Christian Churches of God
David and Goliath
(Edition 2.0 19950715-20000226)
This paper deals with the story of David and Goliath and develops the spiritual and prophetic significance of the activities surrounding the conflict. The underlying theme of the story cross relates to the Messianic victory over the world systems.
Christian Churches of God
PO Box 369, WODEN ACT 2606, AUSTRALIA
(Copyright ã 1995, 2000 Wade Cox)
(Summary by John Pierce edited Wade Cox)
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David and Goliath
Many people know the story of David and Goliath. It is one of the most oft repeated stories in the Bible. The story is often told to illustrate how the weak but brave can overcome the strong with the help of God. There is however, more to the story than first appears.
The treatment of this story goes back a long way before David took the battlefield with Goliath. There are a series of events that were set in motion by God to culminate in that action. That action was symbolic of a Messianic activity. There is meaning behind all of the protagonists and the things that are said and done by the Israelites and the Philistines.
There is an underlying theme through the story which cross relates to the Messianic victory over the world systems. Goliath of Gath was a champion of the Philistines. These Philistines were not native to Canaan. They did not develop as a nation within Canaan. They were dislodged from what is understood to be the area of the Aegean at the end of the thirteenth century BCE. They were displaced by a series of catastrophes, which destroyed the Hittite civilisation in Turkey and also the power of Mycenaens. Major Canaanite cities were also destroyed and Egypt was also diminished in its power. The period was marked by anarchy on land and piracy at sea.
The Bible holds that the Philistines or Philistim came by way of Caphtor or Crete (Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7; cf. Deut. 2:23). Part of the coast was thus called the Cretan Negeb or the Negeb of the Cherethites (1Sam. 30:14 see RSV). Cretans also are in parallelism with the Philistines (Ezek. 25:16; Zeph. 2:5). Those chapters have an ongoing prophetic relationship also.
Their leaders were termed seren, which is only used in Hebrew in connection with the Philistines. It was evidently a word of their own language. The five cities constituted a federation. They didn’t have an overall king. There were five lords of the Philistines.
The Philistines reached their zenith strangely enough with the conquest by the Assyrians under Sennacharib in 701 BCE. They really didn’t reach the height of their power, until they were assimilated finally by the Assyrians. They became flourishing vassal city-states within the Assyrian imperial economic system, because they adapted and adopted cultural affinities. That was ultimately to cause their demise, because they didn’t have a specific cultural system, which made them distinct. In the same way the Babylonian mystery religion adopts and adapts. These people adopted the Babylonian religious system and they then fitted in to the Assyrian economic system.
God decided to establish Israel in the promised land and after a series of catastrophes Israel was taken out of Egypt. The adversary had decided to stop the Israelites from occupying Canaan and from taking up the promise. So the Philistines, were then placed in Israel to try to consolidate and stop the establishment of Israel as a nation. If they had done that, they would have been able to ensure the Babylonian system was then supreme over the Israelites, and the religion we have would not have supplanted or been able to be established.
That war of the Babylonian system against the Judeo-Christian system, is still under way and that war is fought out in the last days. The Babylonian system is the major religious system of this planet right now. The Philistines represented the Babylonian system and they enslaved Israel. Israel rebelled and the Philistines attacked them. God had been working with Israel over this period (see the papers Samson and the Judges (No. 73), and Gideon’s Force and the Last Days (No. 22).
Every time they lapsed into sin God allowed them to be broken, and then when they turned to Him they were re-established. In this case He moved significantly against the Philistines to establish Israel over a set period. He set about raising up a faithful priest (1Sam. 2:35) who would do everything according to the will and mind of God.
A priest is raised to walk before the Lord forever, before the anointed, and the anointed, is Messiah. Now Samuel died! 1Samuel 2:36 is a prophecy to the priesthood of Israel because the priesthood is profaned and it has to beg for sustenance (1Sam 2:35-36; 3:1).
Samuel was established as a prophet and the Lord let none of his words fail (1Sam 3:19-21). Yet Samuel assembled Israel at Shiloh based upon what he understood to be the will of God. Remember, Jerusalem was not the headquarters, nor was it at Hebron. The Tabernacle of God was at Shiloh (1Sam 4:1-11).
Here we have Israel obeying a prophet of God yet falling by the sword. The reaction to this adversity was to rely on the physical presence of the Ark of the Covenant. God was establishing Israel and setting up the conditions where He is going to consolidate them, because every man at this stage was doing what was right in his own eyes. They were under tribes and there was no central administration. God was about to put them under a central administration.
They thought they could win the battle because of the physical presence of the Ark. They did not appreciate that it was a symbol of God’s law, nature and will. Like the Jews today they do not see the spiritual intent of the relationship with God.
At that time the sons of Eli (Hophni and Phinehas) were corrupt. The priesthood was corrupted entirely under Eli. Samuel was a prophet of God but he did not correct the errors in his own children, that he saw under Eli with Hophni and Phinehas. Because of this, the rulership of Israel was taken from the judges and the priesthood, and given into the hands of the administration under a king. So God took Hophni and Phinehas with the Ark of the Covenant out of Shiloh, and put them in a position where they could be killed because they were profaned and unfit to shepherd the Ark.
Thirty thousand of Israel fell as well as the sons of Eli. God slew these priests and handed the Ark of the Covenant into the hands of the Philistines. This was done specifically at the hand of his anointed prophet. This was because Israel was unfit to stand before God in the form that it existed. Moreover God had a job for Israel to do and it could not be done in that form of its organisation. So God had to tear it down and destroy the priesthood as well.
The removal of the Ark of God into the hands of the Philistines was to show the Philistines also that they were worshipping impotent idols. The idol of Dagon was made to prostrate itself before the Ark (1Sam. 5:3-5). It fell over before the Ark and hit its head on the threshold. Its head broke off and the palms of its hands broke off also. This removal of the head and hands is related to the concept of the sealing of the people with the system of their god. We are sealed on the forehead and hands by our thoughts involved in this religious system and by the means of carrying out that system in its work and its social activities.
The Philistines had many of their people killed when they had the Ark of the Covenant. They were also smitten with piles (emerods) (1Sam. 5:6; 6:4). They gave five golden emerods and five golden mice, one for each of the five lords of the Philistines, as votive offerings with the Ark on its return after seven months (1Sam. 6:1-14). They had it there for seven months and it was nothing but trouble. The Lord gave witness through this action both to Israel and to the Philistines.
God was setting up a system for the inheritance of the Messiah. Firstly, the monarchy was established through the prophet Samuel, in the line of Saul of Benjamin. Benjamin was the least of the tribes and indeed had almost been wiped out for immorality on a previous occasion (Judg. 20 & 21).
The people didn’t have the courage, or the faith, to believe that God would remove Joel and Abiah (Samuel’s sons) as he had removed Hophni and Phinehas. They wanted their own King and God allowed the kingship to be established, and the throne was established for Messiah (1Sam 8:1-22).
Samuel warned them how much more difficult life would be under a king (1Sam 8:10-14); they would be further burdened as the tithe also would go into the king’s administration to be used for his own purpose (1Sam 8:15-17).
But the people wanted somebody big and strong; who could go out and fight in single handed combat. In those days battles were often decided by single combat. Armies let the champions fight it out and that way not as many people had to die.
Here the Lord was establishing in the mind of Israel what a king under the wrong spiritual system is like. In the same way He had established the judges and the system under the prophets before that. This process was to show the weakness of the system of government. He would then develop that system through David to Messiah.
Israel was to go into captivity and be separated from Judah. Messiah had to be of Judah under the Roman yoke in the first century in order that the Church might be established as a later phase. He first established the kingship in Benjamin but then moved it to Judah.
God sent Saul to Samuel (1Sam 9:15-21). The people were under bondage and they were crying out to the Lord and that is why He acted. God decided to raise a king up from the least of the clans, of the smallest tribe of Israel. Saul was honoured but he did not know why.
Samuel told Saul to wait for seven days till he came to tell him what to do. The two breads of the law, the two loaves, given to Saul symbolise the giving of the law and the understanding of the Bible to Saul as king. The spirit of the law then came upon the king to fulfil his role as leader. This was to show that under the monarchy, the leadership and the Holy Spirit would be placed upon the king, as it was finally with David. Now Saul had to wait seven days, and that saw him under great duress (1Sam 10:1-12).
The Bible says that every king is to make his own copy of the law to prepare himself to rule Israel. It is a requirement of every leader to prepare himself by studying the law.
God had given Israel a king who appeared to be of regal proportions from outward appearances. Saul attempted to avoid the responsibility at first and God knew what he would do from the heart. His successor David, was markedly different. Nevertheless, God established Saul as king. When Samuel was old he charged Israel with their responsibilities towards the king (1Sam 12:13-25).
Saul was given specific tasks and also instruction through the prophet. His disobedience was to cost him the kingship. This aspect of the forfeiture involved in the sacrifice at Michmash is not fully understood (1Sam 13:1-15). The Philistines had to realise that because Israel was unified under a king, they now had much greater potential to destroy them and their overlordship.
Samuel had said that he would come at a specific time. Saul thought that he had delayed his coming. Accordingly he then presumed to usurp the functions of the prophet. Samuel had not yet ceased to judge in Israel, so the responsibilities had not entirely passed to the kingship. Samuel still exercised his power as a prophet. Saul only thought that Samuel was late, but he had miscalculated the time. This has a relationship to the last days and the coming of Messiah, when they say ‘My Lord has delayed his coming’. It also shows the requirement for implicit obedience to the lawful authority of God through his prophet.
The test of prophets of God is that they speak according to the law and the testimony (Isa. 8:20). If they do not speak according to the law and the testimony there is no light in them. Saul’s kingship was removed because he did not obey his predecessor who had anointed him. He was removed and God set up another. In this case it was done through the same prophet who had not as yet died.
The story shows how Saul also sinned by numbering the armies of the living God. David also was to commit this sin. Because of David’s sin 70,000 fell. This relates also to the last days. The counting of these seven days relates to the time frames. Saul began counting a day too early. He counted part days, therefore, he was one day too early. He arrived on the sixth day instead of the seventh day and Samuel wasn’t there.
God sent another instruction to Saul via Samuel relating to the Amalekites, which has important aspects later (1Sam 15:1-23). The important thing here was that the obedience God wanted was for long-term results. The people were told to destroy the children, even the babies of the Amalekites. The Amalekites were to threaten the destruction of Judah at a later stage. Agag’s descendent Haman is the prime instigator in the book of Esther (see Commentary on Esther (No. 63)).
This threat to the safety of Israel also relates to the last days. This section refers to the kingship under Messiah as we see from the development of the text (1Sam 15:24-29).
Any leader of God’s people who is not faithful and obedient to the law forfeits his right to rule. Samuel killed Agag with his own hands and then cut off all contact with Saul until the day of his death (1Sam 15:35) but did not cease to mourn for him nor to pray. We too are not to cease to mourn or to pray for the leaders of our people even though they are in sin.
God then charged Samuel with anointing David (1Sam 16:1-7). Saul was big and strong and tall, but Saul was wrong. God saw the heart and he knew what had to be done (1Sam 16:10-23).
When David was anointed the spirit of the Lord came upon him. He was then able to perform great deeds in the spirit even though he was not king. That is also a lesson for the elect. All of us are kings; anointed from baptism and having hands laid on us. All of us can perform deeds in the spirit. The spirit of the Lord is upon all of us.
David had power through the Holy Spirit over the demons, as we do also. David was anointed as the heir apparent and placed in the court of the king in the lowliest position so that he might learn the art of war and peace. He was given the spirit of the Lord so that he could perform mighty deeds. David was then established as a leader in Israel by spectacular circumstance (1Sam 17:1-11).
Goliath was about ten foot tall, with enormous weapons. David came to the battlefield to deliver an ephah of corn and ten loaves to his brothers (1Sam 17:17-54).
David was very intelligent and the Holy Spirit was with him. He saw the effect this giant was having on the army. They were losing heart daily because nobody would take him on. We too must speak fearlessly even though we are small, because we fight for the armies of the living God. We cannot be fainthearted about what we do. David had a purpose and he understood the purpose of God. He understood through the Holy Spirit that nothing could prevail against the armies of the living God.
The armour of the Lord is tested and proven. David took off the weapons he had been given. He took his staff in his hand and he chose five smooth stones out of the brook and put them in a shepherd’s bag. David did not choose to fight the armies of the Philistines, and the champions of the Philistines with the conventional weapons of this world. The Babylonian system was not going to be taken over by conventional weaponry and the systems of this world.
Our weapons are not physical weapons and our strength is in the Holy Spirit. Our weapons have strength to bring down fortresses and that is the weapon of the last days. That is the battle of the last days.
This is a boy with no weapons, talking to a ten foot well armed giant, with an armour bearer who was capable of killing David himself. So he went out against two men. Goliath is killed with one stone. David came in the name of the armies of the living God. The destruction of the power of the nations is the same as that of the last days.
The giants were also associated with the Nephilim who were the product of the fallen host (see the paper The Nephilim (No. 154)). Goliath of Gath was a giant and Israel in the first century understood these giants to be descendants of the Nephilim. They represented the fallen system; the created system of the demons. Thus that system would be replaced by the actions of the new king, the Messiah.
The five stones in the shepherd’s bag are the five churches that partake of the first resurrection. The Sardis and Laodicean churches do not partake of the first resurrection as whole entities. Those Churches have only individuals who make it into the Kingdom of God. The Sardis Church is dead and the Laodicean is spewed out of God’s mouth.
The first angel’s message is an ongoing process, which culminates in the power of the last days. The end result of that process is the destruction of the false religious system of Babylon as we see from the subsequent angel’s message (Rev. 14:6-12).
Directly from the first angel’s message will proceed the fall of Babylon as a stone from the sling of the king of Israel. The purpose of this battle between David and Goliath was so that the armies of God would know that the Lord saves not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts (Zech. 4:6)
The same way that the god of the Philistines had fallen, so too did their champion. The seal of God is between the eyes, and this stone, this message of the living God, was to strike their system where they were sealed, in the name of their god. It killed their champion and he fell upon his face.
In the last days we will not need a sword and we will destroy the armies of the god of this world. We will destroy millions upon millions in the last days and there will be no sword in our hands.
The head of this system was removed with its own sword. In the same way Messiah will bring down to the valley of decision, all of the armies of the world in the last days, and will kill them with their own weapons. All of these nations will be brought down and their armies destroyed. There will be enough physical resources from these armies to keep Israel going for the entire Millennium.
This is not just a story about a boy killing a ten foot giant with a slingstone. This is a story of Messiah and the kingship being set up in the hands of the living God. The systems and the weapons of this world and the means of warfare that Satan has taught our people to use will be removed. It will be their weapons that will ultimately destroy Satan’s system, and place our people under Messiah at Jerusalem. The placement of the head at Jerusalem was to indicate that the government and the religious system would be at Jerusalem.