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Chapter 13: No King in Israel

Chapter 13
No King in Israel

 

The purpose of Creation is to provide a physical expression for the glory of God. He intends to fill all things (Ephesians 1:23). Isaiah saw the whole earth filled with His glory (Isaiah 6:3) and prophesied that "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9). The author of the book of Hebrews echoes this by quoting Psalm 8, where David wrote, "Thou hast put all things under His feet" (Psalm 8:6, Hebrews 2:8). However, the verse in Hebrews goes on to say, "But now we see not yet all things put under Him."

The goal of history is for God to rule all of His Creation. John says He is to be "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16). John says further that "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15). But so long as there is rebellion and sin in the world, these things remain unfulfilled.

In the book of Judges, we find an early type and shadow of how Israel as a nation was without a king. They were supposed to be a theocracy, wherein God ruled them directly; but in fact, they seldom did the Will of God. The main theme of the book of Judges is expressed four times in the book:

  • In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6)
  • In those days there was no king in Israel. (Judges 18:1)
  • And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel.(Judges 19:1)
  • In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

The purpose of the book of Judges is to show us how a nation left to its own conscience would quickly turn aside from the law of God and do what was right in its own eyes, with serious consequences. Essentially, the book stands as a warning to humanists, who believe that man has the right and duty to legislate his own moral codes by the power of human reasoning which they call "conscience." The book shows us that one's conscience was not given to legislate, but rather to interpret and apply the law of God to one's everyday life. A conscience is man-made, and is therefore only reliable when it has been taught the law of God, is in submission to it, and knows the mind of God.

In later years, when Israel did have a series of earthly kings, they remained humanistic and refused to be obedient to God's law. So God scattered them, saying in Hosea 3:4, "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king." The theme of "no king in Israel" was thus prophesied upon the House of Israel during their years of captivity to Assyria, as part of their judgment for their humanistic views. As we will see, the 390-year time cycle deals specifically with this theme of "no king in Israel." It manifested during the time of the Judges, and it again appeared in a greater way during the time of Israel's captivity to Assyria.

Chronology of the Judges

The chronological charts in the back of this book will help you understand the times and seasons associated with the book of Judges. There are a number of chronological statements made in the Bible that deal with this time period. The book of Judges is the foundation of all the history of that time. We are told that Israel had a specified number of years of peace, followed by some years of oppression or captivity. Then, when the people repented for their violation of God's law, God raised up certain deliverers called "Judges" to free the people from captivity.

The detailed chart in the back gives the Scriptural references to prove the length of each time of captivity and each time of peace. The only time not proven on the chart is their first time of peace, from the Jordan crossing to the first captivity to the king of Mesopotamia. However, we did prove this date on pages 113-114, where we saw from the book of Jasher that this first captivity occurred 2530 years after Adam. Then, after eight years of captivity, Othniel was raised up to deliver Israel in 2538, their first Jubilee in Canaan. From then on, Israel's deliverers freed the people from captivities either on a Jubilee year or very close to one.

The notable exception was when Jephthah delivered the land of Gilead (east of the Jordan river) from their fifth captivity, (to Ammon). The story is recorded in Judges 10-12. It was only a partial deliverance, because the Philistines then took control of the main portion of Israel in Canaan for the next 40 years. Thus, the Scriptures say nothing of a time of peace after Jephthah had delivered the land of Gilead.

Toward the end of the Philistine captivity, the Israelites attempted to fight the Philistines without first repenting of their sin and rebellion. The corrupt sons of Eli, the High Priest, led Israel into battle and took with them the Ark of the Covenant, thinking that it could be used like a good luck charm to win the battle. 1 Samuel 4:3 tells us,

3 And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.

No doubt the people also remembered the days of Moses, when God delivered the people from various enemies. Whenever the Ark was moved from one location to another, Moses said, "Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee" (Num. 10:35). Many years later, in the days of Samuel, the people thought that they could pronounce the same curse upon their enemies and God would deliver them. It is ironic that God did indeed scatter His enemies, and those who hated God did indeed flee from before Him. It was Israel. 1 Samuel 4:10-11 says,

10 And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. 11 And the Ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and held it for seven months (1 Sam. 6:1). God plagued them during this time, and so finally they decided it was best to give it back to Israel. They put it on an ox cart, and the oxen took it to Beth-shemesh, an Israelite town on the border of Judah and Dan. It arrived at the time of Pentecost, while the men were reaping their wheat (1 Sam. 6:13). The people then repented and asked Samuel to intercede for them. Only then did their 40-year captivity come to an end (1 Sam. 7:13).

Adding up the chronological years, we find that the Ark was returned at Pentecost (about the end of May) in the year 2842 from Adam. Their final deliverance came a few months later in the fall of that year, which was the beginning of the year 2843. It was the 58th Jubilee from Adam. Again, this gives us types and shadows of that final Great Jubilee when we are delivered from the bondage of the flesh (our personal "Philistine" oppressor).

After the time that the Ark was returned, there are gaps in Samuel's chronology, making it virtually impossible to continue the precise chronology of that time. We must therefore jump ahead in time and work our way backward to the beginning of Saul's reign. In doing this, we find that king Saul was crowned king at Pentecost of the year 2844, just three years after the Ark was returned after it had been captured by the Philistines.

In 1 Kings 6:1, we are told that it was 480 years from the time that Israel left Egypt to the fourth year of Solomon, when the Temple Foundation was laid. Israel left Egypt in 2448, so we know that the fourth year of Solomon was in 2928 (2448 + 480 = 2928). Working our way backward, we can see that Solomon's first year was reckoned as the year 2925. David's first year was 40 years earlier, or the year 2885. Saul's first year was 40 years before then, or 2845.

Saul was therefore crowned king on the day of Pentecost in 2844, but his first regnal year was reckoned as beginning that fall at the beginning of the year 2845. It is apparent that Israel desired a king and rejected the rule of God (1 Sam. 8:7) because they were tired of God's judgments upon them for their sin. Every time they fell into idolatry, God would sell them into the hands of foreign oppressors. God would not indulge their weakness and sin. So the people wanted a king who was more like them who would indulge their sin. God granted their wish and gave them Saul, who was the cream of the crop (1 Sam. 9:2).

This did not solve their problem, of course, because Saul was indeed just like them. He was consistently disobedient to God, and he became their oppressor. Thus, the people remained in captivity, and the only difference was that their captor was not a foreigner. Finally, after a    40-year bondage to Saul, David was crowned king in Hebron over the tribe of Judah. After another seven-and-a-half years, representatives of all the tribes came to anoint David king over all Israel. This final coronation took place in the year 2892, which was the 59th Jubilee from Adam. It was precisely one Jubilee after the end of their captivity to the Philistines.

Incidentally, David's great coronation occurred in the fall of 2892. Precisely 3,000 years later brings us to the beginning of the year 5892. By Hebrew reckoning, this year began in the fall of 1996 A.D. In September of 1995, the Israelis began a year-long celebration of this 3,000-year anniversary of David's coronation. So I am not alone in my chronological conclusions. This is a commonly accepted date in history, because the evidence points to this conclusion. But while the historians limit their studies to the specific dates of historical events, I go further by showing why these events occurred when they did. My concern is to reveal the Plan of God in history and to show that God is Sovereign and knows what He is doing.

Other Time Cycles of the Judges

As I said earlier, Jephthah was the Judge who delivered Israel from the Ammonites after an 18-year captivity. In his negotiations with Ammon, we find that the Ammonites felt that they had a right to the land of Gilead, since their fathers had owned that land prior to Israel's conquest of it. Jephthah disputed their claim on the grounds that it had been 300 years since Ammon had owned this territory (Judges 11:26).

This 300 years is obviously not a strict chronological statement. In that territorial dispute, no one would have cared if Israel had been there precisely 300 years or if the number was a few years more or less. Japhthah's point was still just as valid. In fact, our chronology shows that it was precisely 313 years after the Jordan crossing. The land of Gilead had been conquered just prior to Israel's Jordan crossing (Num. 32), after the Reubenites asked Moses for that land as their inheritance. In other words, Israelite tribes had conquered that land shortly before the year 2488. Jephthah delivered Israel in the year 2801, or 313 years later. It is close enough to be rounded off to 300 years, as Jephthah said. It is also close enough to prove that the times of peace and captivity, as recorded in the book of Judges, are accurate. Samuel wrote the book of Judges to be a chronological history of Israel. There are no long-term "gaps" in the chronology.

Another chronological statement is made in the Apostle Paul's sermon in Acts 13:16-22. Here we find a period of 450 years mentioned, and in studying it closely, we find it is indeed a precise chronological statement.

16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. 17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. 18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. 19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. 20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.

At first glance, it would seem that Paul was saying that it was 450 years from the time Joshua divided up the land until the calling of Samuel. However, this is not possible. Israel entered the land of Canaan in 2488, and the land was divided among the tribes in their first rest year (2495). Samuel's call is undated in the Bible, but we know that he anointed Saul king of Israel in the year 2844. This was only 349 years later.

It was, however, precisely 450 years from the Jordan crossing (2488) to the dedication of Solomon's Temple (2938). See the detailed chart in the back, "No King in Israel." This shows us that Paul was including Joshua as one of Israel's Judges. Joshua did indeed judge Israel, even as Moses had judged the nation before him. But why would the time of Judges extend all the way to the dedication of the Temple? Were not the Judges replaced by kings, beginning with Saul?

This problem has caused some chronologers to extend the time of the Judges far beyond the stated number of years in the book of Judges. In doing so, they find fault with 1 Kings 6:1, which says it is 480 years from the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon. If the time of the Judges was 450 years, ending with Samuel, then if we were to add the 40 years of Saul's reign, it would come to 500 years. Adding to this figure the years of David's reign, we come to 540 years. Thus, the fourth year of Solomon would have been about 543 years after the beginning of the time of the Judges. This cannot possibly be reconciled with 1 Kings 6:1, which says Solomon's fourth year was 480 years after the Exodus, or 440 years after the Jordan Crossing. The two statements show a discrepancy of more than a century.

The best solution to the problem is that it was 450 years from Joshua's ordination in 2488 to the dedication of the Temple in 2938. But the question then arises, What does the dedication of the Temple have to do with the end of the time of the Judges? The simple answer is that in the overall type of the Kingdom of God that is pictured here, the Judges represent a time when man was called to rule in the place of God. They were called to enforce the law of God, which would ensure justice and peace in the land. The dedication of the Temple and the presence of God that filled it at that time pictured the personal rule of God Himself. Thus, even though Israel had kings prior to this time, those kings did not differ in purpose from the Judges. Their authority was more extensive, of course, but they were still called to administer the divine laws in place of God's direct rule.

Thus, when Paul gave his sermon mentioning the 450 years, it can be read that it ended with Samuel, king Saul, and king David. Paul was not trying to end it specifically with the call of Samuel. It ended with the time when God raised up Samuel to institute the time of the monarchies. But the real end of this was when God Himself came down to inhabit His Temple and rule the people, in the fourth year of Solomon. This is made more apparent when we look at the 390-year period of "no king in Israel."

390 Years: No King in Israel

The chart below shows us that it was 390 years from Israel's first Judge (Othniel, who was raised up in 2538) to the laying of the Foundation of Solomon's Temple (2928). This dates the Judges from a slightly different perspective than that of Acts 13:20. The chart below shows a comparison between these cycles.

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The 390-year cycle is important, because it is an intercessory time period that God gave to Ezekiel that relates to the House of Israel. In Ezekiel 4:4-5 we read,

4 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the House of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. 5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the House of Israel.

Ezekiel was called to intercede for the House of Israel for 390 days, each day representing a year in the history of Israel. It was to be a time of bondage and trouble for Israel, even as Ezekiel had pictured it in his own body for 390 days. It was to be a time when Israel would "eat food cooked with dung," even as Ezekiel had done. Israel's priests had fed the people with the true food of God's Word, but they had mixed it with their own human traditions (the "dung"). Their traditions of men defiled the Word of God. Hence, God was prophesying through Ezekiel that the House of Israel was soon to undergo a 390-year time of judgment, when they would have to eat the Word defiled by the traditions of men.

The good news was that Ezekiel's 390-day time of eating food cooked with dung eventually came to an end. When he ceased eating such defiled food, his actions prophesied that the House of Israel would likewise cease eating the traditions of men and would begin to eat the true Word of God that was undefiled. Ezekiel was an intercessor in this matter. He was called to pay the price and bear the iniquity for the nation as a type of Christ. His intercession, as led by the Spirit of God, set the judgment for the nation, but it also set the limits of that judgment to 390 years-or, as we will see, seven cycles of 390 years. But this was the long-term fulfillment of the prophecy, from 745 B.C. to 1986 A.D. In order to understand that long-term cycle, we must first understand the precedent set during the time of the Judges.

For 390 years, the nation had eaten spiritual food cooked with dung during the time of the Judges. During that time, there was no king in Israel and everyone did what seemed right in his own eyes. It was a lawless time. God's Word was not taught. Men lived by the dictates of their own seared consciences, thinking they could think for themselves and follow their own man-made moral codes. This time ended with the Foundation of the Temple being laid, for that Foundation was Jesus Christ. When Solomon laid that Foundation, it spoke of Jesus Christ, "for other Foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11).

Jesus Christ is the true Son of David. He is the true and only King. Thus, the time of the Judges, when there was no king in Israel, did not truly end with the monarchies of David, Saul, or even Solomon. Israel had no true King until the Temple Foundation was laid, which represented Jesus Christ. Only when that Foundation is laid in our hearts can we truly be led by the Spirit and know how to apply God's laws perfectly in every situation. Only then can we cease following the traditions of men-man's carnal interpretations-which God identifies as dung.

With this 390-year pattern defining "no king in Israel" during the time of the Judges, we can now turn our attention to the greater fulfillment of this prophecy that takes us to the present. The House of Israel began to be put into captivity and deported to Assyria in the year 745 B.C. This date is fixed by the Assyrian Eponym Calendar, for they record in their monuments that they deported the first of the Israelite tribes (east of the Jordan) 18 years after the famous solar eclipse in 763 B.C. Thus, the date of 745 B.C. is fixed by known astronomical data, and virtually all historians agree upon this date.

This date began the time of judgment for the House of Israel. As the chart in the back shows, it was both the time of Jacob's trouble (i.e., 210-year cycles) as well as the time when there was "no king in Israel" (i.e., 390-year cycles). As I said earlier, Hosea prophesied a time of "many days" that Israel would abide without a king (Hos. 3:4). In the next chapter, we will deal with the 210-year cycles of the time of Jacob's trouble, but for now we must focus upon the seven 390-year cycles from 745 B.C. to 1986 A.D.

The prophetic purpose of a 390-year period (or multiples of it) is to bring us to the time when the Foundation of the Temple is laid in our hearts. Up to that time it is a time of "dung," when we "eat" the traditions of men that have defiled our hearts. God's judgment upon the House of Israel obviously was more than a single 390-year period. Because of this, prophetic teachers have debated Ezekiel's time of intercession and have searched without much success for the fulfillment of this prophecy.

The answer is found when we see that God uses multiples of 390 to fulfill His Word. It is proven also by the fact that these seven 390-year periods correlate precisely with the 13 periods of 210 years of Jacob's trouble. (See the chart at the back of the book.) Both periods begin in 745 B.C., and both end in 1986 A.D.-the 120th Jubilee from Adam.

However, as we have already seen, the pattern 390-year cycle ended the time of the Judges with the Foundation of the Temple being laid in the fourth year of Solomon. In the same manner also, the year 1986 A.D. was the time when the Foundation of a greater Temple was supposed to be laid, if the Church had been able to do so under its Pentecostal anointing. Because they could not do so, God ordained a smaller body of Overcomers to lay this foundation ten years later in 1996, when they declared the Jubilee September 23, 1996. The biblical precedent for this ten-year delay will be explained in our next two chapters.

In Solomon's day, the Temple was made of wood, stone, and precious metals. In our day, God is doing a work in us, for we are His Temples. The 120th Jubilee was the crucial point in history that marked the time leading to the outpouring of the Spirit. The Spirit of God did not fill us at that time, but it did mark the beginning of a countdown toward the declaration of the Jubilee in the fall of 1996. This, in turn, marked the beginning of another countdown toward the fall of 2006, which is 2,520 years after the completion of the Second Temple in 515 B.C. Of this temple, Haggai prophesied that it would be greater than Solomon's temple, and that God (at some point) would fill it with His glory (Haggai 2:7-9).

Daniel 7:25 speaks of "a time, times, and the dividing of time" as the length of time in which the people of God are trodden down before God gives them the kingdoms of this world. In Revelation 11:2 this time is described as being 42 months (i.e., 42 x 30 = 1,260 days). In Revelation 12:14 we find that "a time, times, and half a time" is the equivalent of the 1,260 days mentioned earlier in verse 6. A "time," then, is either 360 days of short-term prophecy or 360 years of long-term prophecy. Twice this length of time is 2,520 days or seven years. In long-term prophecy, a day for a year, it refers to a time cycle of 2,520 years.

It appears likely that Haggai's prophecy could be fulfilled in long-term prophecy after a cycle of 2,520 years. The prophet's name means "festival, or feast day." His words encouraged the people in Ezra's day to finish building the Second Temple after their Babylonian captivity. Yet because he prophesied that the Temple would be greater than Solomon's Temple--but it was not--it is apparent that he spoke of another Temple. That Temple is made of living stones, having as its foundation the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as its chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). This is the Temple that God has been building for a long time. Perhaps the completion of this Temple in one sense could be in 2006. If that is the case, then the prophetic equivalent of Haggai's ministry would extend from 2001-2006 A.D.

Haggai began his ministry in the second year of Darius the Great, king of Persia, whose second year began in the spring of 520 B.C. It may be that 2,520 years later, in 2001 A.D., we should see God raise up a new type of ministry that would be anointed to urge Christian people to finish this Temple work by 2006 A.D.

It is significant that Solomon's Temple was completed in seven years, and that the vessels of the Temple took another three years. 1 Kings 7:13 says that Solomon sent for Hiram of Tyre to construct the vessels of the Temple and the pillars. We are not told how long this work took, but it would probably have taken about three years. The dedication of that Temple took place in the year 2938 from Adam, which was ten years after the foundation was laid. This was also precisely 490 years after the glory came down upon Mount Sinai and eventually rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in Moses' Tabernacle. (2448 + 490 = 2938.)

In other words, it appears that the temple-building pattern is a ten-year period. This may have a modern fulfillment in the ten years from 1996-2006, ending precisely 2,520 years after the completion of the Second Temple in Ezra's day.

Some believe, of course, that God is interested in building a Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on the order of Solomon's Temple. The Jews may, perhaps, succeed in destroying the mosque that currently occupies that site. They may even succeed in building a physical temple, which many Christians believe will house the Antichrist. But even if those plans materialize, God no longer dwells in houses made of wood and stone. The Apostle Paul clearly tells us that Christian people are the Temple of God, as we read in 1 Cor. 3:16 and 17,

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Haggai's prophecy about the glory filling the temple came to him on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Haggai 2:1 says it was "in the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month." Perhaps he and the people expected the glory of God to fill that Temple the following day, the last great day of the feast. It did not happen, of course. That Temple was never glorified. The prophecy applied to a better Temple made of living stones. We are of the opinion that the glory of God will never again inhabit temples made of wood and stone, for He has found a better home in His people.