When the mission of God in this age (and thereby the mission of the church) becomes the inauguration of the kingdom and the age to come, the cross ceases to be the standard of this age. Instead it serves only a subsidiary role unto the saints’ present inheritance…
In the days to come inaugurationalism will be tested, and it will be found wanting. And here lies the catastrophe of today’s theology: In its greatest hour of need, on the eve of global persecution, it has robbed the church of its most necessary theological training. The prospect of martyrdom is the first thing the Chinese church teaches its disciples, and it is “the issue of utmost importance” for any church under persecution. – John Harrigan, The Gospel of Christ Crucified: A Theology of Suffering before Glory
According to Islamic eschatology – what Islam teaches concerning the end times – when Jesus returns, He comes back as a Muslim to judge according to Islamic law. As the tradition goes, Jesus will return and specifically break crosses and encourage others to do so to indicate His disapproval of this symbol of Christian error. According to the Qur’an, Christians wrongly believe that Jesus died on a cross. Jesus is also said to abolish the jizyah tax, which means that the option of Christians who live under Islamic law to pay a “protection tax” and live as “dhimmis,” or subjected peoples, will no longer be an option. In other words, according to Islamic tradition, Jesus returns to abolish Christianity…
Thus, not only does the Muslim end-time narrative envision Jesus returning as a Muslim prophet to abolish Christianity, but it also envisions Muslims executing a final genocide against the Jewish people. Within Islamic end-time narrative, the last days mark the time when Islamic supersessionism will be most fully implemented, more victorious than any other time in history. Needless to say, we should not take such a vision lightly, as this is precisely the mission the Bible says the Antichrist and his followers will seek to accomplish. – Joel Richardson, When A Jew Rules the World: What the Bible Really Says About Israel in the Plan of God
Here’s the thing— all “Kingdom Now” and “Dominionist” worldviews—whether of Islam, New Age Hinduism, Replacement Theology, or Charismatic Seven Mountain Mandate– either outright reject the Gospel of Christ Crucified or seriously diminish its importance… Everyone wants to claim their own beliefs about Jesus Christ—but they want a Jesus separated from Scripture, the Cross, and its Redemptive Message… separated from Biblical Christianity… Everyone wants their own “Christ,” their own way, with their own message about Him… Without the offense of the Cross… “Christ” without “Christ Crucified.”
However, the Apostle Paul declares in Scripture:
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died (Gal 6:14 NLT).
And then if people do venture into the Theology of the Cross, the meaning of the Cross somehow becomes something like this—“God (Jesus) literally became evil, so that man literally became innocent.” Please pause and think with me for a minute—God became bad and man became good because of the Cross?
Being declared “not guilty” in God’s Righteous Court of Law because of the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ on the Cross when He bore the penalty for our sin is not the same as being declared “innocent.” It’s for the very reason that we aren’t innocent—no not one– that we need Redemption through a perfect Sin-Offering in our place… It’s a legal matter… “He paid a debt, He did not owe; I owed a debt I could not pay…”
And further, the reality is if we were truly “innocent” or “sinless perfectionist” because of the Cross, our current bodies would not be wasting away but would live forever…. If we really were the “Manifest Sons of God” or whatever, we would never die but live forever in our current bodies…
So, today, the narrative in First Samuel moves from Samuel and Saul to the Samuel and David… Thank you for reading again today… No more soapboxes, I promise… But sometimes the theologies of man which seek to bring God down to “guilt” and exalt man to “innocence” need to be thoroughly examined… I don’t know everything, but I do know the Scripture is clear on this– Jesus, the Lamb of God offered for sin, was thoroughly Holy before, during, and after the Cross… And therefore, He could not have literally taken on a sin nature at any point…
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you” (I Sam 16:1-3 ESV).
While Samuel was mourning the king whom God had rejected, God Almighty was planning the greatest moment in Israel’s history thus far.
Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice (I Sam 16:4-5 ESV).
The elders of Bethlehem feared the Prophet because they knew that what he said was the very Word of God and, therefore, would come to pass.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these” (I Sam 16:6-10 ESV).
David’s brother Eliab looked the part of the king… But so had Saul, for that matter… Even a great Prophet like Samuel could not trust his own intuition. He had to ardently seek God concerning His Will.
Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he” (I Sam 16:11-12 ESV).
David was the youngest and a keeper of the sheep, and apparently his father Jesse had overlooked bringing him before Samuel… Some people have crazily speculated that Jesse was trying to hide David from Samuel because David was illegitimate… The things people come up with! Scripture nowhere indicates that Jesse had a lack of the fear of the LORD to the point that he would try to pull one over on His Prophet… Really, such imaginative speculation is nothing but character assassination of a real life, historical Biblical person, from whose line Jesus Christ would be born… If we want to find a Biblical character who had real dad problems, we need to look at Jonathan– not David. But I did promise no more soapboxes, didn’t I? LOL
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah (I Sam 16:13 ESV).
Samuel would train the man who more nearly than any other approached the ideal of the theocratic king and was to Israel the Type of their coming Messiah and King. It was Samuel’s wisdom in teaching his young men music which gave David the skill to be the sweet singer of the Sanctuary. David’s name would be the very first human name in the New Testament and the very last human name in the New Testament… Quite interesting…
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well” (I Sam 16:14-16 ESV).
The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul because Saul no longer wanted God. And because the Holy Spirit was not wanted, an evil spirit was allowed to go to Saul and trouble him in his rebellion.
So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him” (I Sam 16:17-18 ESV).
George Williams writes: “God did not at once set David upon the throne as He had done in the case of Saul. He had first to be tested, and humbled, and made to feel his dependence on God, and the sufficiency of God to uphold him and maintain him. Hence, at the outset of his career, he is brought face-to-face with Satan.”
Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” 20 And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. 21 And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer (I Sam 16:19-21 ESV).
Apparently, after the combat with Goliath, Saul sent to Jesse and asked that David might be always with him… Of course, he’d change his mind about David’s presence when jealousy intervened.
And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him (I Sam 16:22-23 ESV).
Music that is ordained by the LORD and sanctified by the Spirit may be used as a healing and refreshing agent as well as for worship.
When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? His dying crimson, like a robe, spreads o’er His body on the tree; then I am dead to all the globe, and all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. To Christ, who won for sinners grace by bitter grief and anguish sore, be praise from all the ransomed race, forever and forevermore. – Isaac Watts