Daniel - Lesson 13

Preparation for Battle

In this lesson, you will explore the book of Daniel with a focus on the concept of preparation for battle. You will learn about the historical and cultural context of the book, its authorship and purpose, and its literary features, including its unique style and structure. You will also examine the main themes and messages of the book, such as apocalyptic literature, faith in a toxic culture, and the importance of preparation for spiritual battles. Finally, you will gain insights into the significance of Daniel in the Old Testament and its impact on the original audience.

Lesson 13
Watching Now
Preparation for Battle

I. Before a Battle

A. God makes it clear he wants his people to go to battle

B. Spiritual preparation

II. Deuteronomy 20

A. March into battle

B. Levites

III. Number of Troops and Quality of Weapons Don't Matter

A. Gideon

B. David and Goliath

IV. After the Battle

A. Praise

B. Psalms

C. herem

  • Join distinguished scholar and professor emeritus Dr. Tremper Longman for a study of the book of Daniel, a fascinating and inspiring part of the Bible. In this class, you'll explore six stories and four apocalyptic visions that all demonstrate God's control and ultimate victory, even in the face of evil and difficulty. Don't miss this opportunity to be encouraged and strengthened in your faith as you study the powerful messages of the book of Daniel with Dr. Longman.

  • Daniel is written in two parts. The first six chapters is history written in the form of a story. Chapters seven through twelve are apocalyptic literature. In the English Bible, it’s with the major prophets. In the Hebrew Bible it’s in the Writings. The Apocalyptic section has similarities to the book of Revelation. One of the main messages in the book of Daniel is that even if you are living in a culture that is toxic to your faith, living by faith can help you not only survive, but thrive.

  • By the time Daniel was written, the nation of the Jewish people was divided into the tribes of Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Assyria conquered Israel in 722 BC. Babylon overthrew Assyria in 612 BC then Judah in 605 BC. Daniel. Daniel and others were taken to Babylon and chosen to be trained as royal advisors.   

  • Daniel and his friends were willing to learn the language, literature and divination practices of the Babylonians even though it was potentially toxic to their faith. They temporarily chose to eat vegetables and water rather than the food and wine that the other officials in training were eating. The performed at the top of their class.

  • Nebuchadnezzar summoned the royal magicians and sorcerers and required them to tell him what his dream was and give him an interpretation of the dream. Daniel is able to do this because of the wisdom God gives him.

  • Daniel reveals the dream and the interpretation because God revealed it to him. The parts of the statue represent different worldly kingdoms. The stone that crushes the statue represents God’s rule over the kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar recognizes Yahweh as being powerful.

  • Daniel and his friends were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for not worshipping an image of Nebuchadnezzar. God miraculously saved them and Nebuchadnezzar promoted them to positions in the royal court.

  • This is a story of a contest between Daniel and his friends and the Babylonian wise men. A major theme is the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and how that affects the outcome. Some of the story is narrated in by Nebuchadnezzar in the first person. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. The Babylonian wise men don’t give him an interpretation, but Daniel does. Nebuchadnezzar experienced judgment but God restores him.

  • As we read and study the Old Testament, we can gain insights into redemptive history and see examples of how we should live. It can sometimes be a challenge to determine the continuity or discontinuity of a passage. A major theme in Daniel 4 and throughout the Bible is how pride can hinder your relationship with God. 

  • Belshazzar was a ruler in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar died. During a banquet he hosted, he used the goblets from the temple in Jerusalem for his guests to drink out of. In the middle of a banquet, a hand appeared and wrote a message on the wall. Belshazzar called Daniel to interpret the message.

  • When Darius gave Daniel a position of authority in his government, the administrators underneath him were jealous. They devised a plan to trap Daniel and force Darius to execute him. God rescued Daniel and the administrators suffered the fate that they had planned for Daniel. The story shows that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and it’s important to live a life that is faithful to him.

  • Daniel had a vision of four beasts that were frightening in appearance. An angel explained the significance of the beasts in terms of historical kingdoms but didn’t say specifically which ones.

  • Daniel and Jeremiah both had messages from God but the way God communicated to each of them was different. The word “apocalypse” comes from the first word in Greek in the book of Revelation which means to reveal or uncover something. Some characteristics of apocalyptic literature are visions, dreams, a binary point of view, highly figurative language and the theme of hope based in confidence in God’s control over people and events that seem chaotic and overwhelming.

  • In this lesson, you gain a deeper understanding of the book of Daniel, focusing on its themes, historical context, and preparation for spiritual battles in a challenging cultural environment.
  • You gain a deeper understanding of the Book of Daniel, its historical context, literary features, key themes, and significance within the Old Testament, while focusing on God's warfare against evil.
  • John the Baptist described Jesus coming as a warrior but the ministry of Jesus was different than what he expected. Since we live in phase 4, God gives us the power to fight spiritual battles. The God who led the people of Israel into battle in the Old Testament is the same God described in the New Testament who came as God in human form as Jesus.

  • The vision in Daniel 8 describes animals that represent kingdoms and individuals. While Daniel was seeing the vision, Gabriel came and explained its meaning. Antiochus Epiphanes fits the description of one of the horns in the vision. His persecution of the people of Israel and his desecration of the temple is similar to the way the anti-Christ is described in Revelation.

  • As Daniel is reading Scripture, he comes to the realization that what he is reading in the book of Jeremiah may actually be taking place at the time. His response is to begin by praying. He includes himself in confessing the sins of the people of Israel and appeals for God to rescue them from exile.

  • As Daniel is reading Jeremiah and praying, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel to explain the vision to him. The numbers in the vision are symbolic but demonstrate that God has a plan and a time frame to accomplish it.

  • The final of Daniel’s four visions described in chapters 10-12. There is an introduction to the vision, description of the vision and instructions to Daniel. The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because of spiritual warfare.

  • This vision covers the events surrounding the Persian and Greek rulers in the 3rd and 4th century BC. They are described in such detail that some people think it was written after they took place, not as a prophecy.

  • The righteous and the wicked have different fates in the after-life. Throughout Scripture there is progress of revelation. God is in control and he will be victorious. The prophecy that God gave Daniel describes events that will happen in the future. Celestial sources give final words to Daniel that are also addressed to readers of the book of Daniel. A theme that is emphasized throughout the book of Daniel is, in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory.  This is illustrated both in the stories of Daniel and his friends and in the visions of future events that Daniel has.

  • Daniel informs the imagery and message of the book of Revelation. They are the two books of the Bible with primarily apocalyptic themes. Daniel’s encounter with God and angels is similar to what John records in Revelation. Daniel is commanded to seal his prophecy and in Revelation, the seals are opened. The references Revelation to the beasts and three and a half years is also similar to Daniel.

Living in a toxic culture can be dangerous and risky, but when you live by faith, God can give you opportunities to thrive, succeed and be a testimony to God's power and love for people. A primary message of the prophecies of Daniel is that in spite of present difficulties, God is in control and he will have the final victory. God has not provided us with a precise date on the calendar for when that will happen, but he will accomplish his plan on his timetable.

Dr. Tremper Longman III
Daniel ot666-13
Preparation for Battle
Lesson Transcript

Tremper Longman III [00:00:00] We're going to start by doing something a little bit different rather than proceeding through the next text. Daniel Chapter eight, which we'll do later today. I'm going to pause here and consider a topic of relevance for our understanding of the Book of Daniel and how it fits into the broader canon. And the reason why I'm doing it here, though it's also relevant later chapters, is that Daniel seven gives us this vision of divine intervention at the end of time by the one like the son of man who destroys the. Beasts and the horns that represent evil human kings and kingdoms. And so how does this message fit in to the broader canon? It also raises for many this theme that I'm about to consider ethical questions that that really have emerged, particularly since 911. I've been working on this theme, which is God as a warrior and the whole idea of divine warfare since the early 1980s. And having written articles and then a book with Dan Reed called God is a Warrior, that came out in 1995. But it was after that time that people, particularly Western Christians. Became concerned about a picture of God as violent. And the picture that we get in. Daniel seven is a picture of God coming in judgment and destroying the peace. Now we're going to, as we consider the place of Daniel seven or Daniel's message concerning the final intrusion of God as a warrior in Daniel. It's going to take us back to the conquest, which is the topic that raises the most kind of concern for many contemporary Christian. So I do think it's really important to think about how Daniel seven fits into this broader message, and here's how I'm going to address it. I'm going to, first of all, talk about the nature of warfare in the Old Testament, and I'm going to do that by describing what takes place before, during and after a battle before, during and after a battle. And to do that, I'm going to synthesize a number of different tacks. I'm going to use examples from different texts. There's no place really where we get some kind of overarching description of this. But as we read through scripture, we definitely get a sense of what was required to happen before a battle. Some important considerations of what happened during a battle and then after the battle as well. And then once we do that, we're going to move to a consideration of what I'm going to call the five phases of divine warfare. That is five phases of God's war against evil. And. As opposed to some people today that I may reference later who are writing and saying that the Old Testament is somehow different on the subject than the New Testament, and that in their minds the Old Testament is something of a problem for our understanding of God. We're going to see that it's really one organic, coherent, divine fight against evil. Okay, So let's start with a description of what takes place before, during and after a battle. And so. So the first thing that takes place is that God has to make it clear that he wants his people to go to battle. It's not up to. The human leaders, whether it's Moses or Joshua or David, to decide when to go to battle. God needs to make his make as well known in this matter. I usually describe this as inquiry, you know, and sometimes it happens that way. But my first example is going to be from the end of Joshua chapter five. Where we read that Israel has arrived in the vicinity of the city of Jericho. And Joshua is reconnoitering around the city, and he encounters a figure. So Joshua, chapter five, verse 13 and firing says Now. And Joshua was near Jericho. He looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, Are you for us or for our enemies? In Hebrew, the response was very curt low, which simply means no. And we then translated appropriately. Neither, he replied. But as commander of the Army of the Lord, I have now come. Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence and asked him, What message does my Lord have for his servant? The commander, the Lord's army replied. Take off your sandals for the place where you are standing as holy. And Joshua did so from Joshua's reaction and from the commander of the Lord's Army Command to take off your sandals for the place where you're standing as holy, which is reminiscent of Moses and Moses. This encounter with God at the burning bush, the commander of the Lord's Army, is none other than Yahweh himself dressed as a warrior. He's not serving in Joshua's army or in anybody's army. He is the head of his Holy Army. And the assumption here is that this is where Joshua receives his marching orders. And indeed, as you know, that the marching orders include a lot of marching around the city. But there's another example of how God makes us well known in a different way. And that ten first Samuel 23, verse one and following. And here it shows the human leader in this case, David, taking the initiative and feeling that perhaps they should go to battle against an enemy. But he needs to nonetheless find out if it is God's will. Now the situation is this the background? Is this that? David has been anointed by Samuel to be the next king. But Saul is still raining. And this is the period of time when David is fleeing, Saul staying out of his reach. Even so, he has an army of some 600 men. And as we'll see, he also has the high priest with him, which will be key to the mode of inquiry. So it says when David was told, look, the Philistines are fighting against Kayla. Kayla is a Southern Jew day and city and are looting the threshing floors. He inquired of the Lord saying, Shall I go and attack these Philistines? The Lord answered him, Go attack the Philistines and save Kayla. But David's men said to him, Here in Kayla, we are afraid. How much more than if we go in here? In. Sorry. Here in Judah, we are afraid. How much more then if we go to Kayla against the Philistine forces. Once again, David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him. Go down to Kayla for I'm going to give the Philistines your hand. So David and his men went to Kayla, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Kayla. Now, obviously, our son of a he Malachi had brought the IFA down with him when he fled to David at Kayla. So we get this parenthetical, or at least an English translation parenthetical statement about our both our being with him and having the effort with him, which kind of made stroke strike us as, you know, a non-sequitur or not related, but actually is very related because it's answering the question, How did David inquire of the Lord? Well, he had the high priests with them. The high priests had the E fed with him. Now there is some question whether the episode is a reference to the linen garment or some other thing or whether the iPad has within it the forum and the assuming so the Aurum and food meme. Is objects that the high priest had by which he could make inquiry of the Lord. We don't know exactly how it functioned, though it's said to be thrown or cast. So that suggests even something like Dice. Though a friend of mine, Cornelius van Dam, wrote a 500 page dissertation on that worm and through meme and suggested it was more like a crystal that illuminated. But I don't know how that functions by being cast or thrown. And so I think it works. Something like this. David would have gone to the high priests and said, Ask the Lord if I should go attack Tyler. God says yes, Go attack Tyler. The men go. I don't know. And he goes, Well, let's make sure. And they do it again. Now. Some people worry that this sounds an awful lot like the type of mechanical divination that the Near Eastern people practice and which is condemned in the Tudor gnomic lore. But here's why it's not okay. There's always the possibility with the ORM and through me that God chooses not to answer. And what's objectionable about most forms of divination is that there is no room for the gods, you know, in the Babylonian system to say not to answer, you know, deliver, always provide some answer, yes or no. It's very binary, astrology, the same, etc., etc.. But we don't again, know a lot about the mechanics of this. But we do know that God can choose not to answer when inquiry is made through the forum and through meme. Because at the end of Saul's life, when God has turned from him, the priests have thrown the sermon through him all the time and is coming up nothing. So maybe there are blank sides or who knows how it functions, but God also superintended this so inquiry made of the Lord. And if the answer is yes, the next thing that has to happen is spiritual. Preparation. Spiritual preparation. And one of the reasons I am doing this description is to give us a sense of the nature of this type of warfare, and that is that it's a holy act. You have to be as prepared to go to the battlefield as you would be to go to the tabernacle or the temple. Why? Because God is present. He makes his special, special presence known on the battlefield, which is usually represented by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is the most potent symbol of God's presence in the Tabernacle. And because it's his footstool. So imagine the tabernacle is God's tent. And. And in the when the temple is God's house and the Ark of the Covenant is kept in the holy of holies, the cherubim, you'll remember, are depicted as over the ark. Let's pretend this is the ark, Derrick. One very big, by the way. But the TARABAY are like this, with their wings outstretched over the ark and with their heads down because the glory of God is above them. And so. So they have to be spiritually prepared. And there are a few accounts of battles which depict spiritual preparation. Going back to the Battle of Jericho, for instance, you might remember that once they cross into the Promised land and before the Battle of Jericho, they do a mass circumcision and and observed the Passover. Now, that's not a really, from a human point of view, intelligent military move, as we talked about Genesis 34 the other day, when Levi and Simeon convinced the man of Shekinah to be circumcised. But the point is that they needed to be spiritually prepared before they went into battle. And so they underwent circumcision. Of course, there's also another question why weren't they practicing circumcision in the wilderness? And again, there's no explicit statement about this, though it might have been that the wilderness is this kind of liminal experience or threshold experience, and they're waiting until they get into the promised Land to do it. But regardless of why they didn't do it in the wilderness, they knew they had to do it before the Battle of Jericho. Another I think this also explains something connected to the David and Bathsheba story. You turn to second Samuel 11. You'll remember it begins in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war. David sent Joab out with the King's men and the whole Israelite army. Remember the comments I made, by the way, yesterday about our reticent narrator who shows rather than tells? I think it's correct to detect a criticism of David here. You know, in the spring, at the time when kings go off to war. David said, Show about David's king. He should be at war with his army. But now he lollygag is back home. He's on the roof. He sees this beautiful woman bathing and he takes her and impregnates her. And then he has a problem. He's not ancient near Eastern despot. He can't simply claim other people's wives. But rather than confessing his sin, he tries to cover it up. And so he writes Joab, the commander, also his uncle, and says, you know, send Uriah back. And his plan is to receive a report from Uriah, then dismiss him with the hope that he'll go and sleep with his wife. Actually, not the hope, the expectation he'll go and sleep with his wife. And then months later, when she has the child, he'll think it's his. But you know the story. Uriah doesn't sleep with his wife. He sleeps on the threshold of the house. And the next day when he comes back, David receives a. A part of this that says, Why didn't you sleep with your wife? Which might have raised suspicions? Why do you care? But it's interesting that that Joe I mean, Uriah responded in this way, How could I sleep with my wife when Joab and the Ark of the Covenant are on the battlefield? I think particularly because the mention of the Ark of the Covenant, we're not to think of this as kind of, you know, how can I sleep with my wife and have pleasure when my buddies are out there roughing it? I think that's how many people often read that. It's no, how can I sleep with my wife having a mission of semen? And according to the Leviticus lore, be ritually unclean for a period of time. So unable, because I'm not spiritually prepared to go into the area where the Ark of the Covenant is. Now, with that reading, our narrator has also made quite a contrast and is really condemning David, because here you have Uriah the Hittite. He's not even a native Israelite. Uriah the Hittite. He's obviously a Canaanite who like rehab and others have come over to the Lord side and, and so worships Yahweh. But this even non Israelite is observing the details of the law. I mean, breaking the law of having an admission of semen going in the presence of God is nothing compared to what David God's anointed is doing in terms of committing adultery and ultimately committing murder by having Uriah set up to be killed on the battlefield. So spiritual preparation is key as well. Now, included in spiritual preparation seems to be the offering of sacrifices. Least we get a picture of pre battle sacrifices. And first, Samuel, 13. Saul has just been anointed king. He's amassed the army to attack the Philistines at a place near Micke Marsh. But he's waiting for Samuel, the priest, to come to offer sacrifices. And Samuel, for reasons the text doesn't tell us, is slow in coming. And in the meantime, in the meantime, Sol's troops are deserting. Saul panics. He offers the sacrifices. Samuel shows up. No apologies. Sorry I'm late. Oh, I understand why you had to do it. No, this is a great affront to God that Saul would offer the sacrifices because that's not permitted to the king. And. And so it's such an affront that Samuel announces to Saul that because of this act, his son will not become the next king. There will be no solid dynasty. So. So. You know, if you read it without understanding sort of the nature of of battle in the Bible, you might feel some sympathy for Saul. I mean, his troops were deserting, but let's go and read. Deuteronomy 20. There are two laws in the book of Deuteronomy that concern the waging of warfare, and Deuteronomy 20 is the second one, and I'll read it in its entirety because this I'll make one of my points that is relevant to the first Samuel 13 passage, but I'll come back and talk about other aspects of it later. It says, When you go out to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them because the Lord, your God who brought you up out of Egypt will be with you when you're about to go into battle. The priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say, Here, Israel, Today you're going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid. Do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord, your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you victory. The officers shall say to the army, Has anyone build a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home or he may die in battle and someone else marry her. Then the officer shall add. Is anyone afraid or faint hearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too. When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over in first aid as relevant. First Samuel 13. Right. If anyone's afraid. Tell them to go home. Saul's panicking because his troops are growing afraid and they're deserting the Army. What Deuteronomy 20 is telling us is Saul should have been actually proactive going through the camp, going, Anybody here afraid that, Well, you go home, please. Why? And so I'll come back and read the rest of this while we're here. But why? Because one of the principles during the battle is that numbers of troops. And quality of weapons. Don't matter. Well, as a matter of fact, in a sense, they matter. You can't go into a battle in a superior military position. Okay. So back to that in just a moment. With a couple more examples. I'm going to finish reading. Deuteronomy 20 goes. When you march up to attack a city, make its people and offer of peace, they accept and open their gates. All the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle. Lay siege to that city. When the Lord, your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock, and everything else in this city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby. However, in the cities of the nations, the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. Do not leave anything alive that breathes. Completely destroy them. And I'll just comment here that the verb completely destroy is the verb haram from which we have a noun haram, or that's the hard age haram. And so that's often how this type of warfare is referred to in the literature. Haram warfare, but completely destroy them. The Hittites Ammonites, Canaanites Parasites have rights and Jeb cites as Lord, your God has commanded you. Otherwise they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will stand against the Lord your God when you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people that you should besiege them. However you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls. You said Bible lesson environmentally conscience. Yeah. So before actually giving some examples of numbers of troops and quality of weapons, I want to underline the sort of. Worshipful or religious nature of this type of warfare by also saying that the march into battle is. When described as like a religious procession. Okay. Let me give you two examples. One from Second Chronicles 20. And the setting here is the reign of Jehoshaphat. One of those today in kings who get a C, by the way, because even though he removed the high play ad idol idols from the temple, he left the high places. But he's a generally pretty good king. And here he's at his best when he's going to battle against a coalition of foreigners who come in from the east. So now notice this description of the march into battle that begins in verse 20. So Second Chronicles 2020 and following says, Early in the morning, they left for the desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem have faith in the Lord, your God and you will be upheld. Have faith in His prophets and you will be successful. After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His Holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying, Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and mounts here who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moab fights rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from fear they helped destroy one another. So we'll come back and comment on this in a moment, too. This is kind of a dramatic example of how God wins the victory. Right. So they march into battle, fully expecting to fight this coalition of enemies. But by the time they get there, they're already defeated because God has turned the armies against each other. Now, my next example of a march into battle may surprise you a little bit. And. That's because what I'm about to describe is the wilderness wandering. You know, the march from Egypt to the promised Land. If you carefully read the opening chapters of numbers, the first ten chapters of the Book of Numbers, you'll see that the author, Moses, is depicting the march as and depicting the wandering not as a kind of ragtag group of people, you know, kind of struggling through the wilderness, but rather as an army on the march. You have to read it with a little bit of ancient, very stern background knowledge, because as you read about the lay out of the Israelite encampment in the opening chapters of numbers, you see that it describes something that looks identical to an ancient near Eastern Army camp where you have the war leader in in the center of the camp. And so we read that the tabernacle, you know, is placed in the center of the camp and then in an Army camp, it would be the king's personal guard that would surround his tent. And we learn in numbers that the Levites in camp around the tabernacle. Just real quickly, that we could spend a lot of time on this, just like I talk about the prophets, says covenant lawyers. Priests are God's bodyguards. That's their function. And going back, picking up the story at the end of Genesis 34 that we talked about earlier, where Levi and Simeon are exercised, violence against the sacraments. You go to the end of Jacob's life. In. Genesis 49 when he pronounces various blessings and curses on his 12 sons in a way that have future ramifications. And it's a fascinating passage and all, particularly when it comes to the Oracle about Judah and the Oracle about Levi and Simeon. But let me read you what he says about Levi and Simeon in verses five through seven. Simeon and Levi, our brothers, their swords, our weapons of violence. Let me not enter their counsel. Let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Curse be their anger so fierce and their fury so cruel. I will scatter them and Jacob and disperse them in Israel. So Jacob still upset about this. And he is pronouncing this curse of scattering. And of course, the effect of that would be that. A tribe who did not get their own future allotment of land would soon be kind of absorbed in whatever tribe that they occupied. And that was the case pretty much with the Simian Knights who were given cities within Judah, but not the Levites. The Levites become the most distinctive tribe of all. Why? Because they did well at the time of the Golden calf. So turn with me now to the Exodus, Chapter 32. You remember that as Moses is up on the mountain, the people convince Aaron to construct a golden calf shrine, which they worship. And Moses comes down, he breaks the tablets, and then he says, Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me. And. And then he says to the Levites, Who are the ones who rally to Moses? He goes, This is what this is first 27. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. Each man strap Assad to his side, go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend, a neighbor. The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about 3000 people died. Now notice what Moses says in verse 29 You, meaning the Levites, have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and He has blessed you this day. This is their job, in our view, and they have learned to channel their violence in service of the protection of God's holiness. And so they have been chosen to be priests. And then if you read Moses's comments about the Levites at the end of his life. Oh, and by the way, yeah, the Levites are scattered through the land. They're given cities within other tribal allotments, but because of their consecration and priestly status, they actually become the most distinctive of the tribes of Israel. I mean, even today, Jewish friends whose last name is Kohen, which means priest are would think of themselves as descended from the Levites. But if we go to Deuteronomy, Chapter 33. And we read let's read what Moses says about Levi in verse eight. And following goes about Levi. He said, You're through. Men and forum belong to your faithful servant. You tested him at Marseilles. You contented with him at the waters of Maribor, he said of his father and mother. I have no regard for them. This is a reference to Exodus 32. He did not recognize his brothers or acknowledge his own children, but he watched over your word and noticed this next phrase and guarded your covenant. And by the way, that's why we think of Adam as a kind of priestly figure in that he was commissioned to guard the holy place, namely the Garden of Eden. He teaches your precepts to Jacob, and your Lord is really offers incense before you and hold burnt offerings on your altar. Bless all his skills, Lord, and be pleased with the work of his hand. Strike down those who rise against him, his foes, till they rise no more. Now most of the guarding action of the Levites is preemptive, right? It's teaching the law so that people know how to behave in a way that doesn't break the covenant with God. But they also, of course, oversee the sacrificial rituals that when Israel or Israelites break the covenant, that they come and repent and offer an animal sacrifice to restore that relationship and they guard the sanctuary. So in any case, back to the map. The rest of the tribes, just like in an ancient near Eastern, I might not put the right number of axes here, not counting them, but they're surrounding the tent as well. This is a ancient near Eastern work here, which is also heightened by the fact that numbers chapter one, by the way, the reason why the Book of Numbers gets its rather pedestrian name of numbers is because numbers, chapter one and numbers, Chapter 26 are well, look at first sight like census accounts. But they're really military registrations. They're not just counting the general population. They're counting men over 20 prepared for war. So numbers chapter one also gives us the sense that that the Israelite wilderness wanderings are an army on the March numbers. Chapter one is counting the first generation that comes up out of Egypt and numbers Chapter 26 counts the second generation that will enter the Promised land. And the theme of the Book of Numbers is Judgment on the First Generation and hope for the second Generation. But one final point that leads us to know or recognize that the wilderness wandering is a march into battle is what Moses says every morning when they break camp, or on those mornings when they break camp and begin a march. He says this, he says, and this is numbers chapter ten, verse 35 Rise up, Oh Lord, and scatter the countless enemies of Israel. And at that point, the Tabernacle has been packed up by the vertical clans that are commissioned to do that. And the Ark of the Covenant, representing God's presence and closely associated with his warring activity, lead the march on those days. Okay, So march into battle now. Numbers of troop and qualities of weapons don't matter. Probably the best known example of this is the story of Gideon and the Book of Judges. Gideon shows up with 33,000, I believe it is troops to go to battle against the median age. And what's God's response is way too many. Way too many. Get rid of them. And he goes through and tells people who are afraid, etc., to leave. But he still has too many, which is why God says take them down to the lady her road, tell them to drink water. And some got down on their knees and cut it up and some got down on their bellies and left it like dogs and. God says, take those 300 dog wrappers. And it's kind of funny to look at 19 some 19th century commentaries that go on and on about why dog wrappers are better in battle. They're staying under the arrows or something. But that's not the point. The point is if you go into the battle with too many troops and win, you will say it's because of our ability, our power, our strength. But if you go into battle severely handicapped, then you know that it's God who wins the battle, you know, expresses that so beautifully. Yes. David, on the occasion of his battle with Goliath. And first, Samuel, 17. We all know that story, right? That the Philistines are battling the Israelites and the Philistines have the superior army. But they they're in the low land and the Israelites are in the high land. And, you know, I imagine that the Philistines who had superior weapons at the time, iron weapons would have ultimately won. But they suggest a battle of champions, essentially, and they have Goliath in their corner. Now, another feature of Hebrew narrative remembering that every culture and every time period tells its stories and different not totally different in time, but somewhat different ways. And we've talked a little bit about the reticent narrator. Another aspect of reticence is Hebrew. A narrative rarely gives extensive physical descriptions of people. And when they give any kind of description of a person that is always relevant, very relevant to the story. So, yeah, we know that she was beautiful. We know that Absalom had long hair. And so you figure that long hair is going to show up somewhere in the story and he ends up hung by it. Actually, I think this is kind of a feature of a lot of literature because the Russian novelist checked off once, said something to the effect of If in your first chapter there's a rifle hanging on the wall. Somebody better get shot later in the novel. So any case, listen to this description and the reason why this description is so lengthy. I actually think this is the longest physical description to be found in the Bible and contrasts. Say I used I went through a phase where I read all these 19th century British novels by people like George Eliot and and, you know, George Eliot. A character comes in the room wearing a dress. You might spend the next three pages talking about the dress, but here we hear a champion named Goliath, who is from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a code of scale armor, a bronze weighing 5000 shekels on his legs. He wore bronze greaves and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed 600 shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. All this to contrast with David, whom you remember, isn't even in the army at this time. He shows up delivering lunch to his brothers, but he hears the taunts coming from the Philistine camp. Then he steps forward, unable to even wear armor. He's too small at this time to wear armor, and he enters the battle armed only with a slingshot. And we know how this ends up, though, right? We know he defeats Goliath, cuts off his head. But first of all, I want you to notice the little speech he makes before he throws the stones in verses 45 347. David said to the Philistine, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied this day, the Lord will deliver you into my hands and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals. And the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it's not by a sword or a spear that the Lord saves for the battle is the Lord, and He will give all of you into our hands for what we're here. I also want you to notice something else. And that has to do with the fact that, yes, God wins the victory, but humans need to be involved. It's actually kind of an interesting study of divine sovereignty and human responsibility because first of all, you can imagine a different scenario. And for Samuel 17, that scenario being that David gives this speech and then God says, Back up David, and then throws a lightning bolt down and kills Goliath, doesn't need David to even be involved. And actually, David's involvement isn't. It is somewhat true to write. I mean, David's going to go mano a mano of Goliath with sword. Yeah, that's not going to happen. Stand at a distance and bop him with slingshot and then go cut off his head. So again, divine sovereignty, human responsibility. Going back to Second Chronicles 2020 Jehoshaphat, the armies are marching into battle. They're ready to engage, but they don't have to because God has won. The victory for them kind of fits in with that Philippians two statement, you know, concerning our salvation, you know, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it's God who saves us, you know. The God saves us, but we still have to work it out. So human responsibility, divine sovereignty. Okay, so numbers of troops, qualities of weapons don't matter. I've already mentioned the fact that the Ark of the Covenant, when it's when it's around, is on the battlefield. And then after. After, first of all, praise. Praise. Some of the great hymns of the Old Testament are post battle victory songs, and perhaps the most famous is Exodus Chapter 15. I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. Both horse and driver. He is hurled into the sea. The Lord has my strength and my defense. He has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise him, my father's God and I will exalt him. Notice. Verse three The Lord is a warrior ish melodrama, a man of war. The Lord is His name, bears chariots in his army. He has hurled into the sea The best affairs officers are drowned in the Red Sea. And on and on and on are Judges five. After the battle of that, Deborah and Barak lead against the Medea Knights and also many, many Psalms. Number of years ago, again in the eighties, one of my first articles was on Psalm 98, which is a post battle victory song. And as I studied the Psalms as a whole, I noted that there were 49 of 150 Psalms that had their setting and warfare. Now, you know, we typically don't notice that as Christians because we immediately spiritualized the battle language, right? However, in their original testament setting, they were closely connected to actual physical battles, either some before, like some seven rise up. Oh Lord, come save us. Let me let me read a little bit of Psalm seven. Pick it up in verse six. Arise, Lord, in your anger. Rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God decreed justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the Lord judge the peoples vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness. Verse ten My shield is my is God most high who saves the upright and heart? God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword. He will bend and string his bow. He has prepared this deadly weapons. He makes his flaming arrows for songs sung during a battle like some 91. Whoever dwells in the shelter, the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God and whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the Fouler snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings he will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day or the pestilence that starts in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side. 10,000 at your right hand. But it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. And then from 98. The Somme that I was focused on in my article was a song sung after. Victory again, I think. Christian readers to quickly spiritualized the language here, particularly in the first stanza. I mean, one of the amazing things about Psalm 98 is its structure. I mean, it's divided into three stanzas of three verses each. The first dance is saying to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous thing things. His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made a salvation known and revealed His righteousness to the nations. He has remembered His love and his faithfulness to Israel. All the days of the Earth have seen the salvation of our God. Salvation in this context is a military victory and indeed in the penalty. I think we brought that out. That's highlighted by the fact that it's God's right hand and his holy arm, which in Exodus and Isaiah are always connected to his warring activity. It's also communicated by this phrase new song, which occurs about a dozen times in Isaiah and the Psalms and in the Book of Revelation, and does not mean this is a song that has never been sung before, but rather means of victory shall that God through his warring activity, has made everything new. So the first dance is appealing to Israel to praise God for giving them a victory in the past, closely connected with the theme of God as a warrior, as his status as King. So the second stanza Shout for joy to the Lord. All the earth burst into jubilant song with music. Make music to the Lord, with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing with trumpets and the blast of the rams horn shout for joy before the Lord the King. So here the circle of praise expands beyond Israel to all the inhabitants of the Earth who are called upon to praise God for being their king in the present. And then versus 7 to 9. But to see resound and everything in it, the world and all who live in it, that the rivers clap their hands, that the mountains sing together for joy. Let them sing for the before the Lord. He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world and righteousness and the peoples with equity. So. So now the circle of praise expands by means of poetic personification to include even the inanimate aspects of creation, the rivers and the mountains. And they are saying to praise God for being the future judge, the judge who will come in the future, which of course, is also a theme that's connected with God as a warrior. Indeed, some 98 is cited briefly in the description of Jesus as he leads an army and Revelation 1911 and following with the sword coming out of his mouth. So. So yeah. So there's praise. There is the. Haram. If this is a battle within the promised land, there is no option of surrender. There is the option of flight. There is the option of coming over to God's side, like we see rehab as an example. But those who are defeated are executed. And this, of course, is what in particular raises ethical considerations, which I'll come back and address once we look next at the five phases of warfare from Genesis to Revelation. But a pause here, see if there's any questions that you might have or. Or. Of clarification or whatever. 

Audience Member  [00:57:19] Well, first, thanks. This is fascinating. You warned us a few lectures ago about too much seeing of Jesus Christ in his, that kind of stuff, and in the story of David and Goliath in Sunday school, it's often preached as. So be brave for God. Yeah, but then Tim Keller says, No, we should see David as a type of Christ, and we should identify with the fearful knees quaking Israelites soldiers. How do you see an application if we're going to be preaching David and Goliath? 

Tremper Longman III [00:58:01] That's great. And we've talked about Tim, who is a longtime friend and former colleague at Westminster Theological Seminary back in the eighties, before you went to New York. And I went to Westmont, and I have the highest regard for his preaching. But I would say this if that was his way he posed it, I'd say yes to the redemptive historical preaching, pointing to Christ. But here's a good example where I think, Yeah, we can also use this Old Testament narrative to encourage people to be brave for the Lord, against, you know, Satanic attack. Where are we going to be talking about how we live in phase four, which is a period of spiritual warfare, not physical warfare, in just a moment. So. So, yeah, so that's how I. Respond to. 

Audience Member  [00:59:04] That. Yes. 

Tremper Longman III [00:59:05] Yes, yes, yes. Both. And I have to agree with Tim that I think that. That if there is an error in the broader evangelical church, it's a tendency to preach only more or less strictly. And so it's really important to do the kind of redemptive historical preaching that that tempts talking about. But again, we often will throw out the baby with the bathwater or we'll let the pendulum swing too much. And going back to my seminary days, and you're probably familiar with the writings of Sydney, great Don, as perhaps who was longtime professor of preaching at Calvin. And first of all, let me just say his work is marvelous and everybody should read whatever they can get their hands on by a grade on this. But at least early in his career, his doctoral dissertation at the I think it was at the Free University of Amsterdam made that kind of argument that we should only do redemptive historical preaching and not do moralistic preaching. But I think part of that pushback to. And by people like Gradon, as at least at that stage of his career. I think 40 or 50 years have passed since he wrote his dissertation. So I can't say exactly where he is now is because there's bad moralistic preaching, too. You know, the idea that, you know, kind of simplistic and not taking into account what I said the other day about continuity and discontinuity as well.