Cursed Time for the Earth and Canaan
All Sin is Reckoned as a Debt
The basic laws of restitution are found in Exodus 22. If we ever hope to understand the manner in which God deals with men and nations, we must see that God reckons all sin in terms of debt. This is made manifest in the New Testament as well. We have already covered the story of the debtor who owed 10,000 talents (Matt. 18:21-35). The moral of the story in the final verse of that chapter tells us that Jesus was talking about forgiving sin, not merely debts. Matthew 18:35 says,
35 So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
The sin-debt connection is also made abundantly clear by reading the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. Matthew 6:12-15 says,
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors… 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Compare this passage with Luke’s account of this same prayer. Luke 11:4 reads, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”
God’s law in Exodus 22 makes it clear that true justice is not done until full restitution has been paid to all the victims of injustice. In other words, if a man damages someone else’s property, he must pay restitution to repair or replace it. Until he does, he owes the victim the value of that property. If a man should steal another man’s property, he must restore that which he stole, plus another of equal value. If a thief steals a car, for example, and gets caught, he must first return the car to its rightful owner. Then the thief must give his victim another car equivalent to it, or monetary compensation that satisfies both parties. Of course, if the stolen car is wrecked, or if the stolen animal is killed, the thief must pay fourfold or fivefold restitution (Exodus 22:1).
The restitution must always fit the crime, and a judge has no right to make the restitution less or more than the law specifies. Only the victim has the right to forgive all or part of the debt owed, once the sentence of the law has been passed. But the main point is to see the principle that all sin is reckoned as a debt owed to the victim.
The Law of Redemption
A second major principle is the law of redemption. It tells us what to do if the thief does not have the means to repay his victim. Exodus 22:3 says, “he shall be sold for his theft.” In other words, he is to be redeemed—sold to whoever is willing to pay the most for his labor. Whoever “buys” the thief is the redeemer; he is purchasing the thief’s debt note. In return for the debtor’s labor, the redeemer must pay the victim whatever the thief owes him. Thus, the sinner is no longer held liable for his sin, for all liability is shifted to the redeemer.
Jesus Himself is called a Redeemer. Those who claim to be redeemed by Him are thus obligated to serve Him. Those who believe they are free to go their own way in total liberty have no understanding of the law of redemption. The Bible knows no redemption without obligation to serve God and His law. We already covered this in Chapter 1, so we will say no more here.
This view of divine justice forms the backdrop for the Bible and for an entire study of how God deals with men and nations. You cannot truly understand the overall Plan of God without knowing these key laws. It is especially important when dealing with the topic of Cursed Time, where these principles are manifested time and time again. And so, having said this, we now proceed to our study of Cursed Time.
The Earth on Cursed Time (Adam to the Flood)
On page 16, we saw that the Flood came upon the earth in the year 1656, when Noah was 600 years old. The year 1656 came at the end of four periods of Cursed Time (414 x 4 = 1656 years). This is our first and most foundational example of Cursed Time. It all began with God’s curse upon the ground in Genesis 3:17-19. The judgment for that curse came with the Flood.
17 And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
In other words, Adam sinned, and thus incurred a debt to the law, because all sin is reckoned as a debt. Because there was no way that Adam could pay the debt he owed, he was “sold” into bondage as a slave to the earth (Ex. 22:3), he and his wife and children. And so the earth (the physical, carnal realm) became his slavemaster, and man has therefore been ruled by his carnal desires until the day he dies. Furthermore, throughout his life, Adam and his entire household had to work by the sweat of their brows to serve the earth by ridding it of thorns and thistles. The meaning of this is not limited to the hard work of farming. Each one of us has his own “earth” to till. It is the process of Sanctification, where we labor and discipline ourselves to rid our character of its thorns and thistles.
Note that God cursed the ground for Adam’s sake. That is, God made the earth liable for Adam’s sin. This could only be done by the law of redemption. God sold Adam to the earth. This means that Adam and his children were required to labor for the earth by the sweat of their brows; and the earth was required to pay the debt for Adam’s sin. The debt owed was spiritual Perfection and Righteousness. The earth must produce a Perfect Man and present him to God to pay the debt for Adam’s sin. This is one of the legal reasons why Jesus had to be born in the earth and why He was called the Second Adam. The earth finally did produce the Perfect Man to pay the debt of Adam’s sin.
However, this did not occur within the original “deadline” of 4 x 414 years. While Noah was “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9), he was not the spotless lamb required in the ultimate sense. He could not do the work of the Messiah. For this reason, the Flood came 4 x 414 years after Adam to judge the earth for nonpayment of debt.
The sentence of the law was read in Genesis 3:17-19, but that sentence was not actually carried out for another 1656 years. Why? Because God is a God of mercy and grace. He never carries out a sentence of death immediately. He always gives men time to repent, time to get off Cursed Time and enter the realm of Blessed Time.
Unfortunately, few men or nations find their way out of Cursed Time, for they mistake God’s patience and mercy for license. When judgment does not come at once, they think God does not care what men do. They think there is no God—or none, at least, that will hold us accountable. But the day of reckoning always comes, and when it does, men wonder why God has done this to them. Because they do not understand how the law works, and because they do not know the principles of Cursed Time, they are always surprised when the law’s sentence is carried out against them. Their grace period has caused them to forget their sin.
We do have some biblical examples of how nations either came out of Cursed Time or at least repented enough to obtain an extension of grace. The examples given in Scripture are not only fascinating, but very helpful in understanding how God deals with men throughout history. And I must confess that I too have found myself on Cursed Time for rebellion and disobedience against God in the past. The judgment cycles in my life were not 414 years, but in cycles of 414 days. I know of at least three such instances in my own life, and I have seen how Cursed Time has affected others as well. These personal examples are very helpful in understanding how Cursed Time works and what one must do to escape into Blessed Time.
Canaan’s Cursed Time (Noah’s Curse to Joshua’s Judgment)
A comparison of Genesis 7:11 and 8:13-14 reveals that Noah and his family were in the Ark for one year. In other words, the Flood lasted from the year 1656 to 1657. Genesis 8:13 tells us that the waters were dried up on the first day of the first month, a year after Noah entered into the Ark. In those days, the calendar year began in the fall, for the Hebrew feast day calendar was not given until the time of Moses (Ex. 12:2), at which time the first month was transferred to the spring. And so the earth was dry by New Year’s Day in the fall of the year 1657. Even so, they did not emerge from the Ark until the 27th day of the second month, which would correlate with late October or early November as we reckon time today.
The first thing that we are told Noah did was to plant a vineyard (Gen. 9:20). As the story goes, Noah planted a vineyard, drank of the wine, and got drunk. His son, Ham, “saw the nakedness of his father” (Gen. 9:22), but Japheth and Shem covered Noah. Whatever else this story signifies, we are here mostly concerned with the revelation of timing.
One does not obtain grapes from a newly planted vineyard. It takes three years to get enough of a grape harvest to get drunk. So if the first growing season was the summer of 1657, the second was 1658, and the third was 1659, then it is apparent that Noah could not possibly have gotten drunk prior to the next fall, which was the beginning of the year 1660. But pay careful attention to what Noah said about Canaan, the son of Ham, when he awoke from his drunken stupor. Genesis 9:24-27 says,
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant.
We are given no reason why Noah cursed Canaan instead of Ham, nor will we speculate about it, since that is outside the scope of our present discussion. For our purposes, it is clear that Canaan and his descendants were cursed by Noah, and this put them on Cursed Time. Thus, two periods of 414 years later, Israel crossed the Jordan river under Joshua’s leadership and carried out the sentence of the law against the Canaanites.
Recall from Chapter 2 that Israel’s Exodus from Egypt occurred in the year 2448 from Adam. They spent 40 years in the wilderness and crossed the Jordan in the year 2488. If Noah cursed Canaan in the year 1660, as we have seen, then 1660 plus 828 years comes to 2488. God gave Canaan precisely two periods of Cursed Time in which to repent or find their way off Cursed Time to avoid the sentence of the law.
Once again, the precise timing of the Jordan crossing provides us with another good example of how Cursed Time works. It shows that Joshua’s war against the Canaanites was the outworking of the sentence of the law that had been pronounced against them by Noah many years earlier. The two events are in a cause-and-effect relationship.
You may also ask why the Canaanites received two grace periods. Why did God not reckon their account after just one period of 414 years? If God had done so, Canaan would have come under judgment in the year 2074, because 1660 plus 414 is 2074.
So what happened in the year 2074? To put it into perspective, in that year Abraham was 126 years old; Isaac was 26; and Ishmael was 40. Abraham had just spent 26 years in Gerar in the land of the Philistines. (He moved there after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, which was also about the time that Isaac was born.) The Bible does not tell us how long Abraham lived in Gerar, but we do find this detail in Jasher 22:3-5,
3 And Abraham dwelt in the land of the Philistines a long time. 4 And the days increased and reached twenty six years, and after that Abraham with his servants and all belonging to him went from the land of the Philistines and removed to a great distance, and they came near to Hebron, and they remained there, and the servants of Abraham dug wells of water, and Abraham and all belonging to him dwelt by the water, and the servants of Abimelech king of the Philistines heard the report that Abraham’s servants had dug wells of water in the borders of the land. 5 And they came and quarreled with the servants of Abraham, and they robbed them of the great well which they had dug.
The biblical account of this quarrel is found in the last half of Genesis 21. It tells how Abimelech came to Abraham after hearing how his servants had stolen Abraham’s well.
Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant in which Abraham purchased the water rights with seven ewe lambs (Gen. 21:28-32). While the Bible does not date this event specifically, Jasher does tell us that Abraham had spent 26 years in Gerar prior to moving to this new location. This would be the year 2073. Then, within the following year, Abraham’s servants dug a great well, found water, and the Philistines heard about it. They came and stole the well, denying Abraham’s servants access to the water. Finally, Abimelech heard about it and came to Abraham to resolve the problem. By this time, it was probably the early part of the year 2074, which was 414 years after Noah had cursed Canaan.
The Philistines were a major tribe in Canaan. King Abimelech represented them. This story suggests to us that this theft of the well of Abraham was indicative of the rebellious heart of the Philistines and all the Canaanites in general. It was the final straw before God’s judgment would strike the land. But then Abimelech came and made a covenant with Abraham. He may never have known it, but he averted judgment upon all the land. If he had not made reconciliation with Abraham, I believe the curse of Noah would have struck the land that very year. But Abimelech’s actions granted Canaan an extension of grace. They did not move into Blessed Time, because they did not repent and turn to God in obedience to His law; yet they did receive an extension of grace on Cursed Time. Thus, judgment was held in abeyance for another 414 years, until Joshua invaded Canaan.
The timing of this event shows us that it was 414 years from Noah’s Curse to Abimelech’s covenant with Abraham. But this, in turn, proves that our chronology of that time period is accurate. Remember in Chapter 2 (pages 17-18) we had one weak spot in our chronological sequence? We questioned how old Terah was when Abram was born. The Bible seems to indicate that Terah was 70 when Abram was born, but the wording is imprecise, because Genesis 11:26 says only that “Terah lived seventy years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” We assumed for the moment that this meant Terah was 70 when Abram was born, but we left this as an unproven assumption for the time being.
The preciseness of the 414-year cycles of Canaan’s Cursed Time is accurate only if Terah was 70 when Abram was born. (See the chart on the previous page.) If we were to Add any more or less years to the chronology, it would throw everything off. So, as you may see, when we approach the problem from a legal perspective, with an understanding of the judgments of God according to Cursed Time, our chronology is verified at the same time.
We also learn something else in this about the Mind of God. Suppose the 12 spies of Israel had given a good report, and suppose Israel had decided to return to their inheritance at the time of the 50th Jubilee. If they had done so, they would have entered the land at the beginning of the year 2450 from Adam. In other words, they would have brought judgment upon the Canaanites 38 years too soon. Canaan’s second grace period, won by Abimelech, did not expire until the year 2488. Herein is seen the sovereign Plan of God at work. Although it was God’s Will that they enter Canaan in the year 2450, it was His sovereign Plan that they not go in until the year 2488. (See my book Creation’s Jubilee, 1999 edition, pages 109, 110.) If Israel had brought judgment upon Canaan 38 years too soon, the Canaanites would have had legal cause to complain against God. God is much too wise to lose a case in His own court!
On the other hand, this entire story reveals something else as well. Suppose Israel had entered the Promised Land on the 50th Jubilee from Adam, as God told them to do. If this had actually happened, there would have been no great battle against the Canaanites, for that would have constituted judgment in a time of grace. Furthermore, Israel would have entered the land on the Feast of Tabernacles, fulfilling that feast day by manifesting the glory of God in their bodies. With such power of the Spirit upon them, they would have been able to subdue the Canaanites, not by judgment, but by conversion!
Then the prophecy of Noah would have come to pass in a truly positive sense, where Canaan was to be a servant to Shem under God (Gen. 9:26). The Canaanites would have begun to learn the ways of God, taught by the children of Shem. In the book of Jasher, Shem was none other than Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes, and who ruled in the City of Salem, i.e., Jeru-Salem. In other words, the “Grape Company” (Canaan) would have begun the time of their conversion, for the Melchizedek Order would have manifested the glory of God and begun the great work of bringing all things under the feet of Christ.
However, it was not time for the conversion of the world (the Grape Company). This is an event reserved for the Tabernacles Age and beyond.
Canaan Redeemed as the Grape Company
The three major feasts of Israel are each a harvest festival for a different crop, and these each represent a different group of people. The barley, waved before God at the Wave-Sheaf Offering shortly after Passover, represents the Overcomers. The wheat, which ripens some weeks later at Pentecost, represents the Church. The grapes, which ripen in the fall, represent the rest of Creation, the non-Christian world. Barley is winnowed to remove the chaff and expose the life of the germ; wheat must be threshed. But the grapes must be trodden under foot to extract the juice from their flesh. This is a parable of the Plan of God, who will have both bread and wine for His communion table.
The curse upon Canaan came as a direct result of the vineyard that Noah planted after the Flood. This identifies Canaan as part of the Grape Company that is cursed to be trodden under foot. Yet Noah’s curse did not specify that Canaan would be destroyed, but that his descendants would be sold as servants either to Shem or to the God of Shem, depending on how you read it. This sale into servanthood again recalls the law of redemption, under which this legal transaction is made. The purpose of the sale is to transfer Canaan’s debt to the shoulders of Shem. Shem is made Canaan’s master, but Shem is also made Canaan’s redeemer. (A redeemer is a near kinsman who repays the debt to redeem another from bondage to a stranger. Shem was Canaan’s uncle and was therefore specifically eligible to redeem Canaan. See Leviticus 25:49.)
Canaan, then, is a representative of the non-Christian Creation, which is in need of redemption from bondage to the earth. It foreshadows the great truth that Paul mentions in Romans 8. The sin of Ham was imputed to his son, Canaan, without his consent; but God made lawful provision for Canaan by selling him into servitude to Shem, his redeemer. Of course, this can only be done fully by the power of the God of Shem, and this is why the wording of Genesis 9:26 is obscure and can be read either way, “And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his [or His] servant.”
And so, when Paul speaks of the great redemption of Creation, it is not hard to see how this directly applies to Canaan. Romans 8:20-21 says,
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Canaan, as a part of the Grape Company, was subjected to Noah’s curse, not willingly, but in view of a greater Plan in which he will be delivered from this curse into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, the Order of Melchizedek, or Shem. All of Creation awaits the firstfruits of the Barley to manifest Christ. They are the firstfruits of the Church. The wheat is then the firstfruits of Creation (James 1:18), or the Grape Company. When Paul speaks of the reconciling of the world, he ties it to the manifestation of the firstfruits in Romans 11:15-16,
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And so we see that this story of Noah’s curse upon Canaan has implications that go far beyond the simple story. It also shows that God’s ultimate purpose is not to curse or destroy, but to reconcile the world unto Himself.
Canaan’s Debt of 38 Years
In Genesis 12, we are told the story of the call of Abram. God told him to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go west. The moment Abraham (or Abram, as he was known in those days) set foot in the land of Canaan, he became responsible before God to observe the laws of the Kingdom of God. One of those laws was that no one was to sow or reap crops in the seventh year (Lev. 25:4). The land was to enjoy a sabbath rest every seven years. Further, after the seventh sabbath year (after 49 years) every man was to return to his own inheritance, and all his debts were to be canceled (Lev. 25:10).
As we said, when Abram accepted God’s Promise and went to Canaan, he became responsible to observe God’s laws—or at least those which were applicable to him at the time. It is generally God’s practice to reveal His laws in a progressive manner. That is, He does not teach them to men all at once, but directs their circumstances and experiences so that they develop a need to know the answer. Then through prayer, God gives the law by revelation, which not only resolves the real-life problem, but also teaches us of God’s ways.
Abram was a shepherd, not a farmer. He was a “stranger” (Gen. 23:4) in the land and had no land inheritance in Canaan. So it is probable that God did not reveal to him the laws of the sabbath rest years at that time. He did not need to know them at the time. However, it was quite different for the Canaanites. When they assumed authority over Abram, they automatically became accountable and liable to observe God’s laws. With authority goes an equal measure of accountability. Abram was accountable to God to observe His laws, and the Canaanites took upon themselves this accountability the moment Abram became subject to their government. Thus, Canaan became liable to observe the rest years and Jubilees during the entire time Abram and his seed remained in Canaan.
More than likely, there were few (if any) among the Canaanites who knew God well enough to receive revelation about the rest years or any other of God’s laws. And so, assuming authority over Abram became a curse to them. Canaan began to build up a debt to sin, measurable in rest years that they did not keep. They owed God a rest year every time they missed one.
So let us tally up the debt for which the Canaanites were liable. Here again, we must rely somewhat on the record left to us in the book of Jasher, which gives us details not recorded in the biblical record. It tells us that Abram actually made two trips to Canaan, not just one. The first time, he arrived in Canaan at the age of 55, in the year 2003. Jasher 13:9 says,
9 At that time, at the end of three years of Abram’s dwelling in the land of Canaan, in that year Noah died, which was the fifty-eighth year of the life of Abram.
If Abram was 58 years old after living three years in Canaan, then he must have arrived there at the age of 55. We read further that Abram spent 15 years in Canaan, and then God gave him the Promise at the age of 70 in the year 2018. (Recall that this was 430 years prior to the giving of the law, as we saw in Chapter 2. See the chart on page 21.) In the context of this Promise, which is recorded in Genesis 15, God told Abram that He would bring his descendants back to Canaan four generations later. Apparently, Abram mistook this to mean that he had gone to Canaan too soon, for we then read that he decided to return to Haran to visit his father, Terah. Jasher 13:20 reads,
20 At that time Abram returned and went to Haran to see his father and mother… and Abram dwelt in Haran five years.
After living in Haran five years, God then spoke to Abram and told him to return to Canaan. This was the year 2023, and Abram was 75 years old. Here is where Genesis 12 picks up the story. The biblical account is short and leaves out the detail that Abram had actually made two trips to Canaan, but it does record the fact that he went to Canaan at the age of 75. Genesis 12:4 says,
4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
In studying the dates of Abram’s visit to Haran (2018 - 2023), we find that he was not gone from Canaan during any of the rest years. The rest years fell in the years 2002, 2009, 2016, and 2023. (You can easily figure rest years by seeing which years are divisible by seven.) So Abram actually returned to Canaan during the rest year of 2023 and did not miss it. This is important, because it meant that Canaan remained liable to observe that rest year, because Abram was there under their authority in that year.
So, in figuring the total rest-year debt of Canaan, we see that the time period in which Abram, Isaac, and Jacob were in the land of Canaan ran from the year 2003 to 2238, when Jacob was 130 years old. (See page 18.) The first rest year that Canaan was liable to keep was in the year 2009. The next was 2016, and so on. There were 33 rest years in this time period. There were also five Jubilees during this time: the years 2009, 2058, 2107, 2156, and 2205. This gave Canaan a total rest-year debt of 38 years.
How Israel Paid Canaan’s Debt
This is one of those typically fascinating Bible stories that few people understand, because God does not want to reveal His ways to those who do not want to know Him. So He revealed His acts in the biblical record, but hid His ways (Ps. 103:7).
We have already seen on pages 18-21 how Israel came out of Egypt in the year 2448. After giving them the law and instructing them in the building of the Tabernacle, God led them to the border of Canaan and told them to return to their inheritance. When they refused, God sentenced them to spend another 38 years in the wilderness (Deut. 2:14). Why? Well, the surface reason that God gave Israel was that the 12 spies had searched out the land for 40 days, and therefore they would spend a total of 40 years in the wilderness, a year for each day they had spied out the land (Num. 14:33-34). But there is also a lawful reason that you do not see unless you understand the laws of God and something of His Plan.
God intended to fulfill Noah’s prophetic curse upon Canaan. That curse specified that Canaan would go into servitude to Shem’s seed (Israel). I have already commented on this, showing how this was a classic act of redemption by a near kinsman, uncle Shem. If Israel had returned to their inheritance at the Feast of Tabernacles as they were told to do, they would have birthed the Manchild and manifested Christ as Sons. In that glorified state as Sons of God, they would have been able to fully pay the debt that Canaan owed to satisfy the law. The redemption of the Grape Company, the non-christian Canaanite world, would have begun with the power of the spoken Word. There would have been little or no bloodshed. What a glorious day it would have been!
So what went wrong? Nothing went wrong. None of this glory was even possible prior to the Cross and the Resurrection of Jesus. It was the Will of God that it happen; but it was not in His Plan. God’s Will must always be fulfilled, but God’s Plan almost always delays the fulfillment of His Will for a time. The only essential difference between God’s Will and God’s Plan is Time. God’s Plan is a delayed fulfillment of His Will.
This is why a study of timing is crucial in the understanding of God’s Plan, which is in turn a revelation of His ways, His Mind.
There are legal implications to Israel’s refusal to enter the land. As God’s chosen, Israel was called to be a Kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6). That is, Israel was to be a priest to the other nations of the earth, in order that they be a blessing to all families of the earth (Gen. 12:3). One of the duties of God’s priesthood was to administer the divine law as judges (Deut. 17:9-12). In this case, the nation of Israel itself was to carry out the sentence of the law against the Canaanites, but they refused.
In essence, Canaan owed God 38 rest years, and Canaan could not pay the debt and refused even to try. In fact, they probably were not even aware that they owed God a debt. So God called Israel as a judge to administer the law and foreclose on their property. By the law, Israel was supposed to evict the Canaanites from their land. When Israel refused to pass just sentence upon Canaan, they automatically became liable for Canaan’s debt. The law cannot acquit the guilty, nor does the judge have the authority to put away the law by refusing to pass sentence. But the judge does have the option—as does anyone—of paying the penalty himself. Jesus Himself did this with us. Instead of putting away the law, He imposed its full sentence upon us for our sin, but then He came and paid the penalty Himself.
Thus, if a judge wishes to be merciful to a sinner, he may do so by paying the debt himself. Moreover, if a judge does not pass lawful sentence upon the sinner, he automatically assumes the debt note himself. This is what happened with Israel when they refused to pass sentence of the law upon the Canaanites. Israel assumed Canaan’s 38-year debt. Consequently, Israel spent the next 38 years in the wilderness (Deut. 2:14). It was to pay Canaan’s rest-year debt. Only after it was fully paid did God allow Israel to enter the land of Canaan.
Another hidden purpose in this is to show us that God does not call any man or nation to rule (or judge) without first training them in the art of redemption by intercession. This is because the Body of Christ must walk even as He walked (1 John 2:6), and suffer with Him (2 Tim. 2:12), if they would rule with Him. Jesus Himself went the way of the great Intercessor as the Lamb of God before being seated at the right hand of the Father. He is our example, and so we also see this working in the history of Israel, who interceded and redeemed Canaan’s 38-year debt note prior to judging them according to Noah’s curse.
Canaan Becomes Shem’s Servant
We have mentioned a number of times that Noah’s curse actually prophesied Canaan’s coming servitude to the seed of Shem. This prophetic curse seems to conflict with God’s command to Joshua to destroy everyone who refused to leave. But once again, God had given Joshua the law, because that was God’s Will. On the other hand, Noah’s curse prophesied the overall Plan of God, in which Canaan would be redeemed to serve Shem. So let us see how this actually worked out in the story of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan.
In the ninth chapter of Joshua, we find the story of how the Gibeonites, a Canaanite tribe, dressed up in rags, put moldy bread in their bags, and came to Joshua asking for peace. They claimed to be from a far country, so Joshua made a peace treaty with them. Later, he discovered they were from a nearby town in Canaan named Gibeon. So Joshua told them in Joshua 9:23,
23 Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood, and drawers of water for the house of my God.
Joshua’s mistake is, of course, a lesson to be sure to pray for direction, rather than assume to know. However, on a deeper level, we see the Plan of God in operation, giving us another glimpse of the Mind of God. Canaan and the entire “Grape Company” will eventually bow their knees to the King and will serve in His Temple. As fearsome as God’s curses are, they are ultimately turned into blessing, as He works all things out for our good.
This also has a personal application. Canaan represents our flesh, and inheriting the Promised Land speaks of the subjugation of all carnal desires within us. This is the conquest of the kings of Canaan and the “giants” in the land, and many sermons have already been preached on this subject. The curse of the law from the time of Adam stands against us, even as the curse of Noah stood against Canaan. But God has sent Joshua (Jesus) to conquer our flesh (Canaan).
The Gibeonites speak of the remnant who serve God in His Temple. They will enter into Life without dying when the appointed time comes to return to our inheritance lost in Adam. Although that remnant is made up of fleshly people, they will not claim an inheritance in Canaan, but in a far country, even as Abraham searched for a better country, a better inheritance. They will serve the God of Shem in the Temple.
Saul Persecutes the Gibeonites
About 400 years after Joshua, there was a three-year famine in Israel, and David inquired of God to find the reason for it. God told him it was because Saul had killed many Gibeonites (2 Sam. 21:1). So David had to make restitution to them. The Gibeonites demanded that David deliver seven of the sons of Saul to them for execution (2 Sam. 21:6). David complied fully, and the famine ended. We read in 2 Samuel 21:9,
9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord; and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
In other words, Saul’s sons were put to death on the day the High Priest waved the sheaf of the firstfruits of barley. Many years later, it was on this day that Jesus was raised from the dead. All the Bible stories about barley and the day of Barley Harvest (i.e., the Wave-Sheaf Offering) deal with life, Resurrection, or coming into Sonship. It is therefore ironic that the sons of Saul would be hanged on that day for their father’s overzealous persecution of the Gibeonites.
Saul himself was crowned on the day of Pentecost, or “wheat harvest” (1 Sam. 12:17). As such, he is a prime representative of the Church. Once we understand the biblical symbolism, types, and shadows in the story, it is apparent that the seven churches (Rev. 1:4) under the anointing of Pentecost displease God by persecuting the Overcomers who seek to serve the God of Shem in the Melchizedek Order. The Church thinks it does God a service by persecuting these “Gibeonites," but in reality, they are bringing a famine upon the land—a famine of hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).
The lesson to be learned from this is this: we are all born under the curse of the law for the sin of our father Adam. God in His mercy sold us to the earth, who redeemed our debt note. Thus, we were required by law to work as bondsmen to the earth all our lives. But then Jesus came as our near Kinsman to redeem our debt note, freeing us from the “stranger” but making us bondservants of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1). We are now free from the law of sin and death (the law of the earth which promotes sin and leads to death). That is, we are now free to follow the laws of God, which lead us to Christ, teach us of His character, and promote life and happiness.
As we learn of Him and His ways, we begin to come into agreement with His laws. We see their wisdom, light, and love. We see how He deals with all Creation according to those loving laws. In our agreement with His ways, His laws come to be written in our hearts, so that they become part of our character, even as they manifest His character. In this way, we come to reflect the values and character of our heavenly Father, and He calls us Sons and Daughters as we do His works and manifest Him in our lives.
Throughout all this, however, we meet fierce opposition, both from the world and from those Christians who disagree with God and hate or fear His laws, thinking them to be oppressive, carnal, or hateful and unjust. Thus, as the Overcomers attempt to come into full compliance with His law, those who are of Saul (those who remain in the realm of Pentecost and refuse to go on to Tabernacles) begin to persecute them. The Overcomers, in learning the mind of their Father, receive the Word with joy; but as the Church and the world persecute the Overcomers, they bring about a “famine” of hearing the Word, for they reject the Word that has come to the Overcomers.
This famine is broken by the Wave-Sheaf Offering, first by Jesus’ Resurrection power, but secondly by the corporate fulfillment of that feast day—the First Resurrection, of the Barley Company. This event begins the Tabernacles Age, which will witness a new anointing of power upon the Barley Overcomers never seen prior to that time except in Jesus Himself. This will also end the rule of the sons of Saul, the seven churches under the Pentecostal anointing. It will be a time when the debt note of the Overcomers will be completely canceled by the 120th Jubilee, a time when the Overcomers will return to the inheritance that they lost when Adam sinned.
For them, the earth’s Cursed Time will fully end. They will be the firstfruits of the Church and of Creation, for God will use them to teach His righteous laws and ways to the earth and impart the Holy Spirit on a scale not seen in prior revivals throughout history.