Through Timeless Mountains--Chapter 15, The Philistine Mission
Feb 06, 2017
In the morning, we bade farewell to our friends and rode south along the ridge past Beth-horon toward Zorah, which was a settlement in the sliver of land that the tribe of Dan had been able to occupy since the days of Joshua. Zorah was situated equidistant between Eshtaol to the north and Beth-shemesh to the south. It overlooked the plain, where the Philistine fortress city of Timnah could be seen in the distance. Another twelve miles further south from Timnah was Gath.
The road was well traveled and not difficult to traverse. The horses walked at a steady pace, eating up the miles with ease. Sippore flew ahead, crisscrossing the path, scouting the way for possible dangers or for things of interest to us. We passed many small houses, each having a variety of animals grazing on the hills with shepherd boys watching over them. There were also gardens, vineyards, and small fields of grain, each providing meager supplies of food for the families.
About an hour after passing Eshtaol, in the early afternoon, Sippore flew back to us and alighted upon Sipporah’s shoulder, whispering in her ear. “Sippore has seen a man ahead, someone that we know,” she informed me. “I wonder who it might be.”
As we rounded the bend in the road, we came across a man sitting by the side of the road. “Toivo!” I shouted. “What are you doing here?”
“Anava! Sipporah!” he answered. “I might ask the same about you!”
“We are on a mission to give counsel to the Tribal Chiefs regarding the soon-coming Philistine captivity of Israel. Why are you here?”
“I am here to announce the birth of Samson,” he informed us. “I have been sent to Zorah to tell a man and his wife that they will have a son who is to be a Nazirite from birth. That is all—no more, no less. I cannot even tell them that their son will be a judge in Israel. They will learn that later when he is grown.”
“Do you know where this family lives?” I asked.
“Well, I was transported to this spot just now, so I assume that they live nearby,” Toivo said.
“How did you get here?” I asked.
“I went to Revelation Mountain,” he replied, “to experience for myself the presence of the Creator. When I got there, I stood on the great flat rock of meditation, and there heard His voice, felt His presence, and heard His instructions. Then I was united with my angel, who came into me, and suddenly I found myself transported here.”
“We, too, have been led to come to this place, though it seems that our main mission has been accomplished,” I told him. “No doubt we are here to witness your mission as well. I think I can see an open field through the trees ahead of us. Perhaps there you will find those you seek, but I think we should observe from a distance.”
“Let us go, then,” Toivo said. With that, we continued down the road until we came to the edge of a small pasture with sheep grazing contentedly. A young woman sat upon a rock, watching over the sheep. I had to admire her courage, for there were lions in the valley and in the hills, who were always searching for their next meal and who often delighted in taking sheep or goats from a flock in the pasture.
As we watched, Toivo suddenly disappeared from where he was standing near us, and reappeared just as suddenly behind the young woman. Hearing a sound, she whirled around, ready to defend her beloved flock, but was surprised to see a man standing there.
“Do not be afraid,” Toivo said. “I am a man of God.”
Though we were a considerable distance from them, hidden in the trees along the road, our ears were opened, and we found that we could hear the conversation as easily as if they were standing next to us.
“The God of Israel has sent me to give you an answer to your prayers,” Toivo continued. “You are barren and have borne no children, but you will conceive and give birth to a son. Now, therefore, be careful not to drink wine or liquor of any kind, nor to eat any unclean food, for your son will be a Nazirite from the time of conception. When he is born, no razor shall come upon his head, and when he is grown, he will begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
The woman stood speechless for a moment, and then she suddenly turned and ran excitedly toward her home, leaving Toivo standing there wondering what to do next. Then just as suddenly, he was transported back to where we were waiting.
“I suppose that is the end of my duty,” he said. “I have told her what she needs to know.”
“No, I think you will be seeing her again,” I said, “but not today. Why don’t you come with us. We are going to Timnah to observe the Philistines for a while.”
“Well, since I have not yet been transported elsewhere, I suppose that is what I ought to do,” Toivo said.
We then continued our journey a short distance, before the road began to slope downhill toward the land of the Philistines. “I don’t suppose the Philistines will welcome us with open arms,” I remarked. “They will suspect that we are spies for Israel.”
“And are we not?” Toivo asked with a laugh. “Why else would we be going to Timnah, if not to spy on their activities?”
“Yes, you are right,” I said. “I wonder what it is we need to see.”
We walked for another hour before we neared the foot of the ridge. There by the side of the road lay a great lion and his lioness, basking in the warm sun. They watched without fear as we approached cautiously.
“We mean you no harm,” I said loudly. “We are children of our Creator on a mission to Timnah.”
“That is a dangerous place,” the lion replied, “but if you are on such a mission, then we will go with you to protect you from all evil.”
“Your presence is most welcome,” I replied, and the others agreed. “But stay close to us and try not to appear threatening to them. We do not want to start a war. We are here on a mission of peace.”
We continued our journey down the road. Pegasus and Pleiades had no fear of the lions and were as comfortable with them as with us. Normally, lions are predators and horses are prey. That is why lions have eyes on the front of their faces, while horses have eyes on the sides of their heads, allowing them to see behind them more easily. Nature has equipped each according to its own instincts. But in our case, the rule of the harmonious Kingdom had superseded the laws of tooth and claw, so natural enemies lived in harmony as friends.
As we walked the last few miles along the Brook of Sorek which formed the border between Dan and Philistia, heading toward Timnah, we passed many fields where Philistine laborers were busy with various chores. When they saw us, they stopped and stared at the lions with apprehension. Those near the road moved away, fearing the lions. “Peace!” I shouted to some of them who were within earshot. I waved to them, wanting to ease their minds and to show them that we were not a threat.
We continued our journey with no one daring to hinder us or even to question our presence. But as we began to approach the city gate (for the city was walled), a small giant with a fiery red beard stood guard at the gate. He stood in our way with his arms folded upon his barrel chest. He stood about ten feet in height, and his elongated head added about six inches to his height. The spear that he carried was like a weaver’s beam, larger than an average man could carry.
“Who are you? Why are you here?” he asked gruffly.
“We are from a far country and have come to speak to your elders,” I said.
“How, then, do you speak our language with such fluency? It is as if you were born here,” he asked.
“We speak all languages,” I replied, with no explanation.
“Are you from one of the tribes of Israel?” he asked.
“We are not from Israel, but from a far country,” I repeated. “We have been meeting with the elders of Israel, and now we have come to speak with your elders as well.”
“What nation do you come from?” he asked.
“We are sons of God,” I said clearly and deliberately.
“I am a son of God,” the giant said with a grunt, “descended from those who came to earth upon Mount Hermon, which the Israelites call Sion. You are too small to be sons of God, even with lions at your side.”
I smiled, knowing that he was referring to the counterfeits who referred to themselves as sons of God, but who had attempted to fulfill prophecy in an unlawful manner. “We are what your father desired to bring to birth. We carry the authority that your father tried to obtain in an unlawful manner. We did not take authority by the power of our own strength, but were given it by the Creator Himself. We may be small, but the strength of the Most High God resides in us.”
The giant was taken aback for a moment, clearly shaken inside, but trying hard to hide his fear. “What are your names?” he asked.
“I am Anava, this is my wife Sipporah, and this is Toivo. What is your name?” I asked.
“I am Goliath,” he answered.
“How did you get that name?” I asked.
“I was exiled from Gath,” he answered reluctantly in a lower tone.
I knew that the root of his name, golyah, carried the meaning of an exile, but it also meant that he had been discovered or uncovered. I surmised that he had been discovered doing something that warranted his exile from Gath to Timnah. Yet I thought it best not to press the point, for there was no point in making him angry. He was already clearly embarrassed by his label of shame.
“No matter,” I told him. “Your inheritance will be reinstated after you have proven yourself. I see in you a future champion of the Philistines who will lead many into battle.”
Goliath’s face brightened at this word. “Thank-you, little man,” he said. “I am glad that someone recognizes my potential. I am good for a lot more than guarding a city gate during a time of peace.”
“How old are you?” I asked.
“I am 54 years old,” he replied, standing up straight.
“You are yet young for a giant,” I responded. “Gain as much wisdom as you can, for in seventy years you will meet a little red-haired man whom you might easily underestimate.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I can say no more about it,” I replied. “Our mission today is to give a message of peace to your elders.”
“Wait here, and I will inform the elders.” He closed the gate and barred it while we waited for his return. By this time curious soldiers had appeared on the walls, armed with spears and bows, to defend the city if necessary.
Finally, the gate swung open, and Goliath appeared once again before us. “Come with me,” he ordered. We followed him through the gate and down the main street to the large Power Tower, whose doors and ceilings were tall enough to accommodate the giants. We all entered the hall, including the horses and lions, but Sippore chose to fly away and to roam the city to see what she might see. Goliath returned to his post at the city gate.
In the hall, we saw five older giants with elongated heads, all much taller than Goliath, sitting on monstrous thrones in a semi-circle. These were the elders of Timnah. They were not true Philistines at all, but were descendants of the Nephilim whose fathers had come down from the heavens and had mated with the daughters of men. Their offspring were giants, both in size and intellect, and they ruled many nations in the area surrounding Mount Hermon.
We knew that many of their giant brethren had been killed by the Israelite army under Moses and Joshua, especially those on the east side of the Jordan River. But the Israelites had never conquered the southwestern portion of Canaan, where the Philistines lived, so there yet remained many Nephilim families there. The Philistines esteemed them as demigods and submitted to their rule and leadership.
“I am Ben Rosh, Son of God and King of the Philistines. Who are you, and why have you come?” their leader demanded.
“I am Anava, this is my wife Sipporah, and this is Toivo,” I replied, motioning as I introduced the others. We are children of the Most High God. We have come to inform you of your boundaries in your treatment of the Israelites.”
“What boundaries?” Ben Rosh scoffed. “I know no boundaries. The entire earth is ours to rule. We are Sons of God.”
I ignored his pompous claim. “We are witnesses of a decree from the throne of the Most High God. He has sold His people Israel into your hands, not because of your great power, but because they have been corrupted by the spirit of idolatry from the Grotto of Pan. The Most High God has decreed that you shall rule Israel for forty years—no more than that—on account of their idolatry and sin.”
“You shall not kill any of them without cause,” I continued. “You shall not take more than ten percent of their harvests, for that is what is due to the Creator who owns the earth. You shall not tax each Israelite more than five shekels of silver each year, for that is their commercial value set forth in the law. When forty years have been accomplished, you shall release them unharmed and with generous gifts. These are the terms by which the Most High God sells them into your hand.”
All five Nephilim threw back their heads and laughed loudly. Yet their laughter was a bit too loud and long. It was nervous laughter, for while they tried to appear to be in control of the situation, they knew that these boundaries were very real and enforceable.
“Who do you think you are, little son of man?” one of the others demanded to know.
“I am indeed a son of man in my flesh,” I replied calmly, “but I am also a Son of God in my spirit. We are what you wish to be, but because your fathers were angels that sinned, attempting to bring forth sons of God in an unlawful manner, you are not one of us and are subject to the law and to our authority. I am a son of my heavenly Father, and I do the works of my Father and speak in the name of my Father. If you do not understand or agree with my word, it is because you were not begotten by the word of Truth. I do the works of my father, even as you do the works your father.”
“Our fathers came down from heaven to bring heaven to earth,” Ben Rosh said with all seriousness. “We are the true sons of God. The earth is ours to rule. You are not even from here. I can see that you are from far into the future. You have no jurisdiction here.”
“We have been sent as ambassadors of the Timeless One,” I asserted. “The era in which we were born is irrelevant, for all of the Sons of God are one body, and when they are sent out, all authority is given to them in heaven and in earth to complete their mission. The Most High God is not your father. Your father is Draco, the great serpent of the heavens, who came to Mount Sion that rises high above the city of Dan. In violation of the law, they took the daughters of men and conceived children by them. You are among their offspring. You and your brethren claim the earth which your father did not create, and so you are usurpers and thieves.”
Ben Rosh came off his throne with an angry and threatening look, reaching for his spear. The lions roared, and a blast of wind from their mouths pushed him back upon his throne. At the same time, the light that resided in us began to glow upon our faces. Flames of fire shot forth from our eyes, and our robes became as bright as the sun.
The giants screamed in terror, turning their faces away from us in fear. “Stop! Stop!” they shouted. “Veil the light! Do not use the power of the flame!”
Our light dimmed as it was again veiled. The giants recovered their composure, but no longer were they arrogant toward us. The Most High God had subdued them and their father, Draco, under our feet.
“Have you come, then, to imprison us before our time?” asked Ben Rosh in a subdued and somewhat frightened voice.
“No,” I replied, “the time of the Nephilim will continue until the day of our manifestation in our own generation far hence into the future. We have come here only to set the boundaries of your rule over the Israelite tribes for the next forty years.”
Toivo then spoke. “As a son of God, I too will speak. You will respect these boundaries, or God will raise up a judge among them, and you will suffer the consequences of disobedience.”
“You know as well as I,” Ben Rosh asserted, as he regained his composure, “that the law gives us jurisdiction over Israel on account of their sin. Our spiritual power has been established over Israel. The spirit of Draco, which resides in the Grotto of Azazel at the base of Sion, rules the tribe of Dan. Even many priests of Israel have submitted to Draco, and the spirit of our father has now been brought to Shiloh itself. We have penetrated the very heart of Israel. As long as Draco rules in Shiloh, as long as they are ruled by my father, they are ruled by the law of sin and must therefore serve Draco’s children.”
“I do understand that,” Toivo replied, “and for this reason the Judge has sold Israel into your hands for forty years. Their sentence will not continue beyond forty years, for it is the Most High God who is using you as His whip to give them forty lashes. Your authority over Israel is limited by the law of the Judge, for we are all subject to His law, whether you recognize it or not.”
The giants remained silent, although we could see that inside they were seething with frightened anger. “We will indeed subject Israel by our power. Leave our presence,” Ben Rosh said, pointing to the tall door through which we had come. “Your mission is done.”
Without replying, we all turned and walked out the door into the street of the city. Sipporah and I mounted the horses, and Toivo walked between the two great lions. The street was deserted, for the people of the city were afraid of the lions and awed by the fact that they walked in fellowship with us. Yet we could see Philistine eyes looking down from the rooftops and peeking out from windows and doors.
Moving through the gate of the city, we bade farewell to Goliath and continued down the long straight road toward the hills of Dan without looking back. Sippore soon joined us, perching once again on the shoulder of Sipporah to give her report of all that she had observed. Passing east through the grassy plain, we began to climb the rocky hill while the blazing sun was sinking into the Great Sea on the western horizon behind us. There we set up our camp for the night, but before sleeping, we discussed the events of the day.
“The Philistine people originally came as settlers from Caphtor, which we know as the island of Crete,” I said. “They have five main cities, which these giants now rule, but Timnah is just a small outpost where the Nephilim council often meets in a more private setting. During the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Philistines were still independent. But after Israel moved to Egypt, the Philistines sent ambassadors to Sion and asked the Nephilim to come and protect them from their enemies.”
“They are now enslaved to the Nephilim,” Sipporah commented. “Sippore tells me that they are an unhappy people who know only slavery. They have been ruled for many generations by the power of sin and flesh and are now fully a carnally-minded people.”
“That is unfortunate,” I replied. “Hopelessly enslaved to the giants and to the spirit of Draco, they pay for the sins of their fathers who forgot the true God and who decided to live by the power of the flesh. They are victims of ignorance and have little opportunity to change their ways. It would be helpful if some of the Israelites had the ability to show them by example the love that God has for all the nations.”
“It seems to me,” the lion said, joining the conversation, “that Israel was called to be a blessing to the Philistines and that our Creator sent Israel to this land to set the Philistines free from the Nephilim.”
“Yes,” the lioness added, “but instead, Israel has become enslaved along with the Philistines. Our own ancestors have had many years to observe these captivities, and we have wondered why the Israelites find it so difficult to serve the Creator and submit themselves to His laws. Do they not know that if they desire to be led by the flesh that they will live in slavery as surely as what happened to the Philistines?”
“The problem,” Toivo said, “is that since Earthyman first sinned, all men have been ruled by a mortal soul which naturally wants the things that lead to death. They are ruled by their carnal minds until such time that the seeds of faith are implanted in their ears. When those seeds are watered by the tree of life, they spring up and bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
“Israel was blessed to be descended from Abraham,” I said, “whose faith was ingrained in his seed. However, many who are of his physical seed have not been begotten by the same spiritual seed of faith, and so they are not really the seed of Abraham at all. In their flesh they are no different from the Philistines or any other Canaanite, for all such men are ruled by their carnal minds and are thus enslaved to the law of sin and death. All such people are subject to the authority of Draco.”
“Each of these carnal nations,” Pegasus added, “thinks it is chosen to rule others and to enslave all other people. This is the deceit of Draco, who makes them think that they are ruling those other people—when, in fact, Draco rules over all of them. Those who enslave others are themselves enslaved, big slaves ruling smaller slaves, each hoping to rise in power to the top where they can be truly free. But they can never achieve their goal by such carnal efforts.”
“Will the Israelites ever understand their mission?” the lion asked. “Will they ever realize that they are not here to bring curses upon the Philistines, but to bless all nations? Will they ever be true sons of Abraham?”
“Yes,” I answered, “but only a few in each generation will become the true seed of Abraham. Few will come to know the Creator as He really is until the present age has run its course. When Earthyman disobeyed the Creator, he and all men were sentenced to labor under the illusions of pride and greed for six days—that is, six thousand years. The time in which you live is but half way into this divine sentence. There is yet another three thousand years to go, and then the veil of blindness finally will be removed from the hearts of the nations.”
“That is a long time,” the lioness mused. “But how will it end?”
I replied, “A true Seed of Abraham will come in another thousand years from now. He will be begotten by the Holy Spirit as the great Lion of Judah and will pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, every work of lawlessness and every evil thought. He will be the Savior of all men, but especially of those in the present age who believe in Him and thus receive the seed of Elyon in their ears. The believers in this present age will be brought back to life at the end of the age and transformed into the Image of the Savior. Then they will be released fully to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, so that all of creation may be subdued to their Savior and Head.”
“That is good news. But why do you call him a Lion?” asked the lioness.
“Because He will have the courage to die even for those who hate Him. Many will think mistakenly that He is called a lion because He will tear apart His enemies. They will try to understand Him with their own carnal minds, thinking as Philistines; but in fact, He will resemble the two of you, for you have had the courage to walk into a Philistine city and to confront the rulers of this darkness.”
“We gave it no second thought,” the lion stated. “We obey the voice of our Creator by nature.”
“Precisely,” I said with a smile. “You are not a man, so you do not know what a blessing it is to obey the Creator by nature. What you are, we are becoming. Your courage and love most of us have yet to achieve. Indeed, because we have come from the other end of the age, we have already become like you, for we have been transformed into His image. This is what allowed us to go back in time, to see the past, and to teach in a limited way those who are yet progressing to the point where they praise God in their very nature.”
With that, we laid down to sleep for the night, and the lions shared their soft warmth with us.
This is part 15 of a series titled "Through Timeless Mountains." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones