The Barley Overcomers
The second part of the series, The Barley Overcomers is an in depth study of events in the Bible that occurred at the time of the barley harvest (wave-sheaf offering. We find that barley is always associated with the overcomers, life, the first resurrection, and coming into Sonship at the feast of Tabernacles.
Israel's Three Feasts
When God led Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness and into the Promised Land, He instituted various holidays, or “feast days” to commemorate important events. The three main feast days are Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Passover commemorates Israel's departure from Egypt; Pentecost commemorates the day God descended upon Mt. Sinai to give Israel the Law; Tabernacles commemorates the time Israel was supposed to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land.
It is very important that Christians study these feast days in detail, because they reveal the plan of God for the entire earth on a grand scale. They also reveal the plan of salvation on the individual level. The story written by Moses is not only history, but also is a great allegorical novel by which we can know the mind of God.
On the personal level, the story of Israel in the wilderness gives us the three steps toward full salvation. Step one is revealed by the feast of Passover. When a man's faith is placed in God through Christ, the “Lamb of God,” he is said to become a Christian. He is “justified” by faith in the blood of the Lamb (Christ). This is why Jesus had to die on the cross at the feast of Passover. He was the true Passover Lamb.
Most Christians are aware that there is more to the Christian life than justification. Just as Israel had a long way to go before entering the Promised Land, so also the justified Christian has a long way to go before attaining to the full promise of God. And yet, the Christian life is too often explained purely as a New Testament teaching, without tying it to the foundation of the Old Testament which God carefully established in His dealings with Israel. For this reason, some teach that once they are justified by faith, there is very little more to do except to try to get others saved. This is comparable to an Israelite coming out of Egypt, and then remaining on the shores of the Red Sea trying to coax more people to come out of Egypt. While one should indeed witness to people, Christians must see that their justification does not mean that they are already in the Promised Land.
One must go beyond Egypt and beyond the Red Sea (baptism) to Sinai, where Pentecost is experienced. This is the place of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. It is the place where we learn obedience and where the Law of God is written on our hearts. It is the place where we come to know God not only as Savior, but also as a King to be obeyed.
Unfortunately, many who claim a pentecostal experience seem to treat it purely as a New Testament phenomenon, not knowing that this feast has its roots in the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. As a result, many who deem themselves pentecostal by experience think they have been given a license to be lawless and can violate any of the divine laws with immunity, so long as their lawlessness is done in “love.” They often taught that love somehow replaced the law of God, instead of seeing that love is defined by the law and is therein expressed.
Such are the ones Jesus addressed in Matt. 7:21-23,
What good is one's pentecostal experience if the Christian refuses to be led by the Spirit and learn obedience? What good is the pentecostal experience if the Christian refuses to have the law of God written on his heart? Jesus says that if the Christian remains lawless, He will tell them in the end, “Depart from Me.” There will probably be many surprised Christians in that day. This does not mean that those Christians will lose their salvation. But they will indeed lose the blessing of the first resurrection and will have to await the second at the Great White Throne. (See The Purpose of Resurrection or chapter 2 of The Laws of the Second Coming.)
Furthermore, many who have truly gone beyond the Red Sea and have experienced Pentecost are told that they have attained the “full gospel.” This view is comparable to Israel refusing to move away from Mt. Sinai to go to the Promised Land. There is really no “full gospel” until one goes beyond Pentecost and learns the principles of the feast of Tabernacles.
After giving the Law to Israel, God sent them to Kadesh-Barnea, where they sent twelve men to “spy out the land.” When they returned, the spies unanimously agreed that it was a good land to inherit. However, ten of them brought a message of fear, insisting that they would be unable to conquer the land. Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, had faith that God would give them the land and urged the people to cross the Jordan as God had commanded. The people then wanted to stone them! Caleb and Joshua escaped being stoned only because the glory of God frightened the people.
That “decision day” was the 50th Jubilee from Adam. (See our book, Secrets of Time.) It should have been a day of rejoicing and gladness, a day of blowing the trumpet as the signal for every man to come into his inheritance (Lev. 25:13). Because they refused to enter the land, having no faith, this day came to be commemorated as the Day of Atonement, a day of mourning, fasting, and repentance.
If Israel had followed the recommendation of Caleb and Joshua, they would have actually entered Canaan five days later on the first day of Tabernacles. This festival was a seven-day period representing the time of the conquest of Canaan. (When Israel did finally cross the Jordan 38 years later, it took six years to subdue the Canaanites; in the seventh year the land was divided up among all the tribes and families of Israel. In other words, it was seven years from the Jordan Crossing to the Inheritance.)
A detailed study of the feasts leading up to the feast of Tabernacles can be found in our longer book, The Laws of the Second Coming. Studying these things shows that there is more to salvation than just the spring feasts of Passover and Pentecost. The fall feasts deal with the final perfection of man. It is meant to portray man's true inheritance in the land.
The Promised Land is NOT in heaven, but on earth. Canaan was a land filled with “giants” and “enemies” of God who had to be conquered and destroyed. It is common knowledge in many circles that these “giants” represent the carnal tendencies of our own flesh, which we are called to subdue and conquer. This is absolutely correct, but the obvious lesson is often missed. Our bodies are our inheritance.
Like Canaan, our bodies are presently inhabited with lawless and ungodly desires that rule us. This has been the case ever since Adam, whose sin sold us all into bondage. God had formed Adam from the dust of the ground. His flesh was made of earth (Heb. adama), and hence he was named after the ground from which he came. This glorified flesh was his inheritance. But through sin, Adam incurred a “debt” that he could not pay. So he was sold into bondage to the earth (Gen. 3:17-23) until such time as a near Kinsman would come to redeem him. Adam lost the wonderful, glorified body which had been clothed in the light of God. After his sin, he was naked and ashamed, and God clothed them with coats of skins (Gen. 3:21).
The whole idea behind God's plan of salvation is to reverse the effects of Adam's sin upon creation. The law and the prophets from Genesis to Revelation show us how man is redeemed and how he regains the glorified, immortal body that is his lost inheritance. The feast days inform us of the three steps toward receiving this full inheritance: justification, sanctification, and glorification. We are justified in our spirit, sanctified in our soul, and glorified in our body.
The first major pattern of this process of full salvation is found in Israel's wilderness journey under Moses. At Passover, Israel became “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38), for they were justified by faith. At Pentecost, Israel was given the Holy Spirit. However, they refused to hear His voice, so they were led, not by the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, but by an external pillar of cloud and fire. Even so, they had opportunity to learn obedience.
Then if Israel had gone into the Promised Land on the 50th Jubilee, as Caleb and Joshua had recommended, they would have regained the inheritance that had been lost in Adam. That is, they would have been fully glorified, fully changed into His glory as they passed by the ark. They would have exchanged their coats of skins for the “house which is from heaven” (2 Cor. 5:2), as Paul put it. They would have been released at that Jubilee from the house of bondage, and every one of them would have returned to his inheritance. They would have inherited far more than a mere piece of real estate in Canaan. But this was not to be, for this was only a pattern. It was not possible for them to inherit the glorified body that side of the cross. Ultimately, they had to settle for a parcel of ground, rather than true and ultimate inheritance.
Israel's story tells us that our inheritance is not to be received in heaven as a spirit, but on earth in a glorified body. Our hope, the “Promised Land,” is not to forsake the earth and go to heaven, but is “the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23). It is to receive the type of body that Jesus had after His resurrection. It is a body that is immortal and glorified. It is a body that has authority in both heaven and in earth, because it has the genes from both realms, even as Jesus Himself did.
Ezekiel 44 speaks of this in terms of “the sons of Zadok” having the right to minister to God in the Sanctuary, but also having the right to minister to the people in the outer court. While it is couched in Old Testament terminology, the prophets make it clear that we now have a New Jerusalem, and our bodies are the true temples of God (1 Cor. 3:16). A change has also been made in the priesthood (Heb. 7:11, 12). The sons of Zadok represent the Melchizedek Order—the new priesthood under Jesus Christ, the High Priest of this Order (Heb. 7:21).
And so Ezekiel 44 speaks of these “sons of Zadok” changing their garments when they go from ministering to God in the Sanctuary to ministering to the people in the outer court. Ez. 44:17, 19 says,
Jesus gives us the prime example of how this works. After His resurrection, when He met with the disciples, He was able to appear in their midst even when the doors were shut and locked (John 20:19). While He was in the Sanctuary in heaven, He was figuratively dressed in linen garments. But when He ministered to the disciples in the outer court (those dwelling in fleshly bodies not yet glorified), He changed into other garments (wool), so that He might appear like them as one of the sheep. When He did so, He clothed Himself in flesh and bone and was able to eat earthly food with the disciples (Luke 24:37-43). As long as He ministered in the outer court, He was clothed in wool and was NOT a spirit, as He Himself proved. He was only a spirit when He disappeared, for then He changed His garments in order to minister in the Sanctuary.
This is what all the “sons of Zadok” can expect when they recover the inheritance lost in Adam. They will no longer be bound by the normal limitations of the flesh. When the appointed time arrives when they will be given their inheritance, they will have a thousand years to minister to those yet remaining in their “outer court.” They will teach these people to know God. Then will be fulfilled the prophecies about all nations walking in the light of God and rejoicing before Him. God will use this new priesthood to cause the Stone Kingdom to grow until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).
In this process of the redemption of our body, we have been given the earnest, downpayment, or pledge of the Spirit (Eph. 1:14). God's glory, His Spirit, is now residing in us, but it is veiled by this flesh until the time of the full redemption (i.e., the feast of Tabernacles). Paul speaks of this quite clearly in Eph. 1:13, 14,
Paul says that the Ephesian believers knew God as Savior (Passover). But after believing in Him, they also came to experience God as King (Pentecost) and there received the earnest of the Spirit, even as Israel did at Mt. Sinai. The earnest of the Spirit is implanted within our bodies, because this is the beginning of the full inheritance, when our bodies shall be fully “changed” (1 Cor. 15:51). God has promised to change our bodies into spiritual flesh of the same kind Jesus had in His resurrection. Our hope is to be “in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5).
The purpose of creation is to manifest the spiritual in the earth, in the realm of matter, in order that matter (particularly man's body) may glorify God on earth as it is in heaven. In the plan of God, the move of the Spirit is from heaven to earth, not from earth to heaven. This is made plain by God's coming to earth at Mt. Sinai and by God's second coming to earth in the Perso n of Jesus Christ. It is seen also on the day of Pentecost, when He began to pour His Spirit into earthly, fleshly bodies.
When Israel refused to enter Canaan at their first opportunity, God judged them by refusing to allow that generation to inherit the promise. They had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all that generation had died.
When the people heard God's judgment, they “mourned greatly” (Num. 14:39). Many rose up the next morning and tried to inherit the land without awaiting the appointed time. They were smitten before their enemies (Num. 14:45).
Few people really understand the concept of appointed times. They think that if they just repent of NOT entering the Kingdom, that this gives them a license to inherit immediately. It does not work that way. Once the judgment of God has been set, it cannot be altered, and we must submit to the judgment of God, even as Caleb and Joshua had to wait.
Some understand that we Christians ought to cross over into the full inheritance. However, these often do not comprehend the appointed times, and this has caused problems. Some beat their fellow Christians for not being perfect yet. Many in the early Church tried very hard to attain perfection by living as hermits and monks in the deserts of Syria and Egypt, contemplating God and “buffeting the flesh” until it was near dead. They did not understand that once the Kingdom was rejected, the penalty was that “the Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38) would have to remain in the wilderness for 40 Jubilees until the fullness of time had come. This was the judgment of God for Israel, and it is the same for us.
We should, of course, learn the path of obedience and seek perfection. But we must do so with a basic comprehension of the appointed times, lest we be overcome with guilt and grief for not overcoming the “giants” of our Canaans yet. It was by faith that Caleb and Joshua urged Israel to inherit the land; it was also by faith that Caleb and Joshua did NOT cross Jordan the next day, after God had decreed against it.
Caleb and Joshua are the “overcomers” of the Old Testament. They had the attitude that we must emulate. Part of that overcoming attitude means we must know the appointed times, so that we jump when he says to jump; and stay when He says to stay. It is not enough to enter the land; one must do it at the appointed time. It is not enough to do good; one must do it in the manner God prescribes. A man is “not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5).
This is the hour for the overcomers to come to the forefront and show their faith, even as Caleb and Joshua. With this appointed times in mind, we will now discuss the revelation of the overcomers, depicted in Scripture as barley.
The Barley Harvest
Each of the three main feast days of Israel, which we have already discussed briefly, are associated with different harvests. The barley ripens first around the time of Passover; the wheat ripens later around the time of Pentecost; and the grapes ripen last just prior to the feast of Tabernacles.
These three crops depict three classes of people, as we will show soon. The barley represents the overcomer; the wheat represents the Church; and the grapes represent the unbelievers. There is a profound revelation in each of these crops, but our present study will focus on just the first one, barley.
The wave-sheaf offering shortly after Passover was the first fruits of the barley that the priest offered to God in the early spring. It was always waved “on the day after the Sabbath” after Passover (Lev. 23:11). This day is sometimes called the feast of the first fruits or the counting of the omer.
Barley was the first crop to ripen in the spring in Canaan and Egypt. In fact, the Hebrew month of Abib (“green ears”) has direct reference to the ripening of barley in that month. On the first day of that month, the priest would inspect a sheaf of barley to see if it had “eared out” yet. If so, it was announced to all the people that Passover would be observed in Jerusalem two weeks later. If the barley grain was still closed, with the grain covered by the husk, the priest would announce that they would have to wait another month before Passover could be observed lawfully.
In such a case, a thirteenth month would be added to the previous year, rather than starting the new year with that month. Lunar months are only 29 1/2 days long, so 12 lunar months only covered 354 days. Thus, in order to keep pace with the seasons and the solar cycles, the Hebrews would add a reset month every two or three years. The earing of the barley determined whether that month was to be a 13th “reset” month or the first month of the new year.
This was also important, because it retained the symbolism of Israel's feast days. Passover signified the death of the lamb and had prophetic reference to the crucifixion of Jesus. The wave-sheaf offering signified resurrection from the dead, for on this day Jesus was raised. Thus, the people could not lawfully observe the Passover unless the barley was eared out, for this signified newness of life.
Jesus presented Himself before His Father in the heavenly Temple at the time the priest waved the barley sheaf in the earthly temple. The waving motion, up and down, signified resurrection. Though Jesus had actually been raised from the dead “very early in the morning” (Luke 24:1), He did not allow Mary to touch Him prior to the wave-sheaf offering (John 20:17). Not until the wave-sheaf offering was Jesus declared legally alive in the court of heaven.
When God was dealing with Pharaoh to allow Israel to leave, He sent ten plagues upon Egypt. The seventh plague was that of hail, which destroyed the barley and flax, but not the wheat and spelt. (This took place just prior to the Passover, which took place with the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn.) We read in Ex. 9:31, 32.
The barley was ripe and eared out just prior to that first Passover. But the wheat was not yet ripe.
We see another example of this forty years later, when Israel was ready to cross the Jordan. Joshua sent two spies to Jericho. It was the time of Passover (Joshua 5:10), and Rahab hid the spies under stalks of flax (Joshua 2:6). Flax ripened at the same time as barley, as we saw from Ex. 9:31. Linen comes from flax. It was used to make priestly garments, and in Rev. 19:8 we see that “fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
The week after Passover is also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The people were required to remove all leaven from their houses for a full seven days. Leaven is symbolic of sin; thus, removing the leavened bread depicts the removal of all sin from one's house (body). This is the same symbolism as we find in flax, for to be clothed in flax (linen) is to depict putting on the righteousness of Christ. So all of these things work together, woven into a complete picture of the plan of God for Christ and the overcoming body. The body of Christ (the overcomers) who are identified with their Head will soon follow Him in the first resurrection.
We have already dealt with Israel's three feast days and their significance on the personal level. They represent the three stages of salvation from justification to sanctification to glorification. It is now time to view the feast days from a much broader perspective. These feast days reveal the nature and scope of the resurrections from the dead. Each crop represents a different class of people. The barley, which ripens first, represents the overcomers of the first resurrection; the wheat, which ripens at Pentecost, represents the rest of the Church (i.e., believers in general); and the grapes, which are trodden down at the end of the growing season represent the unbelievers who are judged according to their works.
In this present study we will limit our focus to the barley company, showing the revelation God has given in this first “harvest of souls” called by John the first resurrection. This is the first of “three times in the year” when all the males were to appear before God's throne in Jerusalem (Ex. 34:23).
The Hebrew word for barley is sehoraw. Strong's Concordance says that the feminine form means “plant,” and the masculine form means “grain.” There is another word for grain as well, and this Hebrew word sheds much light on the symbolic meaning of barley. It is the Hebrew word bar. In Gen. 41:35 and 49 we read that Joseph gathered grain in preparation for the coming famine. The King James Version translates it “corn,” but this was not corn in the modern sense of the word, for Egypt did not grow corn. Corn is an old English word for grain in general, but in modern times the word has acquired a more specific definition and refers to a specific grain.
The Hebrew word, bar, or “grain,” may possibly be the root of our modern word for barley. But bar also has some other meanings. It means a SON, in the sense of an heir. For example, Barabbas (John 18:40) means “son of the father,” and Barnabas means “son of consolation” (Acts 4:36). Barley thus signifies the overcomers, who are known also as the “sons of God.” This term is used of Israel in Hosea 1:10, because the prophet pictures Israel as being seed scattered in the field (the world), who ultimately would bring forth a great harvest of sons. In John 1:12 we read,
Again, we read in Rom. 8:14,
Paul says that the sons of God are also heirs of God. Paul was referring to the fact that the Hebrew word, bar, means both a son and an heir. Romans 8 was Paul's introduction to his Israel chapters (Rom. 9-11). He tells us the way Hosea's prophecy will be fulfilled is only through Jesus Christ. Israel had been divorced (Jer. 3:8) and sent out of His house from 745-721 B.C. God had even stripped her of the birthright name, “Israel.”
Those ex-Israelites never returned to the old land, as did the Jews from the southern kingdom. The only way that those lost Israelites could ever be reinstated in the Kingdom of God was through Jesus Christ. Paul says that they had to be led by the Spirit of God in order to be the sons of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
Further, the word, bar, also means “a field” in the Chaldean language used in Daniel 2 and 4. It is number 1251 in Strong's Concordance. The connection between a field and the grain that grows in the field is obvious.
The first Scripture relevant to any study of barley is Leviticus 27:16. It reads,
The value of a homer of barley in the eyes of God is fifty shekels of silver. Fifty is the number of Pentecost and Jubilee. Pentecost was to be celebrated on the 50th day; Jubilee is the 50th year. Both are revelations of the outpouring of the Spirit of God. Pentecost is the time when the earnest of the Spirit was poured out (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5). The Jubilee signifies a greater outpouring, that is, the fullness (pleroma) of the Spirit. Paul prayed to be “filled with all the fullness (pleroma) of God” (Eph. 3:19).
Thus, while Pentecost is a downpayment of a Jubilee, or the promise of a Jubilee, both are depicted by the number 50. The barley is valued at 50 shekels of silver, and this associates the barley with the outpouring of the Spirit, both in its earnest and its fullness.
This is consistent with the revelation of the overcomers who attain to the first resurrection or—if they are alive at the end of the age—their “change” (transfiguration) without dying. It is also consistent with the revelation of the “unleavened bread” at Passover and the flax (white linen) ripening at the same time, which is used in the priestly garments.
All of these details point to the fact that the barley company is the first to be raised of all of God's creatures. James 1:18 says,
In the book of Revelation, we are told of the 144,000 who sing a new song before the throne of God. In Rev. 14:4 these are called “the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” First fruits imply that a greater harvest is yet to come. Even as Jesus was “the First fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20), so also are the overcomers of the first resurrection (the “144,000” of Rev. 14) the first fruits of others yet to come. The first fruits offering always signaled the beginning (not the end) of the harvest.
Paul alluded to the law of first fruits again in Rom. 11:16 (KJV), saying,
The first fruits always sanctified the harvest. When the first fruits of a crop, whether barley or wheat, were offered to God, then the people could go home and harvest the rest of that crop. For this reason, James tells us that the Church is the first fruits of creation. When the Church is “harvested” and brought into God's house, it is not the end of the world, but the beginning of a greater harvest.
Likewise, the overcomers are the first fruits of the Church. They are the “first of the first fruits” (Ex. 23:19), that is, the barley first fruits that were offered shortly after the feast of Passover. These are the ones who inherit the first resurrection. Rev. 20:6 says,
The rest of the dead, both unbelievers and the rest of the believers, will not be raised until the thousand years is finished. Then all of the dead, small and great, will be raised. At that time, the non-overcoming believers will receive LIFE, while the unbelievers will received JUDGMENT, as Jesus said in John 5:28, 29,
It is apparent from Jesus' statement that the resurrection at the Great White Throne will include believers that will be given life, or immortality, as well as the unbelievers that will be judged. This is why we ought to strive to attain “a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). The first resurrection is the better resurrection. Those who attain the better resurrection are those who will rule and reign with Christ during the thousand years of the Tabernacles Age.
Barley StoriesGideon: The Cake of Barley
Gideon is an interesting Bible character, because his ministry reveals not only the character of the barley company, but also shows it in relation to the wheat and the grapes. Israel had been forced to pay tribute to the Midianites for seven years (Judges 6:1). When Israel finally repented and cried out to God for deliverance, God sent them a prophet to give them a history lesson (Judges 6:8-10). This was to show them why God had brought this captivity upon them. As Paul wrote many years later, these history lessons were written for our learning. They are examples of how God deals with men and nations.
When the people repented at the word of the prophet, then God sent an angel to commission Gideon as a judge, or deliverer, to save Israel. The angel found Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress (Judges 6:11). Since it was wheat harvest time, we know that this call came in early summer at the time of Pentecost, for that is the time wheat ripened.
Gideon's threshing wheat in the winepress depicts the calling to remove the chaff (carnal nature) from the wheat (the Church). The winepress signifies judgment that is normally reserved for unbelievers and yet somehow applied to the Church. Gideon's actions here are striking, because one does not normally thresh wheat in a winepress, but on a hilltop where the wind can blow the chaff away. This seeming incongruity is matched only by the statement in Rev. 14:18, which says:
One does not harvest grapes with a sickle, any more than one threshes wheat in a winepress! These are highly symbolic things, but the main thing for our purpose is to show that the wheat company (non-overcoming Church) will undergo trial by fire to see if their works are made of wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12).
When Gideon finally gathered his tiny army of 300 against the host of the 120,000 Midianites, he wanted confirmation that this was not just his own carnal plan. After all, the situation seemed hopeless. So God told him to spy out the enemy camp to receive his confirmation. Judges 7:13, 14 says,
We see from this that Gideon and his army represent the barley company, the overcomers who will inherit the promise of God at the end of this present age. The manner in which Gideon's army defeated the enemy tells us HOW the overcomers of today will receive the promise.
Each of the men in Gideon's army was given a trumpet and a torch inside an earthen jar, or pitcher. With little oxygen in the jar, the torches could only glow. At the signal, they blew their trumpets and broke the jars, holding up the torches in the air, causing them to burst into flames.
The trumpet signifies the Feast of Trumpets, which prophesies of the first resurrection when the trumpet sounds. The Feast of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Since they blew the trumpet on the first day of each month to mark the calendar, the Feast of Trumpets is the seventh trumpet. It is the final trumpet in the series of feast days laid down in the law. Of this event, Paul speaks in 1 Cor. 15:52, saying,
When Gideon's army blew the trumpets, they prophesied of the resurrection of the dead, and this was the first event by which the enemy was conquered. Likewise, it is the first prophetic event that will occur in the events leading up to the second coming of Christ.
The second event deals more with those believers who are living at the time of the second coming of Christ. The torches within the pitchers signify the hidden presence of God in our bodies—the earthen vessels. Nine days after blowing the trumpet for the first resurrection comes the Day of Atonement and the Jubilee. These bodies of death will be broken. The debt that Adam incurred will be cancelled.
The feast of Tabernacles is the third prophetic feast to be fulfilled. It occurred from the fifteenth to the twenty-second day of the seventh month. It prophesies of the glory of God bursting into view, the light shining out of the darkness, even as the torches of Gideon's army burst into sight around the Midianites. This speaks of the change taking place in the bodies of the overcomers. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:51,
This change is foreshadowed by the transfiguration of Jesus' body on the mount. We read of this in Matt. 17:1, 2, saying,
This is the pattern of the change, or transfiguration, of those who will inherit the promise of the feast of Tabernacles. The timing of this event is given prophetically as “six days later,” and this is probably a reference to the end of six thousand years from Adam.
Moses' face, too, was glorified in an Old Testament type and shadow of transfiguration. We read of this in Exodus 34. In his pattern, Moses returned from the mount after 40 days. Moses was a type of Christ who ascended and then returned. The 40 days is probably a reference to the 40 Jubilees of the Church Age under Pentecost. This ended in 1993, at which time (I believe) we entered into the transition into the Age of Tabernacles. This subject is covered in our book, Secrets of Time.
When Paul was expounding upon the transfiguration of Moses (2 Cor. 3 and 4), he spoke first of God's command in Gen. 1:3, saying, “Let there be light.” Next, Paul made reference to the torches held by Gideon's barley company, saying in 4:6, 7,
At present, this glory of God—our inheritance—is the valuable “treasure,” but it is hidden in “earthen vessels.” The breaking of these vessels is a death of the fl esh. God deals with us in matters of daily obedience in order that we may put the flesh to death a little at a time. That way, when the appointed time comes, we may be able to stand the final breaking necessary to manifest the glory of God.
If we were to delve deeper into the rest of the battle against the Midianites, we would see how Gideon affected the wheat company. He asked for help from the men of Succoth and of Penuel (Judges 8:5-9), but they all refused to assist Gideon in the battle. They did not have the faith to believe that Gideon could actually win the battle. When Gideon returned after his victory, he first disciplined the men of Succoth (Judges 8:16). Then he went to Penuel and tore down their denominational tower, their “tower of Babel” (Judges 8:17).
Succoth means “booths” or “tabernacles” and prophetically speaks of those with a vision of the feast of Tabernacles, but who refuse to actually do what is required of an overcomer. They are, in effect, a part of the lawless company of Matt. 7:23 who are disqualified from the first resurrection. They must be disciplined and scourged (probably not literally) and will await the second resurrection to receive their reward of life.
Jesus' parable in Luke 12:45-48 illustrates this very thing. It is the parable where the carnal servants of God are to be beaten with few or many stripes and given their portion with the unbelievers. That is, they are raised from the dead at the same time as the unbelievers at the second resurrection.
The men of Penuel represent those who have placed their faith in the protection of their tower—the denominational system. The original tower of Babel divided the people into different languages. So also the denominational system divides the Church, each speaking a different religious language. Yet when the overcoming sons of God are manifested, their very presence will destroy the walls that divide the Church. They will speak the truth, and men will know the truth. Doctrinal disputes will become a thing of the past.
And so Gideon “threshed wheat in the winepress.” That is what he had been doing symbolically at the first appearance of the angel in 6:11. And that is what Gideon did to the wheat company, who are represented by the men of Succoth and Penuel.
Absalom: The Rebellious Son of David
Absalom, the oldest son of David, fits into this study because he burned Joab's barley field in order to get an audience with his father. This was an unlawful and rebellious act that revealed his heart in a way that is painfully reminiscent of the Church today.
Absalom's half brother, Amnon, had raped Tamar. She was Absalom's full sister and Amnon's half sister. David did nothing about it, so Absalom took the law into his own hands two years later by killing Amnon (2 Sam. 13:32). Absalom then fled to his in-laws in Geshur, where he remained for three years.
David, of course, loved Absalom greatly. He longed to see him (2 Sam. 13:39), but was restrained from calling him back from this self-imposed exile, because he recognized that Absalom had a rebellious heart. Finally, however, after three years, David allowed Absalom to return to Jerusalem, but David refused to see him (2 Sam. 14:28). We pick up the story from that point:
Joab came immediately, and Absalom soon got his audience with David. But the moment Absalom was recognized by the king, he immediately began to sow seeds of discontent among the people, telling them that David was unjust and did not do anything to bring justice to those who had grievances. “So Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel” (2 Sam. 15:6).
When the time was ripe, Absalom went to Hebron, where he had himself proclaimed king. David did not want to have a civil war, even though he certainly had the right to fight for his throne. But instead, David left Jerusalem, leaving ten of his concubines to keep the house. Absalom raped them all in the sight of the people (16:22).
David's friend and counselor, Ahithophel, the high priest, joined the conspiracy and actually counseled Absalom to rape the women of David's house. This situation revealed a hidden grudge that he had carried against David for many years, for Bathsheba was his granddaughter through his son Eliam (See 11:3 & 23:34). God had forgiven David's sin with Bathsheba, but Ahithophel had not. God used this incident to bring Ahithophel's heart bitterness to light.
Ahithophel also advised Absalom to pursue David immediately and aggressively, but God worked it out that this piece of advice was not followed. Ahithophel knew then that David would win in the end, so he went home, got his house in order, and hanged himself (17:23).
David was greatly hurt by Ahithophel's betrayal and wrote of him in Ps. 69 and again in Ps. 55:12-14, saying,
This passage refers to Ahithophel, but it is also prophetic of Judas, who betrayed Jesus. We read in Acts 1:16,
Ahithophel's counsel was for Absalom to take unlawful authority over David's wives and to take liberties with them that were not rightfully his. In the time of the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled the role of King David—the rightful Heir to the throne. The chief priests fulfilled the role of Absalom—the usurper of the throne. Judas fulfilled the role of Ahithophel, first in betraying his friend, and then in hanging himself. Those who believed in Jesus Christ fulfilled the role of David's wives, and the book of Acts portrays how the Jewish priests led the persecution of the early Church, the Bride of Christ.
At the end of the story, Absalom was killed in the final battle for the throne. David grieved over his son, for he loved him greatly with an unconditional love. Yet there was no doubt that Absalom was a usurper, for David had promised the throne to a younger son named Solomon, the son of Bathsheba.
In more recent times the Jews have again played the role of Absalom in their continuing state of revolt against the rightful rule of Jesus, the Heir to the throne. This time, however, the Church has played the role of Judas, insofar as these disciples of Jesus have assisted the Jews in usurping the birthright of Joseph (1 Chron. 5:1, 2). In our book, The Laws of the Second Coming, we showed how the first coming of Christ was of Judah in order to secure His throne rights. The kings of Israel (and ultimately the Messiah) were to come from the t ribe of Judah. But the second coming of Christ is of Joseph (Israel) in order to secure His birthright. Hence, when He comes, His garment is dipped in blood (Rev. 19:13), even as Joseph's coat was dipped in blood (Gen. 37:31).
The two comings of Christ are for very different purposes. The controversy surround Christ's first coming was over who would rule the kingdom—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (i.e., “Solomon”) or the Chief Priests, who preferred to take the kingdom by violence and force with a military messiah that would drive out the Romans.
The controversy surrounding Christ's second coming is over who would inherit the birthright and the right to use the birthright name, ISRAEL, which had been given to Joseph's sons (Gen. 48:16). Hence, in 1948 the new Jewish nation was not content to call itself JUDAH, but took upon itself the name ISRAEL, as if to say that they were the inheritors of the Kingdom and the birthright of Joseph.
This, then, is the nature of the controversy today. The Church, first the evangelicals and now even the Catholic Church, has assumed the role of Judas and Ahithophel in assisting the Jews in usurping the place of Joseph. Many even have fallen into the trap of thinking that the Jews are in a covenant relationship with God, regardless of whether they accept Jesus Christ as their King. On August 12, 2002 the United States Council of Catholic Bishops issued a public theological statement called Reflections on Covenant and Mission. This official document says that they will not seek to convert Jews to Christ. It reads,
Again, it reads,
This is the clearest statement of all saying blatantly that a Jew who continues to reject Jesus Christ not only CAN be saved, but IS SAVED simply by being a good follower of Judaism. Is a Jew saved by being a good Jew, following a religion that hates Jesus Christ? Is a Jew saved by his genetic descent from a godly man of the past?
What if a Christian converts to Judaism? Is he still saved? Why did the disciples even bother preaching to Jews in the early years, if they were already saved? Jesus said in John 14:6,
To say otherwise is to betray Jesus Christ. Much of the Church is playing the role of Judas in the modern world, the disciple who perhaps means well, but ends up betraying Jesus in the end.
Of course, we must emphasize that not all Christians are playing the role of Judas. That is not the point of this story. We are showing the distinction between the barley and the wheat, the overcomers and the Church in general. We are showing the relationship between Absalom and the barley company.
Even as Absalom burnt the field of barley in order to be acceptable before David, so also the Jewish leaders persecuted the early Church in order to be acceptable before God. The Apostle Paul at one time led the persecution. He wrote later in Gal. 1:13,
In Gal. 4:25, Paul says that the children of the old Jerusalem are in bondage. But apparently the Catholic Church has decided to leave the Jews in their bondage. Paul also said in 1 Thess. 2:14, 15,
The Absalom company has continued to reject King David and to burn the field of barley. Let us not be of the Ahithophel-Judas company that assists Absalom in the second appearance of Christ.
Our purpose here is not to malign the Church, but to try to motivate Christians to a deeper walk with God. We do not mean to be insulting; yet we must put our finger on the problem, lest we be guilty of vagueness. Paul said in 1 Cor. 14:8,
Ahithophel Counseled Lawlessness
Absalom's revolt against David began when he accused David of injustice and lack of justice. Absalom made himself out to be the champion of true justice in the land and portrayed David as being one who did not care about the people. We read Absalom's words in 2 Sam. 15:4, spoken to those who came looking for justice:
There are many injustices being done in the world, and men do not understand why God seems to do nothing about it. In fact, this is the primary argument in universities against the existence of a just God. The Jews are no exception to this, and so we see a high percentage of Jews who are atheists. Many others are cultural Jews who do not really believe in a personal God—and their main argument is that they could not believe in a God who would allow their people to undergo persecution and dispersion.
First of all, they forgot that God spelled out in detail what He would do to them if they were hostile to Him. These things are written in Leviticus 26 and in Deuteronomy 28. It is the law of tribulation that God would bring upon the people if they refused to follow Him. So they have no right to accuse God of injustice. All they have to do is to repent of their hostility toward the Lawgiver, Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament who was incarnated as a Man in the New Testament. Is that too much to ask?
Likewise, when the Church teaches that the Law of God has been abrogated, and that Christians have no further obligation to be obedient to Him, it is done with the same rebellious heart of Absalom. Some Christians have gone so far as to say that the law of God is a horrible thing invented by a “god of hate,” and that we now have a new law of Love to follow, they are accusing God of injustice precisely as Absalom did. Most do not go so far as to call the God of the Old Testament a “god of hate,” but nonetheless, the seeds of such bitter accusation are there.
When a Church teaches men to violate the law of God, even as Ahithophel counseled Absalom, they come under the category of believers that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:17-19.
Because many Church leaders have disagreed with God in the matter of justice, they have established their own standard of righteousness according to their own feelings of “love,” based largely upon their culture and what the world does. Have you ever noticed how the overall Church's sense of right and wrong has undergone great change to conform to the world's view? It only takes a generation or so to fully manifest the change. We have failed to teach our children the law of God. We have largely sent them on a voyage into open seas with no compass except to follow their own standard of “love,” which they inevitably define according to the world's view.
As a consequence, they do not know how to establish Christian government in their community, state, or nation. They blindly support the entire system of usury, excessive taxation, prison sentences for thieves (rather than restitution), and many even oppose the death penalty for premeditated murder, kidnapping, and adultery. The laws of men prevail, because the Church has destroyed or undermined the law of God, and society has become chaotic, full of injustice, and often dangerous. Instead of the Church converting the world to the Truth, the world has largely converted the Church to its standard of Roman law.
Many pastors and teachers have simply gone on strike and refused to teach the law of God to the people. They say it is irrelevant, no longer a standard of right and wrong that we must use to define sin. This is absolutely contrary to New Testament teaching, to say nothing of the Old Testament. John says that “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). Paul says he would not even know how to define sin, except by reading the law (Rom. 3:20; 7:7).
If any Church member takes it upon himself to learn the law, the chances are quite good that he will either have to repent of his learning or face a tirade about “falling from grace.” While few would accuse God of injustice to His face, they nonetheless say with Absalom in 2 Sam. 15:4,
In other words, “if I were God, I would do it right!” So in their zeal to establish “true justice” based on their carnal mind's definition of “love,” they do not realize that they are well on their way to being deceived by a heart of bitterness into raping the Bride of Christ.
This is not some unimportant issue. It is a question of rebellion and accusation against God. And yet, amazing as it may seem, God still loves the Church, even as David continued to love Absalom and Ahithophel.
Nonetheless, the Jewish State must suffer the same fate as did Absalom. His hair was long, and as he rode under a tree, his hair became tangled in the branches. When Joab, David's general, heard of it, he went and killed Absalom (2 Sam. 18:14). Likewise, the denominational systems that men mistakenly call “the Church” will also die by their own hand, even as Ahithophel hanged himself. Both of these deaths are necessary in order to free the people themselves.
The story of Absalom's rebellion takes up a full six chapters of Scripture (2 Sam. 13-18, plus two of the psalms.) This is obviously a very important incident in the Bible and one that contains serious warnings to the pentecostal wheat company as well as to the followers of Judaism.
Seven Sons of Saul Hanged at Barley Harvest
In 2 Samuel 21 we are told that there was a famine in the land during the days of David. David inquired of the Lord to discern its spiritual cause. The Lord answered:
David then called for Gibeonite representatives and asked them what he must do to right the wrong done to them. They requested that seven of the sons of Saul be delivered to them for execution. It is likely, then, that Saul had killed seven of the Gibeonites. David complied with that request.
The NASB translates this “in the first DAYS of harvest,” but the word “days” is not in the original Hebrew text. The translators did not understand the significance of this passage and so they inserted the word “days.” It should be understood as the first DAY of harvest, the beginning of barley harvest—hence, the day of the wave-sheaf offering. So while the high priest of Israel was waving the first fruits of the barley harvest, the seven sons of Saul were being executed by the Gibeonites.
The irony of this situation is apparent in that, years later, Jesus was raised from the dead on this day. It is a day of resurrection, but the sons of Saul were executed on this same day. This contrast can be understood only when we learn that Saul represents the Church under Pentecost, and his seven sons represent the Seven Churches in the Pentecostal era (33 to 1993 AD).
How do we know that Saul represents the wheat Church? Simply because Saul was crowned king over Israel on the day of Pentecost, the day when the high priest offered the first fruits of the wheat to God in the temple. When Samuel gave his speech on the day Saul was crowned king of Israel, he said in 1 Sam. 12:17,
According to the law in Lev. 23:14, no man was allowed to harvest a new crop of barley or wheat until the high priest had offered to God the first fruits of that harvest. For instance, the day of barley harvest would be the wave-sheaf offering shortly after Passover. Once the high priest had offered the first fruits of barley to God, the people were then allowed to harvest and eat of their new crop of barley.
The same was true of the wheat harvest. No man could harvest or eat of the new crop of wheat until the day of Pentecost. Consequently, the day of wheat harvest was the day of Pentecost. This is how we know that Saul was crowned on the day of Pentecost, and therefore, Saul is typical of the wheat company, the pentecostal Church, which is not yet perfected, but carnal. Even as Saul himself reigned over Israel 40 years, so also our “Sauls” have reigned over the New Testament Church for 40 Jubilees from 33 to 1993 AD.
We do not mean to disparage Pentecost itself here. Pentecost is good, for it is a feast day of the Lord established to com memorate God coming down as fire upon Mt. Sinai to write His laws in our hearts. It has a greater fulfillment in the second chapter of Acts as well.
However, we must also understand the limitations of those under the pentecostal anointing. The two loaves of wheat bread offered to God at Pentecost were “baked with leaven” (Lev. 23:17). Since leaven is a type of sin in the Bible, it is not hard to see that the realm of Pentecost, though good, was NOT an era of perfection. It was an era in which we received an earnest of the Spirit only, by which no man can be perfected, apart from going through the fire.
But this is not a book about the wheat harvest, so we cannot pursue that theme further. For now, it is enough to know that Saul represents the carnal Church, and that his seven sons represent the Seven Churches of Pentecost. Their execution on the day of barley harvest speaks volumes. If they had been of the barley company, they would have received Life at that time, even as Jesus was raised from the dead on that day. Their execution tells us that, like the Church under Moses, they will die in the wilderness. That is, they will remain mortal at the time of the first resurrection and not receive the promise at that time. They will be among “the rest of the dead” (Rev. 20:5) who will remain mortal or dead for another thousand years, awaiting the second resurrection.
Saul's Persecution of the Gibeonites
There is more to be learned from the story of the execution of Saul's sons. The reason for their execution is that they persecuted the Gibeonites. Who were the Gibeonites? How do they fit into the story of the Church and the overcomers? The story begins in Genesis 9:20-27, where Noah cursed Canaan. Verses 25-27 say,
In our book, Secrets of Time, we show how this event took place in the year 1660 from Adam, just four years after the flood. We also show how this curse put Canaan and his descendants under Cursed Time (414-year cycles leading to judgment). Joshua marched into Canaan to bring judgment upon the Canaanites precisely 828 years after the curse, or 2 x 414 years. Thus, they were judged precisely on schedule by the Laws of Time.
However, the nature of the curse was NOT that the Canaanites would all be killed. It was that Canaan would be a servant to his brethren and possibly to the Lord Himself. Note that verse 26 might be read that Canaan would be the servant of “the Lord God of Shem,” not merely to Shem himself.
At any rate, the fulfillment in the time of Joshua shows us how we are to interpret Noah's curse. While Joshua was making war with the Canaanites, the town of Gibeon tricked Joshua by establishing a covenant of peace with them (Joshua 9). There are many lessons to the story, but few ever connect the story to Noah's curse upon Canaan, which was the cause of this war against the Canaanites. The fact that Noah prophesied by his curse that Canaan was to be a servant means that someone had to fulfill it by becoming a servant. Dead Canaanites make poor servants. Joshua 9:23-27 reads,
The Gibeonites were “cursed” to serve the Temple of God. What a fantastic curse! Paul himself called himself a “servant,” or literally a bond slave of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1). As such, we all should serve God in His Sanctuary. And thus, we might read Noah's curse in Gen. 9:26 to mean that Canaan would be a servant of the Lord God of Shem, for this was the practical outworking of that curse.
On the other hand, Canaan was also to serve his brethren, particularly Shem himself. Who is Shem? Shem is identified in ancient writings as the original Melchizedek, king of Salem (Jerusalem), to whom Abraham paid tithes. Because he simply pops up out of nowhere in the book of Genesis, a story without explanation, a man who is unidentified as to genealogy, this divine silence makes him a type of Christ (Heb. 7:1-4).
The book of Jasher also calls him Shem. I believe this is correct, because it fits the type when we come to the story of the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites became servants of Shem, or Melchizedek, and bond slaves of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, they served the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, the place where Melchizedek ruled. So the Gibeonites represent the Melchizedek Order, the new priesthood that replaces that of Levi. Those of this Order are the bondslaves of Jesus Christ. They are “priests of God and of Christ” who “reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6) in the New Jerusalem.
How could those Canaanite Gibeonites under the curse of God possibly represent the Melchizedek Order, the overcomers? The Melchizedek Order is not some sort of super-spiritual club of saints. It is a group of overcomers. It they had all started out perfect, they would not need to overcome anything. The simple fact is that we are all, in our fleshly state, “Canaanites” under the curse of God. But by His grace, our Joshua (Jesus) “curses” us to become His servants in His Temple, where we serve Shem, the original Melchizedek.
Joshua (Jesus) has sworn to protect us (Joshua 9:19); he has sworn to “let them LIVE” (Joshua 9:20); and He has made us “hewers of wood” (bearing His cross of reproach) and “drawers of water unto all the congregation.” They are to bring the water of the Holy Spirit to the rest of the Church on behalf of the Temple of God (Joshua 9:21).
And so, when Saul later decided to persecute the Gibeonites, not understanding God's purposes, it was a graphic picture of how Israel persecuted the prophets in the Old Testament, and how the Church has persecuted the overcomers in the New. Saul persecuted David, and he also persecuted the Gibeonites. Saul's actions disqualified the seven sons of Saul and the wheat Church from inheriting the kingdom in the first resurrection. This is why the Church must await the second resurrection at the end of the thousand years.
Eleazar Protects the Barley Field
King David had a few mighty men who distinguished themselves in various ways. One of these was Eleazar. 1 Chron. 11:12-14 says,
Eleazar was a mighty man in that he helped David defend the barley company, the overcomers. In fact, Eleazar had at one time been part of Saul's army and therefore must have defected to David. David, too, is an overcomer, so Eleazar's actions in defending the barley is consistent with his helping David against the army of the Philistines.
This brief account in Scripture speaks volumes. It is one of the true gems in the Bible. This Hebrew name “Eleazar” means God helps. Abraham had a faithful servant named Eleazar, who was sent to find a bride for Isaac. In that story, Eleazar represents the Holy Spirit, sent to prepare the bride of Christ. In a court of law, a helper is called an Advocate, or “comforter” (John 15:26). The name denotes the activity of the Holy Spirit, God's help.
Eleazar is said to be the son of Dodo (“loving”). The name comes from the Hebrew word, Dode, which means Love. In fact, the word Dode is the root of both Dodo and David. That is it is generally understood that the name “David” also means “loving.”
Dodo himself is called an “Ahohite,” which means he was descended from Ahoah (1 Chr. 8:4). According to A Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names, by J.B. Jackson, Ahoah means “brother of rest.”
So let us put all this together and see what God is saying under the surface of the Scripture. We will simply translate the names as we re-quote 1 Chron. 11:12 and see what the Spirit is teaching us.
In other words, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is “one of the three Mighty men.” The Holy Spirit is born of Love and related to entering into God's Rest. What a marvelous picture this verse paints for us!
Verse 13 says that Eleazar was with David at Pas-dammim. Bullinger's notes say that this is probably the same as Ephes-dammim (1 Sam. 17:1), the place where David slew Goliath. Pas-dammim means “the vanishing, or spreading out of bloods.” Ephes-dammim has a similar meaning: “limit of bloods.” Most likely, it received its name from the fact that bloodshed was limited to Goliath at that place. Recall that Goliath was the champion of the Philistines, while David was the champion of Israel. The loser of the battle was supposed to serve the winner. In ancient times battles were sometimes fought by champions in order to limit bloodshed.
If Eleazar was with David at the time of Goliath, it can only mean that he was part of Saul's army at that time. He was obviously a trained warrior who saw that God was with David in slaying the giant. In some later battle with the Philistines, when Saul's army again fled in fear, Eleazar stood his ground, and defended this barley field. (See 2 Sam. 23:9-12.) From this text, it is obvious that David was not leading the troops of Israel at that time, since the troops had fled. Thus, it must have occurred after David had fled from Saul.
After David fled from Saul, Eleazar, it seems, left Saul's army and defected to David in the hills. As best we can tell, this is the history of Eleazar, the barley defender. And, as we said, the spiritual meaning shows that the Holy Spirit is the real defender of the overcoming remnant, the barley company.
Elisha Overcomes Death with Barley
Barley is a hardy plant that can withstand drought and extreme heat and cold. So when the Scriptures talk of grain or meal in time of drought, it generally refers to barley, for wheat cannot grow under such severe conditions. In this way barley is a very good symbol of the overcomer, who will flourish in between revivals when the Spirit of God does not appear to be moving.
In contrast, the wheat company languishes when God seems to hide his face for a time. Like Israel under Moses, they tempt God saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Ex. 17:7). They do not understand that our faith is not tested while God is moving miraculously, but in those times when he is silent. Thus, in the time of drought, the wheat dies.
There are thirteen famines (droughts) recorded in the Bible, and they all deal with this very subject.
Barley ripens early as well. It ripens around the time of Passover in early spring, while wheat ripens later in late spring or early summer at the time of Pentecost. Barley ripens prior to the latter rains, while the wheat needs the latter rain to ripen. Likewise, the overcomers will come into maturity and be “harvested” by God prior to the “latter rain” of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the overcomers will receive the fullness of His Spirit (the latter rain) and then dispense it to the rest of the world, including the Church.
There was a drought in the days of Elisha that teaches us more about the spiritual principles of barley. 2 Kings 4:38-41 says,
Since this event occurred in a time of drought, the “meal” which they used was no doubt BARLEY. And so, the barley was used to overcome death. It pictures resurrection from the dead. But the story is not complete without reading the next verses:
A man from Baal-shalisha brought Elisha the first fruits of the barley which would normally go to the priest at the temple. Apparently, the priesthood was corrupt at that time, and this man did not want his offering to be used to support false teachings.
So it was the day of the wave-sheaf offering on the first Sunday after Passover that year. (See Lev. 23:10-14.) Many years later, Jesus would be raised from the dead on this day to fulfill this very feast day. But Elisha and the sons of the prophets celebrated it by turning death into life, in order to feed the multitude. The bread was multiplied, so that they even had leftovers.
Jesus Feeds the Multitude with Barley
The story of Elisha reminds us of a similar story in John 6 which also took place around the time of Passo ver (John 6:4). On this occasion, Jesus fed the multitude with “five barley loaves and two small fishes” (6:9). Verses 12 and 13 say,
The broken bread denotes death; gathering the “fragments” speaks of resurrection, “that nothing be lost.” In the commentary later in the chapter, Jesus says four more times, “and I will raise him up at the last day.” (See vs. 39, 40, 44, and 54.)
The overcomers will inherit the first resurrection. But first, they are the barley bread in Jesus' hands that must be broken to feed the multitude. The overcomers often wonder why they experience troubles, rather than the “victorious life.” They wonder why they are disfellowshipped by their church and friends. They wonder why God brings all their faults to the surface for others to see. They wonder why God promises so much, yet seems to deliver the opposite. They wonder why God disciplines them so much, never letting them get away with anything.
There is a simple explanation. Jesus is breaking them to feed the multitude. Is not the time to be victorious yet. It is the time to die. It is not yet time to enjoy a good reputation among the brethren, but to be made “of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7), following the path Jesus trod. He breaks the pride of His overcoming remnant by exposing their faults so that wheat company may feed upon them. This is why the wheat company (Church) seldom recognized the overcomers among them. They are usually the most unlikely ones by their standard of measure.
While the promises are tremendous, the way to those promises is through the valley of the shadow of death. Joseph, too, had mighty promises, but God led him first into slavery and the dungeon.
The barley company is not righteous; they simply know the deceitfulness of their own hearts better than most, because this has been a major part of their revelation from God. They know they are unworthy, and the Church is happy to remind them that they are, after all, just publicans and harlots.
The barley call is not a call to righteousness, but to brokenness. It is not a call to the victorious life, but to the despair of death. It is not a call to the throne, but to the dungeon and the wilderness. And when all self-righteousness is gone, when all impatience has run its course, then is death conquered by Life.
|Converted from CHM to HTML with chm2web Pro 2.85 (unicode)|