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JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD A lesson portrayed in geographical symbolism.

(1 Peter 4:17-18) For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not ["who do not respect or believe or obey" Amplified Bible] the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear ["what will become of the godless and wicked" Amplified.]? (Galatians 6:7) Be not deceived [i.e., don’t kid yourself]; God is not mocked [Greek: ridiculed]: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Judges 8:4) And Gideon [a type of Jesus Christ] came to Jordan [Hebrew: a descender] [a type of the Holy Spirit; the separator (synonym: partition, dividing wall, barrier) between the Promised Land of Heaven, and earthly existence], and passed over [eastward, back into the wilderness, i.e., back into the unsaved world, thereby alluding to the second coming (return) of Jesus Christ with His armies], he, and the three hundred men that were with him [the previously raptured ("retained" Judges 7:8) 300 men (the corporate "man child" that were "caught up unto God" (Rev. 12:5)], faint [Hebrew: weary], yet pursuing [Hebrew: hunting] them [pursuing the 15,000 remaining Midianites in judgment, who typify natural men]. Gideon = Hebrew: feller (i.e.warrior) /// to fell a tree:--cut (asunder, down, off), hew down. Midian = Hebrew: brawling, contentious, discord, strife. [a type of unsaved men] Commentary: "he, and the three hundred men that were with him" = may we note that the 300 saved Israelites were being used as chosen instruments of God (who are you? "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" John 15:16) and had destroyed 120,000 unsaved Midianites, and were pursuing the remaining 15,000 Midianites. This was certainly a miracle, not only numerically, insofar as Gideon’s vastly outnumbered 300 warriors were initially pitted against a total of 135,000 Midianite warriors, and were victorious, but this was also miraculously remarkable in the fact that not one single warrior of the 300 was killed, or even wounded (Joel 2:8) in that victory. And the saved 300 chosen instruments of God, motivated by God, pursued after the remaining 15,000 unsaved Midianites.

The first test of salvation: (Judges 7:3) Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people [of the 32,000 people who responded to the call of God (Judges 6:34-35), and assembled (came to church)], saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid [i.e., whosoever does not believe God (the Bible) for the victory], let him return [from whence he came] and depart early from mount Gilead [Heb: mound of stones, heap of witness, the mass of testimony] [a type of the brazen alter (Old Testament); a type of the cross (New Testament)]. And there returned [to their homes] of the people twenty and two thousand [22,000]; and there remained ten thousand [10,000 people who believed God (the Bible)]. The second test of discernment: (Judges 7:4) And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water [a type of the Holy Spirit], and I will try [Heb: to fuse (metal), i.e. refine] them for thee there [i.e., separate the gold from the silver]: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee [the 300 combat warriors (the gold)], the same shall go with thee [on this mission]; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee [the 9,700 support warriors (the silver)], the same shall not go. "pursuing them" = Heb: to run after (usually with hostile intent):--chase, put to flight, follow (after, on), hunt, (be under) persecute (-ion, -or), pursue, pursuer. (Jeremiah 16:16) Behold [this present dispensation of forgiveness], I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them ["I will make you fishers of men" Matthew 4:19]; and after [indicating the next dispensation of judgment] will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. (Revelations 6:15-17) And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens [holes of animals] and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Judges 8:5) And he [Gideon] said unto the men of Succoth [Hebrew: a hut or lair:-booth, cottage, tabernacle, tent] [i.e., the lair of animals, or the hut of shepherds], Give, I pray you, loaves of bread [physically, sustenance (nourishment, food); spiritually, the word of God: altogether in summation meaning "support"] unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah [Hebrew: sacrifice] and Zalmunna [Hebrew: withheld], kings of Midian [Hebrew: brawling, contentious, discord, strife]. Commentary: "Succoth" was a city located in the wilderness just east of the Jordan river in an area originally settled by the Hebrew tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh. Succoth thus occupied the somewhat marginal

geographical position of not actually being in the Promised Land (a type of Heaven), but adjoining (synonym: next-door-to, adjacent, neighboring, bordering) the Promised Land (Heaven). With those interesting connotations in mind, how would you like to be living in the city of Succoth? Well perhaps you are. Commentary: "Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian" = a king is the head of the body of his people, like a president, representing their collective thoughts and actions. The biblically given characteristics of the people of Midian are that they were "brawling and contentious" and their lives were filled with "discord and strife." The antichrist is the head of the antichrist body. (Judges 8:6-7) And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna [sacrifice withheld – from the Lord, which same evil was exactly what "the princes" of Succoth themselves were herein committing] now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto [i.e., support] thine army? [clearly, the princes of Succoth did not believe God, nor his prophet Gideon] And Gideon said [prophesied], Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand [when the Lord hath gotten the victory], then I will tear your flesh with the thorns [the big things] of the wilderness [the unsaved world] and with briers [the little things]. Commentary: "then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers" = We may compare this statement and the geographical "position" of Succoth with the spiritual "position" of those "among thorns" (Luke 8:14) who were also located, in a spiritually ascendant sense, adjacent to or next to the "good ground" (Luke 8:15). Not actually "in" (the good ground, the Promised Land), but close, almost, on the verge. These are those hearers of the word of God (everybody heard) categorized in the Bible as spiritually positioned "by the wayside, on the rock, or among thorns" that bear "no fruit" (i.e., no support) for the Lord. (Luke 8:14-15) And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked [Greek: strangled completely /// taken by the throat] with cares [Greek: distractions] and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection [Greek: completion, maturity] [i.e., they are unripe]. But that on the good ground [ripe and mature] are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Judges 8:8-9) And he went up thence [from Succoth] to Penuel [Hebrew: the face of God], and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him. And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower [Hebrew: castle, pulpit] [i.e., castle = strong hold; pulpit = (false) doctrines]. (2 Corinthians 10:4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds [Greek: fortifications, castles];) (Judg 8:13-17) And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up [i.e., just before the actual return of Jesus Christ – coming from the east], And caught a

young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men [77 men (they needed another 7)]. And he came unto the men of Succoth [FIRST], and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary? And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught [Hebrew: instructed, caused to discern] the men of Succoth [with Great Tribulation]. And [secondly] he beat down [Hebrew: pulled down][2 Corinthians 10:4] the tower of Penuel, and slew [Hebrew: destroyed, killed] the men of the city. Commentary: "And he came unto the men of Succoth" = FIRST, before dealing with Penuel which would have been the nearer, much shorter, and therefore most logical return route. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17).