August 15, '11 7:00 AM
By Regner Capener
“Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day; I’ve got a wonderful feeling…..!
OK, sorry ‘bout that. Sometimes those oldies from years gone by seem to run through my mind .Anyway, Good Mornin’ to ya! This is the best day of your life!
I’d really like to get this series finished. Della and I will be doing a considerable amount of traveling during the next month, and it’s likely I won’t have a lot of opportunity to do much posting until we return.
Della’s uncle, Jesse Evans, went home to be with the Lord in this past week so there’s a lot of family activity ongoing as preparations are made for the respective memorial services, etc.
The responses from readers to this series on Israel have been pretty amazing. The comments from them have been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve been adding about a hundred new subscribers to our database every couple of days. Wow! That said, there sure have been a few folks whose religious indoctrination just won’t let them accept that the prophecies in the Old and New Testaments apply to both natural and spiritual Israel, or that the term “God’s Chosen People” has a natural as well as a spiritual implication. What they don’t seem to realize is that they are arguing with God’s Covenant – not with Israel.(But that’s another topic.)
Oh well! Trying to convince folks who don’t want to accept that the Word has much greater depth to it than a simple surface explanation is an exercise in futility. All I can do is share the Word and the revelation I have and leave it there for folks to deal with. Hey! If you have a struggle with anything I’m sharing, put in on the shelf. Don’t simply discard it. The Holy Spirit just might accidentally bring revelation to you that differs from what you think you already know. D ‘ya think?
Let’s begin today with something I said in the last Coffee Break. What happens in and with Israel is a direct prophetic correlation to what God is doing in the earth! It is a picture of the in-gathering together, the great harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ taking place around the earth even as we speak. It is the fulfilling of Paul’s prophecy in Ephesians 1:18-19: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (NASB)
Jesus’ inheritance is found not only in the Gentile “church” – it is found in Israel and in the Jews! That inheritance is so multi-faceted and multi-layered as to defy description.
[Note: I really don’t like the term “church” because of the pictures it conveys which are so contrary to everything we know about the early believers. They had Ekklesia – not the structured “church” concepts familiar with western society today.]
Let’s get back, now, to the way Asaph prayed against the enemies of the Lord.
Once he has described the ten nations or tribes who assemble themselves against Israel, he now launches into a character description of them, describing past victories God has given Israel, and likening the character and nature of those past enemies to those assembled against Israel. Asaph could easily have named many other enemies whom God had given into Israel’s hands, but he chose these specifically because of the way their names – their makeup and essence – paralleled those of the ten-nation confederacy.
Let’s take them in order as they are described:
(1)First, he describes the Midianites. The name “Midian” in Hebrew means strife.Midian, you’ll remember, was descended from Abraham’s lineage through Keturah. Not part of the covenant family through Isaac, the Midianites still dwelled in relative peace with Israel for several generations. Think back to Jethro, the priest of Midian, who became Moses’ father-in-law, and – through wise counsel to Moses – brought forth the form of government that served Israel for hundreds of years through tribal councils, elders and chosen representatives.(We know this form of government today in the U.S.Our nation’s founding fathers called this a “republican government.”)
The peace and tranquility between Israel and Midian did not last once Moses led Israel out of Egypt toward their promised inheritance in Canaan. Midian had grown to occupy part of the territory God promised to Abraham through Isaac, and they feared Israel. Once Israel entered the land they were occupying, Midian formed an alliance with the Moabites and turned on their erstwhile brethren.
(2) Next we have Sisera, Captain of the Host for the Canaanites under Jabin, their king. Sisera’s name is Egyptian and translates out as “servant of Ra.” The Canaanites we know from Genesis 9:25 where this firstborn son of Ham bears the curse of his father’s sin for committing a homosexual act against his father, Noah. Canaan fathered each of the seven nations whom God commanded Israel to destroy and erase from the land of promise.[That’s a separate study which you can find in the Coffee Break archives (http://regnersrangers.multiply.com/journal/)]The Canaanites were sworn enemies of Israel and continually sought to prevent them from receiving God’s promises to Abraham.
(3)Jabin, the king of the Canaanites, whose name means “to separate mentally, to be cunning, to understand,” thought to use his cunning and craftiness against Israel in order to keep them under subjection to himself. He built for himself an arsenal of 900 chariots made of iron to go with an army that the Hebrew text describes as “locusts” for their multitude. For twenty years Jabin had held Israel in fear and had ruled them, manipulated them and made them a laughingstock in the land. Because Israel had made the unbelievably stupid mistake of following the gods of the Canaanites and bowing to them, the Lord permitted them to come under Jabin’s dominion as punishment.(More on this in a moment.)
(4)Next we have Oreb, whose name means “raven.”In scripture the raven was forbidden to eat because it was an unclean bird, feeding mostly on carrion or dead birds and animals. One notable characteristic of the raven was its tactic of picking out the eyes of helpless birds or small animals and then feeding on them while they still lived. Oreb came by his name honestly as a prince of the Midianites. He specialized in preying upon the weak or defenseless among Israel, picking them apart and utilizing their resources for himself.
(5)His companion prince was a man named Zeeb whose name means “wolf.” The Hebrew term for him was “yellow” – a descriptive word for someone who was cruel and treacherous. Wherever we see Oreb in Scripture, we see Zeeb. These two Midianite princes worked together as a treacherous pair killing, persecuting, terrorizing the Israelites and continually committing acts of war against pockets of Israelites.
(6)Then we have Zebah, a Midianite king whose name says it all in Hebrew: slaughter; sacrifice (as in offering up animals [or in this case, people] as burnt sacrifices.
(7)Finally we have one more Midianite king, Zalmunna, whose name in Hebrew translates literally to: “shade has been denied.”It is a perfect description of one who deliberately removes any available protection and goes out of their way to expose a person (or a group of people) to the kind of danger that will ultimately take their lives in a cruel and debilitating manner.
Now, consider what happened in history to each of these individuals. See how history graphically portrays the significance of Asaph’s prophetic prayer.
(1a) Though the Midianites were permitted periods of time by God to persecute Israel because the nation had departed from worshiping Him, in battle after battle beginning with their confederation with Moab when Balak tried to bribe Balaam to curse Israel, God continued to rout them with Israelite leaders and armies who were severely outnumbered and out-weaponed.
(2a) Sisera represented the Egyptians, and in this case, had become confederate with the Canaanites. The Canaanites represented five separate lesser tribes who had banded together because they were not large in size. The banding together enabled them to become a mostly cohesive people who, because of their Hamite lineage, had grown into the most corrupt and sexually perverse people among the seven nations God covenanted to give to Abraham. Sisera stands out in Asaph’s prophecy because of the way in which he died (see Judges 4).He was an arrogant man who thought his incredible military strength would be more than sufficient to defeat Barak’s piddling 10,000 men. He was wrong! Sisera died at the hands of a woman – Jael – who drove a nail into his temple while he slept, thinking he was safe and secure in hiding in an Edomite home. The Edomites were no particular friends of Israel (think Esau vs. Jacob), but one of the families of Edom – Heber, the Kenite (and father of the Kenizzites) – had become integrated into Israel’s history and heritage through Caleb, and then Othniel. Sisera never bothered to check out the family where he tried to hide, and died in his sleep.
(3a) Jabin, the Canaanite king, had been allowed by God for a period of twenty years to subdue Israel, and he thought himself secure with his expert Egyptian commander, Sisera. When Barak – with the prophetess Deborah – came out against Jabin’s forces in order to free Israel from tyranny, he felt absolutely confident in his military might to put down the rebellion. Judges 4:23-24 tells us that following Sisera’s death and the utter defeat of his great armies, Barak hunted him down to his death and destruction.
(4a & 5a) When you consider the story of Gideon (Judges 7) and how once again the Lord used a tiny contingent of 300 men to roust the armies of Oreb and Zeeb, the two princes of Midian. Their army had been joined by the Amalekites, the Syrians and (from all we can tell) Ishmaelites. The number of people gathered together in the Valley of Jezreel was “as grasshoppers for multitude.”In order to appreciate Gideon’s feat consider this. A rabbi once told me that the sound generated by the breaking of the pitchers from Gideon’s high perch above the valley would be analogous to the sound of hundreds of swords being drawn at once from their scabbards. Add to that sound the picture of all the lights spread out in single file on the hilltops, and it created the illusion of a vast army coming against them in the middle of the night. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all of the Arab nations were (and still are for the most part) ruled by and through fear and terror. Their reaction to this sudden explosion of sound and light created utter panic causing them to turn on one another in the darkness and kill each other. Of one hundred thirty-five thousand soldiers pitted against Gideon, only 15,000 survived.
(6a & 7a) Those 15,000 fled to a placed called Karkor, a relatively walled up (and “dug in” according to Gesenius) secure place east of the Jordan, along with the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna. The two princes, Oreb and Zeeb, had already been killed, and now it was time to take out the kings. Gideon’s band of 300 – even in their weakened and wearied state – took out the 15,000 and brought Zebah and Zalmunna to him. Judges 8:21 tells us that Gideon killed the two kings with his own sword and took the large royal medallions that hung on the necks of their camels. There is a great significance to taking these medallions because they had the images of the gods that the Midianites worshiped. Thus, Gideon not only took out their armies, but also took away from them the symbols of the gods they worshiped, demonstrating that the God of Israel was supreme over all other gods.
There is a side note to this story worth telling. As Gideon and his men pursued after Zebah and Zalmunna, they came to a place known as Succoth. Succoth, at that time, was occupied by Arab families who had not joined in the battle against Israel. When Gideon requested food and provisions for his band of 300 in their wearied state, they stubbornly refused assistance of any kind despite the obvious victories God has wrought through Gideon. Gideon warned them that there would be retribution for their passive assistance to the Midianites, and when he and his men returned from the victory at Karkor they stopped at Succoth, took the elders of the city, and rather than kill them, he sent a message to all who would provide aid and assistance to the enemies of Israel by whipping them with thorns and briers.
Gideon’s great victories over the Midianites, their kings and their princes, with his tiny band virtually ended the power of Midian, and except for harboring Hadad, an enemy of Solomon, many years later it was the end of their military forays against Israel.
There is one more picture here relevant to these great victories. Judges 6:34 tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.”This is a unique phrase in the Hebrew and it literally tells us that “the Spirit of the Lord clothed Himself with Gideon.”Get it? When God’s enemies rise up against His people, the Lord clothes Himself with them in such a way that they become Him on the battlefield.
Now you begin to get the picture and the great significance of Asaph’s prophetic prayer, and why he prayed the way he did. He was prophesying the same kind of doom and destruction against a confederacy of ten nations who thought to wipe Israel off the map. He is saying to the Lord – or more accurately, the Lord is saying through Asaph – “Do to these nations and peoples exactly what was done to the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Midianites, the Moabites and the Syrians (and all of the other unnamed Arab peoples) who pitted themselves against God!”
Yup. Let me paraphrase the rest of this prophecy.
“O my God, make them like a wheel (that goes in circles around itself), as stubble before the wind. As fire burns wood and flames consume a mountain, so create a firestorm and tempest against them, and make them afraid to ever come against You again! Shame them, O Lord, not to their utter destruction but so that those who remain will seek after You. Let those who reject You for their false gods be forever confounded, put to shame and perish, that men worldwide may know that You, Yowd Hey Vav Hey (Jehovah), are the Most High God over all the earth!”
That, my friends, is exactly what we are about to see. Whether it happens within a year, two years, five years – or whenever it takes place – these same peoples of whom Asaph prophesies will rise up against the Lord God saying, “Let us take and possess the houses of God for ourselves.”
The Lord will respond with a roar! He will clothe Himself with Israel and the world will see a military victory that will make the Six-Day War look like an afternoon skirmish.
There is one other factor to consider in this prophecy.
Pay attention to each of the ten nations, where they are located, and the culture, the philosophy, and the religion of each of them. Religion – no matter by what name it is called – is and has always been the enemy of God. Every religion has at its roots man in control, or man being the final arbiter of himself.
Let’s make one thing clear, too. True Christianity is not a religion. In fact, it is anything but! Christianity is a personal, intimate relationship with a living God – a living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Those who truly worship God worship Him in Spirit and in Truth! True Christians are those who know, understand, and walk in the love of God – and I don’t mean the “sloppy agape” that has permeated the church world. Yes, there is a religion that calls itself “Christianity,” but denies the power of God, and puts on a façade that seems to have the form of Godliness, but lacks in the signs following that Jesus promised.
Folks, true Christianity has the signs following. It does! The sick are healed, the dead are raised to life, the lepers are cleansed, demonic prison bars are smashed as people are set free from evil spirits, and people’s lives are radically changed for the better. Anything that calls itself “Christianity” that lacks this evidence is a poor substitute religion.
That said, when you look at the ten nations or groups identified by Asaph’s prophecy, there is a common denominator in today’s world: Islam! Asaph’s prophecy in Psalm 83 spells the end of Islam. It is the coup de grace to a religion that has imprisoned men and women and children for centuries, taken away basic freedoms guaranteed by God, and forced people to worship a false god – the same false god that the Canaanites served, the same false god that the Midianites served, the same false god that the Lord God warned Israel NEVER to serve: Baal.
Never mind the fact that Baal is now called “Allah.”Allah is none other than an incarnation of the demon, Baal, and he is about to suffer a defeat such as the world has never known!
Buckle your seatbelt! Baal has never gone down without a fight in the past, and he is about to mount the greatest attack on the people of God – Israel and Christians – such as recorded history has never known. But the Lord – through Asaph – makes us a solemn promise in this prophecy. Baal and his servants – his followers – will see such shame that the world will fear and reverence the Lord God and honor Him as Yowd Hey Vav Hey!
Believe me! When God comes to your defense when you’re under attack by the Enemy, He has a spectacular way of doing things – and He often does it conditions we would consider impossible.
Because of our travel schedule, I’m not sure when the next Coffee Break will be published, but I will try to get one or two out while we are on the road.
As Christians we have a mandate from the Lord to bless Israel. Those who bless Israel are blessed and become a blessing themselves. God’s promise to Abraham was, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Blessings on you!