In the history of natural Israel, we find that the prophet Samuel marked a pivotal time. Until the days of Samuel, the nation had functioned like no other nation in the earth. It had no visible king, and it had no stationary, fixed temple to which the population came and went. The Lord was king, and He was content to go about figuratively, in a tent.
During the days of Samuel, the nation forsook that which made it unique in the earth, and desired a king like the rest of the nations, and later, a temple that it would call the Lord’s house.
In the book of Acts, we find Samuel squarely in the middle of this transition:
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3)
“Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus…” (Acts 13)
So then, we see that Samuel, and all the prophets until John (the baptist) spoke of this one to come. For Jesus said, “The law and the prophets were until John…”. As we read in Acts 3, the law testified of this savior, for Moses spoke of Him. And Samuel and every prophet to come after him spoke of this savior, who is revealed to be Christ.
In desiring a king, the children of Jacob were wrong. But the Lord spoke to Samuel to give them what they wanted. “For (said HE) they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me…”:
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8)
“And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands…” (1 Samuel 10)
Anyone can read and see the short and inglorious reign of natural kings in Israel. It ended in a divided, weak and sinful nation. But remember, the nation had not been without a king. Simply without one like the rest of the nations. This rejected king would be manifest again, foretold by the law, and by all the prophets, from Samuel until John. And amazingly, the people would again seize upon him as a man, and attempt to make him a king, as they had done in the days of Samuel:
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6)
This same king whom they rejected once, refused to be made a king in the same errant way they had sought so many generations before. He knew this. His coming and His reign are from within.
The book of Matthew begins with a description of a book, not of pen and ink, but of Divine inheritance. The Word made flesh, but not to be made in one alone:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (John 1)
Pivotal in the above verse is the fact that David came into the picture squarely in the days of Samuel. And though Samuel is not named, without dispute, it was a pivotal time. If one cares to count the names given in Matthew 1, it becomes clear that the man Jesus does not add up to the fourteenth from the captivity, not the forty-second from Abraham. The man Jesus is the thirteenth from the captivity. To fulfill all that Moses testified, and all the prophets from Samuel until John spoke, there must follow, another generation. A people must be begotten to God in Christ. In this people, Jesus Christ dwells as King. How many are these people? As many as receive Him:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments (do what I say). And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, (not Iscariot), Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14)
Jesus , speaking of Himself, said that unless a seed falls into the earth and dies, it abides alone. But if it does, it brings forth much fruit (many seeds). Jesus did not come to go out in a blaze of solitary glory. He came to lead many sons unto glory. (Sons being generic-neither male nor female). This is attainable and available to all, without reservation. “Whosoever will, let him come”.
So why the title “THE GREATEST KING”? It is established that Jesus is a king like no other. He, by the same Spirit that raised Him, dwells in a people. He will not lay down what He is, to become something else. It is strongly encouraged that you read Judges 9. Compare the Fig, the Vine and the Olive to the Bramble. Compare the Godhead bodily in a people, to a potentate ruling over people (which is almost always what they desire). In Samuel’s day, they rejected the Lord, who reigned invisible from the heart, and started down their ruinous path.
Christianity (so called) today , is on the same disastrous path. The collective leadership of the Jews, rejected Jesus and proclaimed to have no king but Caesar. The rag tag walled cities of Christiandom are likewise losing what little they have, and heeding the siren call of a false father, a false land, a false way.
The scriptures declare that the greatest natural king Israel ever had was neither Saul, nor David, nor Solomon. It was Hezekiah. He refused to change who and what he was. He destroyed the brass serpent that Moses had made, because the people fell into idolatrous worship of it. He saw the cities of Israel fall, one by one, to the invading Assyrians, until their armies pressed about the walls of Jerusalem and it’s king. From outside the wall, in their own tongue, the people heard the taunts of the invaders promising death and ruin to those who believed Hezekiah when Hezekiah said “Trust the Lord”. From inside the wall, the king spoke, saying “Trust the Lord”.
In this, the end of an age, we see a besieged people. Each individual, a walled city. Each witnessing the fall of other cities one by one, until the decision comes to his or her own gate. Do I believe that my king is in me?
2 Kings 18 is worth a very careful read. Take courage. Your King is in the house!
“[[A Psalm of David.]] The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psalm 24/ ((John 14))