The end time application here comes when you note that the victory comes on the Third Day. This is a prophetic clue, showing there is a double meaning to this lesson from scripture. The Third Day is the Third day of prophecy. It's often called 'that day' or the 'Day of the Lord' and other such names. The first two days are the two thousand years since Jesus came in the flesh. The third day is the millennium, equivalent to the seventh day of creation and the seventh day of God's week.
Points to note:
• The victory does not come immediately at the beginning of the third day.
• God does not reveal his plans or promise victory till the third day.
• Deep repentance and prayer is needed before God reveals all this.
• A sacrifice of troops is still necessary and the troops are quite willing to make it on the third day.
• The ambush from behind speaks of the Second Coming.
The warfare on the third day forms a parable of the end times. Many writers are aware that the third day is when God will bring things to a close and fulfill the remaining prophecies, yet they expect that all these things will come to pass immediately after we enter the third day. On the other hand many prophets are telling us that we have already entered the third day. So how to reconcile these ideas.
The story of the third day's battle against Benjamin provides us an illustration of how it happens as a process. In Jewish time keeping the change from one day to the next does not come at 12 midnight. It comes at 6 PM. The day begins at evening, 6 PM and runs through the night to the following morning and up to 6 Pm again, when a new day begins. So in the story here lets see how it happened.
25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.
26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.
On the second day, Israel was once again trounced by Benjamin. Then they go up to seek the Lord. They are seen weeping, fasting and offering sacrifices till evening. Then at evening, the third day commences! And the Lord reveals the plan and gives the promise of victory.
In the terms of our parable, Israel is typical of the Church, and the first two days are speaking of the 2 thousand years of the 'church age'. At the end of that time, judgment begins at the house of the Lord and the church is brought to a place of deep repentance [weeping] and worship [sacrifices]. The part where the Lord speaks and reveals the plan and gives the promise of victory represents the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This is the beginning of the end time events in the Book of Revelation.
In the third day of warfare, the men of Israel know that their part is to go up to battle and pretend to loose, as before. And that some of them will have to deliberately give their lives to do this. This speaks of the willingness of the church to obey the word of the Lord unquestioningly in the end times. Psalm 110 speaks of this as the Day of His Power.
Psalms 110:3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
This is also seen as the day of power in Revelation 12. This is where we read of God's people being willing to lay down their lives and die the martyr's death.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
The Contemporary English translation says it like this:
Revelation 12:11 Our people defeated Satan because of the blood of the Lamb and the message of God. They were willing to give up their lives.
Here in vs. 30-31 is a description of Israel going up to battle. The word up is used several times in the text. This gives an impression that they were facing an uphill battle all along.
30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.
31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.
But before this happened, Israel has ambushers stationed around Gibeah.
Judges 20:29 And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah.
Then as Israel is retreating down the highway, the ambushers attack the city from behind and above.
Judges 20:37 And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword.
The town of Gibeah is behind and above the battle area. This speaks of the high places of the earth.
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.
These liers in wait or ambushers speak of the armies of Heaven, the saints and angels who will accompany the Lord Jesus Christ as he returns to fight the last battles. The first thing The Lord does is to execute judgment on the High places, where the rulers of wickedness have their seats.
Micah 1:3 For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
Amos 4:13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.
Then after Gibeah is destroyed, the ambushers come down and hit Benjamin from behind and above. This speaks of the Lord and the armies of heaven continuing on after treading on the High Places to the final battles on the earth.
39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.
40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.
The related passages in Revelation include these:
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Revelation 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Now earlier we said the martyrdom of the saints enables the final victory over the enemy. Just how is this?
We see the people willing to sacrifice their lives. The children of Israel in Judges and the end time saints in Revelation. In Judges, their sacrifice is what makes the ambush work. What about in Revelation?
Well here the climax is not an ambush but the Second Coming of the Lord. We read about this in Jude for instance where the reason for the Second Coming is to execute judgments.
14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
In Second Thessalonians we read of Him coming to take vengeance.
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
And in Revelation 19 we see that he is avenging the blood of the martyrs.
Revelation 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
These are those who gave their lives for the Gospel. We see them crying for vengeance in Revelation 6.
9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
The Key to how the martyrdom of the saints enables the final victory is found in Romans 12, where we see that God uses the patience of the saints to open the way for his vengeance.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
This hearkens back to Romans 12: 1
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Here the Lord is asking us to offer our lives as a living sacrifice to that it will 'give place to wrath' as mentioned in vs. 19. This is what makes the vengeance and the final victory possible. And so we note in closing the words of Psalm 116.
Psalms 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
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