Israel was confronted with their enemy, Philistia, during the time of Eliís charge as High Priest in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Eli had grown old and was dim-sighted by this time. He had grown deaf to the words of God, also. His two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, acted as priests in the Tabernacle, but lived lewd lives, committing fornication with women who came to the Tabernacle to meet with them. God warned Eli about all of this through a prophet and later through the prophet-boy Samuel, and indicated that Eli would experience judgment from God for his negligence.
Philistia came up against Israel, and Hophni and Phinehas recalled the victories granted to Israel such as the time when they brought the Ark of the Covenant with them around Jericho, and the walls of Jericho fell. They recalled the time Israel crossed Jordan, and how the Ark was lifted by priests who came and stood in the swelling waters when God opened up the River.
Despite their sinful lifestyles, they fetched the Ark from the Tabernacle to bring to the battlefield in order that they might see God move on Israelís behalf once again and win the fight against Philistia.
The point we want to bring out is that when the ark arrived on the scene, Israel shouted in joy, believing they would win the day. But their shouts were empty, because their religion had degraded to the point that they felt their lifestyles did not matter, so long as they had a symbol of Godís power with them. Their religion had degraded.
At the time of Jesus Christ, Israelís Judaic religion had degraded until the priests and rulers of the synagogues were hypocrites. They preached one thing and lived another. They added rules to the Law of Moses, called the Tradition of the Elders, that demanded obedience to things God did not demand obedience to.
The Philistines conquered Israel and took the Ark of the Covenant.
The glory had departed from Israel in the form of the Ark being taken captive
by the enemy.
1Sam 5:1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.When the Philistines captured the Ark, they took to a city within their own borders whose importance within the Philistine culture speaks much to us of the events that occurred with Christís crucifixion. Ashdod was the city where the temple of Philistiaís national god Dagon stood. The name of the city Ashdod is interpreted in English as ďPowerful.Ē You could say it was the enemyís stronghold. It was where their godís Headquarters was located.
When Jesus Christ was crucified, the enemy, Satan, had taken Christ into the confines of his power and his, so to speak, Headquarters called Death. Satan had the power of Death in his control. Christ could have called legions of angels to judge the world in wrath while he was taken to be crucified, but would not, because He had a plan to redeem man from Death that required Him to be taken captive into the very heart of Satanís kingdom.
1Sam 5:2-5 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon [was] fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands [were] cut off upon the threshold; only [the stump of] Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.The first day of Israelís defeat, the Ark was taken to Ashdod and set inside the Temple of Dagon, the Philistine god. Israelís God would surely be defeated and mocked by putting His Ark of the Covenant in their idolís temple before their idol-god.
But the second day saw the idol fall on its face, as if in obeisance, before the Ark of God.
Having set it back up they left the temple.
The third day they came and found that the idol had not only fallen again on its face, but its head and hands were broken off. Their idol was destroyed.
The Ark manifested no destruction while the Philistines took it into their city of ďstronghold.Ē God could have smote the Philistines while they carried the ark away, but He had a plan. God would wait until the Ark was inside their idolís temple, and then He would smite their idol down, thus showing that there is only One True God, the God of Israel! And that very thing occurred on the third day after the Ark was taken by the enemy.
Similarly, like a time-bomb set to go off at just the right moment, Christ withheld Himself from coming off the cross as He suffered. God could not manifest what was locked within Jesus Christ until the right moment Ė the moment that would see the greatest effect accomplished in annihilating the very power of Satan in Satanís own turf. He waited until He died and was in Hell.
Hebr 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;Jesus Christ would enter the domain of Death, and there destroy him that had the power of death, the devil! The explosion could not go off until He was there in the Stronghold of evil and sin. And it was there that He manifested His glory and took captivity captive!
He spoke of the fact that in the third day after His death, He would resurrect and defeat Hell.
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.As if to challenge Hell and tell it that it cannot hold Him any more than three days, Jesus told His disciples that He would be but three days in the heart of the earth.
Matt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
On the third day the ark destroyed Philistiaís idol, religion and very pride. The Threshold of Dagonís temple was not even entered upon since that day.
Jesus told the Serpent in the Garden of Eden long ago:
Gene 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.The head of the Serpent was Satanís Authority and Dominion. Nations today are led by leaders who are referred to as that nationís ďHead.Ē In crushing the devilís power, Christ would be bruised in the form of the suffering on the cross.
1Sam 5:7-8 And when the men of Ashdod saw that [it was] so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about [thither].Gath is interpreted as ďWinepress.Ē The winepress was often a symbol used in speaking about Godís wrath being meted out upon a people. He would tread the grapes of wrath in the winepress of His wrath.
Reve 14:19-20 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs.And in Gath, Godís wrath came upon the people also, smiting the people with a plague of ďemerods.Ē They then sent it to Ekron.
Ekron is interpreted as ďTorn up by the roots.Ē And that is exactly what God did to the people and their faith in their false god in that city.
For seven months the Ark was in Philistia. Seven is the symbolic number of completion and fulfillment. God would fully prove that He alone is the true God and the only one to be praised and honoured.
1Sam 6:2-3 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do to the ark of the LORD? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place. And they said, If ye send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; but in any wise return him a trespass offering: then ye shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.Philistia knew they had to rid themselves of the Ark. So they consulted those who were familiar with Hebrew worship and asked how to get rid of it. They called their pagan priests, who seemed to understand the ways of Israelís God, because the priests recommended them to offer a trespass offering to Israelís God and send the Ark back to Israel.
What a humiliation of Philistiaís god! Dagonís own priests admitted tha they trespassed against God by even considering to take it and put it in the idolís temple. Thus, they admitted their worship of Dagon was a sin and a trespass!
And so they sent the Ark on an ox cart, guided by two milch kine who had to leave their calves in order to guide the ark. This proved Godís hand was indeed upon the Ark and was responsible for the destruction upon Philistia, for cows do not leave their calves when their calves require nurturing.
And supernaturally the Ark returned to Israel.
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the supernatural power of God and resurrected back into the land of Israel again.
The Ark was described as follows:
Exod 25:17-22 And thou shalt make a mercy seat [of] pure gold: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And thou shalt make two cherubims [of] gold, [of] beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: [even] of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth [their] wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces [shall look] one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which [are] upon the ark of the testimony, of all [things] which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.Blood was sprinkled on the seat between the Cherubims.
Levi 16:15-16 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that [is] for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy [place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.After Jesus Christ resurrected, we have an account in the Gospel of John in which Mary looked into the tomb and saw a remarkable picture.
John 20:11-12 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, [and looked] into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.She saw the very picture that the Ark of the Covenant was displaying on its Mercy Seat! As Cherubims were on either side of the surface on the Ark where blood of sacrifice was sprinkled to make atonement for israel, Mary saw an angel at either end of the surface in the tomb were Jesusí dead body was laid! Both blood and a dead body indicate the one and the same thing Ė death! But since the dead body no longer laid on that slab of stone in the tomb, resurrection had obviously occurred! Death had occurred, but resurrection from the dead occurred afterwards!
The Mercy Seat upon the Ark of the Covenant prefigured the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so when we read that the Ark was taken captive and destroyed the false deity of the Enemy of Godís people, we see a picture of the then-future plan of Salvation Ė the Death, Burial and Resurrection Ė that would destroy the enemy of mankind and his power.
The payment for our sins was death.
Ezek 18:4 Öthe soul that sinneth, it shall die.Mankind had to die after Adam brought death into the world by his sin. But Christ would pay that debt of death, Himself.
Roma 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Matt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.Caiaphas, high priest at the time of Christís ministry prophesied to those who plotted to stop Christís ministry by saying:
John 11:48-52 If we let him thus alone, all [men] will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, [named] Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.And He came back into the Land of Israel, but the work was not finished.
Hebr 9:11-12 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].Jesus, as High Priest of our salvation, was said to have entered into the holy place to obtain redemption for us. This holy place was Heaven.
Hebr 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, [which are] the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:After experiencing the death that would ransom or redeem us back to God, He had to make the payment in heaven itself.
We find that the temple of Israel was a very pattern of the Garden. As Cherubims were placed at the Garden entrance to blockade man from the away of the tree of life, a veil stood over the holiest of holies with cherubims embroidered upon it. So the Most Holy Place in the temple prefigured the Garden. And whereas the High Priest of Israel entered into the Holiest each year on the day of atonement to make atonement for Israelís sins, Christ was said to have entered the Holiest of Heaven itself, or the presence of God, to make atonement for our sins once and for all.
After the Ark was led out of Philistia by the hand of God, its final destination would be the Templeís Holiest of Holies. That entrance into the Holiest of Holies would be the prefigure of Christ's final step in redeeming us Ė the actual payment of the price of death to God.
We will see that the Ark finally wound up in the Temple, but on its way to that destination, circumstances occurred with the ark that teach us a very important principle about the plan of salvation.
1Sam 6:13-14 And [they of] Bethshemesh [were] reaping their wheat harvest in the valley: and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see [it]. And the cart came into the field of Joshua, a Bethshemite, and stood there, where [there was] a great stone: and they clave the wood of the cart, and offered the kine a burnt offering unto the LORD.But a dreadful event occurred that day.
1Sam 6:19 And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten [many] of the people with a great slaughter.50,070 men died because the people who found the ark wanted to look inside and see its contents.
In order to look inside the Ark, one would have to remove the MERCY SEAT, for it acted as the Arkís lid. And inside the Ark the two tablets of stone had been placed there by Moses, which represented the Law of God.
We know that the Law of Moses was said to be an enmity to mankind. No man could perfectly keep the Law.
Ephe 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances;Law of Moses showed mankind his sin. It let man know that man simply cannot save himself from sin, by way of giving man law upon law that man could never keep perfectly.
Peter described the Law as follows:
Acts 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?As the Mercy Seat covered the Arkís contents of Law, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the manifested mercy of God that would cover the dreadful law that proved man was a sinner. But should we ever remove the truth that the Gospel alone can save us through Godís mercy, and think we can save ourselves, or that we do not require Godís mercy to be saved, we will find nothing but DEATH.
The Bethshemites removed the Mercy Seat and died. We, too, will die, if we think we can remove the need for Godís mercy!
The ark was then put in Kirjathjearim and stayed there for a very long time.
1Sam 7:1-2 And the men of Kirjathjearim came, and fetched up the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. And it came to pass, while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.Later we read, seven chapters later, after Saul became king, that Saul obtained the Ark.
1Sam 14:18 And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel.
And the Arkís journey to the temple continued. David would bring the Ark back to Jerusalem. But a dreadful thing occurred that day also.
2Sam 6:2-7 And David arose, and went with all the people that [were] with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth [between] the cherubims. And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that [was] in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which [was] at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of [instruments made of] fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook [it]. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of God.While two men, Uzzah and Ahio pushed the ark on an ox cart, the ark began to slide off the cart and Uzzah reached out to catch it. God smote him dead on the spot.
They left the Ark in Obededomís home for three months.
David searched the Word of God to discover why Uzzah was killed, and found that the Ark was to be carried in a certain manner.
1Chr 15:2-3 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it.The Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of priests using staves. This is a perfect picture of the manner in which Kings were transported on a throne above the heads of servants who carried the throne. The Mercy Seat on the Ark was the throne. Jesus Christ was King.
1Chr 15:13-15 For because ye [did it] not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.
When the Ark was captured by Philistia, it was declared that the Glory of God had departed. The Glory of God sat upon the Mercy Seat.
Thinking of the sight Mary saw in the tomb, paralleling the ark's appearance, we see that the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the GLORY OF GOD.
This was the plan of Salvation. It was Godís Work to save us.
After Jesus resurrected He had yet to ascend into Heaven to pay the price for manís sin. This is foreshadowed by the Ark having left Philistia and on its way to the Temple. But before Jesus ascended we read:
John 20:14-15 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.Mary saw the tomb empty, with the picture in view that the Arkís Mercy seat foreshadowed Ė two angels aside the place where Christís dead body laid. And she initially supposed Jesus to instead be the Gardener when she saw Him.
Christ appeared to many after He resurrected, but we read in the Gospel of Mark that He purposely appeared in different forms ot people.
Mark 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.So if Mary thought he was the Gardener, then obviously Christ chose to appear that way to her. Why? It was because He was the New Adam returning to the Garden of Eden, the Templeís Holiest, or the Throne room of Godís presence, to redeem man with the price paid for sin, and to bring man back into acceptance and power with God, that Adam lost.
And then Christ opened Maryís eyes to let her know it was indeed Him.
John 20:16-17 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God.Jesus told Mary to NOT TOUCH HIM since He was on His way to the Father.
Recall that Uzzah should not have touched the Ark of the Covenant while it was on its way to its final destination of the temple.
Why could she not touch Him?
Levi 16:17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy [place], until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.The work of atoning for manís sins could only be accomplished by God. Man cannot so much as touch that work and add any human effort to see salvation accomplished. Uzzah tried to help the ark make it to Jerusalem. This represented the picture of thinking we can help the answer for manís salvation make it to fulfillment by adding our human touch. The price to pay for manís sins can never be considered as something in need of human help.
Uzzah saw the ark fall because the Ark was on an ox cart, that tipped and caused the ark to slip off. Had the Ark been carried as it should have been, on the shoulders of priests using staves to hold it up, that would never have been deemed necessary, for the ark could not have slipped.
And this tells us something very important. The ark carried on the shoulders using staves portrays the royal nature of the Glory of God Ė the plan of salvation. It is above our capability to save ourselves. But when something royal is put on a common ox cart, and the royalty and superiority of the thing is lost, the utter disrespect, due to ignorance or not, simply makes one presume that it is not so high and above us to lend a common hand and help it along.
We could never save ourselves, let alone help God save us. God was fully capable of seeing the payment arrive in glory without manís intervention. Just do not touch it! Jesus did a finished work in saving us. You cannot add one iota to His works to save mankind. That is why it is not of works that God saves us, but it is grace through our faith. And that faith is not a work, but is the opposite of a work. It is faith that HIS WORK alone saves, and we stand still.
God told Moses to stand still and see the glory of God defeat Egyptís armies that pursued Israel. We cannot add to Godís saving power! God did not even allow Israel to fight Egypt and then manifest His power to actually destroy the enemy, leaving Israel to think they helped God when in actuality He did it alone. Had that happened, Israel would walk away exalting themselves. God wants us to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He alone can save us. We could never save ourselves. And that is why Mary could not even touch Jesus on His way to the Holiest. The Work is finished. Let it stand by itself without so much as the human touch, on its way to the payment centre!
We know Jesus ascended immediately after He spoke to Mary, because we read later on:
John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.In order to allow Thomas to touch Him after He forbid Mary to do so since He was yet to ascend to the Father, it is clear that He ascended, paid the price for sin, and descended again before He approached Thomas in verse 27.
2Chr 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished: and Solomon brought in [all] the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.This prefigured the payment Christ made for sin. He arrived in the presence of God, the holiest of holies, heaven itself, and made atonement.
2Chr 5:4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
2Chr 5:7-9 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy [place, even] under the wings of the cherubims: For the cherubims spread forth [their] wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. And they drew out the staves [of the ark], that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
Then something happened as 120 priests with trumpets and many singers began to worship and come to such a point until they sounded forth like one single voice.
2Chr 5:12-14 Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.120 priests and singers were in one voice, unified in praise and the cloud of Godís Spirit filled the house.
Just before Jesus ascended once and for all, until His second coming, He told the disciples to wait in an upper room in Jerusalem until God endued them with power of the Holy Ghost. And 120 people waited in that upper room.
Acts 1:15 Ö(the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)And when they came to the point that they were all in unity and one accord something happened.
Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.Where was this? In Jerusalem.
Where did the 120 priests and singers unify themselves into one voice when the cloud of Glory filled the house? In Jerusalem. But instead of filling a mere house alone, the Spirit of God filled the 120 disciples with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost! They were the Temple!
It was the MERCY of God that made salvation available. The people
sang that God's Mercy endured forever and ever, when the glory fell.
Mercy of God means that man has no hope without God's work alone.
Elijah contended with the false prophets of Baal as to which God was real. Baal or Jehovah? The test would be which God answered by fire.
1Kin 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.And we find that Baalís sacrifice did not receive an answer of fire, whereas Elijahís sacrifice to God did!
But before Elijah prayed, after offering the sacrifice, he did a very strange thing. He ordered that 12 barrels of water be poured on his sacrifice. That would ensure that there would be absolutely no natural way that the fire could start without Godís supernatural intervention alone.
Then Elijah prayed.
1Kin 18:38-39 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that [was] in the trench. And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God.There is absolutely no natural way we can be saved. It is totally Godís work.
Fire fell on the sacrifices that were offered indicating that they were acceptable to God.
Levi 9:24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.Notice that the 120 in the upper room had cloven tongues of fire come down upon each of their heads. The interesting this about this is that Christ was sacrificed in death, but the fire fell on the 120 believers. Why?
1Chr 21:26 And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.
The answer is that Jesus died as them. His death would be their deaths. And since God accepted His sacrifice of death, the indication of acceptance, His answer of fire, fell on the 120 people! Praise God! He died and we were accepted!
Thus the history of the Ark from its capture by Philistia until its entrance into the Temple, after which occurred the filling of the Temple by Godís glory, perfectly portrays the Gospel of Christís death, burial and resurrection, followed by the Pentecostal experience of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In fact, the filling of the temple with Glory was the ultimate purpose, for it indicated Godís acceptance of mankind once again, due only to the work of Christ in dying, being buried and resurrecting as us.
The proof of the acceptance of the sacrifice and of believing mankind was the fire that fell.
Peter began preaching his sermon for the sole purpose of answering the words he heard the onlookers say when they said the 120 were drunk with new wine.
Acts 2:13-15 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.And Peter, keeping in mind that he would explain the speaking in tongues as not being indication of drunkenness but of Godís Spirit filling the 120, looked to tongues as proof that Jesusí sacrifice was accepted of God.
It was the speaking in tongues that provided Peter with the entire theme of his sermon. And in that sermon, responding to their inquiries about tongues, Peter said:
Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.What was the issue? Tongues. And Peter said that God did shed forth ďthis,Ē or tongues, which ďye now see and hear,Ē to prove that Jesus was at the right hand of God exalted, and that His sacrifice was accepted by God.
When the High Priest entered the Holiest, bells on his robeís hem would ring as He walked. Should the sacrifice be unacceptable to God, the High Priest would fail and die by the hand of God. But if the bells kept ringing, the sacrifice was known to have been accepted.
Exod 28:33-35 And [beneath] upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates [of] blue, and [of] purple, and [of] scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy [place] before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.The reason a bell rings is due to the presence of what is called the bellís ďtongue.Ē The Tongue strikes the inside surface of the bell and sends forth the ringing sound. So the sound of tongues proved the sacrifice was accepted to God.
Since the fire fell on the people, after Jesus was sacrificed, we know two things. His sacrifice was accepted by God and our lives were considered as ended in death by Christís death.
God accepts Jesus death as the end of our lives, or that the payment for sin, our deaths, had been paid by way of Christís death.
Since our entire old lives were considered dead by God through Christís death, it is little wonder that we are said to be new creatures by the apostle Paul. We are as born again as one could possibly be. Our old lives are gone!
Someone once asked me what part of us died with Christ, I replied everything we were before we came to Christ for salvation died with Him. And we are completely new creatures now.
The Holy Ghost is Godís acceptance of us. But it is also power (Acts 1:8). We have been accepted and brought back to power by the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We are now where Adam was expelled from. In the Garden, seated with Christ on the Mercy Seat Throne in the Holiest of Holies.
Ephe 2:5-10 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.