Apostolic Succession Doctrine
- What is God’s way of continuing the work of the original apostles?
- Who is the sucessor or replacement for Judas Iscariot? Matthias or Paul?
Jul 26, 1996
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- Gideon and his 300 men defeated 3 groups of enemies, one group numbering 135,000, with only a trumpet in one hand and a lamp in an empty pitcher in the other hand.
- The enemies were physical opponents and the battle was economic-political in nature. Today it is written, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world." (Ephesians 6:12)
- Can the victory of Gideon be replicated in our time to prove that "God never change" (Malachi 3:6) and He is represented by His words? (John 1:1)
(The Mighty Man of Valor)
The story of Gideon is an epic that will never escape the imagination of many Bible believers. Imagine fighting three groups of enemies, one group numbering 135,000 (Judges 8:10 ) with only 300 men (Judges 7:7)! By extrapolation, if the other two groups have the same number, then the enemies would have been 405,000 men. The number is described as "for they and their camels were without number…" (Judges 6:3). The battle was supposed to be a hand-to-hand combat! The ratio therefore is one (1) man of Gideon against 1,350 personal opponents! How could they win without the mighty hand of God? The way to victory is -- only a miracle! God's mighty hand is the sole answer! Yes, to man it is impossible; but to God nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26 ). How many people thought of the hair-splitting difference between the literal and the spiritual message of the story?
The story begins with Gideon, an Israelite of the tribe of Manasseh, thinking of the precarious situation the chosen people of God were at the time, for they were being threatened by one of the three groups of enemies:
Judges 6:12 " And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 13And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt ? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites."
The chosen people were always blessed when they were close to their Deliverer. Eventually however, they forget and indulged in abominable things in the sight of God. To call back His people, God allows their enemies to harass and oppress them. In their longing for deliverance, God always showed His ever-forgiving heart and His mighty hand.
At that time, God was ready to deliver His people from oppression. He chose Gideon, like His other servants, for his humility:
Judges 6:14 "And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? 15And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel ? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man."
Like Moses and the other servants of the Lord, Gideon could not believe what he heard, that he asked the angel to show him a sign.
Judges 6:17 " And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign that thou talkest with me… 19And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 20And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 21Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight."
Actually it was the Lord who was before Him:
Judges 6:23 " And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die."
God told him that he would not die on seeing the Him, for it is written anyone who sees God will die. After Gideon was convinced that it was really God who was talking and directing him, he followed God's command to destroy the altar for Baal and everything related to this false god:
Judges 6:25 "And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: 26And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down. "
Gideon did as God told him, but the people were furious. His own people wanted to kill him. This lesson will never pass away. People will always hate the things of the truth.
Judges 6:28 "And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built. 29And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing. 30Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it."
The life of Gideon however was spared when his father challenged Baal before the people to prove its power. Of course it failed.
Judges 6:31 "And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? …if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar."
Gideon was tested for his faithfulness to the truth. He had to submit totally to God like a "little child," so that God would be given a "free hand to work" on him. That is always the case for God's servants. It is to the spiritual babes that knowledge and strength is given:
Isaiah 28:9 (KJV) " Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts."
Matthew 11:25 " At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
Psalms 8:2 "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."
The enemies and Gideon's men
The chosen people were surrounded by three groups of enemies: the Midianites, Amalekites, and the Eastern people:
Judges 6:3 " … the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4…and destroyed the increase of the earth…and left no sustenance for Israel , neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6And Israel was greatly impoverished…and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD."
Gideon prepared to face the Midianites:
Judges 7:1 "… Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.
However, God directed Gideon to reduce the number of his people lest they account their victory to their personal capability.
Judges 7:3 " Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead . And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand."
The 22,000 were “fearful and afraid” and therefore they were eliminated. To the Natural Man (1 Cor. 2:14), these are cowards that are unfit to fight their mortal enemies in hand-to-hand combat. Spiritually however, since God is speaking in parables (Ezek 20:49), the “enemies” are other people’s, including self’s, erroneous beliefs and doctrines about God and salvation. Falsehoods and religious deceptions come from the enemies of God: Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
It can be deduced that the original number of Gideon's men was 32,000, for only 10,000 remained after 22,000 left who were "fearful and afraid." God considered the 10,000 against the extrapolated number of 405,000 enemies still too many, when the ratio is 1 Gideon's man for every 40.5 opponents. He therefore directed Gideon to do the "water test" to eliminate the unfit:
Judges 7:4 "And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. 5So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink."
The chosen few
God chose only 300 men who "lapped putting their hand to their mouth". 9,700 who "lappeth of the water with their tongue as a dog, and bowed down upon their knees to drink" were discarded.
Judges 7:6 "And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water."
These are the 300 men who would fight the extrapolated 405,000 enemies of the Israel in hand-to-hand combat! The ratio is 1 to 1,350. The impossibility of victory is the equivalent of what Jesus' Disciples saw on the impossibility of being saved:
Matthew 19:25 "When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
To strengthen the faith of Gideon, God told him to take Phurah for a companion to spy on the enemies:
Judges 7:9 "And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. 10But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: 11And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. 12And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude…without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude."
This is what Gideon and Phurah saw and heard from the enemies:
Judges 7:13 "And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. 14And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host."
The enemies new the power and might of the God of Israel. Hope and confidence of victory therefore was in Gideon and this was relayed to the people:
Judges 7:15 "And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian."
David and other God's chosen also had seen this when they totally trust in God:
Psalms 119:114 "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word."
The armors of Gideon and his men
These are the weapons of Gideon and his 300 men: a trumpet in one hand and a lamp in an empty pitcher in the other hand.
Judges 7:16 "And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers."
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
The order of battle was supposed to be a hand-to-hand combat. Gideon gave this command that is too irrational in the ways of man to consider.
Judges 7:17 "And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. 18When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 19So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. 20And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. 21And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled."
Who would think that Gideon and his 300 would win the battle over around 405,000 men without a single sword or bow and arrow?
Judges 7:22 "And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man’s sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Bethshittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abelmeholah, unto Tabbath. 23And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites. 24And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. 25And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan."
The Word is alive!
Stories in the word of God are not incidents that simply happened in the past. After all, is not God represented by His words? "And the Word was God." (John 1:1) "Jesus Christ is the Word of God." (Revelation 19:13) Just as God is alive, so are His words. Just as Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead, so are "the words to be resurrected from the dead letter." (2 Corinthians 3:6) God is speaking in parables. (Ezekiel 20:49)
Because the words of God do not pass away, spiritually speaking, the story of Gideon must be seen during the time of Christ.
Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
The Jews thought the Romans were their "enemies" when they expected the Messiah would deliver them from political bondage. They were thinking of "physical things." Christ was speaking "spiritual things."
John 6:15 " When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.
Jesus saw it otherwise.
John 18:36 " Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world…."
If what is written about Gideon is literal-physical, the message is spiritual in the life of the disciples and modeled by Jesus Christ. "God manifest in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16 KJV) was to show the Way to the chosen. The powerlessness of Gideon fighting the enemies were expressed by Jesus Christ in:
John 5:19 "…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself…"
The physical enemies of Gideon therefore as they apply to our Lord as model showing the example, and to the chosen, have their corresponding spiritual equivalent in:
Ephesians 6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
It is a fight between God and His enemy: between God's people and the outsiders, between good and evil, between truth and falsehood. The tree groups of enemies of Gideon correspond to the three spiritual enemies of the chosen.
1st People who would waylay the chosen with wrong beliefs and teachings. Wrong doctrine means walking on the wrong Way. Wrong way will not lead to the Promised Land or eternal life. This is the warning:
Matthew 24:11 "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many."
Matthew 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise…false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you…"
1 John 4:1 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
2nd The pull of the world and the flesh as to forget to feed the soul with the word of God.
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. …19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
3rd One's own-self in fighting the "old nature."
Romans 7:8 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Just as it was impossible for Gideon and his 300 men to win over the extrapolated 405,000 enemies in hand to hand combat; so also it is impossible to win over these formidable spiritual enemies.
The three temptations
The three groups of enemies of Gideon may also be compared to the three temptations of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 4:1 " Then was Jesus…into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up… 7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
1st "Command that these stones be made bread" -- this may refer to mal-nourishment with spiritual food, which is the word of God.
2nd " Cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee" -- this may refer to boastfulness, pride and self-exaltation.
3rd "All the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee" -- this may refer to the pull of the flesh and of the world.
No one is exempt from these three temptations. We must be delivered from the "three groups of enemies" in order to attain eternal life; just as Gideon and God's chosen should be delivered from the oppression of the Midianites, Amalekites and the Eastern people.
The spiritual armors
Literally-physically, Gideon and his 300 men were provided with the following armors: a TRUMPET in one hand and an EMPTY PI TC HER AND A LAMP in the other. The blowing of the trumpet and the breaking of the pitcher exposing the light of the lamp made the enemies fight and kill each other! That is how Gideon and his 300 men won the battle!
Spiritually, God provides His chosen with the following armors to fight the spiritual enemies:
Ephesians 6:10 " Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12… 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Since it is a spiritual battle between God and Satan, between good and evil, between truth and falsehood, the armors of war are not literal-physical but spiritual:
Taking the armors as a whole, they all point to the TRUTH in the word of God. Truth, however, became a generic term because everybody is talking about and claiming it. People cannot agree on the TRUTH when they have the same and common basis, the Holy Bible.
The Devil in tempting our Lord was heard quoting Bible verses (Psalms 91:11-12). Not all teachings therefore supported by Bible verses may constitute the truth. How many denominations today representing Christianity, each preaching the "truth?" Only those doctrines that do not contradict what is written in the Holy Bible are considered truth. And it is God through His words, not any man, who is the sole authority to explain His words.
Truth is a sharp two-edged sword for it is the "sword of the Spirit."
Hebrew 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hear."
The spiritual blowing of trumpets and breaking of pitchers
The TRUMPETS in the hands of Gideon's men represent the expression of TRUTH in the word of God. The lamp in the broken pitchers is the LIGHT of the gospel. What is truth without the light? What is faith without works? Our Lord said, "I am the LIGHT of the world." Jesus must be "seen" in the real believers. It is the blowing of the Trumpet and the Light in the lamps that caused the defeat of Gideon's enemies. It is the Truth and the Light of the gospel in the real believer that can spell victory over the formidable spiritual enemies.
The Potter and the Clay
The EMPTY PITCHER containing the LAMP had to be broken to expose the LIGHT. This comes to mind about the POT that symbolizes man. God is the POTTER:
Jeremiah 18:1 "The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel ."
Literally, Israel refers to Jacob and to the chosen people of God. Spiritually, it symbolizes the real Christians:
Galatians 3:29 "And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."
God is the Potter who selects the Clay from the ground. Not all ground can be made into Pots, just as not all people are willing to be converted into "little children."
Matthew 18:3 "…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The Potter mixes the Clay with "water" to make it pliable. Water symbolizes the word of God (Ephesians 5:26 ). God gives the Truth in His words to the real believer to make him submit to His will. The Potter forms the clay with His hands to make beautiful earthenware, just as God forms the real Christian to the stature of the "eldest Son."
Romans 8:29 " For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren."
The Pitcher or Pot containing the Lamp had to be broken to expose the Light. So is the real Christian has to be "broken" or to "die daily" in order for the "light of the gospel" to manifest in his life. Paul expressed it in:
1 Corinthians 15:31 "…I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Who cannot triumph over the 3 groups of spiritual enemies, just as Gideon and his 300 men did, if we have the spiritual armors provided by God in our hands? Simply blow the TRUMPET and break the PICTHER to expose the LIGHT!
Romans 8:31 "… If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Conditions for victory
God chose Gideon and made him triumphed over his enemies on the following conditions:
1. Gideon was chosen for his humility. Christ put it as "conversion into a little child." (Matthew 18:3) Christ's disciples satisfied this condition when He addressed them, "little children in John 13:33 ."
God chose 300 men out of 10,000 by applying the "water test." Who can understand this without God explaining it through His words? Judges 7:5 "So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth , him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink . 6 "And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth , were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water." "Water" has the following spiritual references. God will now guide us which symbols for water best fit the "water test" that eliminates the undeserving: a. Water symbolizes people: Revelation 17:15 " And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest…are peoples, and multitudes…" b. Water symbolizes the person: Psalms 18:16 " He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters." c. Water symbolizes the "word" of God: Ephesians 5:26 " That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." d. Water symbolizes the Holy Spirit: John 7:37 "…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Gideon’s 300 One reference to “water” in the test God used the “water test” to select the deserving. One reference to water that God used is that which symbolizes “people.” Those who knelt in drinking water were eliminated. “Kneeling in drinking” indicates subservience to the religious dictate of the people which is an abomination to God. As a result of this test, 9,700 out of 10,000 where eliminated. Therefore only 300 were allowed to go with Gideon. The 300 were not supposed to be afraid of people in religious matters. Rather, in “fighting” them they would even glorify God. This was demonstrated literally when the Israelites were about to occupy Canaan. The spies sent by Moses to investigate the land told him that there were giants occupying it and therefore it was impossible to enter it. Num 13:32 “And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched …saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” However when Joshua and Caleb were sent, they told Moses that by the power of God those people are even “bread” to them. They said: Num 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. Spiritually, the persecution and hardships that would come from the people would even be counted as “blessing from God” serving as “spiritual food.” Other reference to “water”in the test Here “water” symbolizes the word of God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit to give the spiritual message. Judges 7:6 "And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water." The spiritual message of the word is the truth that gives spiritual life. Our Lord Jesus emphasized this in: Joh 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Lapping with two hands indicates living the two kinds of life, PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL, according to the truth in the word. This is the kind of life the apostles of Christ lived. For physical life, they followed what is right with clean conscience. For spiritual life, they followed the TRUTH and were conscious of spiritual conviction. No wonder, like Gideon, they succeeded in the spiritual battles the enemies of God presented to them. This is the kind of prayer mentioned by our Lord to His Disciples when they needed to cast out demons (Mar 9:28-29): 1 Tim 2:8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
2. Gideon destroyed everything that was against God:
Judges 6:25 "… throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it."
Christ's disciples, like Gideon destroying the "altar of Baal and cutting down the grove," renounced everything that was contrary to His teachings. They distanced themselves from the people who did not even recognize the Father because they have not known Jesus.
2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
3. Gideon built an altar for the Lord.
Judges 6:26 "And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice…"
Christ's disciples, like Gideon building "an altar unto the Lord upon the rock and offered burnt sacrifices" followed the teachings of our Lord. They "prayed without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ) by their "unceasing spiritual walk" on the "Way" shown by Jesus as model. Gideon and his 300 men saw victory over the formidable enemies, so did Christ's disciples saw, and the real Christians today should likewise see spiritual victory over their spiritual enemies.
Names written in the "book of life"
Which is the book that is considered the source of "life?" Of course this must refer to "eternal life." Jesus said, "I am that bread of life." John 6:48
John 6:63 " It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing : the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life ."
The words of God are the source of "life", and these are found in the HOLY BIBLE. The Bible therefore must be the BOOK OF LIFE! Hence we can say, "our names are written in the book of life" when we can identify ourselves with the different characters chosen by God with the "spiritual word."
Since Jesus Christ had to explain His words to His disciples for they are expressed in parables, look now if we cannot find some connection between the following:
Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."
Because the words of God are expressed in parables, that not even the apostles could understand them, the book that contains them is "sealed." Could this not refer to the following?
Revelation 5:1-5 " And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David , hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
Only the "Lion of the tribe of Judah " and the "Root of David " can break the seals and open the book. Only Jesus Christ CAN EXPLAIN HIS WORDS THAT ARE EXPRESSED IN PARABLES!
Mark 4:34 " But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."
But the contents of the book are not to be seen by everybody.
Mark 4:11 -12 " And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God : but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand…"
Perhaps there is no other book that can be considered the source of "life" than the Sacred Scriptures or the Holy Bible. It may well be called the "book of life." Can we not say, "our names are written in the book of life" if we can "see ourselves" in the chosen people of God? Perhaps this may appear foolishness to the Natural Man (1 Corinthians 2:14 ), but let the word of God prove this basic truth.
Who can see himself in the person of Gideon and his 300 men holding a TRUMPET in the hand ready to be blown and a LAMP in an EMPTY PI TC HER ready to be broken to expose the LIGHT? The spiritual enemies surround us and ready to strike.
Judges 6:5 " For they came up …as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. 6And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD."