These Are the Days of Eli

Contrary to  the lyrics in a popular worship song currently being invoked  in the church today,  “These are the days of Elijah”, I believe a  more accurate description of our time  would rather  be from 1 Samuel  3,   “These are the days  of Eli, the priest of Shiloh”.

It is important to understand the  true  condition and diagnosis that we as  a church have  entered  into,  and unfortunately  it is not a condition that warrants  singing about our  health and well-being. Scripturally, the   “righteousness  being restored”  will actually come through judgement not favouritism. According to God’s Word  what  really  lies ahead prophetically  is  a  period of   trouble, exile,  and persecutions  and  not  triumphalism. What we do  need   is to be  prepared spiritually and mentally. We need  a  deep  sense of humility, and a determination to obey God’s Word (indeed, as Elijah  did)  so as  not to miss  the  direction the Lord is taking us in.  We must, among other things, not end up trying to protect   an established   leadership in so many cases in today’s church when so much of this contemporary leadership  is actually  under God’s condemnation ( as John the Baptist and Elijah  warned Israel).

Notice that what   Eli the chief priest did at Shiloh, so  the Pharisees similarly  did  in Yeshua’s time at Jerusalem. The Pharisees disparaged  those voices  of  the faithfully  humble of the Lord ,  while  ironically being silent over the open hypocrisy  of their  own sons.  I believe   our own  current “Eli” leadership is about to correspondingly be bypassed and  judged.  Whatever limited  vision it has   will literally  be darkened.  1  Samuel 3 shows us  prophetically where the voice of the Lord  will now be moving and  speaking. Similarly  Yeshua  warned in John 9 that   the Pharisee’s unbelieving  sight was about to be dimmed  and the true humble worshippers of God are coming to the light.

The  messianic expectations common to the leadership of Israel and among the  people of God  in the time of Yeshua  were also  of a coming period of  restoration  and prosperity that included  a triumphal freedom from the world powers of the day and a re-establishment of the nation to a Solomonic type of glory . Close to  this ancient saga,  the  current widespread  outlook prevalent in charismatic and Pentecostal worship songs today carries a misleading  atmosphere founded on a misguided belief that  the return of Yeshua will simply be  a  “year  of Jubilee”.  It is a  similar  hollow anticipation of a victorious and  “all overcoming  empire”.  This bogus  ideal being trumpeted today  regrettably  is largely based on the “Latter Rain”  false  triumphalism  teaching distorting  Joel chapter 2,  that emerged in the 1950′s (when it was rejected as heretical by mainstream Pentecostalism) but has slowly managed to  re-infiltrate the major Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic  denominations today .

If we look at the historical  periods before the coming of Israel’s king in Samuel and the coming of Yeshua in the Gospels,  we see an almost diametrically opposite ambience, spiritually. Both were periods of quiet, with the Word of the Lord being rare both  in Eli’s temple and with over four hundred years of silence in the late Persian to post-Hasmonean  era that preceded the first coming of the Messiah with no prophet after Malachi until John the Baptist.

Both were times where the leadership by the clergy in the temple and nation was widely recognised in the  public arena   as having become more ungodly because of its  internal vices  not more holy.

In both eras the actual worship of God was known to be performed  in an atmosphere of  greed, immorality  and wickedness  orchestrated by corrupt clergy.  The reality on the ground for the  people of God  was that they were cast down and poverty -stricken  by outside oppressors.  The  faithful people  suffered an infertility of the land  in the land of promise.

Also, as in the days of Eli and as in the days of Gospels,  it has essentially  become much the same in today’s  House of God. So much of the senior leadership has confirmed reports of the scandals and greed within the  sanctuaries of the Lord, but do not wish to risk loss of their positions or power by  dealing with it.

How should we to react to this dichotomy  biblically in an environment where too much of the House of God is falsely expecting a glorious future but will end up having “Ichabod”, (the glory departed) written on it?

The opening chapters  of 1 Samuel gives us fore-types of those whom the Lord will use to correct the false worship and prepare the ground for Israel’s true King. Notice however,  the Scriptures  do not just  merely highlight the iniquities of the nation and its clergy,  but also instructs  ministries  for  the redemptive process.  It is not enough for us to just speak out and cast down,  but we must also be involved  in the building up, as it were, to  “prepare  the highways to be straightened”.

Firstly  we see Hannah lamenting, interceding and crying out to God in his temple for the reproach, shame and slander that has been afflicted upon her and the promises of God.  Whilst the sons of Eli party on, she is found making scared vows  to the Lord asking for deliverance.

Secondly the vows that she does make  for the son are not merely for him alone to  be in the temple ministry, but  as a  Nazertite, to be a person completely surrendered  over to the service of God in holiness.  There is  a raising up of a  ministry that not only succeeds the current one, but exceeds in its devotion and example to the people of God. As Yeshua states in Matthew 5:20, For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is not enough for us to decry the faults and yet have the same lax standards in our own households. (Romans 2)

Lastly we see in 1 Samuel 2:27 that the warning given by the man of God and Samuel were   in order to impart to the Lord’s people the forceful understanding, that He indeed  is Holy and will judge his ministers. Such judgment was not  to be a random accident, but a foretold casting out of the temple of the corrupt leaders so true worship could be re-established. (John 2:13)

Eli, his house , the temple, and Shiloh were eventually  destroyed by the Philistines (Psalm 78:40, Jeremiah 7:4), as was Jerusalem by the Romans.  Perhaps in this one tragic sense  the  “Days of Elijah”   ironically foreshadow  this coming  prophetic act.

For as it says in Malachi 5:5:

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.”

Ztiv Shtivl
Moriel Canada