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Note: This blog post is part of a series titled "The Rise of the Saints." To view all parts, click the link below.
The famine in the time of King David was attributed to Saul’s persecution of the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:1). It appears that in his zeal Saul had killed seven Gibeonites without cause. For this reason, seven of Saul’s sons or grandsons were executed at the demand of the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:6). We then read in 2 Samuel 21:9,
9 Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the Lord, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.
Recall that the Gibeonites were called to minister at the sanctuary (Joshua 9:27), not as priests but as laborers in the daily work. The main sanctuary at the time of David was located in the town of Baale-judah (2 Samuel 6:2), also known as Kiriath-jearim (1 Chronicles 13:6). That is where David went to bring the ark to his own tabernacle in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:2).
It may also be that Gibeonites ministered at David’s tabernacle as well, for it represented an open sanctuary where all could worship God directly under the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood, of which order David himself was the (high) priest (Psalm 110:4). This prophesied, of course, of the New Covenant priesthood which was not subjected to the rule that priests ought to be descended from Aaron (Hebrews 7:11-14).
Saul himself was the Pentecostal king. Hence, the seven sons of Saul prophetically represent the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3. During the seven church ages, the church, in its ungodly zeal, persecuted the overcomers of the true Melchizedek order and abused those who served at the sanctuary. For this reason, a famine of hearing the word came upon the church, especially during the Middle Ages, when most people were unable to read and when the priests focused upon rituals rather than in teaching the word.
It was nearly a total spiritual famine for a thousand years. In long-term prophecy, the Protestant reformation brought the dawn of a new day and the end of the famine. Translators like John Wycliffe began to make the Bible available in the common language. When the printing press came into use, the Gutenberg Bible was printed in Germany in 1452. Though the Roman Church tried with all of its might to keep the word out of the hands of the common people, it failed to stop its spread. The power of the word changed the world.
Even so, many truths in the word were revealed only gradually over a period of centuries. It was as if the church took its own journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Martin Luther’s revelation of justification by faith alone was the new Passover of the church. John Wesley’s revelation of sanctification brought the church’s Red Sea experience. Finney brought the church to Marah, where they learned of the God who heals us.
Men like C. T. Studd and A. B. Simpson brought the church to Elim, the place of the 70 palms and 12 wells, bringing the wells of salvation to the 70 nations of the world. Maria Woodworth-Etter, Charles Parham, and William Seymour brought the church to Mount Horeb for the revelation of Pentecost in the early 1900’s.
George Hawtin brought the church to Kadesh-barnea with the revelation of the feast of Tabernacles, the Restoration of All Things, and an upgrade on the gift of tongues in the Latter Rain movement (1948-1952). There the church was faced with a decision to accept these Kingdom truths or to return to the wilderness for further processing. As with the Israelites under Moses, most of the church denominations rejected, in whole or in part, the Latter Rain revelations, and this extended the wilderness experience to the end of the reign of “Saul” in 1993.
Then, as I showed in The Rise of the House of David, we entered into the time of transition from the house of Saul to the house of David. With this came an increase in Kingdom revelation, of which I am now writing.
This is the long-term, gradual end of the church’s famine of hearing the word. In 2013 we held our End the Famine time of intercession, from August 6 to the Day of Atonement on September 14, 2013. This was patterned after the story in 2 Samuel 21, where David dealt with the sin of Saul, but the famine in the church was a famine of hearing the word.
There will always be more revelation to learn—even “in the ages to come” (Ephesians 2:7). But our time of intercession marked a turning point, at least for the overcomers who have a revelation of the Kingdom. The Kingdom revelation, rejected by the church in general, will be accepted and understood more fully in the age to come.
Meanwhile, the fact that the seven sons of Saul were “hanged” on the day of barley harvest carries a warning to the Seven Churches. The day of barley harvest is the wave-sheaf offering, where the sheaf of barley from Jericho was waved in the temple on the first Sunday after Passover (Leviticus 23:11). It prophesied of Christ’s resurrection.
It also prophesied that the church as a whole will not be resurrected at the time of the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5, 6). Only the overcomers will be raised to reign with Christ during the great Sabbath Millennium. The rest of the believers will not be “hanged” as such, but neither will they inherit “eternal life,” that is, “life in The Age.” They will have to await the general resurrection to receive their reward of immortality (John 5:28, 29).
See my book, The Purpose of Resurrection.
The Cause of the Famine
In the early 1850’s the Roman Church saw the advantage in settling the rich farmland of the upper Midwest with its own voters. So they encouraged Catholics in Germany, Poland, and Ireland to immigrate to Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and southern Minnesota. Many Lutherans came as well, and so the Midwest is dominated religiously by these two churches.
At the same time in the 1850’s, the issue of slavery was coming to a head, especially with the Dredd-Scott decision by the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Roger Taney, a Roman Catholic, ruled that “Negroes have no rights which the white man is bound to respect.” This mindset was common in those days, having passed into America from the Old World, where Catholic Christianity had long condoned black slavery in spite of claiming to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
While they justified slavery on biblical grounds, they did not understand that biblical slavery was to pay one’s debt and even this was limited by the year of Jubilee. In Scripture, slavery was imposed by court order to pay restitution for that which was owed, or by taking captives in a just and righteous war. The Bible never condoned kidnapping anyone for the purpose of slavery, as was done with the black slaves taken from Africa.
Further, they failed to understand the biblical view that even slaves have rights under God, because, in the end, all men belong to God by right of creation. Furthermore, if a man mistreated a slave, the slave was to be set free (Exodus 21:26, 27). Biblical slavery was not like slavery among the nations.
While there were many Christians (especially among Protestants) who understood this from studying Scripture, they fought an uphill battle against the long-established mindset of the Church. This attitude carried over to their relations with the Native Americans as well. Treaties were regularly violated, as if to say, “Indians have no rights which the white man is bound to respect.” The carnal mind is selfish and seeks only its own advantage. Sin is justified on the grounds that others somehow do not have equal rights to be treated in a moral way.
In 1862 this carnal mindset came to a boil in southern Minnesota with the so-called “Sioux Uprising.” They were not Sioux, but Dakota. Their tribal name was Dakota, which means “friends,” but the white settlers called them Sioux, “enemies.”
In July 1851, at the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, two bands of Dakota ceded land in southwestern Minnesota, Iowa, and parts of South Dakota to the U.S., while creating a Dakota reservation along the Minnesota River. The U.S. government agreed to pay them $1.665 million for the land.
A month later, two more Dakota bands ceded land in southeastern Minnesota for a sum of $1.41 million. This was the Treaty of Mendota. In 1858 the reservation land north of the Minnesota River was taken as well, and the reservation land was cut in half.
The Civil War broke out in 1861, and the promised payments were late. It was widely rumored that if the payments were made at all, they would not be made in gold as agreed upon.The Dakota then demanded that the payments be made directly to them, rather than through traders. When the traders learned of this plan, they refused to sell provisions on credit, in spite of widespread hunger and starvation on the reservation. At the same time, crop failure occurred in the summer of 1862.
To resolve the dispute, the Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith negotiated with Andrew Myrick, the spokesman for the traders. Myrick said, “So far as I am concerned, if they are hungry, let them eat grass.”
In spite of the starvation, the U.S. agent refused to give out any food to the Dakota until their money arrived from Washington. The money, however, was delayed while the government in Washington debated whether the payment should be made in gold or in paper currency. Meanwhile, the Dakota were starving, angry, and desperate.
In August of 1862 some of the Dakota became desperate enough to fight back, and this became known as the “Sioux Uprising.” U.S. troops were sent to quell the uprising, and trials were held, sentencing hundreds of Dakota to be hanged. In November, General Pope sent a list of names to President Lincoln of those convicted, urging him to condone the execution of all that were convicted. He warned of mob violence if his recommendation were not followed.
Such a mob action actually took place on December 4, 1862, when hundreds of civilians tried to raid the camp where the Dakota were being held prisoner. Of the 300 or more who had been sentenced to death, many on flimsy evidence, Lincoln ordered all but 38 be released. These 38 were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862 and buried in a single grave at the edge of town.
In April 1863 Congress passed a bill banning all Dakota from setting foot in Minnesota. This law has never been repealed and is technically still in force today.
One missionary who witnessed the harsh way that the Dakota had been treated, wrote to Bishop Whipple, saying, “If I were an Indian, I would never lay down the war club while I lived.” Hence, there were some who recognized the lawless attitudes of the people.
The Dakota wars continued periodically, ending finally in 1890 at the Battle of Wounded Knee.
God’s Liability Laws
My friend Philip, who lives in Mankato, told me about a group of intercessors whom God had raised up to establish a 40-day period of repentance and intercession, beginning August 6, 2013. In 1862 the Dakota people were blamed for the uprising, but history shows that the Christians settlers of that time must take responsibility for causing the uprising. They starved the Dakota until they rose up in desperation. It is a biblical principle that the one who provokes another to stumble is more liable than the one who stumbled (Matthew 5:32; Ephesians 6:4).
The Model Prayer
This was our model prayer of repentance and intercession:
Father, we come before your throne of grace in the name of Jesus and under His blood.
We ask forgiveness for the sins of our fathers and for the Church. Forgive our carnal attitudes and selfish motives. Forgive us for blaming others for their sin after we have provoked them to anger. Forgive our hypocrisy and pride. Forgive us for our ignorance of your laws and for justifying sin both ignorantly and willfully.
We confess the sins of our fathers and recognize our own liability as well. Cause us to know Your will and your mind, so that we may live and move in the Spirit of Christ, manifesting the life of Christ to all men. Where we have provoked others to anger, let us instead provoke others to love and good works [Hebrews 10:24].
Father, release us from the famine of hearing your word. Open our eyes and ears, that we may know Your will and teach Your word until it is the basis of our government and culture. Write your law in our hearts until it becomes part of us, causing us to be like Jesus and to do all the works that He did.
Note: This blog post is part of a series titled "The Rise of the Saints." To view all parts, click the link below.