and Ammon (Jud. 11)
The latter-day typology
of Gideon and Midian outlines how the Southern area of Israel will be
invaded in the last days, and the people of that area brought to an acceptable
level of commitment to Messiah so that they can be used by God to defeat
their enemies. The record of Jephthah refers to the land of
Gilead on Israel's Eastern flank, and the threat posed by Ammon, the Arab
nation directly to the East of Israel. It may be possible to interpret
Ammon with reference to Syria in the last days.
At the time of the particular
invasion recorded, Israel had repented: " The children of Israel
said unto the Lord, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth
good unto thee; deliver us only...and his (God's) soul was grieved
for the misery of Israel" (Jud. 10:15,16). Straight after
this, " the children of Ammon were gathered together" to attack.
The people were " sore distressed" after an extended period
of devastation at the hands of these people (Jud. 10:8,9), as they will
be in the last days before they come to repent. It would appear
from this type that after their repentance they will be faced with a final
Arab onslaught, and then tested as to whether they will really put their
faith in Jephthah - Jesus.
Type of Christ
Jephthah had been "
despised and rejected of men" during the time of Israel's suffering.
In this and many other ways he is a clear type of Christ:-
- Jephthah reminded
the " elders of Gilead" who were now seeking his help, "
Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house?" (Jud.
11:7). The Hebrew for " expel" is also translated 'thrust
out'; Jesus was 'thrust out' from his native town (Luke 4:29) as
Jephthah was from Gilead. It was " the elders" who
were also responsible for Christ's rejection.
- He was despised
as " the son of a strange woman" (Jud. 11:2) as Jesus was accused
of being born out of wedlock (John 8:41).
- He was a "
man of valour" (Jud. 11:1), a word also translated " virtue"
, and coming from a root meaning 'to whirl around'. This may possibly
suggest a connection with the cherubim, as if through their righteousness
(" virtue" ), Jephthah and Jesus were a manifestation of God.
- Jephthah's fair
point to Israel, " Why are ye come unto me now when ye are
in distress?" (Jud. 11:7) could have been the words of God, showing
how Jephthah closely manifested God - as Jesus did.
- Having been
rejected by his brethren, Jephthah " dwelt in the land of Tob"
(Jud. 11:3), a word which can mean 'heaven'. Our Lord's return
from heaven in response to Israel's plea for help clearly echoes this.
- During his time
there, " there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with
him" (Jud. 11:3) to effect Israel's deliverance. "
Vain" translates a word which can mean 'emptied, poured out, drawn
out' - a fair description of those who have been gathered to Christ by
the Gospel's call.
The end result of Israel's
suffering at the hand of Ammon was that they realized their desperate
need for a firm leader. Both the ordinary people, and what
remains of their leadership in the last days, will be unanimous in this
same conclusion: " The people and princes of Gilead said one
to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children
of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead" (Jud.
10:18). The fact that they then asked Jephthah to be this
" head" (Jud. 11:8) would suggest that secretly they knew all
along who they should follow. The Jewish conscience regarding
Jesus will be similar. The collapse of infrastructure in Israel
which we have outlined previously, indicates a complete collapse of Israel's
leadership - Isa. 3:2-5 implies that no one in Israel will even want to
be their leader, such will be the desperate personal plight of every Jew
left in the land.
Hos. 1:10,11 alludes
back to Israel's choosing of Jephthah as their head, implying that their
choosing of Christ will be at the time of their national acceptance by
God: " It shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living
God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of
Israel be gathered together (cp " the children of Israel assembled
themselves together" to choose a leader to fight Ammon, Jud. 10:17),
and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land
(Exodus language - as if their suffering in their own land will match
what they experienced in Egypt): for great shall be the day of Jezreel"
- where Gideon won his great victory over the Arabs, which prefigured
that of the last days (Jud. 6:33). This confirms our view that the final
Ammonite attack prefigures the very last threat to Israel, which will
come immediately after their repentance.
Sequence of events
A careful analysis of
the sequence of events hints that Israel will still be reluctant to accept
Christ, even after their 'repentance', in the sense of accepting that
they need to make a serious return to God:-
- Israel 'repent'
(Jud. 10:15,16) after prolonged suffering at the hand of Ammon.
- They agree that
they must choose a leader (Jud. 10:18).
- " The children
of Ammon made war" is emphasized twice (Jud. 11:4,5), using a word
which really means 'to eat down', as a cow does to a field.
This tremendous physical carnage in the land (a result of biological weapons?)
prompts them to " fetch Jephthah (Jesus) out of the land of Tob"
As their acceptance
of Jephthah was more than a last resort, so Israel's recalling of Christ
from Heaven will only be after a final tribulation, which comes after
their reaching the point of 'repentance' from idol worship.
This two-fold repentance, firstly of straying from God and secondly of
rejecting Christ, is something to watch for in other study.
It may be typically significant that Elijah was from Gilead (1 Kings 17:1),
as was Jephthah, showing that Israel's coming to repentance, in the typology
of Judges 11, will be due to the work of the Elijah prophet.
There is a theme in
the book of Judges of a prophet or Angel appearing in Israel to remind
them of their sins, followed by the revealing of a judge/saviour.
This points forward to the future work of Elijah before the return of
Links with Goliath
There are at least two
links between this record and that of Goliath's destruction, which is
also typical of the final victory over the Arabs by reason of Christ's
return from Heaven. Jephthah was met with dances of rejoicing
after the victory, as was David (Jud. 11:34), and Israel seeking a man
to lead them against Ammon has similarities with their search for a champion
to fight Goliath (Jud. 10:18).
The following verse-by-verse
comments complete the picture:-
Tob being in Ammon, Israel's reluctance to recall
Jephthah from there
may have been due to a wrong
perception that he was on the Arab side.
and Christianity continue to move together, this
may be another temptation
for Israel to be nervous
at accepting Jesus.
As Jephthah briefly appealed to the Arabs to see
Biblical sense before destroying them, will Christ
do likewise? He will " plead with
them" in the
valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2). A remnant
Philistines will be rulers in the Millennium
(Zech. 9:5-7); other hints that some
Arabs will repent are found in Isa. 19:23-25
(" Assyria the work of my hands" implies
they will be
the subjects of a new spiritual creation); Isa.
(those who took Israel captive will
willingly be their slaves in the Millennium).
Ammon justified their invasion by a quasi-Biblical
argument, based on their claim that " Israel
my land, when they came up out of Egypt" .
replied by saying that because God had
dispossessed Ammon then, they should not keep
raising this old land question (Jud. 11:23).
issue of who really owns the land of Israel is
as live now as it was then, and indicates once
again how the final Arab invasion will use this
sort of argument to justify it.
The Lord the Judge be judge this day between the
children of Israel and the children of Ammon."
The Jew/Arab question will be finally settled in this
last conflict which is prefigured here.
" smote them...unto the plain of the vineyards"
- connecting with descriptions of Christ
ministering judgment on Israel's enemies in terms
of the treading of a winepress (Isa. 63:3; Rev.
Joshua’s conquest of
the Canaanite tribes inevitably looks forward to the work of his greater
namesake at the second coming. Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, is replete
with reference to the latter day anti-Christ figure who will rule there
in the last days. He leads a confederacy of Arab nations against Joshua-Jesus,
and is destroyed with hailstones (Josh. 10:11)- an event which is the
basis for the latter day prophecy of Rev. 16:21. Joshua’s men placing
their feet upon the necks of their enemies (Josh. 10:24) is the prototype
of all enemies being subdued under the Lord in the last day; and the way
“the Lord God of Israel fought
for Israel” at this time (Josh.
10:42) is the basis of many latter day statements to the same effect.