Faith in Horses
After a few minutes of intense discussion, Ibzan called the meeting back to order.
“These are unusual teachings,” he said, addressing the Council. “I cannot say that I understand all of them, but these are perilous times for us, and we must deal with the practical matter at hand. The Philistine threat is real, and they intend to impose tribute upon us.”
The Chief of Dan stood to his feet and casting an admiring look at Pegasus and Pleiades, said, “If we had horses such as these, we might have a chance at holding off a Philistine oppression. Did you get them from Egypt? If we had a hundred of them or more, the Philistines would not dare to attack us.”
“These horses are indeed very special,” I replied, “because they are Yahweh’s horses, and they obey His will. But they would do you no good unless you could ride them. No one can ride these horses unless he is in full agreement with Yahweh and has His law written on his heart. In other words, the second covenant must be fulfilled in him. But if you do not think that the two covenants are important, or that such understanding will make a difference, then horses such as these are of no use to you.”
“Let him try to ride,” Pegasus muttered in a low tone behind me.
I turned and stroked his sleek white neck. “Are you serious?” I whispered. “Should we let him try to ride you?”
“Yes,” Pegasus replied. “He needs to know his limitations.”
Turning again, I spoke to the Danite. “Do you believe that you can ride Pegasus? As you can see, he has no bit or bridle. You would be fully at his mercy.”
“Riding him looked easy enough for you,” he said. “I think I can handle him.”
I motioned for him to mount Pegasus, and he came near. Grabbing his mane, he threw his leg over Pegasus’ back and sat upon him with the skill of a seasoned horseman. But then, just as suddenly, he found himself flipping through the air, landing with a thud face first on the ground.
A roar of laughter erupted from the tribal Chiefs. Pegasus returned to my side, resting his chin on my shoulder. The Danite got up slowly with a look of shock on his reddening face. “I think perhaps this horse needs more discipline. One cannot ride a horse into battle if it cannot be governed by a bit and bridle.”
“That is very true,” I said. “Anyone riding him into battle would be invincible, but few can ride such a horse. The horse must know you, and you must trust him and not try to tell him what to do. First and foremost, Pegasus is Yahweh’s horse, and he does only what he hears from the voice of Yahweh Himself. Faith in Yah’s Horse is mandatory, but one cannot have faith without knowing him.”
“Where did you get this horse?” Ibzan asked.
“He is descended from the horse that Joseph rode while he ruled Egypt,” I explained. Joseph took his horse to his far-off Kingdom, and the spirit of Zaphnath now resides in Pegasus. You will not find a hundred horses like this one,” I continued, stroking his soft nose affectionately. “But this horse alone would always lead you to victory.”
“Will you then join us in battle against the Philistines and lead us to victory?” Eli asked.
“No, I cannot do that,” I said, shaking my head. “The path to victory is possible only by faith from hearts that are free from idolatry, and by appealing to the second covenant that Moses made. It was under this second covenant that Joshua conquered Canaan, but he was limited in his conquest by the people’s lack of understanding. If the people had truly understood the meaning of the second covenant, the entire land might have been conquered in his day.”
“I think we should buy a hundred horses from Egypt,” the Danite suggested. “They, at least, would be useful. Of what use is a heavenly horse that cannot be ridden?”
My words had flashed past the Danite unrecognized. It was plain that he had no understanding of the second covenant with Moses or how it might apply to their situation. The Danite’s heart was obviously mixed between faith in God and in human strength. In fact, he represented the tribe of Dan, which itself was divided spiritually and physically. The Danites of the south overlooking the land of the Philistines had remained true to the tabernacle at Shiloh, but those of the north in the City of Dan were idolaters. The Chief of Dan represented both branches of the tribe, and so his heart was a mixture of spirit and flesh, good and evil.
“Eli, what does the law say about buying horses from Egypt?” I asked.
“It is written,” said Eli, “that Israel’s king shall not multiply horses for himself, because this would cause the nation to return to Egypt, which is unacceptable to Yahweh.” 50
“May I remind you that we do not yet have a king,” the Danite said. “I do not think that Moses’ instruction applies to judges. Besides, having horses should help us avoid bondage and remain free.”
“What you say sounds logical,” I said, “but the purpose of this law is to tell us to rely upon Yahweh as our defense, and not to rely upon fleshly horses or the power of flesh in general. Horses are flesh, after all, and not spirit. If there is a threat of captivity, it is not because we lack physical strength, but because we have turned away from Yahweh, who is our only true defense. You know from Moses’ writings, that God promised to put Israel into captivity if they violated His law. Shall Israel, then, defend themselves from God’s judgment?”
“Well, we must do something,” said the Danite, “unless you are saying that we are to just submit to the Philistines and pay tribute to them. But we know that God wants us to be free!”
“I think you should seek Yahweh’s face and find out what the decree of God is in this matter. I believe that He has already searched the hearts of His people and has already issued His verdict from the throne. Is there no prophet in Israel to tell you the word of Yahweh? Does no one in this Tribal Council participate in the Council of Heaven?”
“We have not heard of such things,” Eli said. “How can men be part of the Council of Heaven?”
“It requires the ability to hear His voice,” I told them. “If you can hear His voice, and if you have learned to hear without idols in your heart, then Yahweh may appoint you as a member of that Council of Heaven. But you must be in agreement with Him, so that you do not presume to tell Yahweh how to rule His creation. Council members are there to participate in His decrees and to implement them in the earth. When heaven speaks and the earth bears witness, His will is established on earth as it is in heaven.”
After a pause, I turned to Eli and said, “Do you understand these things? It is the duty of the high priest to war the warfare 51 in the heavens so that the earthly army of Israel can win the earthly battles. If you do not first win the warfare in the heavens, how can Israel win the battle here on earth? Victory on earth is assured if it is already won in the heavens, for all things are first established in the heavens before they appear on the earth. But no one can win the battle in the heavens apart from believing and doing Yahweh’s will.”
“Yes,” Eli replied, “I do have some understanding of that calling and duty, but this has not been understood clearly in the past. Having just recently put on the ephod, I have not yet had time to exercise that calling, and unfortunately, my forefathers lacked the understanding necessary to teach me how to conduct spiritual warfare.”
“That is unfortunate,” I replied. “No doubt you were taught carefully how to obey every law of sacrifice and temple ritual, but the weightier matters of the law were omitted from your training. Because you wear the ephod, it is your calling to teach the law and to inform the people of Israel of heavenly decrees. That way, they will know whether to engage in battle or to submit to the divine judgment for their lawlessness.”
“Are you a member of the Council of Heaven?” Eli asked.
The question took me aback, but I answered him carefully. “Yes, we are, and we are here to reveal secrets of the Council. My words are not my own, for we are only messengers to tell you what has already been decreed.”
“What has heaven decreed in regard to our generation?” he asked.
“Your Excellency,” I said to him, “We regret to inform you that the decree has already been issued from the divine court that Israel shall go into captivity to the Philistines. The manner of this captivity, however, whether it is light or heavy, depends upon the obedience of the people themselves. If you agree to submit to the judgment of God and to pay tribute to the Philistines, your children and grandchildren will live to see freedom and also to see kings rule in Israel. Agreeing with God’s judgments today will bring blessing to the next generation.”
The news shocked the Danite and the other tribal chiefs, with the exception of Boaz and Abihud, but I continued, telling Eli, “This captivity is something caused by the previous generation, and your father was unable to stop Israel’s adultery with false gods. You, however, have an opportunity to turn the hearts of the people back to the God of Israel. Teach the people the ways of righteousness, justice, and mercy, and God will bless Israel in the time of your successor.
- Deuteronomy 17:16
- To “perform the service, to do the work of the tabernacle” (Numbers 4:23 KJV) means literally to “war the warfare.”