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"The Lord's Anointed" Abuse Authority
David has recently acquired the lovely Abigail and substantial property from “stone-cold Nabal,” the fool—see FMS #57. But since he is still on the lam from King Saul, he has no opportunity to enjoy either.
KJV 1 Samuel 26:1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
The Ziphites had betrayed David once before. It is likely that they fear retaliation, knowing that David now has some 600 men. Consequently, they betray him again, hoping Saul will capture or kill him before David can kill them. Recall from FMS #56 that the word Ziphites means “smelters.” We apply this to our own lives by realizing that Ziphites are people sent by God to afflict prospective overcomers by putting us into fiery furnaces to smelt away our imperfections. If we hope to be overcomers, then—as with David—we can expect our Ziphites to betray us more than once also.
Having been tipped off, King Saul takes 3,000 elite troops to track down David. As Saul camped for the night, David spied him sleeping surrounded by his 3,000 men. (1 Samuel 26:2-5.) David is a gutsy guy, so he asks for a volunteer to go with him down to Saul’s camp. His valiant nephew, Abishai, steps forward.
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him.
Saul’s spear also served as his scepter. It was pointed on both ends so it could be stuck in the ground when the warrior-king was at rest. It designated the king’s location. The bolster means the head of the place where he slept. So the scepter was at the head. Remember that.
8 Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.
This reminds us of the scene in the cave where David’s men had encouraged him once before to take this opportunity to slay the king.
9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed [literally: YWHW’s anointed], and be guiltless?
This particular verse is often pointed to with a false lesson being made of it. It is usually heard taught by priests or ministers who think they are better than those not in ministry. In other words, they are on an authority trip and they don’t want their purported authority challenged. They want us to believe that “don’t touch the Lord’s anointed” means “don’t contradict your priest or pastor.” Or don’t challenge or threaten his authority by asking embarrassing questions. However, believers have a personal responsibility to check out the teachings of any minister against the Word of God and see if these things be so. (Acts 17:11.)
Of course, I am not saying that if you do not agree 100 percent with everything a minister teaches that you should seek greener pastures. If you are growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, you will never totally agree with everything, and you would soon find yourself all alone.
That is not what God wants. He wants believers to fellowship one with another. To do so requires some level of tolerance of other viewpoints within the overall framework of Christianity. But we ought to avoid any religious leader who tries to force us to follow his doctrine. Two examples: Many years ago, when I was a fundamentalist I discovered the falsehood of the pre-tribulation rapture. When I began questioning our pastor about it, his character was revealed. When he could not answer my objections from the Scriptures, he whipped out one verse and tried to beat me back into line with it. He was on an “ego trip,” an authority trip. The verse he used was
1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Peter was referring to Christ but my pastor said: “James, you and your wife are like sheep going astray here, and I am the bishop of your soul and I am responsible for your eternal welfare before God. So I want you to quit this foolishness and come back to church where you belong.”
Excuse me! You are responsible for my soul? Oh, so the only thing I need to do then is to obey you and I’ll get to heaven, is that the way it works? I always had this peculiar idea that I was responsible for my own soul. We never went back to “his” church.
Even though these were fundamentalists, it reminded me of the power-trip of the priests in the Catholic church which I had fled when I left the seminary some seven years before that. It is a spiritual slavery system, and I thank God he opened my eyes to see it and flee out of the midst of Babylonian religious systems, whether they be Catholic or Protestant.
The second example occurred only about three years ago when I had an acquaintance who was of Welsh and Scottish descent, but he had joined the Russian Orthodox Church in Asheville. We were talking about New Age cults one day and I mentioned a couple books which he might be interested in. I lent them to him. At the same time, I was curious about Russian Orthodoxy so I asked him for a good book by one of their main teachers, which he, of course, was eager to provide. Naturally, he also invited me to his church. I told him I’d read the book first and then see if I wanted to attend. It was a chore reading because I wasn’t too far into it before I realized that this church had the same attitude as the Roman church and the fundamentalist churches which we had left. Namely, that if you don’t agree that we have all the answers and we are the only way to heaven, then you are wrong and you are going to burn forever in hell fire. It’s that old authority attitude again, “touch not the Lord’s anointed.”
10 David said furthermore, As YHWH liveth, YHWH shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.
David was perhaps remembering the recent death of Nabal at the hand of God and so he had faith that God would remove Saul from the scene at exactly the right time. If there are Sauls in our life, remember that: they are there for our perfecting, and when their job is done, God will take them out of our circle of influence in one way or another—or He may convert them as He did with the New Testament Saul.
11 YHWH forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against YHWH’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from YHWH was fallen upon them.
Why did David take these two items? To prove that they had been there and thereby that David again could have assassinated King Saul. Let’s look at this incident now from the prophetic (types and shadows) perspective. Recall that—on one level—Saul represents corrupt church leadership during the church age, the age of Pentecost (the past two millennia).
Water has several meanings in the Bible, but the two chief meanings are the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. One could make a case for the former here, but we will limit our discussion to the water as symbolizing the Word of God. The spear-scepter was the symbol of King Saul’s authority and power. It may very well have been the weapon which he hurled at David, trying to kill him. We can see this has played out prophetically in church history: evil church authorities persecuting potential overcomers.
Certainly an obvious example would be the Reformers, or even their predecessors, like John Huss and John Wycliff. Eventually, the Roman church exerted its authority and had Huss burned at the stake. But what had John Huss and John Wycliff done? They had taken the cruse of water from Rome. They had taken the Word of God and were giving it to the ordinary people in their own language.
Later, Martin Luther came along, and the church of Rome tried to exert their authority over him, hoping to entrap him and ultimately to execute him. But some of the German princes saw it to be in their best interests to protect Luther. By nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church, Luther had challenged the authority (the spear-scepter) of the Roman church. Remember that the spear was at Saul’s bolster (head). Luther was taking the scepter from the Roman head, the pope. He was challenging their authority.
One of the mottos of the Reformation became sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura. By grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. The Reformers affirmed that believers did not need the hierarchy of the church. The people can read the Bible for themselves and it, The Word, is their authority. They are saved by grace alone through faith alone. They need not obey Rome.
This did major damage to the church of Rome from which they have never fully recovered. Symbolically, the scepter of the Saul church was taken from them for a time. David did return the scepter to Saul, and thus the Roman church still has that aura of authority among many in Christianity and the world.
The cruse of water, on the other hand, was never returned. It would symbolize the dissemination of the Word of God to those thirsting for it. Although there are numerous ways in which many Protestant church denominations have gradually gone back to Rome—in terms of agreement on some doctrines; nonetheless, the fact remains that there is still a wide gulf between them on the essential truth of sola fide—salvation by faith alone.
The Protestant Reformation caught the church of Rome off guard. It was not until 1545-63 at the Council of Trent that they tried to establish a counter-Reformation, which was not very successful. But the newly-formed Jesuit order embarked on a very longrange plan to destroy Protestantism or, barring that, to control them from the inside by various dark and devious means. And not only Protestantism, but ultimately the entire political world as well.
We discussed in our radio interview the Jesuit involvement from the outset in the origin of the secret rapture doctrine. But the Jesuits try to cover all the bases, so there is another part of the story concerning the insertion of the opposite prophetic viewpoint (preterism) which was instigated by Jesuits and unknowingly absorbed into Protestantism also. For more details, order our tape #308. ($5 ppd.)
14 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?
15 And David said to Abner, [sarcastically] Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept [protected] thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord.
16 This thing is not good that thou hast done. As YHWH liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, YHWH’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
David is taunting Abner. Perhaps David suspects Abner of being partially responsible for Saul’s continual persecution of him.
17 And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.
After all Saul has done, notice how David always treats Saul with honor, respect and humility.
18 And he said, Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?
19 Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If YHWH have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering:
David is again speaking very delicately to the king, never being “in your face,” as it were. David never directly accuses the king of the malice of which he is certainly guilty. He says: You know, my king, if it is the evil spirit from God which is still driving you to persecute me, then why not make an offering to YHWH in order to get back into His good graces. Then David offers him the second alternative…
:19b but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before YHWH;
Here David might possibly be referring to Abner or other of Saul’s close counselors who have a personal grudge against David and have been keeping Saul riled up against David. David continues by telling Saul to consider the results of this persecution.
:19c for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of YHWH, saying, Go, serve other gods.
In the historic fulfillment of this type and prophecy, the Saul church has done the same thing. They have driven many people out from their inheritance as Christian sons of God and they have driven them to serve false gods, especially in the 20th century. How? In many ways. Two of the major ways are: 1. By teaching inadequately; for example, by teaching merely the superficial “get saved” doctrine week after week, month after month, year after year—chiefly the fundamentalist churches. Many thinking people leave the church.
2. By teaching false doctrines—such as that God will torture the greater part of His creation for all eternity in the flames of hell. This kind of nonsense has driven many thinking people away from the church and into heathen religions, particularly of Eastern mysticism, as they seek answers to the big questions of life and the hereafter.
That is why the so-called New Age movement is so popular in recent decades. Those people are not ignorant boobs. Many of them are extremely intelligent, and so when they are exposed to weekly “get saved” and hellfire-and-brimstone preaching as they are growing up in the Saul churches, by the time they are grown up, they are looking for something with some real spiritual depth. So they begin investigating Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism, Sufi’ism, Ba’hai, and the whole realm loosely called the New Age movement. Saul has driven them out to serve other gods.
20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of YHWH: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.
As at the cave incident, David is in essence pleading with Saul. My goodness, man, you’re the king! Don’t you have anything better to do than to be spending all your time trying to chase me down and destroy me? Saul, as before, appears remorseful.
21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it.
Again, notice no mention is made of returning the water jug. If the Saul church will not give the Word of God to the people, then the David company will take the cruse from Saul and do so “underground,” i. e., in “unapproved” gatherings.
23 YHWH render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for YHWH delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against YHWH’S anointed.
24 And, behold, as thy life was much set by [highly valued] this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of YHWH, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.
25 Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
As at the first confrontation at the cave, here again Saul acknowledges David’s victorious future. But, that does not persuade David that Saul is going to change. For many overcomer candidates, we must remain in the wilderness until Saul is removed or converted. Can you identify Sauls in your own circumstances? Are we learning how to view them yet?