And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the Lord? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place.( 1 Samuel 6:1-2)
We have been seeing the story of the capture of the Ark of the covenant by the Philistines, in the book of Samuel. Not only did these events truly happen in Israel’s history, but they foretell the future history of both gentiles and Jews in their details.
- Israel would endure foreign oppression on her own soil, and be unable to throw off the shackles of the gentiles, in her own self.
- Her future would have many victories and defeats, but there would be two major defeats which would mark Israel’s experience.
- The first defeat would see the destruction of the temple of the LORD by babylon and the plundering and enslaving of Israel, in Babylon for seventy years.
- The second defeat would be worse- the Temple would be destroyed so thoroughly that not one stone would be left upon another, and the nation of Israel would either be killed(1.5 million) or enslaved, scattered across the face of the earth, and the nation would cease to exist from 70 AD, to 1948 AD.
- Shortly before the second defeat, the High Priest of Israel, seized the one person to whom the ARK of the covenant pointed, the Messiah, and turned him over to gentile powers.
- Israel’s priestly system would end, the temple destroyed, the glory departed and the prophecy of Hosea 3 would be 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 3:4)
- The Gentiles also would suffer two defeats; first, by the preaching of the gospel and the resurrection of the one whom they thought they had slain, the Messiah, The pagan gods would be abandoned by millions as they accept the Messiah of Israel, believe in the Jewish scripture, and abandon their idolatry.
- But as the Philistines propped up their prostrate god, so in the last days, the World will resurrect the former gods of paganism, and erect a universal paeanistic worship system.
- In the end,The Messiah returns and smashes to powder the great humanistic idolatrous enterprise, and the earth is filled with the knowledge of God.(This corresponds to Dagon falling again and his head and hands broken).
All of these incidents were foretold by events which transpired in I Samuel 4-6.
But what is the last thing to happen to Israel? Will her two-fold defeat be the final story?
I Samuel 5-6 tell us, that the Ark spent time in among the gentiles,going from city to city, whilst Israel remained desolate of the throne of God. But eventually the Gentiles tire of having the ARK, for it brought Judgment wherever it went, just as the gospel, either brings blessing(if received) or judgment wherever it goes. All of the gentiles have had an opportunity to receive Jeshua Messiah,but we are now at the point where the Gentiles are repudiating Judeo/Christianity.\
And they laid the ark of the Lord upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their emerods. And the kine took the straight way to the way of Bethshemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Bethshemesh. And they of Bethshemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where there was a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the Lord.(I Samuel 6:11-14)
So they put the throne of God upon an Ox cart, and fashioned five sin offerings, (golden rats, and golden hemerroids) one for each of the five LORDS and cities of the Philistines. The Golden RATS and Tumors were statements of guilt, trespass offerings, and admission that not only were they afflicted with rats and hemorrhoids, (and justly so), but that they, the Philistines are in fact, morally and spiritually as low as rats and Hemerroids.
The Oxen headed straight for Beth Shemesh, a city of priests in Israel. What good is a priest without a God? What good would it be to be a Priest without sacrifice or temple to perform the ministry of mercy? The Priests were in the fields, reaping crops when they looked up and beheld, The ARK was returning to them!
This is what happens to Israel in the end, HE comes back to them, He returns to re-instate them as a holy nation , a kingdom of priests, and to restore Israel to her high calling and ministry to the world.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.(Isaiah 25:9)
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.( Isaiah 40:9-11)