In my last post, I began to discuss Saul as becoming a type of the antichrist; the progressive breakdown in brief (as foundational to what you are about to read) is this:
Saul had been called, chosen, and anointed to be the king of Israel. He was called INDEED (1 Sam 9:15 & 16), he was chosen INDEED (1 Sam 10:20 & 21), he was anointed INDEED – but he failed to be faithful. First Saul sinned out of doubt (1 Sam 13:8-10), then he sinned out of hard-hearted rebellion (1 Sam 15:10-13) of God’s Word, until Saul’s heart was fully corrupted, even unto witchcraft (1 Sam 28:7).
The story of Saul is but one throughout the course of God’s Word which demonstrates a profound anti-type of the anointing.
It is immensely important that we take warning from the carnal (earthly) king of Israel: Saul, just as we make example of the spiritual (heavenly) king of Israel to follow: David.
Like many throughout scripture, these two kings: Saul and David reveal the type, and antitype of the coming Messiah. First came the carnal king who received the anointing, but rebelled against God, and subsequently became enemy of the chosen offspring. Like Cain, Ishmael, and Esau before him, Saul became a biblical type of antichrist.
1 Cor 15:46-50
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Saul is the biblical illustration of the first-born, the one whom God had chosen, but proved to be carnal. When Saul’s heart was hardened three specific things happened in his life as a result of it: 1) the anointing left him (1 Sam 16:14), 2) an unclean spirit came to fill the spiritual void and afflicted him, 3) he sought to murder the anointed one (1 Sam 18:11 & 12).
(As I work on writing these, I find that I have much more content than I had anticipated, so it is best if you are familiar with the entire story of Saul (which spans from 1 Sam chapters 9-31).) The story in 1 Samuel 13 shows Saul’s unbelief, the seed of sin. But the story in 1 Samuel 15 shows the fruit of Saul’s development. It’s sort of his ‘Darth Vader’ moment, as he goes from failing to do the will of God to becoming unconcerned with the will of God.
God knew Saul’s heart, and although the sin he had committed in sparing the spoil of the Amalekites in chapter 15 may outwardly have had some appearance of obedience, he knew he had not done as he’d been told – yet he brazenly lied to the prophet’s face about it not once, but TWICE (15:13 & 20). While Saul’s external appearance seemed to indicate willing obedience, reading the context we can see that in reality Saul was trying to look good in the eyes of men.
He wanted the MEN to think he was powerful – therefore he took the king of Amalek alive (15:20); he wanted his MEN to think he was spiritual – therefore he ‘allowed them’ to save cattle for a sacrifice (15:21); and even though rebuked of the Lord for the wickedness of his heart that the men couldn’t see, he wanted the MEN to think he was contrite before the Lord:
1 Sam 15:30
‘…yet honor me now, I pray thee before the elders of my people, and before Israel…
Notice what the disconnect is: Saul ought to fear God, instead he feared man. In fact, Saul shows by his behavior in this passage that he is wholly disinterested in doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord, and is fully obsessed with doing that which was right in the eyes of men. Saul had become utterly enslaved to the fear of man, and as Prov 29:25 says: surely, the fear of man bringeth a snare.
The fear of man is the very opposite foundation of the motivation of Christ. Notice the stark contrast between Saul’s response here, and the heart of David (who depicted the heavenly king) who was willing to lose all of his dignity in the eyes of man that he may worship the Lord, and when it was over declared:
I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. … (2 Sam 6:22 NIV) He was not ashamed to lose his dignity in the eyes of men, but worshipped the Lord with all his might.
David’s concern was not for the fear of man, but the fear of the Lord. He foreshadowed Christ, who declared:
I recieve not honor from men. [But what did Saul say? honor me now, I pray thee before the elders of my people, and before Israel…]
How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only? (John 5:41 & 44)
Jesus asks here: how can you even begin to believe God if you fear man more than you fear God? In the fear of man, the mind becomes carnal. It is not set on heavenly things: how to please God, but on earthly things: how to please MAN. The fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom (Ps 111:10); the fear of the Lord is the begining of knowledge (Prov 1:7). But the fear of man brings a snare (Prov. 29:25). What snare? The fear of man makes you carnal. Choosing to honor man above God is pleasing the flesh – specifically the flesh of others.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The basis of the anointing is the fear of God.
The basis of the antichrist spirit is the fear of man.
Remember what the bible says of the antichrist’s number – the number of the beast? It is not Satan’s number (though it is often wrongly called that) – IT IS MAN’S NUMBER.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: FOR IT IS THE NUMBER OF A MAN; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
When the fear of man fills one’s heart… really when any idol enters in, there becomes no place for God. Surely the Word is True when it declares that no one can serve two masters! The fear of man had so filled Saul’s heart that he no longer feared the Lord.
In fact, if you read Proverbs 1:22-33, a passage about the calamity of those who forsake the fear of the Lord, it seems to precisely describe the end of Saul’s life:
23 …behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make my words known unto you. [(1 Sam 9:27 & 10:10)]
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at naught my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you. [(1Sam 28:5)]
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they will not find me:
Oh how Saul sought a word from God before his death – but god WOULD NOT SPEAK TO HIM (1 Sam 28:6). It was too late, from the day he fell he had despised the word of the Lord, why then would God speak to him now?
Saul had left the fear of the Lord, and erected in his heart a new idol, which made him stubborn against the Word of the Lord. Though he knew the Word of the Lord, and the power of His Spirit, he made the carnal his god, the natural his master. Surely, the Lord had already anointed him, and he was KING over the Lord’s inheritance!
The basis of Saul’s fall was not that he sinned. In sin he could have repented. The basis of Saul’s fall is that he left off of the fear of the Lord, and gave in to the fear of man. He ceased to have concern with what God thought of him because he had made an idol of a new master: prestige in the eyes of men. We can clearly see this mentality within him in the first moment he begins to despise David – the heavenly King: the first seed of Saul’s hatred for David was in that he was celebrated above himself by the women of the city after a battle with the Philistines (1 Sam 18:6-9). Saul loved the praise of men more than honor from God.
Well, you’ll have to forgive me, I haven’t gotten to where I am going with this, though I think this post just about leads into it. Follow along if you’re interested; feel free to leave comments, questions etc. 🙂