The following message concerns an article, "Three Tabernacles," by Jay Rogers at:
http://www.forerunner.com/forerunner/X0 ... acles.html
Posted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:22 am
Subject: Mount Gibeon
I have been doing a study on Mt Gibeon and the significance it has for us today. I came across your article on the three tabernacles. In your article you mention that David brought the Ark of the Covenant from Mt. Gibeon.
I don't think that is correct. I don't believe the Ark of the Covenant was EVER at Mt. Gibeon. That fact may have some significance on the content of your article. I agree with the intent of your thoughts......that many churches do not have the presence of God but they continue on without missing a beat. Furthermore, I believe that many churches, from the outset of their existence never had the presence of the the Holy Spirit. They have been sitting on Mt Gibeon the whole time.
Michael Clark and Gerald Davis have done a wonderful article about this at their website http://www.awildernessvoice.com. Here is an exerpt from the article titled The Five Mountains. You may find it interesting.
Gibeon and Zion
For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. (1 Chronicles 21:29)
Only the tabernacle and the altar of offering rested on Gibeon, not the ark. What transpired that the ark would no longer be in the holy of holies? At this point it would be good to do a brief history of how the Ark of the Covenant and the tent of meeting (the tabernacle which came to rest on Gibeon) were permanently separated and how this seeming disaster served to advance God's eternal plan.
At first, both the Ark and the tabernacle moved around together from point to point in the Promised Land during the time of the judges. The tent housed the ark when it was stationary. One of the later judges named Eli was also the chief priest and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests before the Lord when the tent of meeting was at Shiloh.
One day a woman came and was weeping and groaning in prayer at the door of the tent and Eli rebuked her because he thought she was drunk. Hannah replied that she was not drunk, but rather grieving because she was barren. Eli assured her that God heard her prayer. Soon she conceived and gave birth to a child named Samuel. When the child was weaned, as promised, she brought him to the tabernacle to minister before the Lord as a Nazarite and prophet. Though Samuel was not of the family of the Levites, but of Ephraim, he ministered there at Shiloh before the Lord and God started speaking to him at a very early age.
God was about to replace Eli as judge over Israel because he and his sons were corrupt. The Philistines came up to invade Israel and the army of Israel went out to head them off at the pass. The battle was not going well, so someone got the bright idea to fetch the ark of God from Shiloh, believing that God would fight their battle for them because of the presence of the ark. Wrong! Hophni and Phinehas brought the ark to the field of battle, but when the Philistines heard of it they became more determined. They routed Israel, killed the two sons of Eli, and took the ark as a trophy of war.
At this point, a runner brought news to Eli that his two sons had been killed and the ark had been lost. Eli was old and obese, and when he heard the ark was in enemy hands he fell backwards off his chair, broke his neck and died. When the pregnant wife of Phinehas heard of the death of her husband and the loss of the ark, she went into labor early and gave birth to a son. She named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured" (1 Samuel 4:21-22, NKJV).
Samuel and those who remained at Shiloh packed up the tabernacle and all its furnishings and headed south to avoid the invading Philistines. The tent of meeting finally came to rest on a hill called Gibeon, but without the Ark of the Covenant. The priests who succeeded Eli and his sons continued to minister before the empty tent for many years, though the glory of God's presence was not there.
A reporter once asked Billy Graham what he feared the most. He said it was building up such a well-oiled evangelistic organization that it could go right on doing its thing even after God departed and not even know the difference. Such is the case with empty religion. This is truly a very sad state of affairs, but all too common today. It is too bad that they are not as honest as the wife of Phinehas when they name their organizations.
Meanwhile, the Philistines brought the ark to Ashkelon, one of their five major cities, and put it in the temple of their god Dagon, an idol with the head and hands of a man and the tail of a fish. They come back the next day to find Dagon fallen off his perch, prone before the ark of the Lord. Thinking it a fluke, they set him back up. The next day they found him fallen before the ark at the threshold with his head and hands broken off. It was a knock out in the second round and God was the winner!
The ark was too hot for the king of Ashkelon and the priests of Dagon to handle. They decided to send it away to another Philistine city, where the people broke out with a plague of tumors (hemorrhoids in the Hebrew) and the city was overrun with a plague of mice. So the Ark was shipped on down the line to the next city and the next, each breaking out with the same afflictions until after many months, they got the bright idea to send the ark back to Israel. Their priests and diviners told them to put five golden "tumors" and five golden mice in a box, one for each of the lords of the Philistines. They put the ark on an oxcart with the box of offerings beside it, and then hitched up two milk cows that had calves. They tied the calves to a post to see if the mother cows would ignore their bawling and take the ark to Israel. If they did, the Philistines would know that their woes came from the ark and that they had broken the plague by returning it to its rightful home.
The people of Beth Shemesh in southern Israel, reaping in their fields, heard the cows bawling as they came pulling the oxcart with the ark. They went out to see it with great rejoicing. The cart came to a halt at a great rock. The local Levites took it down from the cart, placed the box of golden mice and tumors along side it, chopped up the oxcart for firewood and slaughtered the two cows as a sacrifice to the Lord. The narration continues,
Then He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people lamented because the LORD had struck the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth Shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God? And to whom shall it go up from us?" So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath Jearim, saying, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of the LORD; come down and take it up with you." Then the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of the LORD, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time; it was there twenty years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. (1 Samuel 6:19-7:2, NKJV).
This same Kiriath Jearim is also called Baale Judah in 2 Samuel. There the Ark stayed throughout the reign of King Saul (a type of the flesh), who never once sought it out. (See 1 Chronicles 13:3). Sacrifices were still being offered on the altar at Gibeon. The washings of the laver continued. The seven-branched candlestick was still lit and fueled and smoke was still rising from the altar of incense, but behind the veil of the Holy of Holies, all was dark. The glory had departed. There was no receptacle for the sprinkling of the blood of the slain lamb, i.e., the mercy seat. There was no light beyond the veil, for He who is the Light was gone. In short, the system was still functioning but the Lord of glory was gone with the ark.
The ark was gone during the whole reign of Saul and no one looked for it. No one missed it! Why? The ark of God's presence is despised and neglected whenever and wherever the flesh of man reigns. Religion works quite well without God. His presence is not required for it to function. Israel was never more religious than at those times when they were in outright disobedience to God or had completely forgotten Him. Regardless of their condition, they continued to burn incense long after God's presence had departed.
God spoke of this through Jeremiah, "But my people have forgotten me, they burn offerings to a delusion; they have stumbled in their ways, in the ancient roads, and have gone into bypaths, not the highway" (Jeremiah18:15 RV).
Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message Bible, captures the true meaning of Isaiah 1:13 through 14. "Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings--meetings, meetings, meetings--I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning."
The point is that men will continue to burn incense, give offerings and go right on worshiping long after the glory has departed. Jeremiah noted that in the midst of the religious hubbub and digging of religious cisterns, not even the priests thought to ask, "Where is the Lord?" (See Jeremiah 2:8). The fact that people are unified in religious activity is not an indicator that God is present among them. If anything, it is a sign of apostasy. As Isaiah prophesied, it is quite possible for a people to come near to God with their mouth and honor Him with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. Their worship consists only of rules taught by men. (See Isaiah.29:13-14)
Blessings to you,