Gideon: 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:
18 And another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.
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,
13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat. 14 And his friend answered and said, This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.
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,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
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,
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery [secret]; we shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed.
This change is foreshadowed by the transfiguration of Jesus’ body on the mount. We read of this in Matt. 17:1, 2, saying,
1 And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. 2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
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,
6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.
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 flesh. 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:
29 Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but he would not come to him; So he sent again a second time, but he would not come. 30 Therefore he said to his servants, See, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.
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,
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, my companion [“guide, or counselor”], and my familiar friend. 14 We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng.
This passage refers to Ahithophel, but it is also prophetic of Judas, who betrayed Jesus. We read in Acts 1:16,
16 Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those arrested Jesus.
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 tribe 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 Conference 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,
“Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God.
Again, it reads,
“Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e. the faithful response of the Jewish people to God's irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to his promises. This statement about God's saving covenant is quite specific to Judaism.”
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,
6 I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
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,
13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure, and tried to destroy it.
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,
14 . . . for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men.
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,
8 For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?
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:
4 Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him 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.
17 Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill [“perform, obey, do them”]. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. 19 Whosoever, then, annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
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,
4 Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice.
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:
1 It is for Saul, and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.
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.
9 Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the Lord; so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvestat the beginning of barley harvest.
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,
17 Is it not the WHEAT harvest today? I will call to the Lord, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord, by asking for yourselves a king.
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 commemorate 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,
25 So he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers. 26 He also said, Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his [His?] servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.
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,
23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. . . . 27 But Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, in the place which he would choose.
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,
12 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. 13 He was with David at Pas-dammim, when the Philistines were gathered together there to battle, and there was a plot of ground full of barley; and the people fled before the Philistines. 14 And they took their stand in the midst of the plot, and defended it, and struck down the Philistines; and the Lord saved them by a great victory.
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 action 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.
12 And after him was the Advocate, the son of Love, the brother of Rest, who was one of the three mighty men.
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,
38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets. 39 Then one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and sliced them into the pot of stew, for they did not know what they were. 40 So they poured it out for the men to eat. And it came about as they were eating of the stew, that they cried out and said, O man of God, there is DEATH in the pot. And they were unable to eat. 41 But he said, Now bring MEAL. And he threw it into the pot, and he said, Pour it out for the people that they may eat. Then there was no harm in the pot.
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:
42 And there came a man from Baal-shalisha and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and full ears of corn [i.e., “grain”] in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people that they may eat. 43 And his servant said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat and shall leave thereof. 44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.
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 Passover (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,
12 And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost. 13 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those that had eaten.
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.