And the Word of Samuel Came to All Israel…(I Samuel 4:1)
Thus begins the story of the capture of the ARK. The events which would follow, involve all ISRAEL for all time. The story of the capture and recovery of the Ark is the future history of Israel as well as valid salvation history.
What we have related so far is that Israel suffered in their own land under foreign domination. Because of their unfaithfulness they were unable to fully dwell in the land, according to the terms of the covenant.
Israel sought to throw off the foreign domination, but proved unable to do so in her own strength.
There were two major defeats which were immensely costly, devastating and painful. First Israel lost 4000 men. This was painful, and we don’t even know how many wounded there were. I have no doubt few families were untouched by this loss. But the first defeat was recoverable.
Not so the second defeat. Israel has never recovered from it to this day. Because of the second defeat, the tabernacle God instructed Israel to build in the days of Moses was destroyed and never seen again. 30,000 men were killed trying to throw off the foreign invaders, and three generations of the High priest were killed in one day. And the Ark was captured in battle, which would be akin to God becoming a prisoner of war!
How do we understand the capture of the Ark? God had warned Israel that if they were faithless he would eventually send them out of the land into exile as captives to pagans. In this instance, Israel was faithless, but this time God took the rap himself, he put himself into exile, not them!
Immediately before the second, unrecoverable defeat, the corrupt high priest of Israel went into the tabernacle and seized the Ark, (the very earthly throne of God), and virtually handed it over to the gentiles, who carried it away as a spoil of war.
And finally the dying mother of the possible next high priest recovered enough in her pangs of death to name the child “Ichabod”, “the glory has departed”.
What then does this say about the future history of the miracle nation?
- Time and again, Israel would find herself in her own promised land , but under foreign domination, she would suffer under the heel of gentile pagans, for her unfaithfulness. There would be short lived or unsuccessful liberation movements against Syrians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Greeks etc.
- Israel’s history would be marked by two devastating defeats, one of which would be recoverable the second, virtually irrecoverable until the end of time.
- The Babylonians would enter into the land of Israel in four waves, strip it like locusts of King, Nobility, artisans, soldiers and anyone of any value, then they would destroy the temple of God, which the people of Israel vainly trusted in, though they were faithless to God. The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years, then a portion of the chosen people returned home.
- The Romans in 70 AD would one day come in and destroy the Holy Temple of the LORD, kill a million and half Jews and glut the world’s slave markets with Jews, scattering them from one end of the earth to the other, obliterating the nation of Israel, erasing it from the face of the earth, until 1948 ad.
- But shortly before the Romans destroyed the temple and obliterated the nation, the corrupt High Priest of Israel seized, not the ARK, but the person who embodied all that the ARK stood for, Jeshua the MESSIAH of Israel, and handed him over to the Pagan power Rome, to be” cut off, not for himself but for the people”as Daniel told us.
- When asked by the Roman authorities if he wanted them to execute their King, the high Preist of Israel (As the national representative) said “We have no King But Caesar!”.
- The last scene is “Ichabod”, for the nation died on that day when the High Priest repudiated the rule of God. Now the nation has been kept in state, on display for all of the world to see, and the prophecy of Hosea is fulfilled,
- For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without seraphim:(Hosea 3:3)
Ichabod, for there has been no temple, no sacrificial apparatus, no national symbol, no High Priest, no King,Prince for many centuries. Thankfully the History of Israel doesn’t end there.