(In loving memory of my friend and mentor, the Rev. Noel Huffman, 1924-2009.)
Most of all, we want to give honor to our resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We'll begin in 1 Samuel 3-7; 2 Samuel 6; and 1 Chronicles 13-16: "There was no open vision, the word of God was precious, and his temple lamp "went out." Samuel was raised and tutored by Eli the High Priest. On three occasions, the Lord called audibly to the young prophet. The third time, God foretold of the judgment coming to the High Priest's family.
Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phineas, were committing fornication with women inside the temple. These abominations, with erroneous priestly rituals and lack of accountable discipline, angered the Lord. Soon the Philistines would defeat the Israelites in battle, slay Hophni and Phineas and capture the Ark of the Covenant. Upon news of the disaster and the 'departure' of God's glory, the 98-year-old blind and trembling Eli fell backward to his death.
The Philistines made several attempts to secure the Ark. This included twice placing it next to their pagan idol, Dagon. His statue was destroyed by God's presence. These ancient Palestinians then sent the Ark to several cities, with disastrous results. After many years, the symbol found a secure place with the Levite family of Abinadab.
One hundred years passed and David was now king over all of Israel. He desired to get the presence of God back into Jerusalem" (Palm 132:3-6 and Ephesians 2:22). This psalmist was the true "Raider of the Lost Ark."
While returning the Ark on a new cart, Abinadab's two sons, Ahio and Uzzah, accompanied David. The oxen stumbled and Uzzah touched the holy symbol to prevent it from falling to the ground. God smote the Levite, who then died for his error. The Ark was "designed" to be "carried" only on the "shoulders" of Levite priests (Exodus 25:12-15; 37:3-4; Book of Joshua; Palm 23:3; John 10:1; and 2 Timothy 3:16). We need to obey God.
The Ark of God contained, the pot of manna; Aaron's rod that budded and the 10 commandment tablets of stone. This cherubim covered sacred entity next resided for three months in the house of Obededom the Gittite (also of Levitical descent). His family was blessed by the Lord.
Upon it's return to Jerusalem, all of Israel celebrated, and David danced before the Lord. Yes indeed, shouting and dancing is only for kings and priests (2 Samuel 6:14-16; 1 Chronicles 15:25-29; 1 Peter 2:9; and Revelation 1:6, 5:10 and 20:6).
The song says: "There is a shout in the camp, the Ark is coming up the road"; but not on a "new cart." "There is nothing new"; "God is the same" (Ecclesiastes 1:9; Hebrews 13:8; and James 1:17).
Jesus told his disciples in Luke 24:49 to tarry for the Holy Ghost in Jerusalem. Isaiah prophesied in chapter 28, verse 11: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people." Do we desire to be Christian "raiders of the Ark" as it returns to Zion?
"For then will I return to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent" (Zephaniah 3:9).
"The whole Earth was of one language and of one speech." Nimrod's plans of universal, anti-Christ leadership and unity were thwarted by God who confounded their language (or Ba'bel) so that they could not understand one another's speech" (Genesis 11:1-9). Global computer technology will soon produce another Nimrod.
God's way of spiritually uniting mankind by language; Christian faith and fellowship (Jude 3) was through the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
What would a pair of tennis shoes be without tongues? To effectively walk in the spirit, the tongues are important. The initial evidence of blood cleansed saints being baptized with the Holy Ghost is speaking in tongues. "Cloven tongues of fire," Acts 2:1-4; "Burning fire shut up in my bones," Jeremiah 20:9; and "God is a consuming fire," Hebrews 12:29 (see also Matthew 3:11; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:39 and the entire second chapter; and Acts 10:44-48).
My younger sister's experience at 17 during a youth rally was one of witnessing a twirling ball of fire coming toward her while she prayed at the altar. She was immediately filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with tongues.
A former pastor spoke of hearing a sound similar to a "train locomotive pulling box cars" when the total blessing came upon him. We must hunger, thirst, seek and find.
Before my mother died, she became a member and music director with a United Methodist congregation. Mom shared her own Pentecostal experience and testimony with them. Her earlier Christian roots had been with the Church of the Nazarene and the Church of God.
A saved and sanctified believer will be Holy Ghost filled many times. Individual experiences may vary. This author's personal, initial experience required two days of intense infusion of God's Spirit. By comparison, I felt as though I were plugged into a gentle electric power outlet. I struggled, yielding to the Lord.
I fully received this promise on Easter weekend 1981, while speaking in tongues in the parsonage of a northern West Virginia Church of the Nazarene. I love him. The fruit of the spirit is "gentleness" (Galatians 5:22).
"And Issac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham" (Genesis 26:18) (also Psalm 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1-12; John 4:10,14; and Revelation 22 1,2 and 17).
Dearly beloved, we need to remember our 19th and 20th century roots; and dig again those deep wells of Pentecost when Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and Quakers organized a North Carolina-Tennessee mountain holiness movement, which ushered in the Last Days Church of God (Isaiah 2:2; and Micah 4:1-2). What followed was the Great Los Angeles Azuza Street, Pentecostal revival of 1906. That great awakening quickly spread worldwide. "For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory."
The Ark of God is coming back to Zion. Jesus is coming soon. Pray for America, Israel and the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6; Zechariah 12; Galatians 4:25-26; and Revelation 21:2 and 9-27).
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)