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From Eternity Past

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    Heathen Gods Cannot Stand Before the Ark of God

    The Philistines removed the ark in triumph to Ashdod and placed it in the house of their god Dagon. They imagined that the power which had attended the ark would be theirs, and that this, united with the power of Dagon, would render them invincible.EP 425.3

    But entering the temple the following day, they beheld a sight which filled them with consternation. Dagon had fallen upon his face before the ark of Jehovah. The priests reverently lifted the idol and restored it to its place.EP 425.4

    But the next morning they found it strangely mutilated, again lying upon the earth before the ark. The upper part of this idol was like that of a man, and the lower part in the likeness of a fish. Now every part that resembled the human form had been cut off, and only the body of the fish remained. Priests and people were horror-struck; they looked upon this as an evil omen, foreboding destruction to themselves and their idols before the God of the Hebrews. They removed the ark from their temple and placed it in a building by itself.EP 425.5

    The inhabitants of Ashdod were smitten with a distressing and fatal disease. Remembering the plagues inflicted upon Egypt, the people attributed their afflictions to the presence of the ark among them. It was decided to convey it to Gath. But the plague followed, and the men of that city sent it to Ekron. Here the people received it with terror, crying, “They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.” The work of the destroyer went on, until “the cry of the city went up to heaven.”EP 426.1

    Fearing longer to retain the ark among the homes of men, the people next placed it in the open field. There followed a plague of mice, which infested the land, destroying the products of the soil in the storehouse and in the field. Utter destruction now threatened the nation.EP 426.2

    For seven months the ark remained in Philistia. The Israelites made no effort for its recovery. But the Philistines were anxious to free themselves from its presence. Instead of being a source of strength to them, it was a burden and heavy curse. Yet they knew not what course to pursue. The people called for the princes of the nation, with the priests and diviners, and inquired, “What shall we do to the ark of Jehovah? tell us wherewith we shall send it to his place?” They were advised to return it with a costly trespass offering. “Then,” said the priests, “ye shall be healed.”EP 426.3

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