display and veneration of the statues of saints is in direct opposition to the commandments of God stated in Exodus 20: 4-5a: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:

Although Romanists claim that they are not worshipping the statues of saints or Mary, the very fact that they bow down to them violates God’s commandment. The location and practices of the Roman Catholic Church seem to make it the ideal candidate as the Whore of Babylon.

They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. Judges 2:12-13

Asherah, or Ashtoreth, was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in ancient Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. She is presented as a consort of Baal, the sun-god and the two were worshiped with lewd rites.

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:8-9

In their own strength and foolish stubbornness of heart, Nimrod’s followers were defying the LORD God by building a high waterproof tower. Instead of learning a lesson from the Flood by fearing the LORD and turning from evil, they trusted in the arm of flesh. The purpose of the tower was the worship of the heavenly hosts which is known as “The Babylonian Mystery Religion.”

When Nimrod died, the Babylonian mystery religion in which he figured prominently continued on. His wife Queen Semiramis saw to that. Once he was dead, she deified him as the Sun-god. Later, when this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son was Nimrod reborn. Semiramis named her son Damu (from the Sumerian “dam,” or blood), which in the later Babylonian language became Dammuzi and in Hebrew Tammuz.

As men were scattered over the face of the earth speaking different languages, they continued in their worship of the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies. Therefore, the same mythical gods and goddesses they worshipped were called by different names based upon the language that was spoken. In various cultures Nimrod later became known as Baal, the Great Life Giver, the god of fire, Bel, Molech, etc. Baal (sun worship) was the chief male deity of the Canaanites, Zeus the chief deity of the Greeks and Jupiter the chief deity of the Romans.

Semiramis became known as the “Queen of Heaven,” and was the prototype from which all other pagan goddesses came. Semiramis is the name of the moon goddess for the Assyrians. Ashtorah is a moon goddess for the Canaanites. Isis is the Egyptian name. Ishtar is the Babylonian name. Artemis was worshipped by the Greeks and known as Diana by the Romans.

Asherah was represented by a limbless tree trunk planted in the ground which was also known as an Ashera pole. The trunk was usually carved into a symbolic representation of the goddess. Because of the association with carved trees, the places of Asherah worship were commonly called “groves,” and the Hebrew word “asherah” (plural, “asherim”) could refer either to the goddess or to a grove of trees.

Asherah was also worshiped as the goddess of love and war and was sometimes linked with Anath, another Canaanite goddess. Worship of Asherah was noted for its sensuality and involved ritual prostitution. The priests and priestesses of Asherah also practiced divination and fortune-telling.

Mecca at the time Muhammed was born was inhabited by the tribe of Quraysh (Koreish) to which Muhammed’s clan of Hasim belonged. The city was a mercantile center with shrines to many gods, chief of whom was llah. The Ka’bah sanctuary in the city square supposedly guaranteed the safety of those who came to trade. The pre-Islamic deities of Arabia which were most venerated were astral deities, especially the triad of the moon god, the sun goddess, and the god associated with the planet Venus. The moon god was the chief and was protector of the cities. These deities were given various names however the moon god was evidently originally the Babylonian moon god Sin. To end division among his people in Mecca, Muhammad elevated the moon god A llah to the chief and only god.

In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Judges 2:14-15

The Israelites were not only engaged in physical prostitution with shrine priests and priestesses; they were also committing spiritual adultery be worshipping other gods. Israel was in covenant relationship with Yehovah who had delivered out of the bondage of Egypt. Therefore, He chastised the Israelites by allowing raiders to plunder them, their enemies to defeat them and the neighboring nations to rule over them.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19

 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted The Angel of the LORD themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s command. Judges 2:16-17

Following the conquest of Canaan by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel and Judah, the Israelite tribes formed a loose confederation. No central government existed in this confederation; in times of crisis, the people were led by ad hoc chieftains, known as judges.

Shoftim is the Hebrew word that is translated as judges. Many times the judges served in the role as an official with the authority to administer justice but not always. Most shoftim acted primarily as military leaders in times of war. The leaders were thought of as being sent by God to deliver the people from a threat. After the threat had passed, shoftim were generally expected to give up their position as military leaders. They were most likely tribal or local leaders, but their authority was recognized by local groups or tribes beyond their own. In accordance with the needs of the time, their functions were primarily military and judicial but they did not act like or have the authority of a king.

Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Judges 2:18-19

As a person or nation continues in cycles of sin, the individual or nation will develop a callused heart and a seared conscience.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1Timothy 4:1-2

We can draw parallels between the ever increasing corruption and evil practices of the tribes of Israel during the time of the Israel’s judges and our own nation. The lies and deception propagated by those who promote political correctness have been affirmed by godless judges on the Supreme Court so that immorality and pagan practices have become the law of the land.

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. Judges 2:20-23

Ultimately, since the people violated their Covenant with God, He did not drive out the remnant of the peoples who were left in Canaan at the time of Joshua’s death. God left them there as a test to winnow out those who were really committed to following Him

Is it possible that the LORD is also very angry with the United States of America for turning away from our Creator? Are we out of favor with God because of the continuing effort by those in power to ban the 10 Commandments, Christian prayer and the Bible from our public institutions, by engaging in gross sexual immorality, the destruction of millions of babies in the womb, for loving money and materialism, and waning in our support of Israel?

After Joshua Died, Israelites Fight the Remaining Canaanites

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After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?”

The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.” Judges 1:1-2

Reuben had forfeited the birthright as Jacob’s firstborn son due to gross sin. While Jacob was in mourning for his wife Rachel, who had died in childbirth, Reuben slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah who had been Rachel’s handmaiden.

Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi who were the second and third born sons of Jacob were indignant and very angry because Shechem had violated their sister Dinah. Because Shechem desperately wanted to marry Dinah, Simeon and Levi used the situation to deceive Shechem and the men of the city to enter into an agreement with them.

Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.” Genesis 34:13-17

Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. Genesis 34:25-26

The consequence of their act of violence was twofold. First Simeon and Levi, who were next in line after Reuben, both forfeited the birthright. In addition their offspring, who would eventually enter into the Promised Land, would be dispersed in Israel. During the days of Joshua, the Levites did not receive an allotted territory but were scattered throughout Israel is designated cities. The Simeonites, on the other hand, received their inheritance within the territory of Judah.

Although Judah was the fourth born son of Jacob, because his three older brothers forfeited their rights, he took a prominent position in Israel. The tribe of Judah was the first tribe selected by the LORD to fight and defeat the Canaanites in order to acquire their allotted land.

King David, who descended from the tribe of Judah, would defeat and subjugate all the enemies of Israel. Messiah Jesus, the Son of David, would be born King of the Jews.

The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them. Judges 1:3

Since Simeon’s allotment of land was within the territory of Judah, the Simeonites agreed that they would join with the Judeans to first fight the Canaanites to conquer the outer territory. Then the Judeans would join the Simeonites to fight against the Canaanites who resided within the territory of Judah.

When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

 Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Judges 1:4-7

Bezek (lightning) was a Canaanite city which was taken captive by Judah. Adoni-Bezek means the Lord of Bezek. When they cut off the king’s thumbs and great toes, he confessed that this was righteous judgment upon him because he had done the same to seventy kings whom he made crawl under his table and eat scraps like dogs.

The cutting off of the thumbs makes waging war with the hands impossible. The cutting off of the big toes makes walking difficult and running away hopeless. This act was to totally humiliate one’s enemies and assure that they would be unable to retaliate or escape.

 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

After that, Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. Judges 1:8-10

Joshua from the Tribe of Ephraim and Caleb from the Tribe of Judah were amongst the twelve spies sent to spy out the Land of Canaan after the Exodus. When the spies returned, the other ten spies spread a bad report among the Israelites.

They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. Numbers 13:27-28

That night the Israelites, gripped with fear, grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They accused the LORD of bringing them to the land only for them to die by the sword of the Canaanites.

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they. Numbers 14:5-12

Moses interceded on behalf of the rebellious Israelites and the LORD forgave them, but none of that generation with the exception of Joshua and Caleb would live to enter into the Promised Land.

…not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:23-24

After Canaan had been conquered and Joshua was dividing the land west of the Jordan River, Caleb said the following:

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. Joshua 14:7-13

Talmai, Ahiman and Sheshai were Nephilim, three giant sons of Anak whom Caleb and the spies saw in Mount Hebron when they went in to explore the land. They were driven out and slain by Caleb.

From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher).

And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage. Judges 1:11-13

Debir means “the oracle.” Afterwards it became a town assigned to the Levites. Forty-two cities scattered throughout the portions of the other tribes were set aside as cities of Levites. In these cities, the Levites served as spiritual teachers to the people of Israel. In a sense the Levites were oracles who were the spokespersons of God.

Caleb’s younger brother Othniel was given his niece to be his wife for his victory in capturing Debir.

One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. Judges 1:14-15

Behind every great man is a great woman. Aksah, Caleb’s daughter and Othniel’s wife, urged her husband to ask Caleb for a field. Caleb gave them a field in the northern Negev. Then she asked her father for the upper and lower springs which fed into the fertile land which lay at the foot of the mountain slope.

The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad. Judges 1:16

The Kenites were a nomadic clan. One of the most recognized Kenites is Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, a priest in the land of Midian.

Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah. Judges 1:17

Hormah is a noun meaning, “a place devoted by ban.” The verb form literally means “executed the ban upon it” or utterly destroyed it.

Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory. Judges 1:18

These three cities were in the country of the Philistines, upon the sea-coast. Because the Israelites were content with taking these cities and making the people pay tribute instead of destroying them, the Israelites did not hold the cities long before the Philistines recovered them again.

The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak. Judges 1:19-20

You will note that verses 19-20 of the first chapter of Judges are a summary statement concerning Caleb and the men of Judah. It is also important to note that the Judeans were unable to drive out the people from the plains.

The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites. Judges 1:21

The land of Canaan was conquered around 1400 B.C. The Jebusites were not driven out until the time of King David around 1050 B.C. three hundred fifty years later!

Now the tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well.” So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day. Judges 1:22-26

Ephraim and Manasseh comprised the tribes of Joseph. Joseph’s father Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah. Although Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, he was the firstborn son by Rachel. Both of Joseph’s sons were granted territory in the Promised Land. Therefore, Joseph received a double portion as if he was Jacob’s firstborn. Half of the tribe of Manasseh occupied territory on the east side of the Jordan River and the other half of the tribe occupied territory on the west side of the Jordan.

But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.

Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. Judges 1:27-29

The Hebrews who themselves had been enslaved and pressed into force labor in Egypt did not drive out the Canaanites but pressed them into forced labor.

Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond. Judges 1:30-36

Not one tribe of Israel succeeded in driving out the idolatrous Canaanites but they were content to live among them as slave masters.

Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 20:17-18

The failure of the tribes to obey God’s command to destroy the Canaanites would ultimately result in cycles of apostasy and divine discipline. After years of enemy oppression, the people cry out to God and pray for forgiveness and God sends a judge to lead them to freedom. There is a time of peace and obedience during the judge’s lifetime and then the people fall into sin again.

An Introduction to the Book of Judges when Israel had no King

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The Book of Judges records events that took place after the death of Joshua. The Book of Judges spans the course of 300 years when Israel had no king.

The book of Judges includes several interesting genres; Poetry, Riddles, and mainly Narrative History. Its author is anonymous but it is usually assumed that Samuel, the prophet wrote it.

The Book of Judges begins shortly after Joshua’s death and continues until Samuel’s birth. Judges spans the course of 300 years when Israel had no earthly king. The Israelites were in the land of promise and were taking possession of the inheritance allotted to each tribe.

Four times in the Book of Judges the phrase, “In those days, there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his eyes,” characterized the decline of the spiritual condition of the twelve tribes (Judg. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

The Israelites’ great tribulations at the time of the Judges were the result of both their failure heed God’s command to rid the land of the Canaanites and their backsliding into apostasy by disobeying the Torah. Their acts of rebellion resulted in their subjugation to the Canaanites and the neighboring peoples.

The Judges were both prophets and warriors who sought to bring God’s people to repentance and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Their role was to turn the people back from idolatry and thus restore the authority of the Mosaic Law. The judges were leaders or rulers who took charge of the affairs of several tribes in times of war and who also assumed leadership of their respective tribes in the subsequent times of peace.

The chief characteristic of the time of the Judges is the recurring status from apostasy and punishment to repentance and deliverance which scholars refer to as the “cycles” of the Book of Judges.

Each cycle reflects the following pattern:

  • The Israelites sin.
  • God punishes them by sending an enemy to oppress them.
  • They serve the enemy for a number of years.
  • They cry out to God and pray for forgiveness.
  • God sends a deliverer (judge) to free them.
  • The judge leads the people in conquering the enemy.
  • There is a peaceful reign for some time before the cycle begins again

But with each cycle, the status of the Israelites deteriorates a little more and the moral lines are continually blurred by both the Israelites and the judges. By the time of Samson’s reign, the cycle is barely recognizable and Samson himself is hardly a role model for the Israelite moral ideal.

The Book of Judges is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Even “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Though we may be unfaithful to Him, as the Israelites were, still He is faithful to save us and preserve us (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and to forgive us when we seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9). “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Daniel 12–Michael Will Arise and There Will Be Great Distress

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 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Daniel 12:1

How does the end time action of the Archangel Michael, the guardian of Israel, result is an unparalleled time of great distress?

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9

During the time of the Great Tribulation Satan and his demonic hoards no longer will travel in the heavenly realms but will be totally excluded from heaven and will be cast down to earth.

The Archangel Michael is the protector of the nation of Israel (Daniel’s people). Mid-tribulation, Satan is cast to earth and will vent his rage against the people of God. All hell will break loose. Those from the nation of Israel who are written in the Book of Life will be delivered through the time of great distress as through a refiner’s fire.

In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people, and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” Zechariah 13:8-9

Two-thirds is a fraction which is equivalent to .666 when written in decimals. During the horror of the holocaust, six million Jews were tortured and put to death. The total population of Jews during World War Two was about eighteen million people. During WWII, about one-third of all Jews in the world were killed. The holocaust will pale in comparison to the time of Jacob’s trouble when two-thirds of Jews worldwide will perish.

There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then…

How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.  They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.
Revelation 12:10-12

 Having been finally and totally cast from heaven, Satan is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short.

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who created the destroyer to work havoc…” Isaiah 54:16

Do not forget that God is sovereign and in total control. Although in the natural there is great persecution of both Israel and the church, God is using the baptism of fire to purify his people. They (the saints) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Christ’s atonement) and by the word of their testimony (they demonstrated their faith) by their willingness to suffer a martyr’s death. Jesus said, All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). A pre-tribulation Rapture is a concept that serves to circumvent the purposes of God and denies God’s sovereignty. John baptized with water, but Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11-12). Death is swallowed up in victory (1Corinthians 15:54). If indeed we are in Christ, we will stand firm to the end.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-6

The resurrection of the righteous takes place before the Millennium (the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth).

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”Genesis 2:15-17 KJV

Adam was warned by God that he would surely die for the sin of disobedience in the day that he would eat from the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.  Isaiah 59:1-2

Surely Adam did die spiritually in the very day that he disobeyed God. His iniquities separated him from the LORD and the man and the woman were cast out of paradise. Yet, Adam did not die a physical death until he lived 930 years, “and then he died” (Gen 5:5).

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2Peter 3:8

The length of our days is seventy years- or eighty, if we have the strength. Psalm 90:10

Not only did Adam die spiritually in the very day he disobeyed God, but he also died physically within one lifetime (70 years) short of a thousand years (1,000 years – 70 years = 930 years).

 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:27-29

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4

Jesus promised his disciples that at the renewal of all things, all those who have left family or possessions for His sake would receive a hundred-fold as much and inherit eternal life. The Garden of Eden was shut off to mankind and eventually destroyed in the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Even the oldest person ever to live, Methuselah who lived for 969 years, died short of a thousand years. But when the Lord returns, He will set up His kingdom on earth and we, who are born-again from above, will reign with Him. At that time:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. Isaiah11:6-7

During the Millennial Reign of Christ, the holy mountain of the LORD will be the location of the renewed Garden of Eden. For a thousand years, Nation will not take up sword against nation (Isaiah 2:4), because the Prince of Peace will rule with a rod of iron from Zion (Psalm 2:6, 9). For a thousand years, the sovereign LORD declares that Jerusalem, which has been the location of over fifty wars, will finally be a “city of peace.”

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Isaiah 65:19-21

For a thousand years, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9b). For a thousand years, the elect will receive a hundred-fold blessing as we rule and reign with Christ.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

Among the books that were opened (the words and deeds of each individual) as well as the Old and New Testament, was the Book of Life. There will be some at the White Throne judgment who will be spared from the Lake of Fire. The second resurrection, for the most part, will unite disembodied, spiritually dead souls with transformed immortal bodies. They will be ushered into the presence of God to be judged for degree of punishment. They have been resurrected to life (spiritually alive/no longer separated from God), only to be cast from his presence for eternity. They will suffer the second death as they are cast into the Lake of Fire. They will go from the glory of his presence to eternal separation and great torment.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Daniel 12:3-4

During the time of the greatest spiritual darkness and the worst persecution of the saints in history, there will be those who are wise and will share the gospel and receive great eternal reward.

Daniel was commanded to roll up and seal the words of the scroll to the time of the end. So when did the last days begin and the scroll would be unsealed?

According to Acts 2:14-17, the last days began at Pentecost:

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

The last days began after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, when the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. John, the last surviving original apostle, was commanded to write down the contents of the visions that he had witnessed while he was in the Spirit. The prophetic, symbolic visions that were sealed in Daniel’s day concerned the last days of this evil age which began at Pentecost and culminate with the Great Tribulation and the return of Christ to rule on earth.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:5-7

Both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation speak of a period of three and a half years (time – one year, times – two years and half a time – ½ year: 1 + 2 + ½ = 3½ years) in which the Antichrist will successfully wage war against the saints. This is during the second half of the Great Tribulation.

I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:8-10

The fires of persecution will purify the bride of Christ and prepare the survivors of the twelve tribes of Israel to look to the One they have pierced as Savior and Lord.

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20-21

But the wicked will continue to be wicked.

“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. Daniel 12:11-12

We have two significant time periods in Daniel 12:11–12, which extend past the time of the return of Christ to the earth. The first is 1,290 days, counted from the day daily sacrifice in the temple is abolished, that is, thirty days after the 1,260 days (three and one half years). This thirty-day month, added to the 1,260 days, brings us from Nisan 10 to the tenth day of the eighth month, Heshvan, which falls thirty days after the Day of Atonement.

So what might the thirty-day period between the 1,260th day and 1,290th day imply?

And when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him for thirty days. Numbers 20:29

On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves… Zechariah 12:11–12a

The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. Deuteronomy 34:8

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. Revelation 1:7

When Israel’s first high priest, Aaron, died, the entire nation mourned him for thirty days. When Moses the deliverer died, there was again great weeping and mourning for thirty days. On the day of the rapture, the Lord comes with the clouds (souls of those who died in Christ) and there is mourning, and Israel will grieve bitterly for their Messiah whom they have pierced.

Unlike the people of the gentile nations, who will not repent of their immorality (Revelation 9:21), Israel will come to mourn in such a way that, as individuals change their minds regarding Christ, salvation is ushered in (see Romans 11:25–26; 2 Corinthians 7:10). When the Lord returns to the earth to redeem Israel, the great weeping and mourning will be like the sorrow for righteous King Josiah after Pharaoh’s archers mortally wounded him in battle on the plain of Megiddo. (See 2 Chronicles 35:20–27; this is the place where Armageddon will be fought!) I believe the nation will grieve and mourn for Christ, the “One they have pierced,” for a thirty-day period, beginning 1,260 days after sacrifices and offerings are abolished by Antichrist.

And what of the remaining forty-five-day period? What is the 1,335th day? The Lord declared to King David that Messiah would issue from David’s line and that Messiah’s kingdom would be established eternally (2 Samuel 7:13–16). Before Jesus takes His rightful place on His throne in Jerusalem, His temple must be sanctified and rededicated to Him. I believe the temple cleansing will be completed as the 1,335 days of Daniel 12 are completed.

The Hebrew calendar consists of months that are thirty days in length. The 1,290 days would be completed three and one-half years plus one month after the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period. The 1,335 days are completed forty-five days after the 1,290 days end (1,335 days – 1,290 days = 45 days).

If the 1,290-day period ends on the seventh day of Heshvan, the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, Kislev, is the 1,335th day.

Any Israelite surviving the tribulation and after will be extremely blessed to reach the end of 1,335 days—the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah)! This commemoration is also known as the Festival of Lights (of God, the Light of the world) and is a time of cleansing for the temple in Jerusalem.

“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” Daniel 12:13

Daniel had been receiving insight into the future by the visions recorded in the previous chapters. He sought for clearer knowledge and was told that the scroll, which was a record of end time events, was sealed and closed. But during that long interval Daniel would “rest.” In the grave, his body would quietly and calmly “sleep in the dust of the earth.” He would not participate in the tribulation of the last days. Instead, he would participate in the resurrection of the righteous and was assured that he would receive his inheritance in the kingdom of God.

Daniel 11–The Kings of the North and South and the Antichrist

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And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.) Daniel 11:1

The first year of Darius the Mede was the year of the conquest of Babylon by the Medes and Persians.

These words must be closely connected with the last verse of Daniel 10:

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.(No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. Daniel 10:20-21

The allusion is, most probably, to the fall of Babylon and the return from the Exile, at which time, as at the Exodus, the angel of the LORD went before His people. Here the angel of the LORD strengthened and encouraged Darius to let the people of Israel go free and give them full liberty to go into their own land, and rebuild their city and temple.

“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Daniel 11:2

The “fourth” king of Persia after Cyrus was Xerxes (Greek name for Ahasuerus) who was the husband of Queen Esther. He ruled at the height of Persian power and wealth. Xerxes raised a huge army with contingents from forty different nations and attacked Greece around 480 BC.

The Persian invasion was eventually repelled, but it roused a burning desire on the part of the independent city states of Greece to unite and average themselves on the Persians.

Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. Daniel 11:3-4

These two verses deal with Alexander the Great and his successors. So great was his dominion, that Alexander III, the King of Macedonia, ruled not only over Greece and the whole Persian Empire but added India to his conquests. His dominion stretched over three continents.

Alexander’s empire was broken up after his death because he left no legitimate heir to the throne. The Diadochi was name of the first generation of military and political leaders who would rule over his divided empire. In the end the four kingdoms arose upon its ruins.

Cassander the king of Macedonia ruled over Greece. Lysimachus was the ruler of Thrace which was located in southeastern Europe. Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and reigned the territories north of the land of the Jews. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Ptolemy I Soter ruled Egypt which comprised the territory to the south of the land of the Jews.

“The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.

“One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. Daniel 11:5-8

These verses begin a remarkably detailed prophecy of the 150-year struggle between Ptolemy I Soter and his successors in Egypt (the kings of the South) and Seleucus I Nicator and his successors in Syria (the kings of the North).

Ptolemy I, the king of Egypt, became strong but one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus I became even stronger and ruled over Syria with great power. Egypt controlled Palestine during the entire 3rd century B.C. The rivalry and power struggles between the rulers of Syria and Egypt would cause distress and threaten the security of the Holy Land that was situated in the territory between these two kingdoms.

Berenice, daughter of the king of the South married the king of the North. She was the daughter of Ptolemy II, and her marriage to Antiochus II marked a temporary cessation in the wars between the Egyptian monarchs and the Seleucids. On the death of Antiochus, however, Laodice I, the king’s divorced first wife, brought about the death of Berenice and her infant son before Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III, could arrive.

Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. He successfully waged war against Seleucus Callinicus II. Ptloemy III carried back to Egypt large quantities of spoil including gold and silver idols which he had taken from Syria.

Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.

“Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated.

When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. Daniel 11:9-12

After two years Seleucus Callinicus II succeeded in re-establishing his power in Asia but proceeding to march against Ptolemy he was defeated, and obliged to retreat. Seleucus II was the father of Seleucus III Soter and Antiochus III Megas. Seleucus III succeeded his father as King. After a brief reign of three years, Seleucus III was assassinated in Anatolia by members of his army while on campaign against Attalus I of Pergamon. Antiochus III succeeded his brother Seleucus III as king. Antiochus, who then came to the throne, determined to resume the war with Egypt.

The Battle of Raphia, in 217 BC, was a part of the ongoing series of ‘Syrian Wars’ between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. Antiochus III, the current Seleucid king, had been actively and aggressively reducing Ptolemaic holdings in Syria from 220 BC. Egypt was in crisis, the Ptolemy army was very weak, and Ptolemy IV had few troops. Sosibus, his talented minister saved Egypt by enrolling and training an army of natives. As Antiochus III advanced south with a large army consisting of 6,000 cavalry, 102 Indian elephants, and 62,000 infantry. Ptolemy IV was able to meet him with 5,000 cavalry, 73 African elephants, and 70,000 infantry at Raphia on the plains near Gaza.

As was prophesied, the king of the North had raised a large army but was defeated by Ptolemy IV, the king of the South.

When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. Daniel 11:12

For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. Daniel 11:13-14

Twelve years later Antiochus III the Great joined with Philip of Macedon in an attack upon Ptolemy V, son of Ptolemy IV.

Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. Daniel 11:15-16

The king of the North, Antiochus III shut up Ptolemy V in Sidon – the fortified city, where Ptolemy V surrendered in 198 B.C. Antiochus then overran “The Beautiful Land” which is Palestine and threatened Egypt.

He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. Daniel 11:17

Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to Ptolemy V.

Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more. Daniel 11:18-19

The coastlands taken by Antiochus were isles located on the shores of the Aegean Sea. The Roman general Publius Scipio, who was noted for his victory over the Carthaginian leader Hannibal, feared that Antiochus III would invade Greece. He was the titular head of the Roman Senate and argued against a Roman evacuation of that country. After Antiochus had advanced into Greece and had been thrown out by a Roman army, Scipio’s brother Lucius was given the command against him, Publius serving as his legate and together the brothers crossed to Asia. But Publius was too ill to take a personal part in Lucius’ victory over Antiochus at Magnesia. Defeated, Antiochus III withdrew to Syria.

“His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. Daniel 11:20

Seleucus Philopater, the son and successor of Antiochus, oppressed his people with very heavy taxes. He needed to pay the tribute of one thousand talents annually to the Romans, as well as support his own government in Syria. He did not die in battle but was poisoned by his own treasurer.

“He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time. Daniel 11:21-24

The contemptible person was Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His self-proclaimed title, Epiphanes which means “God manifest” demonstrated his egomania. Because of his cruelty and irrational behavior many people referred to him instead as Antiochus Epimames (“The Madman”).

He seized the Syrian throne illegally from the son of his murdered brother, his nephew Demetrius. Without a legitimate right to the throne, Antiochus used his considerable intelligence, personal magnetism, and generosity to advance his cause as well as had no compunction about silencing his opposition. He was a type of the Antichrist.

During the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, there was great persecution of the Jewish people and the temple in Jerusalem was defiled. The prince of the covenant who was prophesied to be destroyed was the high priest Onias III whom Antiochus had murdered.

“With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. Daniel 11:25-28

It is certain that Antiochus wanted to annex all of Egypt with the Seleucid Empire. This was partly due to his wanting to imitate Alexander, but a greater urgency loomed in that he couldn’t have Rome gain a major foothold on his southern flank. This left no course for Antiochus to follow but to plan the inevitable war with Egypt and possibly Rome.

The prominence and importance of Judea, to the Syrian kingdom, resided in the geographical fact that Judah lay as the last staging field and the site of demarcation for any invasion of Egypt. Judah’s preeminence was further amplified by Antiochus’ fear that the Ptolemies of Egypt were trying to establish an alliance with the Jews and against Syria.

Antiochus’ fears were confirmed and exacerbated by the fact that Judah’s powerful priesthood was led by a pious, highly respected, but decidedly pro-Egyptian high priest by the name of Onias III.

Ptolemy VI Philomet or ruler of Egypt demanded that Antiochus surrender Coelosyria to him (the area now forms part of the modern nations of Lebanon, Syria and Israel) as was his right according to the marriage articles between Ptolemy Epiphanes and Cleopatra. But Antiochus, instead of complying with his demand, invaded Egypt with a vast force both by sea and land. Antiochus was successful and before he returned to Syria with his plunder he devised the destruction of the Old Covenant, intending to replace it with pagan Hellenistic, hedonistic culture and religion.

Jason, whose Hebrew name was Joshua was the brother of the High Priest Onias. Jason, a confirmed Hellenist, was fully aware of Antiochus’ position and needs, so his offer was straight forward and to the point. What Jason purposed was that he would transfer, to Antiochus, a huge sum of funds to finance Antiochus’ campaigns against the Ptolemy’s of Egypt and Rome in exchange for Onias being deposed from the status of High Priest with that position then being transferred to Jason.

It didn’t take Antiochus long to accept Jason’s proposal and in 174 BC Jason became high priest and the head of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Jason without consulting Antiochus built a Greek gymnasium in Jerusalem, here he hosted the nude Greek athletic games, which were opened by Hellenistic ceremonies and included sacrifices to the heathen gods. Jason’s leadership also saw many Jews, who were convinced of the Hellenistic ideals, undergo a painful reverse circumcision.

Jason honored his contract and paid Antiochus what he had promised. Antiochus, now armed with the beginnings of a substantial war chest, continued with his preparations for an invasion of Egypt.

Meanwhile, Judah was in the initial throws of chaos. Normal Jewish religious life continued unabated but the Hellenistic and pagan ideals of Jason were having a telling effect. Many traditional Jews began to leave Jerusalem while a group lead by a greedy upstart named Menelaus, who had the backing of the extremely wealthy and powerful Jewish family of Tobiad, thought Jason’s efforts in Hellenizing the Jews weren’t radical enough.

These feelings caused Menelaus, in 172 BC, to seek an audience with King Antiochus, in which he laid out his plan for forcefully Hellenizing the Jewish people. Like Jason’s, Menelaus’ plan was extremely simple. Menelaus wanted to be High Priest and he was willing to pay Antiochus another huge sum from the Jewish treasury to make him high priest.

Once again, a pledge of gold was the only catalyst Antiochus needed to act, so he sent Menelaus back to Jerusalem with a garrison of soldiers who were to arrest Jason. However, Jason received word that his life and position were in danger, so by the time the Syrian troops arrived he had fled into what is now called the state of Jordon.

Jason’s departure left the position of high priest vacant and in 171 BC the vacancy was filled by Menelaus, with Antiochus’ blessing. This act sent the Jewish community into complete turmoil. For the first time since the second Temple had been built, with the blessing and protection of the Persian Empire, the title of High Priest was held by someone who was not of the tribe of Levi nor had he even been a priest. This constituted an act of the greatest heresy in the minds of many pious Jews.

“At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. Daniel 11:29-30

The city of Alexandria chose Ptolemy Euergetes to be their king. It wasn’t long before the two brothers (The Syrian puppet Ptolemy VI and the Alexandrian king Ptolemy Euergetes) decided it was in their best interest to rule all of Egypt jointly. This infuriated Antiochus so he invaded Egypt again, this time with the intent of conquering the city Alexandria while his fleet conquered Cyprus.

As Antiochus neared Alexandria he was met by a Roman envoy who ordered him to withdraw from Egypt and Cyprus immediately. Antiochus not liking the idea of being ordered to do anything replied that he would present the subject of withdrawal to his war council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a circle around Antiochus. He then told Antiochus that if he were to step out of the circle before deciding to withdraw his troops from Egypt and Cyprus he would be at war with Rome.

Antiochus felt abased, degraded, demeaned, and rabid with anger but he knew he didn’t have the money to hire the troops needed for an extended war with Rome. This left Antiochus no choice but to agree to call off the siege of Alexandria and Cyprus and take his troops home.

As Antiochus retreated from Egypt to Judea he was in a rage, he had just been humiliated before the whole known world and in particular his enemies. He was, for all intents and purposes, financially broke, but most of all he was spiritually, mentally, and emotionally shattered. Antiochus’ dream of reuniting the Greek empire, as it had been under Alexander the Great, was in tatters.

While Antiochus was in Egypt the former high priest Jason had initiated a revolt against Menelaus with a majority of local support. Menelaus had Onias the high priest assassinated. Menelaus’ brother Lysimachus stole holy vessels from the Temple. The resulting riots by faithful Jews led to the death of Lysimachus. Menelaus was arrested for Onias’ murder, and was arraigned before Antiochus, but he bribed his way out of trouble. Jason became High Priest again.

This revolt against his appointed High Priest, Menelaus, was certainly viewed as a revolt against the Syrian Empire and the kingship of Antiochus.

The unrest in Judah was also proof that no longer could Antiochus count on his southern flank for protection from a southern invasion of the empire by either Rome or Egypt and this presented a huge security risk. Real or imagined, an invasion from the south had to have been on Antiochus’ mind.

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:31-35

The enraged Antiochus Epiphanes outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. His soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls.

Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias killed a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias’ place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judah. After Mattathias’ death about one year later his son Judas Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Hellenizing Jews, of whom there were many. The Maccabees destroyed pagan altars in the villages and circumcised boys. The term Maccabees as used to describe the Jewish army is taken from the Hebrew word for “hammer.”

The revolt involved many battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained notoriety among the Seleucid army for their use of guerrilla tactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there and installing Jonathan Maccabee as high priest. A large Seleucid army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV. Its commander Lysias, preoccupied with internal Seleucid affairs, agreed to a political compromise that restored religious freedom.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple following Judah Maccabee’s victory over the Seleucids. According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured

“The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. Daniel 11:36

The last ten verses of Daniel 11 describe events that have no parallel in world history. Therefore, this last portion of Daniel no longer applies to Antiochus IV but to the Antichrist.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. Revelation 15:1

He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. Daniel 11:37-39

The Antichrist will exalt himself and demand that his image will be worshiped. This is the “abomination of desolation” that takes place at the mid-point of the Tribulation when he will stop the sacrifices in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and he will proclaim himself to be God.

“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. Daniel 11:40-44

These verses describe a series of military maneuvers that will take place at the time of the end, during the last few years of the Great Tribulation when the Antichrist will conquer many nations.

The “king of the South” refers to an end-time Egyptian ruler. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islamic organization with a political approach to Islam. It was founded in Egypt in 1928 by cleric Hassan al-Banna after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. According to founder al-Banna, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”   Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants a return to the precepts of the Qur’an. The Brotherhood firmly rejects all notions of Western influences. An important aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is the sanctioning of jihad. The Brotherhood is also viewed by many in the Middle East and the West as the root source for Islamic terrorism. Sunni Turkey is a supporter and protector of the Muslim Brotherhood. The most prominent spiritual leader for the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi declared in August of 2014 that Turkey is where the Caliphate will be established.

The “king of the North” refers to an end-time Syrian ruler. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has confounded many observers by holding on to power for more than five years in the face of a rebellion by a large part of the population. Assad is a Shiite and his principal backers are Iran and Russia.

Islam is divided with Sunnis against Shias and Salafis-jihadists are against everyone. The Islamic State is a Sunni-Salafi Islamist organization which declared itself the “caliphate” of Islam on June 29, 2014. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or if he were to be killed his successor is a prime candidate for the Antichrist.

As the Antichrist tries to consolidate his power, he will face serious opposition both from Sunni and Shia forces. In the process he invades and conquers Israel, the “Beautiful Land.”

Toward the end of the Tribulation, he will hear rumors from the east. Persia (modern-day Iran) is referred to as the nation “from the East” (Isaiah 41:2, 46:11) and from the north. While the king of the North refers to the Syrian ruler, Babylon (modern-day Iraq) is referred to as the land of the north (Jeremiah 46:10, 50:9).

He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. Daniel 11:45

As the Antichrist prepares to go to war, he sets up his military headquarters near Jerusalem (the “beautiful holy mountain”) between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The final battle will take place on the plains of Jezreel in central Israel near a crossroads called Megiddo. The Hebrew term for “Mountain of Megiddo” is Har Megiddo, which translates into English as Armageddon.