The Chrysalis Conjecture By George E. Schwalm In this commentary we will take a look…
A Man of War: The Lord is His Name – Part 2
By Randy Nettles
The Man of War in the Promised Land
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are You for us or for our adversaries? So He said, No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, What does my Lord say to His servant? Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15).
Joshua thought he was approaching a “man” of war and questioned his intentions. He soon found out that this was no mere human warrior but was the ultimate heavenly “Man of war.” He was not Michael, the archangel, but was Yahweh Himself, making a theophany appearance as the Angel of the Lord. This is made obvious by the Person telling Joshua to take his sandals off because the place where he was standing was holy. In other words, Joshua was standing on the same ground that the Lord was standing on, so that made it holy ground.
The Fall of Jericho
In the Old Testament, the most famous supernatural event for the newly formed nation of Israel after entering the “promised land” of Canaan was the fall of the city and walls of Jericho. This fall was the result of God intervening on behalf of Israel in their war against the inhabitants of Canaan, who were descendants of Noah’s son, Ham. The city of Jericho, built hundreds of years before Joshua was born, was one of the oldest cities in the world. In some places, it had fortified walls up to 25 feet high and 20 feet thick. Jericho was a symbol of military power and strength, and the Canaanites considered it invincible.
“And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And you shall compass the city, all you men of war, and go round about the city once. This shall you do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day you shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:2-5).
These instructions were repeated by Joshua to the priests and the men of war, and they were carried out daily for six days and then fulfilled on the seventh day. “On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people: Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent” (Joshua 6:15-17).
“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword” (Joshua 6:20-21).
The seven priests blew their trumpets one time for six days in a row. This would be 42 (6 × 7) times the trumpets sounded in a six-day period. 6 is man’s number and is incomplete (not perfect), so the walls of Jericho did not come down yet. On the seventh day, the seven priests and all the children of Israel made seven laps around the walls of Jericho, blowing their horns each time; for a total of 49 (7 x 7) times. 7 is God’s number and is perfect and complete. On this day, after the 91st (13 x 7) time that the trumpets sounded, the walls fell down. The 13th seven was indeed a very unlucky number for the inhabitants of Jericho.
The walls fell down after the last trumpet sounded, and all the people shouted as one. I think the Lord (as the Angel of the Lord) also shouted with them at this time, which is what brought the walls down. It was a great victory for the newly formed nation of Israel. Jericho’s destruction was perfectly complete, never to be rebuilt again. From Joshua 6, verse 3 to verse 16, there are 14 (7 x 2) mentions of the number 7, a double dose of completeness.
Joshua 6 has always reminded me of the two main Rapture passages of 1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. At the last trumpet that is sounded at the Rapture, Jesus (the Word), in all His Shekinah glory, will return for His people. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. His voice will tear down the walls of gravity, “and the people will go up into the heavenly city, every man straight before him.”
The Wars of Joshua and the Children of Israel in the Promised Land
After the children of Israel entered the Promised Land and defeated Jericho and Ai, they faced the armies of a coalition of five kings of the Amorites, including the king of Jerusalem. The Lord told Joshua not to fear, for He (as the Angel of the Lord) would deliver them into their hand, and not a man would stand before them. “So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword” (Joshua 10:10-11).
Joshua asked the Lord for a miracle that day and God performed one of the greatest miracles ever. He asked for the sun to stand still and the moon to stop until the people had revenge upon their enemies. “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:13-14).
After many years of fighting with the inhabitants of Canaan, the children of Israel had mostly conquered their enemies and were enjoying a time of relative peace and rest. Joshua was well advanced in age and was soon to die. His farewell address to the people of Israel is recorded in Joshua 23.
“You shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. For the Lord has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God. Or else, if indeed you do go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations—these that remain among you—and make marriages with them, and go in to them and they to you, know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you” (Joshua 23:8-13).
Before the tribes departed into their own land inheritance, Joshua made a covenant between all the people of Israel and the Lord. Here is some of what the Lord told him to say: “So I delivered you out of his (Balak, king of Moab) hand. Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you — also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand. I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.’
Joshua then continued and gave them some great advice: “Now, therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:10-15).
Several of the tribes of Israel did not completely drive out the inhabitants of the land but instead put them under tribute. These tribes included Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan. This lack of obedience angered God greatly, so He sent his messenger to give them a word. “Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you. So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept” (Judges 2:1-4).
The children of Israel sacrificed to the Lord there at Bochim. Joshua then dismissed the people and they dispersed into their inheritance to possess the land. Joshua died shortly after this at the age of 110 years. When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Without the pre-incarnate Yahweh (Lord) Jesus, as the Angel of the Lord, fighting for Israel, they would never have been successful in acquiring the Promised Land. He is the ultimate “man of war” and nothing or nobody can stop Him from accomplishing the will of the Father.
The Wars of the Judges and the Children of Israel in the Promised Land
After the death of Joshua, in approximately 1375 BC, Israel began to be ruled by judges. These men (and one woman) were usually exceptional warriors and would lead the people of Israel in war against the neighboring pagan enemy nations. During this time of the judges (approximately 325 years), the Angel of the Lord fulfilled His prophecy and did not fight against Israel’s enemies as He had before. Instead, He raised up judges and sent His Holy Spirit to empower them for the task at hand.
“Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so. And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way” (Judges 2:16-19).
The Israelites began a series of cycles: sinning, worshiping idols, being punished, crying out for help, being rescued by a judge sent from God, obeying God for a while, and then falling back into idolatry again. “And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves. Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years” (Judges 3:5-8).
The Spirit of the Lord
God raised up a deliverer for Israel in about 1367 BC. His name was Othniel, the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. “And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died” (Judges 3:10-11).
Othniel was Israel’s first “judge” (not including Moses and Joshua). He served for forty years. This is the first time the exact phrase “Spirit of the Lord” is mentioned in the Bible (although the “Spirit of God” was used earlier in the Pentateuch and elsewhere). The recipient of the “Spirit of the Lord” was given a temporary and spontaneous increase of physical, spiritual, and/or mental strength. This was a supernatural occurrence that prepared a person for the special task at hand, usually delivering Israel from a life of slavery at the hands of their enemies. Shamgar was Israel’s third judge and was a forerunner of Samson. The Bible says he killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad and delivered Israel.
However, the term “the Spirit” is mentioned before the Israelites entered Canaan. Moses, Joshua, and 70 elders of Israel are said to have received the Spirit (of the Lord). After God sent manna from heaven for the people to eat, they started complaining about not having meat to eat. This was before God sent quail for them to eat. Moses was fed up with the constant complaints of the people and voiced his frustration to the Lord. The Lord told Moses to gather 70 elders to the tabernacle and assemble there with Moses. The Lord told Moses, “I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Numbers 11:17).
“So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again” (Numbers 11:24-25).
Just before Moses appointed Joshua as his replacement to lead the children of Israel, the Lord told Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight” (Numbers 27:18-19).
Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh, eventually became a judge after Israel was subjugated to Midian for seven years. The Lord chose Gideon to defend the people after the Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east joined together in an attempt to destroy Israel. The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Gideon and told him He was with Gideon and called him a mighty man of valor, even though he was not one at this point. “And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.” The Lord was looking into the future (for He had already seen it) and seeing Gideon as a mighty man of valor which he would become.
Gideon defeated the vast enemy coalition with only 300 men which he divided into 3 companies (Judges 7:16-23). Gideon originally had 22,000 warriors, but 12,000 of them were too fearful to fight. That left Gideon with 10,000 men, but God devised a test to see who was qualified to fight. Only 300 men passed God’s test (Judges 7:4-8). Gideon fought the vast host of the Midianites with only 3.33% of his army, however, he had the “man of war” (the Angel of the Lord) on his side who gave him a great victory (Judges 7:15-25).
Here is how the Bible describes Gideon’s miraculous victory. “And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host” (Judges 7:20-22). This “turning every man’s sword against his fellow” was a great war tactic the Lord liked to use, as we will see later.
Jephthah was another Israelite who became a judge during the time Ammon was threatening them. He was a mighty man of war but was made even mightier when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (Judges 11:29), and the Lord delivered the enemy into his hands.
Samson was one of the last judges of Israel (besides Eli and Samuel) during their 40-year subjugation to the Philistines. Before he was born, the Angel of the Lord appeared to a woman who was married to Manoah of the tribe of Dan and told her, “Behold now, you art barren, and cannot bear a child: but you shall conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray you, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. For, lo, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:3-5). Here is how the wife of Manoah described the Person she encountered: “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name” (Judges 13:6).
The Bible records four times that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson. The fourth time, the Spirit is said to have come “mightily” upon Samson. This time Samson killed 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Of course, you know the story of Samson and Delilah and how she tricked him into revealing the secret of his great strength and how he was captured and made a slave to the Philistines. You also know of his heroic comeback that occurred when he slew more of the enemy in death than in his entire life.
The next time the Spirit of the Lord is mentioned is right before Saul became king of all of the tribes of Israel. Samuel told Saul that he would come upon a company of prophets and he would prophesy with them and be “turned into another man.” After Saul sinned greatly against the Lord, Samuel conveyed this message of the Lord to Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue: the Lord has sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be captain over his people, because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:13-14). Of course, this man after the Lord’s own heart was David.
During David’s unofficial anointing by Samuel (before he actually became king), an amazing transfer of the Holy Spirit took place. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him (David) in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubles you” (1 Samuel 16:35). Saul’s anointing with the Holy Spirit was temporary whereas David’s was permanent.
David and His Mighty Men of War
After Saul and three of his son’s death, David became king over Judah for seven and a half years before he captured Jerusalem. It was during this time that the rest of the tribes of Israel made him their king as well. “So David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of hosts was with him” (1 Chronicles 11:9).
1 Chronicles 11 and 12 mention David’s mighty men of war who defended their king and country with heroic acts of bravery. Although the Bible doesn’t mention it, I believe the Spirit of the Lord came upon them at times so they could defeat the enemy against overwhelming odds. Here are a few examples: Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them and had a name among the three. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lionlike men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.
When the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all of Israel, the Philistines went up to seek David. When David heard of it, he went out against them. The Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of God, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? And will you deliver them into mine hand?” And the Lord said unto him, “Go up; for I will deliver them into your hand.” So they came up to Baalperazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, “God has broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters.”
The Philistines regrouped and came against David and his host again in the valley of Rephaim. David enquired again of God if he should go up against them. God told him to turn away from them and then wait until a certain time when there would be a sign given in which he was then to return to the battle, “for God is gone forth before you to smite the host of the Philistines. David, therefore, did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer. And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations” (1 Chronicles 14:14-17).
David’s Encounter with the Angel of the Lord
After the Israelites defeated the children of Ammon and the Philistines, David decided to order a census for all the people of Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:1 says that Satan provoked (tempted) David to number Israel. Evidently, this was not a God-ordained census as described in Numbers 1 & 2, but came about because of David’s pride regarding the strength and numbers of his army. In determining his military strength he was beginning to trust more in military power than in God.
For this sin, the Lord sent the sword of the Lord against Israel. For three days pestilence cut the people down and killed seventy thousand men. “And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now your hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces” (1 Chronicles 21:15-16).
Upon seeing the Angel, David asked the Lord to punish only him and his house, since it was his sin that brought about the judgment. Then the Angel of the Lord commanded Gad, the seer, to tell David that he should set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. David did as he was instructed and purchased the site (and the surrounding land) and built an altar in which he then sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings unto the LORD. David called unto the LORD and He answered him from heaven by sending fire upon the altar of burnt offering. “And the Lord commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof” (1 Chronicles 21:27). I believe in this instance the LORD (Yahweh) is referring to the Father in heaven and the angel is the Angel of the Lord (the Son) on the earth.
Once David saw that his sacrifices on the threshing floor were accepted, he continued to make offerings there instead of in Gibeon, where the tabernacle and the altar of the burnt offering were located. David could no longer go to the tabernacle in Gibeon out of fear that “the sword of the angel of the LORD” would be used in his absence (1 Chronicles 21:28–30). David was so shaken by his encounter with the Angel that it changed where he offered sacrifices. He declared that the altar’s new location would be where his son Solomon would build the new temple (1 Chronicles 22).
“The Angel had caused the ground to become holy as when He appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2–5) and to Joshua as the Captain of Yahweh’s army (Joshua 5:13–15). Now the Angel of the Lord had stood near the threshing floor, making the location holy by His presence. And knowing that David’s sacrifices would be accepted there, it was the Angel who ordered that the new altar be built on the threshing floor. Thus, it was the Angel of the Lord, the Son of God, who ultimately determined the location of Solomon’s Temple. There was once a Christophany on what became the Temple Mount.” (2)
The Shekinah Glory of the Lord and Fire from Heaven
Several decades after this event, Solomon built the First Temple on Mount Moriah at the same location where Abraham and David had built altars unto the Lord. Abraham’s name for this same location, Jehovah-Jireh, was aptly named, perhaps prophetically, “in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen” (K.J. version). When the First Temple was finished, after seven years of construction, the priests brought the ark of the covenant into the inner sanctuary of the temple to the Most Holy Place. This dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem was celebrated on the Feast of Tabernacles and lasted for fourteen days instead of the normal seven days.
“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures forever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
Both instances of sacrifices offered by David and Solomon on Mount Moriah had two things in common. In both cases, the LORD (the Son) made a physical appearance, and fire was sent from heaven by the LORD of heaven (the Father) to consume the sacrifices. The pre-incarnate Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, in the form of a mighty angel appeared in a terrifying way to David. The Son/Word entered the newly built Temple in His Shekinah Glory during the dedication ceremony that Solomon presided over. No one could enter the Temple because God’s glorious radiance was too brilliant to behold. They would have been instantly blinded, as Saul was on the road to Damascus when he was exposed to the Shekinah Glory of the LORD Yeshua.
There was a third instance of fire falling from heaven consuming a sacrifice on an altar that was built unto the Lord. This doesn’t surprise me, as the number 3 represents Divine perfection. This third instance is found in 1 Kings chapter 18 and takes place when the great prophet, Elijah, challenged Ahab and the worshipers of Baal to a contest to see who was God, Baal or Yahweh. Both sides would build an altar (on Mount Carmel) and offer sacrifices on it and petition their God to send fire from heaven to consume the dismembered bullock, thus revealing the identity of the true God. You know the end of the story. No fire was sent from heaven by the bloody petitioning of the priests of Baal. The result of Elijah’s simple yet powerful prayer (1 Kings 18:36-37) is found in 1 Kings 18:38-40: “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”
It is interesting to me, as a numbers guy, how the number 12, which represents Israel, is prevalent in Elijah’s account. He repaired an altar that had previously been used by the remnant priests of Yahweh (in the northern kingdom of Israel) by constructing a new altar with 12 stones that had been used in the original altar. This represented a “soon to be” repairing of the covenant between the children of Israel and the LORD. Also, Elijah poured 12 barrels of water into the trench surrounding the altar and upon the wood and the sacrifice, thus creating a little lake around the altar. When the wet sacrifice was entirely consumed by heavenly fire, it showed the Israelites how powerful their God was.
The significance of the number 7 is included in this account as well. During Ahab’s rule in Israel, Elijah had prayed to the Lord for a drought to occur in Israel. At the time of Elijah’s “altar call” it hadn’t rained in Israel for three and a half years. After the prophets of Baal were killed, Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel and told his servant to look toward the sea. The servant did so and reported back that there was nothing to see. Elijah and his servant repeated this process six more times. “And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and get down before the rain stops you. And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel” (1 Kings 18:44-46).
What a perfect ending (completion) to a perfect, divine plan to bring the children of Israel back into their covenant relationship with the LORD (for a little while anyhow). Not only had the drought of rain ended, but the drought of the word of God had ended as well. The people had heard and witnessed the truth for themselves. And what was the truth? “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God: (1 Kings 18:39).
I would be remiss in my teaching if I didn’t mention the account of fire coming from the LORD, not from heaven, but from His own Person (2nd Person of Elohim) while He was on the earth. It took place after the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness on the day after the seven days of consecration (the 8th day) for Aaron and his sons for the priesthood. The LORD had instructed Moses and Aaron to tell the people to make sacrifices unto the LORD “for today the LORD will appear to you” (Leviticus 9:4). Sure enough, at the end of the ritual, here is what transpired: “Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:22-24).
The Shekinah Glory of the Lord appeared unto the children of Israel after the dedication of the Tabernacle of Meeting and later during the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Also, in both instances, supernatural fire from the LORD of heaven consumed the sacrifices that were upon the altar and all the people fell to the ground and worshiped Yahweh. What amazing displays of the power of God! “Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness” (Psalm 145:6).
In Part 3, we will look at the Man of war as He fights for the people and kings of Judea.
Image Credit: Pete Garcia