THE PHILISTINES WERE A SEAFARING PEOPLE WHO CAME FROM THE AREA OF THE AEGEAN SEA. THEY WERE WELL KNOWN IN EGYPT AND CAUSED THEM MUCH TROUBLE AND THEIR `LABEL' AS THE “SEA PEOPLES” WAS WRITTEN INTO EGYPTIAN RECORDS AT THE TEMPLE OF RAMSES III IN THEBES APPROX 1200B.C.
THEY SETTLED ALL UP AND DOWN THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST FROM EGYPT TO CANAAN AND WERE A VERY SERIOUS THREAT TO ALL THE INDIGENOUS TRIBES AND NATIONS OF THE COASTAL REGIONS. THE PHILISTINES WERE WARRIORS (AS OPPOSED TO YISHARAL THAT WERE FARMERS AND HERDSMEN), BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THEY WERE SIMPLY WARLIKE SAVAGES IN CHARACTER AND YISHARAL WERE PEACE-LOVING HIPPIES, IT’S JUST THAT THE PHILISTINES (LIKE MOST NATIONS) HAD A FULLY FORMED GOVERNMENT WITH A STANDING ARMY; AND YISHARAL DIDN'T! OF COURSE THEY HAD A NATIONAL ARMY WHEN THEY FIRST ENTERED CANAAN OVER 300 YEARS EARLIER (UNDER JOSHUA) BUT IT DISSOLVED ONLY A FEW YEARS AFTER THE INITIAL VICTORIES WERE WON AND SUFFICIENT CONTROL OVER CANAAN WAS ACHIEVED. AND NOW YISHARAL WAS JUST A SMALL MILITIA OF CIVILIANS THAT ARMED THEMSELVES AND CAME TOGETHER AS NEEDED AND WHEN CALLED.
SO WE'LL SEE TODAY THAT IT WAS THESE FOLK WHO WENT TO FIGHT AGAINST THE WELL-TRAINED, EXPERIENCED AND PROFESSIONAL PHILISTINE SOLDIERS IN THE BATTLEFIELD.
One day the Yisharalites decided to go out and fight the Philistines! They set up camp near Ebenezer, and the Philistines camped at Aphek, making a fierce attack, defeating the Yisharalites and killing about 4000 of them.
Then the Yisharalite army returned to their camp, and the Elders said, “Why did Yahuah hand us over to the Philistines today? Let’s get the Ark of the Blood-Covenant Witness from Shiloh and carry it with us, then Yahuah will help us and rescue us from our enemies.”
IT'S INTERESTING THAT THE MINDSET OF THE ELDERS WAS THAT YAHUSHA HIMSELF DEFEATED YISHARAL, NOT SO MUCH THE PHILISTINES. TO THEM IT WAS NEITHER CHANCE NOR THE PHILISTINES’ MIGHT, BUT RATHER THAT YAHUSHA WAS DISPLEASED FOR SOME REASON AND WAS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YISHARAL’S GREAT LOSS THAT DAY. APPARENTLY THEY HADN'T SOUGHT YAHUSHA’S COUNCIL BEFORE GOING TO BATTLE, AND HE CERTAINLY DIDN'T INITATE IT (AS A TRUE SET-APART WAR) AND SO NOW (AFTER THE FACT) THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE GOOD TO CONSULT AND INVOLVE HIM. WOW!! DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR TO US? HOW OFTEN DO WE BOLDLY HEAD-OUT, HAVING OUR OWN WAY, CERTAIN THAT OUR IDEAS ARE WELL CONCEIVED, RATIONAL AND MUST BE IN HARMONY WITH YAHUSHA,ONLY TO RUN INTO A BRICKWALL AND FALL ON OUR FACES; AND ONLY AFTERWARD DO WE THEN TAKE THE TIME TO SPEAK WITH HIM AND SEEK HIS GUIDANCE AND DECISION AND ACTUALLY FOLLOW WHAT HE SAYS ??
So the Army sent some soldiers to bring back the Ark from Shiloh, because `Yahuah of Hosts' dwells between the Cherubim on top of the Set-Apart Ark. And as Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas brought the Ark into camp, the army cheered so loudly that the ground shook, and the Philistines heard the mighty noise and said, “What the hell're those Hebrews shouting about now?”
UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES ELI WOULD HAVE ACCOMPANIED THE ARK, BUT HE WAS OLD AND BLIND SO HIS SONS WENT INSTEAD. BUT WHAT DID THEY EXPECT FROM THE ARRIVAL OF THE ARK TO THE BATTLEFIELD?THEY JUST ASSUMED THAT IF THEY HAD THE ARK, THEY HAD THE PRESENCE OF YAHUSHA.IN FACT THE ARK (TO THEIR MINDS) WAS A VISIBLE SIGN OF HIS PRESENCE. WHAT THE YISHARALITES PICTURED IN THEIR MINDS ABOUT HOW YAHUSHA OPERATED WAS SIMILAR TO HOW THE OTHER SOCIETIES THOUGHT THEIR DEITIES BEHAVED.
IT WAS USUAL FOR A NATION TO BRING AN IDOL INTO THE BATTLE AND TURN THE WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR INTO A `WAR OF THE DEITIES' JUST AS MUCH AS A BATTLE OF SOLDIERS. THEN THE WINNER WOULD ASSUME THAT THEIR DEITIES WERE GREATER THAN THE DEITIES OF THE LOSERS. SO THE YISHARALITES FELT THAT THE PRESENCE OF THE ARK OF THE BLOOD-COVENANT WOULD (WITHOUT A DOUBT) GRANT THEM VICTORY; AND AT FIRST GLANCE THE PHILISTINES FELT THE SAME, BECAUSE WHEN THEY HEARD THE SHOUTS OF THE HEBREWS AND THE SOUND OF THEIR SHOFARS RISING INTO THE SKIES THE PHILISTINES GREW WORRIED. THEY KNEW THAT THE CRIES OF JOY FROM THE YISHARALITES COULD MEAN ONLY ONE THING: THE ALAHIM OF YISHARAL HAD SHOWN UP! ... BUT HAD HE REALLY?
Then the Philistines learned that the Yisharalite’s Ark had been brought into the camp, and were scared to death, saying, “NOW WE’RE TOTALLY SCREWED! It’s all over now! Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. Who can rescue us from these powerful deities who made all those horrible things happen to the Egyptians in the desert? PHILISTINES!! BE BRAVE AND FIGHT HARD! For if you don’t, those filthy Hebrews will rule over us, just as we’ve been doing to them. SO FIGHT AND DON’T BE AFRAID”.
And the Philistines did fight, killing 30,000 Yisharalite soldiers, and the rest who survived the massacre ran off home with their tales between their legs. Hophni and Phinehas (Eli's wicked sons) were also killed that day, and the precious Ark of the Blood-Covenant Witness was captured by the Philistines.
WHY WOULD THE PHILISTINES REFER TO THE YISHARALITE’S ALAHIM AS “DEITIES”, ASSUMING THEY HAD MORE THAN ONE DEITY? THE OBVIOUS ANSWER IS THAT THEY THOUGHT EVERYBODY HAD MULTIPLE DEITIES AND SO NATURALLY YISHARAL MUST TOO. BUT THE PHILISTINES HAD BEEN RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH THE HEBREWS FOR DECADES ...
(PROBABLY AT LEAST A CENTURY BY THE TIME OF SAMUEL). SO WHY, AFTER ALL THIS CONTACT BETWEEN YISHARAL AND THE PHILISTINES, WASN’T IT COMMON KNOWLEDGE FOR THE PHILISTINES THAT (UNLIKE ANY OTHER EXISTING SOCIETY OR NATION) YISHARAL ONLY ACKNOWLEDGED ONE ALAHIM, EVEN IF THE PHILISTINES DIDN’T KNOW THE PARTICULARS OR FOUND SUCH A THING TO BE RATHER LAUGHABLE? THEY WERE CERTAINLY AWARE OF WHAT HAPPENED DOWN IN EGYPT. AND THERE HAD BEEN INTER-MARRIAGE BETWEEN PHILISTINES AND HEBREWS EVEN THOUGH YISHARAL’S LEADERSHIP DISCOURAGED IT, SO THERE WAS AMPLE OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PHILISTINES TO HEAR ABOUT YAHUSHA. SO WHAT GIVES ??
THE SAD ANSWER IS THAT YISHARAL WAS SO DYSFUNCTIONAL AND CASUAL IN THEIR LIFESTYLE OF FOLLOWING YAHUSHA THAT THEY MADE NO IMPRESSION ON THEIR NEIGHBOURS AT ALL. INSTEAD OF YISHARAL INFLUENCING THE CANAANITES AND THE PHILISTINES, YISHARAL BEGAN TO LOOK A LOT LIKE THE CANAANITES AND THE PHILISTINES.
INSTEAD OF THE PHILISTINES UNDERSTANDING THAT THE YISHARALITES RECOGNISED ONLY ONE UNIQUE AND ALL-POWERFUL ALAHIM, THEY SAW NOTHING SPECIAL OR TERRIBLY DIFFERENT ABOUT HOW YISHARAL WENT ABOUT THEIR LIVES; THEY LOOKED PRETTY MUCH LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. WE HAVE BEEN CONSTANTLY LEARNING OF HOW THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL ERECTED SHRINES TO VARIOUS GODS AND GODDESSES, BUILDING ASHTEROTH ON HIGH PLACES, AND ADOPTING PAGAN WORSHIP PRACTICES AND MIXING IT ALL WITH THE WORSHIP OF YAHUSHA. IDOLATRY WAS RUNNING RAMPANT NOT JUST THROUGHOUT THE COMMON FOLK OF THE 12 TRIBES BUT ALSO THEIR LEADERSHIP AND EVEN THE LEVITE PRIESTHOOD TOO.
THE DEATH OF HOPHNI AND PHINEHAS ON THE SAME DAY WAS THE SIGN THAT YAHUSHA, THROUGH HIS UNNAMED RANDOM GUY, HAD TOLD ELI TO WATCH FOR. IT WAS THE UNMISTAKABLE SIGN THAT THE END OF THE HOUSE AND PRIESTLY LINE OF ELI HAD ARRIVED. BUT AT THE SAME MOMENT THE IRREPLACEABLE ARK OF YAHUSHA WAS ALSO CAPTURED AND TOGETHER WITH THE DEATHS OF THE TWO HIGH-RANKING PRIESTS WHO HAD ACCOMPANIED THE ARK ...
... IT BECAME PROOF TO ALL OF THOSE PRESENT THAT YAHUSHA HAD FINALLY HAD ENOUGH OF THIS DEGENERATE PEOPLE AND DISGUSTING PRIESTHOOD. YAHUSHA HAD WITHDRAWN FROM YISHARAL LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL BECAUSE THE LEADERSHIP WERE SO INSANE AND DECEIVED THAT THEY ACTUALLY THOUGHT THEY COULD FORCE YAHUSHA TO FIGHT A FIGHT THAT THEY WANTED FOUGHT; A FIGHT IN THE MANNER, PLACE AND TIME OF THEIR CHOOSING, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY TRANSPORTED A GOLD-COATED WOODEN CHEST TO THE BATTLE, AS THOUGH YAHUSHA IS A LUCKY CHARM OR JUST ANOTHER PAGAN DEITY !!
That same day a soldier from the Tribe of Benjamin came running from the battlefront to Shiloh, screaming the news about the battle. His clothes were torn and he’d put dirt on his head to show his sorrow, and when everyone heard his news they broke down and began to weep.
Eli the High Priest had been so afraid that something might happen to the Ark of the Blood-Covenant, that he was sitting on his chair beside the road, near the wall of the town gate, waiting in anticipation for news. He was ninety-eight years old now and blind, but he could hear everyone crying, and he asked, “What’s all the hullabulloo?”
And when the man said that the Philistines had captured the Ark, Eli fell backwards on his chair, and because he was a very heavy old man, the fall broke his neck and killed him instantly. He had been a leader of Yisharal for forty years.
The wife of Phinehas (Eli’s son) was also about to give birth. And soon after she heard that the Ark had been captured and that her husband and his father had died, the shock sent her into labour. And the birth was so hard that she was dying, but the women taking care of her said, “Don’t be afraid dear, it’s a beautiful baby boy!”
But she didn’t pay any attention, stunned by the loss of her husband, her father-in-law and the Ark.
Then the soldier hurried over and told Eli, “I escaped from the fighting today and ran straight here.”
“What happened mate?” Eli asked.
“Yisharal fleed from the Philistines, 1000's of our people were killed, including your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. But worst of all, our precious Ark of Yahuah’s Blood-Covenant was captured!”
And cried out, “ICHABOD! ICHABOD! Call him Ichabod because our Esteem is gone! YAHUAH'S BUGGERED OFF! ICHABOD! He's gone!! The Alahim of Yisharal left our country when the Ark was captured!”
IN HEBREW `ICHABOD' LITERALLY MEANS, “WHERE IS THE ESTEEM, THE POWER, THE PORTAL, THE PRESENCE?" (REFERRING TO YAHUSHA) RELIGION SAYS `GLORY’. REMEMBER THE THICK ESTEEM THAT COVERED ADAM & KUAH LIKE A THICK BLANKET OF WARMTH IN THE GARDEN, THE LOSS OF WHICH MADE THEM FEEL NAKED TO THE CORE?
IT WAS YAHUSHA'S ESTEEM THAT WOULD APPEAR ABOVE THE WINGED CHERUBIM OF THE ARK. IT WAS THE INTER-DIMENSIONAL DOORWAY OF CONNECTION IN THE TENT SANCTUARY THAT GAVE THAT PLACE ITS VALUE AND MEANING AND SET-APARTNESS. SO WITH THE LOSS OF THE ARK (THE RESTING PLACE FOR YAHUSHA’S PRESENCE), THE ESTEEM WAS LITERALLY GONE.
WE CAN SKIP OVER THIS EVENT TOO FAST AND NOT REALISE THE ENORMITY OF WHAT LOSING THE PRESENCE OF THE ARK MEANT TO THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL AND WHY ELI AND HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW BOTH DIED, VIRTUALLY FROM THE OVERWHELMING SHOCK OF LEARNING OF IT.
EVEN THOUGH (OUTWARDLY) YISHARAL HAD SYNCRETISED THEIR DAILY LIVES WITH THE NATIONS AROUND THEM, BEHAVING JUST LIKE EVRYONE ELSE ... FOR THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL ...
Losing the Ark meant that Yahusha Himself was gone! And if Yahusha was gone, then the One who established the Blood-Covenant was gone, meaning it was no longer valid!So what? Well the Blood-Covenant (first established with Abram, renewed through circumcision with Abraham, continued through Isaac and Jacob, renewed again at Sinai with Moses as an Everlasting Law and renewed again 40 years later with Joshua going into the land as a working legislation and lifestyle)…..
YES! This Blood-Covenant was Yisharal’s National Identity on this earth - it’s what set them apart and made any of their history mean anything. Even though they had no standing government or physical king (status or power), Yahusha's Promises gave their everyday lives meaning and purpose. So if Yahusha had buggered off and His Blood-Covenant was no longer valid (as they thought) then all rights to their land inheritance of Canaan (as given to Abraham) ceased.
BUT LET’S ALSO NOTICE THAT YAHUSHA HAS NOW TAKEN DRASTIC ACTION TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF REDEMPTIVE HISTORY IN YISHARAL ...
ALL IN THE SAME DAY:
*THE PEOPLE OF YISHARAL WERE PUNISHED FOR CENTURIES OF EVER-INCREASING LAWLESSNESS AND IDOLATRY BY LOSING 30,000 OF THEIR MEN IN BATTLE.
*THE PRIESTHOOD WAS EMPTIED OUT AND THOSE IN CHARGE, (ELI, HOPHNI AND PHINEHAS) WERE ALSO DEAD.
*THE POWER BEHIND THE PRIESTHOOD (THE ESTEEM OF YAHUSHA) AND THE ARK (THE SIGN OF YAHUSHA’S ESTEEM) WERE ENTIRELY REMOVED FROM YISHARAL’S POSSESSION.
*THE TABERNACLE NO LONGER HAD ANY PURPOSE OR MEANING BECAUSE THE ONE WHO USED TO DWELL THERE (AND GAVE IT PURPOSE AND MEANING) HAS ABANDONED IT.
AND THE PLACE OF THE EMPTY TABERNACLE (SHILOH) WAS NOW JUST ANOTHER CULT SITE, NOT MUCH DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER RITUAL SITE THAT THE PAGANS USED. AND FROM HERE ON OUT SHILOH STOPPED HAVING ANY SPIRITUAL MEANING FOR THE HEBREWS.
THE ARK WAS INDEED A MAGNIFICENT SIGHT, AND IT WAS ALSO YAHUSHA’S FOOTSTOOL (WHEN HE CHOSE TO INHABIT IT). BUT YAHUSHA WAS HARDLY A GENIE IMPRISONED IN A BOTTLE WHO WAS SHUTTLED AROUND MERELY TO DO THE BIDDING OF HIS HUMAN MASTERS. WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED IN NUMEROUS SCRIPTURES THAT WHEN YAHUSHA WISHED TO SPEAK TO HIS PEOPLE HE WOULD APPEAR IN THE MOST SET-APART PLACE AND HOVER ABOVE THE MERCY SEAT, THE LID OF THE ARK...
AND APPARENTLY WHAT ARRIVED AT THE BATTLEFIELD WAS A GOLDEN BOX DEVOID OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND SO YISHARAL WAS SLAUGHTERED TO THE TUNE OF 30,000 DEAD. BUT EVEN WORSE, THE TWO PRIESTS SENT TO ATTEND THE ARK WERE ALSO KILLED. YET THAT PALED IN COMPARISON TO THE PHILISTINES’ CAPTURE OF THE ARK OF YAHUSHA. THE SHOCK OF THAT NEWS WAS SO GREAT THAT IT CAUSED ELI TO TUMBLE OVER BACKWARDS FROM HIS CHAIR AND BREAK HIS NECK; AND FOR HIS DAUGHTER-IN-LAW TO BE SUDDENLY SEIZED WITH PREMATURE AND ABNORMAL LABOR AND DIE IN CHILDBIRTH.
HOW DOES IT FEEL WITHOUT THE LOVE OF YAHUSHA?
WE ALL KNOW THE DEVASTATING DARKNESS OF NOT HAVING HIS DIVINE ESTEEM AND OPEN-PORTAL ACCESS WITHIN OUR HEARTS.
IS LIFE WORTH LIVING WITHOUT HIM?
YAHUSHA LEFT YISHARAL (EVENTUALLY DIVORCED THEM) AND VOWED NEVER TO RETURN TO MAN-MADE STRUCTURES AGAIN, AND HE HASN'T.
BUT EVEN THE BLOOD-BOUGHT, IMMERSED BRIDE OF YAHUSHA HAS THE CAPACITY TO BEHAVE IN SUCH A WAY THAT OFFENDS HIM, AND HE WON'T BE AMOUNG THEM IF THEY REFUSE TO LISTEN AND FOLLOW.
OF COURSE THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL WALK, BUT REMEMBER HALF THE BRIDE IS WISE AND HALF IS FOOLISH . . . AND WE CAN FEEL WHICH CAMP WE'RE IN, WHETHER YAHUSHA IS PLEASED WITH US OR NOT, AND IF YOU'RE EXPERIENCING ICHABOD, YOU'D BETTER FACE YOUR TRUTHS AND WAKE UP QUICK-SMART !!
HE ONLY ACCEPTS THE HOT (NOT COLD OR LUKE-WARM), THOSE TUNED INTO HIS VOICE AND WANTING TO PLEASE HIM BECAUSE THEY'RE SO GRATEFUL FOR HIS OVERWHELMING LOVE.