These Are the Days of EliWritten by Jacob Prasch
Contrary toÃ‚Â the lyrics in a popular worship song currently being invokedÃ‚Â in the church today,Ã‚Â "These are the days of Elijah", I believe a Ã‚Â more accurate description of our timeÃ‚Â would rather Ã‚Â be fromÃ‚Â 1 SamuelÃ‚Â 3, Ã‚Â "These are the daysÃ‚Â of Eli, the priest of Shiloh".
It is important to understand theÃ‚Â trueÃ‚Â condition and diagnosis that we asÃ‚Â a church haveÃ‚Â enteredÃ‚Â into, Ã‚Â and unfortunatelyÃ‚Â it is not a condition that warrantsÃ‚Â singing about ourÃ‚Â health and well-being. Scripturally, theÃ‚Â Ã‚Â "righteousnessÃ‚Â being restored"Ã‚Â will actually come through judgement not favouritism. According to God's Word Ã‚Â whatÃ‚Â reallyÃ‚Â lies ahead propheticallyÃ‚Â isÃ‚Â aÃ‚Â period ofÃ‚Â Ã‚Â trouble, exile,Ã‚Â and persecutionsÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â notÃ‚Â triumphalism. What we doÃ‚Â needÃ‚Â Ã‚Â is to beÃ‚Â prepared spiritually and mentally. We need Ã‚Â aÃ‚Â deepÃ‚Â sense of humility, and a determination to obey God's Word (indeed, as ElijahÃ‚Â did) Ã‚Â so asÃ‚Â not to missÃ‚Â theÃ‚Â direction the Lord is taking us in.Ã‚Â We must, among other things, not end up trying to protectÃ‚Â Ã‚Â an establishedÃ‚Â Ã‚Â leadership in so many cases in today's church when so much of this contemporary leadership Ã‚Â is actuallyÃ‚Â under God's condemnation ( as John the Baptist and ElijahÃ‚Â warned Israel).
Notice that whatÃ‚Â Ã‚Â Eli the chief priest did at Shiloh, soÃ‚Â the Pharisees similarlyÃ‚Â didÃ‚Â in Yeshua’s time at Jerusalem. The Pharisees disparagedÃ‚Â those voicesÃ‚Â ofÃ‚Â the faithfullyÃ‚Â humble of the Lord ,Ã‚Â whileÃ‚Â ironically being silent over the open hypocrisyÃ‚Â of theirÃ‚Â own sons.Ã‚Â I believeÃ‚Â Ã‚Â our ownÃ‚Â current "Eli" leadership is about to correspondingly be bypassed andÃ‚Â judged.Ã‚Â Whatever limitedÃ‚Â vision it hasÃ‚Â Ã‚Â will literallyÃ‚Â be darkened.Ã‚Â 1Ã‚Â Samuel 3 shows usÃ‚Â prophetically where the voice of the LordÃ‚Â will now be moving andÃ‚Â speaking. SimilarlyÃ‚Â YeshuaÃ‚Â warned in John 9 thatÃ‚Â Ã‚Â the Pharisee’s unbelievingÃ‚Â sight was about to be dimmedÃ‚Â and the true humble worshippers of God are coming to the light.
TheÃ‚Â messianic expectations common to the leadership of Israel and among theÃ‚Â people of GodÃ‚Â in the time of YeshuaÃ‚Â were alsoÃ‚Â of a coming period ofÃ‚Â restorationÃ‚Â and prosperity that includedÃ‚Â a triumphal freedom from the world powers of the day and a re-establishment of the nation to a Solomonic type of glory . Close toÃ‚Â this ancient saga,Ã‚Â the Ã‚Â current widespreadÃ‚Â outlook prevalent in charismatic and Pentecostal worship songs today carries a misleading Ã‚Â atmosphere founded on a misguided belief that Ã‚Â the return of Yeshua will simply be Ã‚Â aÃ‚Â "yearÃ‚Â of Jubilee". Ã‚Â It is aÃ‚Â similarÃ‚Â hollow anticipation of a victorious and Ã‚Â "all overcomingÃ‚Â empire".Ã‚Â This bogusÃ‚Â ideal being trumpeted todayÃ‚Â regrettablyÃ‚Â is largely based on the "Latter Rain" Ã‚Â falseÃ‚Â triumphalismÃ‚Â teaching distorting Ã‚Â Joel chapter 2,Ã‚Â that emerged in the 1950's (when it was rejected as heretical by mainstream Pentecostalism) but has slowly managed toÃ‚Â re-infiltrate the major Evangelical, Pentecostal and CharismaticÃ‚Â denominations today .
If we look at the historicalÃ‚Â periods before the coming of Israel’s king in Samuel and the coming of Yeshua in the Gospels,Ã‚Â we see an almost diametrically opposite ambience, spiritually. Both were periods of quiet, with the Word of the Lord being rare both Ã‚Â in Eli’s temple and with over four hundred years of silence in the late Persian to post-Hasmonean Ã‚Â 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 theÃ‚Â public arenaÃ‚Â Ã‚Â as having become more ungodly because of itsÃ‚Â internal vicesÃ‚Â not more holy.
In both eras the actual worship of God was known to be performed Ã‚Â in an atmosphere ofÃ‚Â greed, immoralityÃ‚Â and wickednessÃ‚Â orchestrated by corrupt clergy.Ã‚Â The reality on the ground for theÃ‚Â people of GodÃ‚Â was that they were cast down and poverty -strickenÃ‚Â by outside oppressors.Ã‚Â The Ã‚Â faithful peopleÃ‚Â suffered an infertility of the land Ã‚Â in the land of promise.
Also, as in the days of Eli and as in the days of Gospels,Ã‚Â it has essentially Ã‚Â become much the same in today’sÃ‚Â House of God. So much of the senior leadership has confirmed reports of the scandals and greed within theÃ‚Â sanctuaries of the Lord, but do not wish to risk loss of their positions or power by Ã‚Â dealing with it.
How should we to react to this dichotomyÃ‚Â 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 chaptersÃ‚Â 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,Ã‚Â the ScripturesÃ‚Â do not justÃ‚Â merely highlight the iniquities of the nation and its clergy,Ã‚Â but also instructsÃ‚Â ministriesÃ‚Â forÃ‚Â the redemptive process. Ã‚Â It is not enough for us to just speak out and cast down,Ã‚Â but we must also be involvedÃ‚Â in the building up, as it were, to Ã‚Â "prepareÃ‚Â the highways to be straightened".
FirstlyÃ‚Â 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.Ã‚Â Whilst the sons of Eli party on, she is found making scared vowsÃ‚Â to the Lord asking for deliverance.
Secondly the vows that she does makeÃ‚Â for the son are not merely for him alone toÃ‚Â be in the temple ministry, butÃ‚Â as aÃ‚Â Nazertite, to be a person completely surrenderedÃ‚Â over to the service of God in holiness.Ã‚Â There isÃ‚Â a raising up of aÃ‚Â 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 wereÃ‚Â Ã‚Â in order to impart to the Lord’s people the forceful understanding, that He indeedÃ‚Â is Holy and will judge his ministers. Such judgment was not Ã‚Â 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 eventuallyÃ‚Â destroyed by the Philistines (Psalm 78:40, Jeremiah 7:4), as was Jerusalem by the Romans.Ã‚Â Perhaps in this one tragic sense Ã‚Â theÃ‚Â "Days of Elijah"Ã‚Â Ã‚Â ironically foreshadowÃ‚Â this coming Ã‚Â 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."
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