I Samuel 14

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Inaugurationalism consists of “a semi-eschatological expression incorporating the heavenly realm both in the present and future.” In other words, “Final redemption will be the moment when heaven and earth are joined together at last.” Thus the material world will be fully “supernaturalized,” or “heavenized,” so to speak, by the manifestation of divine sovereignty in the age to come, which then becomes the referent for its partial supernaturalization/heavenization in this age…

God is manifesting his reign both in this age and in the age to come, bringing together the material and immaterial realms. Consequently, redemptive history is understood as a continual process of “the inbreaking of the eternal into the temporal,” or put in military terms, “a theology of the invasion of history by the God of heaven.”

At this point we must say clearly that to speak of the age to come being inaugurated at the first coming is substantially equivalent to saying that “the day of the Lord has come” (2 Thess. 2: 2) and “the resurrection has already happened” (2 Tim. 2: 18). Few seem as bold as C. H. Dodd, so as to state the obvious: “That the Christian is ‘risen from the dead’ follows from the ‘realized eschatology’ of the Gospels. The Kingdom of God has come; the ‘Age to Come’ has come; the ‘life of the Age to Come’ is realized.” Inaugurationalism is thus bound to its ancient Gnostic roots when it argues for a spiritual realization of the kingdom, resurrection, and the age to come. In the final evaluation, we must conclude that God is not “beyond history,” nor does he “break into time,” nor is he engaged in an “invasion,” nor a “manifestation” of sovereignty— much less an “incision,” “incursion,” or “realization” of the age to come. All such language is an obvious imposition upon the Scriptures…

By inaugurating the age to come, the cross is set aside as the normative reality of this age, and the purpose of God is interpreted as an ever-increasing realization of divine sovereignty. Furthermore, by spiritually realizing the Jewish-apocalyptic realities, inaugurationalism mitigates the severity of God and the coming day of the Lord. As a result, the divine agenda of both advents is truncated, and as such those who embrace inaugurationalism generally avoid apocalypticism and abandon an overt theology of the cross.

Contrary to the prime assumption of inaugurationalism— that the first and second comings are of the same purpose— we must lay hold of the truth that “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9: 28). Such a fundamental distinction between the nature of this age and the age to come is ubiquitous to the New Testament (cf. Rom. 5: 9; 8: 17; 2 Cor. 4: 17; Phil. 3: 9– 11; 2 Thess. 1: 5– 10; 1 Peter 1: 4– 7; 4: 13; Rev. 6: 10– 11). This age generally entails an expression of the kindness of God, which anticipates the severity of God and the age to come— that is, cruciform-apocalypticism. Thus we understand the apostolic commission: “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations” (Luke 24: 47), resulting in the apostolic proclamation: “[ Jesus] commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10: 42– 43). – John Harrigan, The Gospel of Christ Crucified: A Theology of Suffering before Glory

Harrigan puts words to issues that I have had trouble defining… I appreciate that… But anyway, today I’m continuing with the narrative of King Saul… Thanks for reading this end of the week blog!

Now the men of Israel were hard-pressed on that day, for Saul had put the people under oath, saying, “Cursed be the man who eats food before evening, and until I have avenged myself on my enemies.” So none of the people tasted food. 25 All the people of the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest, behold, there was a flow of honey; but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath (I Sam 14:24-26 NASB).

Saul’s carnal zeal propelled him into forbidding the people to eat any food. This order intruded on the Work of God by bringing the strength of man into the equation.  Saul’s foolish command to put to death those who failed to obey his laws only made more visible the disobedience of his own heart to obey God’s Laws.

But Jonathan had not heard when his father put the people under oath; therefore, he put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary (I Sam 14:27-28 NASB).

Unscriptural orders made by leaders only tend to make the people “weary.”

Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See now, how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey. 30 How much more, if only the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great” (I Sam 14:29-30 NASB).

Unscriptural orders only hinder the Faith of the people.

They struck among the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon. And the people were very weary. 32 The people rushed greedily upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and slew them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have acted treacherously; roll a great stone to me today” (I Sam 14:31-33 NASB).

The insinuation is that a much greater victory could have been brought about were it not for Saul.

Saul said, “Disperse yourselves among the people and say to them, ‘Each one of you bring me his ox or his sheep, and slaughter it here and eat; and do not sin against the Lord by eating with the blood.’” So all the people that night brought each one his ox with him and slaughtered it there. 35 And Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first altar that he built to the Lord (I Sam 14:34-35 NASB).

The Altar was a Type of the Cross on which Christ would die, but it was not a magic “lucky charm,” if you will, to be used at one’s convenience. This was the very first Altar that King Saul built to the LORD.

Then Saul said, “Let us go down after the Philistines by night and take spoil among them until the morning light, and let us not leave a man of them.” And they said, “Do whatever seems good to you.” So the priest said, “Let us draw near to God here.” 37 Saul inquired of God, “Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You give them into the hand of Israel?” But He did not answer him on that day. 38 Saul said, “Draw near here, all you chiefs of the people, and investigate and see how this sin has happened today. 39 For as the Lord lives, who delivers Israel, though it is in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die.” But not one of all the people answered him. 40 Then he said to all Israel, “You shall be on one side and I and Jonathan my son will be on the other side” (I Sam 14:36-40 NASB).

Twice in the same day was Saul guilty of the sin of rash swearing. The silence of the people in response to this second swear portrayed their lack of respect for their king.

And the people said to Saul, “Do what seems good to you.” 41 Therefore, Saul said to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Give a perfect lot.” And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. 42 Saul said, “Cast lots between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken (I Sam 14:41-42 NASB).

While the Holy Spirit pointed out Jonathan, that did not imply that Jonathan had sinned. It rather meant to portray that Saul had disobeyed the LORD with his foolish rules and ordinances.  However, Saul was much too vain to realize this.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him and said, “I indeed tasted a little honey with the end of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am, I must die!” 44 Saul said, “May God do this to me and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.” 45 But the people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die, who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die. 46 Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place (I Sam 14:43-46 NASB).

The people had more sense about Jonathan than Saul had about his own son. So long as Jonathan by Faith took the lead, everything prospered, but when Saul put himself at the head, the effect was to lose the full fruit of the victory.  However, even now, in His Great Patience, God would accept Saul and bless him greatly— if only he would turn fully to Him.  But Saul would not.

So, tomorrow it looks like one more blog about King Saul… And then I’m probably going to go through a few passages about David’s early life…

O for a closer walk with God; a calm and heavenly frame! A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb!  Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the LORD?  Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I then enjoyed! How sweet their memory still!  But now I find an aching void the world can never fill.  Return, O Holy Dove, return, sweet messenger of rest; I hate the sins that made thee mourn, and drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy Throne, and worship only Thee. So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame; so purer light shall mark the road that leads me to the Lamb. — Cowper