The Reign of King Saul
May 02, 2006
In my web log of April 28 entitled, "The Pentecostal Century," I wrote that King Saul was the primary prophetic type of the political Church--that is, the government of the Church. I quoted from 1 Samuel 8:11-18, where the prophet described for Israel what type of king they would have when they had demanded a king like all the other nations. Essentially, he was TAKER, not a giver. He would use his authority to rule over others in essentially the same carnal way that the kings of the earth rule.
This is the price to be paid when we demand a man to rule us in place of the direct rule of God. The moment we need a man to sit in God's throne, a man who is yet all too human, he will never rule with the full benevolence and justice that God does.
The problem was that Israel became impatient with God's rule. Out of the three centuries from Joshua to King Saul, they had been in captivity more than a third of the time. The stated reason for this is because God was disciplining them for their refusal to be obedient to Him. The people finally got tired of this. They wanted a king who was more like them, who understood them, one who would allow them to get away with some disobedience. This is why they demanded a king at the end of their sixth captivity. They did not perceive that an earthly, carnally-minded king would be much worse than the direct rule of God.
And so, under Saul, the nation lost its unique form of government. Saul was a religious zealot who did his best to get rid of witchcraft in the land (1 Sam. 28:3). He must have thought that this would please God. But his own rebellion was "as the sin of witchcraft" (1 Sam. 15:23). Thus, his reign was a contradiction, because it merely opposed more overt forms of witchcraft. He was not ruling as God would rule. His idea of being king was that God had given him that calling, and therefore God would back him in any decision he made--right or wrong. In effect, he had assumed power, instead of seeing himself ruling under the authority of God.
The New Testament uses two different words for power and authority. Power is dunamis; authority is exousia. Power looks down to those under it; authority looks up to the one who authorized it. In the ultimate sense, only God has absolute power. All authority is from God. Paul says in Romans 13:1 "there is no authority [exousia] except from God." By this, he means that all earthly authority is accountable to God, who will judge them according to the manner in which they use their authority.
It also means that God may put men into positions of authority under God (and power over men) as a means of judgment upon the people themselves. That is why we get what we deserve and ought to view the "powers that be" through the eyes of God and His divine purposes. Saul was such an example of this. He was the desire of the people, but he also became God's hand of judgment upon the people. How many times does God judge us by giving us what we want!
Hence, the old adage, "The gods judge us by answering our prayers."
Israel's prayer was to have a king like the nations around them. God answered their prayer, and King Saul reigned forty years. Israel set a prophetic pattern for the Church during the Pentecostal Age. King Saul was crowned on Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17). So also in Acts 2, the Church was crowned by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And it was not long before the people demanded an earthly king like the nations. This took more time than with Saul, of course, but it was inevitable that the Church would get its pope, who would rule by his carnal mind usurping power, rather than thinking of himself to be under authority.
A simple look at the history of the Roman Church proves this. The goal of the papacy was to extend their power to the whole earth. They considered themselves to be the rightful rulers of the earth, but they gained power and ruled by all the political shenanigans that any other political rulers ever did throughout world history. Roman Catholic officials have been the main Church historians throughout the centuries and have recorded all of the sordid details. I need not repeat them here.
There is, however, one concept that ought to be understood. It is the concept of "antichrist." This word is neither good nor bad in the broad sense of the word. Today, people tend to understand it only in its negative sense, so let me explain it.
The Greek word anti means "in place of." The word is used in Matt. 2:22, "But when he had heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of [anti] his father Herod. . ." Archelaus reigned antiHerod--that is, he reigned in place of Herod, who had died. Take note that being an anti-Herod was not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that he replaced Herod who had died.
When God came down upon Sinai, He set up His throne in Israel. God fully intended to give Israel an earthly king at some point, for this was the calling of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). But because of Judah's sin with Tamar in Gen. 38, the tribe was not qualified to provide Israel with a king for ten generations (Deut. 23:2). David was the tenth generation from Judah. But the people became impatient and wanted a king too soon.
Thus, God gave them Saul, who was of the tribe of Benjamin, not of Judah, for Judah was still not qualified. When Saul was made king, David was still not born. We know this, because when Saul died in the 40th year of his reign, David was only 30 years old (2 Sam. 5:4). Thus, Saul had ruled ten years before David was even born, and it took another 30 years for God to train David.
Both Saul and David ruled in place of God--that is, in God's throne. The difference was that Saul said, "God has called me to rule, and by golly, I'm going to rule," while David ruled under God and asked himself, "What would God do?"
So technically speaking, both Saul and David were anti-Christs, ruling in place of Christ. Saul was an anti-Christ in a negative sense; David in a positive sense. The difference was in their heart. Saul essentially usurped power in ruling by his own laws, while David was careful to rule by the law of God.
So also has it been in the history of the papacy. It could only be this way, because the Church had followed in the path laid down for them by the house of Israel. But we are now at the end of the reign of Saul after 40 Jubilees of Church history (33-1993 A.D.). The age of negative Antichrist is over. We are transitioning into the time of the new administration of the Kingdom of David.