JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD
a lesson portrayed in geographical symbolism
(1 Pet 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” Amplif.]?
(Gal 6:7) Be not deceived [i.e., don’t kid yourself];
God is not mocked [Gk: ridiculed]: for whatsoever a
man soweth, that shall he also reap.
(Judg 8:4) And Gideon [a type of Jesus
Christ] came to Jordan [Heb: a descender] [a type of the Holy
Spirit; the separator (syn: 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” Judg 7:8) 300 men (the corporate “man
child” that were “caught up unto God” (Rev 12:5)], faint
[Heb: weary], yet pursuing [Heb: hunting]
them [pursuing the 15,000 remaining Midianites in
judgment, who typify natural men].
Gideon = Heb: feller (i.e.warrior) /// to fell a tree:--cut (asunder,
down, off), hew down.
Midian = Heb: brawling, contentious, discord, strife. [a type of
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: (Judg 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 (Judg 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: (Judg 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.
(Jer 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”
Mat 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.
(Rev 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
(Judg 8:5) And he [Gideon] said
unto the men of Succoth [Heb: 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 [Heb: sacrifice] and
Zalmunna [Heb: withheld], kings of Midian [Heb:
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 (syn: 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
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.
(Judg 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 [Gk:
strangled completely /// taken by the throat] with cares [Gk:
distractions] and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring
no fruit to perfection [Gk: 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.
(Judg 8:8,9) And he went up thence [from Succoth]
to Penuel [Heb: 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 [Heb: castle,
pulpit] [i.e., castle = strong hold; pulpit = (false) doctrines].
(2 Cor 10:4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but
mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds [Gk:
(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 [Heb: instructed, caused
to discern] the men of Succoth [with Great Tribulation].
And [secondly] he beat down [Heb: pulled down][2 Cor
10:4] the tower of Penuel, and slew [Heb: 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 Pet 4:17).