The Heavenly Council
As I spoke with Abihud and Boaz, Sipporah, who had walked toward me from behind, touched my arm as if to tell me something. But at that moment, time stopped, and we were caught up in the spirit and found ourselves standing in the presence of the great Judge of all, who appeared as a great and living Light, seated upon a great white throne on a deep blue sapphire foundation. A brilliant rainbow arched over His head.
Twelve elders sat on large sapphire thrones in a circle around Him, and we stood just outside the circle among others who had been summoned to the Council.
The colors were alive, responding to every spoken word from the throne, as if to express agreement with each powerful truth that was uttered. Each color and shade of color was accompanied by beautiful tones, harmonizing as a concert, echoing in all directions at the same time, soaking us in a sea of peace and energizing us with strength.
We stood in awed silence, witnessing the massive presence of pure divinity and overcome by a sense of power, love, and wisdom that filled the atmosphere. The Voice from the Light then shook heaven and earth.
“Are all the Council members present?” the Voice thundered.
A voice answered, “Yes, all who have been summoned are present, including the observers from afar.”
Sipporah and I were the observers, for the Council members, the Sode, as the Council was called, stood in front of us. These were mature prophets along with hidden, lesser known men and women having spiritual authority living in the time in Israel that we were to observe. These were those who knew the law and the mind of God, those who understood divine court procedure, those called to participate by agreement with the sentences and decrees from the throne in heaven.
Heaven and earth are two witnesses that establish divine justice. The heavenly witnesses communicate the findings of their visitation to the earthly Council members, so that all judgment is known openly to those who have been given spiritual authority in the earth. So it was also in the day that God investigated Sodom and Gomorrah, for He first consulted Abraham before bringing fiery judgment upon those cities.
While men’s councils may disagree with the discoveries of sin and iniquity that the heavenly visitors uncover, the real Council members are consulted, because their intercession has given them authority by the things they have suffered. These Council members have learned to love those who despise and mistreat them, and their minds have been renewed to conform to the image of God. These are the saints who are called to judge the world and even to judge angels.
I looked over the members of the Sode, realizing that most of them were unknown and unrecognized on earth, hidden ones, whose glory was veiled by humble flesh, but yet known to God and chosen to rule.
Sipporah and I were observers from the future. We would have our own world to judge in a different time. But for now, being from the future, but interacting in a past age, we were allowed to observe the judgments of God in determining the sentence upon Israel on account of the sins of Israel and its priestly family.
“Then let it be known that the time of visitation has ended,” the Voice proclaimed. “We have searched the hearts of the children of Israel. We have examined the priests and have cast light on the sanctuary on earth. Uzzi, the High Priest, has walked in his own strength, rather than seeking My face. He has caused his son to bring idolatry into My house. His sons are not Mine. They are sons of Belial, speaking the lies of the serpent. Because Israel has desired to worship idols of the nations, We decree that Israel shall be sentenced to a forty-year captivity to the idolatrous Philistines.”
“Amen!” shouted the twelve judges seated around the throne.
“Amen!” shouted the Council members in unison. We all knew, with no shadow of doubt, that this was a righteous sentence, because the evidence, down to the smallest detail, was open and apparent to all. Such is the atmosphere of truth, where no darkness and no lie can stand up to the light and where the eyes of God see all things clearly.
“Because Uzzi relied on his own strength of will,” the Voice continued, “We shall send them a judge who will reflect the desire of his heart, a man of great physical strength, a judge who will be a scourge to the Philistines, but will not be able to deliver Israel by his strength. Yet there shall be mercy, for in his death he will provoke the beginning of the end of captivity, and We will raise up another judge and prophet, a chosen prophet with no mixture in his heart, who will lead Israel to victory.”
Angels and colors around the throne broke into songs of praise, and the scene faded. We too faded from His presence, as our conscious minds returned to the earth.
We again found ourselves standing on the earth, dumbstruck and amazed, with Abihud and Boaz looking at us with concerned faces.
“Are you alright?” Boaz asked anxiously.
“Yes, we are alright,” I finally was able to say. “Heaven opened its gates to us, and for a moment we were caught away in a divine encounter. We bore witness to divine court proceedings regarding Israel’s time ahead.”
“What did you see?” Abihud asked.
“There is bad news and good news,” I replied. “The bad news is that Israel has been sentenced to a captivity under the Philistines. The good news is that it will not be perpetual.”
“What do you mean?” Boaz asked. “What is to become of us?”
“I now know the reason for the Philistine threat,” I said. “The problem of idolatry is in the heart of Israel—in the very sanctuary in Shiloh itself. Eli’s father has brought this problem upon Israel, and Eli himself is the one who must endure the burden of the ephod for the duration of this captivity.”
“Is there no way to avoid it?” Abihud asked.
“There was a way, if the people had understood the law of equal weights and measures,” I replied. “If Israel had shown compassion to the Philistines and to other idolatrous nations, interceding on their behalf for mercy, then God would have extended mercy to Israel. They did not follow Abraham’s example when he interceded for Sodom. Hence, because Israel appealed to the Judge to condemn the Philistines for their idolatry, Israel will be judged by its own standard.
“All Israel is soon to pay the price,” I continued, “and during this captivity, Israel’s only potential deliverer will be one whom the people desire, a man of great physical strength. 48 He will prove that physical strength is inadequate, for though he will scourge the Philistines, he will be overcome in the end. Yet God in His mercy will raise up another judge, a prophet who knows the mind of Yahweh. He will deliver Israel at the end of forty years.” 49
“I will not live to see that day of deliverance,” Ibzan said with a dejected look, “for I am too old. But perhaps Boaz will see that day.”
“Yes,” I said, “he will live to see that day.”
The divine court had decreed a captivity, and it could no longer be stopped. As usual, God had given Israel an opportunity to receive mercy by showing mercy to others having the same problem of idolatry, but Israel had squandered this opportunity by condemning the Philistines in their hearts.
As a result, the best that they might hope for was for a lighter yoke, a wooden yoke. But to obtain a lighter yoke, the people had to submit to the divine decree. They had to bow their necks under the yoke of the Philistines until the appointed time of release.