Christian Churches of God
(Edition 1.0 19970511-19970511)
Today the world judges by numbers of people and battalions, and God is left out of the fight. This text shows the underlying thinking behind the employment of troops in battle. The message here is for the church of today.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1997 Wade Cox)
(Summary by June Hoyt, Ed. Wade Cox)
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The text in Deuteronomy 20 is the regulation concerning who must be allowed into battle for Israel as the army of God. The primary preparation is one of spiritual development and readiness to undertake battle for the God, Eloah of Israel.
Once the troops have been assembled, then a selective process is undertaken so that the troops are weeded out. The declaration of a body of troops as being fit for battle is the duty of the officers under the law. The weeding out process is done to insure that only those of the right frame of mind are allowed to take part in the battle (Deut. 20:5-9).
This process is now under way in the twentieth century. The concept of the vineyard and the fruit is directly related to the Covenants of God as the vineyard of the Lord (Deut. 20:6)
The statement regarding the betrothal is that one must be single minded about the task at hand. Also the nation must have progeny (offspring) left to it. The question of inheritance to the tribes is also at stake. God was to ensure that His promises to Abraham and the patriarchs were to be fulfilled (Deut. 20:7).
The final weeding process is for the faint-hearted. This is the entire sense of counting the cost. A frightened, faint-hearted, or half-hearted person can’t be relied upon to stand in battle. (Deut. 20:8). If we became weary in the land of peace doing the work of God, how will we contend in times of war? If our footing is not sure now, how will it be when it is under pressure? The people who are unclear on the requirements of the order and system of God are sent home. God is not slow to act as some would account it slow but He is merciful.
This is the real intent of the story of Gideon. Gideon was told to filter all those who were sent to him and send home all who did not fulfil the specifications given (Judges 7:2-9). Yahovah had given Gideon the understanding to do what he had to do. When Gideon and the three hundred that were divided into three companies continued on after Midian and the host, they experienced another type of person. Because they were only three hundred and had not yet shown themselves in power, the men of Succoth would not assist them. They would not even give them bread. Likewise the men of Penuel would not assist them (Judges 8:4-9). These people wanted signs of power and numbers. They would not assist in the work of the army of God – even to the point of not providing sustenance.
Gideon pronounced their punishment and their punishment was sure (Judges 8:13-17). God does not expect people to fight that are faint-hearted, and He sent home the major force first marshalled under Gideon. This has happened in the twentieth century. However, God will not tolerate interference and a failure to perform required duty. The nations are to be offered peace, and they are to be made part of Israel and serve Israel and the One True God. If they won’t make peace, then the males are to be destroyed and the families and stock absorbed into Israel.
Israel is to continue in the work of God until the end comes. That work has not been done, nor has the gospel been preached throughout the world (Mat. 24:14).
The falling away and the hatred are quite astounding in the last days (Mat. 24:7-13). But the Holy Spirit allows this falling away. It’s the weeding out process that is found in the battle orders of Israel. Many people in the last days are unable to stand in the army of Israel.
The three hundred of Gideon were able to achieve what they did because of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the faith they possessed in the power of God to work the promises and visions He had given Gideon.
The ones who were not called for the first force had to be reassured that their job was just as important as the first group. There are, however, two groups and a mighty job to be done in the last days. It will be done by a handpicked force preaching the truth of God as a disciplined organized body.
The measuring of the people that are sent home and not used in the Gideon and Ephraim forces are judged against one another in accordance with texts in Ezekiel 34. These are sheep against sheep. They are removed from pastors in organised bodies so that they are measured as to how they work with and treat one another. No baptised person in the Church of God can avoid this process. They are either working as part of the organised force of the last days or they are under judgment as sheep against sheep, and are held accountable for what they do or do not do with their talent.
The sign of repentance and return to God is tithing and through the functional body of Christ (Mal. 3:7-12). When the wars of the end start, then we can finish the job and hand over to the witnesses. We need to work together, forgetting our petty differences, for the common good of the faith and truth of our Heavenly Father. We are organized troops prepared for battle.