The Judges, part 10, Samson
Apr 30, 2019
Though Samson was a Judge in Israel, his story gives no indication that he judged Israel. Samson judged the Philistines in the sense that he brought judgment upon the Philistines.
A Judge is a deliverer, but Samson never delivered Israel from the Philistine captivity. In fact, neither did Ibzan, Elon, or Abdon, all of whom were Judges in Israel during the Philistine captivity. Deliverance did not come until after Samson was dead, and it was accomplished through the Ark itself, as we will see shortly.
This is appropriate, because Samson was a Pentecostal type, which cannot bring deliverance, but the Ark represents Jesus Christ Himself.
Samson’s name (Hebrew) is shimshown, “like the sun.” It is derived from shemesh, “the sun.”
And so the addition of his name to the sequences of the Judges reveals that the deliverers will shine like the sun, even as Jesus was transfigured on the Mount. Matthew 17:2 says,
2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
Therefore, the revelation of the Judges is now as follows:
“The voice of God united in His sons (in an orderly manner that is subject to God’s Word) will fell the enemy by the power of the blood of Christ and by the light of transfiguration and will open the Ark, revealing the splendor of the indwelling Christ, the Lamb of God, seated on His throne, judging the nations as the great Servant, showing forth the light of the Sun.”
This pictures the transfigured Christ and the overcomers judging the nations. It is not surprising, then, that virtually all of Samson’s ministry as a Judge focused upon the Philistines, which, in this case, was representative of the nations.
Yet Samson’s story is long and tragic. The revelation of his name alone gives us the final result, but the rest of his story shows us the tortuous path by which the overcomers must achieve this authority and use it successfully. Samson himself was unsuccessful, for he himself was overcome by his moral lapses, blinded by his enemies, and in the end died with the Philistines.
His story was dominated by Pentecostal signs and stories, and his moral lapses reveal why Pentecost was a leavened feast. Leviticus 23:16, 17 says,
16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering [of wheat—Exodus 34:22] to the Lord. 17 You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave-offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of fine flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord.
Pentecost was celebrated seven weeks after the wave-sheaf offering of barley, the day commonly known today as Easter, the first Sunday after Passover. Inclusively, this was the fiftieth day. It came at the time of wheat harvest, because wheat ripened later than barley. In the Old Testament, this day was called the feast of harvest in Exodus 23:16 and the feast of weeks in Exodus 34:22. It was not called Pentecost until a thousand years later when the Greek word Pentecost was used. Pentecost is Greek for “fiftieth day.”
The Pentecostal offering of wheat was the only offering that had leaven (yeast) in it. In all other offerings, leaven was banned, for Leviticus 2:11 says,
11 No grain offering, which you bring to the Lord, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the Lord.
And yet God commanded that the Pentecostal offering be made of wheat “baked with leaven.” This apparent contradiction is resolved when we understand the nature of Pentecost itself. In the Old Testament, the offering had to be “baked” in the fire. In the New Testament, Pentecost came with tongues of fire (Acts 2:1, 2, 3). John the Baptist himself prophesied in Matthew 3:11, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
It was the fire that made the Pentecostal offering acceptable to God according to the law, for the fire killed the leavening action in the bread and in those receiving that baptism. The ultimate offering, of course, is that which comes from the heart. Because all have sinned, every heart has been leavened, but the baptism of fire has been designed to purify hearts so that you may “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1).
All of the biblical prophecies, types, and shadows dealing with Pentecost show that this feast was designed to purify hearts and to train us by the leading of the Spirit during our wilderness journey. If we indeed continue to follow the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day, Pentecost will take us to the brink of the Jordan River. There Pentecost is superseded by the feast of Tabernacles, the greater feast that brings us into our inheritance in the Promised Land.
However, Scripture shows that only two of the original Israelites that left Egypt actually entered the Promised Land. Most died in the wilderness. First, they refused to hear God’s voice and receive the rest of the law at Mount Horeb (Exodus 20:19). They were too fearful to draw near to God in the midst of the fire (Exodus 20:20, 21). Hence, that first Pentecost failed to fulfill its underlying purpose, and it was deferred 1480 years until a small group of 120 disciples went up the mount (“the upper room,” Acts 1:13, 15) to meet God in the fire.
Samson the Pentecostal
The main turning point in Samson’s life was when he burned the wheat of the Philistines (Judges 15:1, 5). This occurred about the time of Pentecost, as the wheat was then ripe and ready for harvest. Burning their wheat was a disaster to their economy, but it also prophesied of a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was yet to come upon all nations as a baptism of fire. This great baptism is to be administered by the deliverers and “saviors” (Obadiah 21 KJV) whom God is even now raising up for this purpose.
After burning the Philistines’ wheat, Samson found refuge in the cave at the rock of Etam (Judges 15:8), a cave that can still be seen today. It was not far from his home town of Zorah. When the Philistines came to bind him, he killed a thousand of them with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15). Donkeys and wheat are the primary symbols of Pentecost in Scripture. The jawbone of a donkey thus represents the gift of tongues, which is designed to kill the flesh in a New Covenant setting.
After the slaughter, Samson became very thirsty, and when he prayed, a spring of water suddenly came to the surface of the ground. It was named En-hakkore, “the spring of one who calls” upon the Lord. This is the spring, or fountain, of the water of life that springs up from one’s innermost being (John 4:14; 7:37, 38).
Samson, the Blind Servant
In spite of Samson’s great strength, he was overcome by the seduction of Delilah (Judges 16:18). The leaven in his life had grown when he ceased to follow the pillar of fire. By rejecting the word of the Lord, he was blinded to the understanding of the word, and so the Philistines put out his eyes (Judges 16:21). Thus, he prophesied of Israel’s blindness, for the prophet says, “Who is blind but My servant?” (Isaiah 42:19). Isaiah 29:10 says,
10 For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep; He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers.
Again, the prophet says in Isaiah 44:3,
3 For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring.
And yet in the same passage he says later in Isaiah 44:18,
18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.
Men have always had difficulty maintaining the presence of God in Pentecost. It seems that the leaven in men’s hearts, given enough time, grows as the fire of God wanes and grows cold. Though Pentecost is a good feast and divinely ordained, it is fully dependent upon the fire of God to act against the leaven that is in it. In the end, only the overcomers, following the pattern of Caleb and Joshua, are able to endure to the end (Hebrews 12:1).
In the overall picture, Samson is listed as a man of faith (Hebrews 11:32), because in spite of his moral weakness and blindness, he was humbled and brought to repentance in the end. So in the sequence of the Judges’ names, Samson’s story reveals how the overcomers will judge the nations. But on closer scrutiny, we find that his Pentecostal journey was full of failure that portrayed the leaven of Pentecost. His life serves as a lesson and a warning to all who aspire to judge the world.
The Law of Blind Servants
Exodus 21:26 says,
26 And if a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye.
After Samson was blinded by the Philistines, he had a lot of time to ponder, pray, and repent as he worked at the mill grinding wheat. He came to understand God and Truth itself in those months. The day came when the Philistines took him to the temple of Dagon as a trophy proving the superiority of Dagon to Yahweh. There Samson prayed his final prayer in Judges 16:28,
28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me just this time, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.”
I believe that Samson appealed to God and His law in Exodus 21:26, knowing that the Philistines had been God’s agents when they had destroyed his two eyes. Later, Isaiah makes it clear that God took responsibility for blinding Israel, in order that the law in Exodus 21:26 might apply to them. By taking such responsibility, God made Himself responsible to set them free.
This principle, therefore, would also apply to Samson, who was a type of shadow of the blind servant. At any rate, God answered his prayer and gave him the strength to destroy the temple of Dagon. Samson was killed, along with 3,000 Philistines (Judges 16:27, 30), and so ended the life of this Judge.
The story is both tragic and victorious. For Samson personally, it was victory in the midst of tragedy, enlightenment in the midst of blindness, and strength in the midst of weakness. All of these principles and more, I attempted to reveal in Book 4 of my series of novels, Power of the Flame, which focuses primarily on the life of Samson.
That which is death under the Old Covenant is life under the New Covenant. Hence, the 3,000 would-be Pentecostals who died under the Mount in the time of Moses (Exodus 32:28) were like the 3,000 who were given life on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:41).
In the same manner, the 3,000 Philistines who died in the temple disaster in Judges 16:27 must be viewed through New Covenant eyes today. The scene of death came in the context of the Old Covenant, but we are now in a New Covenant era, where the judgment upon the nations is the death of the flesh. Paul says in Romans 6:7 says, literally, “he who has died is justified from sin.” Justification requires one to be crucified with Christ, not literally, but through the principle of legal identification with Him in His death (Romans 6:3, 6).
If we view the story of Samson through Old Covenant eyes, we will see divine judgment as a destructive force, rather than as a restoration. We will see the fire of God as something to be feared, rather than as a fire to be embraced. We will see death as evil, rather than as the requisite for resurrection life. Our perspective, then, is important, because it determines whether or not we are blind.
Paul makes it clear that the Old Covenant acts as a veil over one’s eyes (2 Corinthians 3:14). Veils blind us partially. Paul tells us that Moses put a veil over His face in Exodus 34:30, 33, 34, because the people were afraid to see the glory of God in Moses’ face. Paul explains that as long as men remain under the Old Covenant, or have an Old Covenant view of things, a veil remains over their faces. Let us embrace the New Covenant and behold His glory without fear.
This is part 10 of a series titled "The Judges" To view all parts, click the link below.