Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes; illumine me, Spirit divine! – (Clara H. Fiske Scott, 1841-1897)
The Times of the Gentiles
There are two dimensions to “the times of the Gentiles.” One could be descrbed as physical – the domination and trampling underfoot of Jerusalem will be ended – The “times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Some commentators suggest this period includes the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (586 BC; 2 Kings 25), through the postexilic return, and the Church era, through to the return of Messiah and the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom (Zechariah 14:9). The other aspect might be described as spiritual – that Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25-26). It speaks of “hardening in part” because many Jews believed in their Messiah, Yeshua, before and after His death and Resurrection; and there have been Jewish believers down through the centuries until the present day. Through the hardening in part – “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10). This reference is also to the end of the age.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow – The Samson Syndrome
We will finish our study by taking a brief look into Samson’s life and example. We will consider his life in respect to ethnic Israel; and secondly from the point of view of the Western Gentile Church.
Samson was called by God to be a judge over Israel. is exploits were both daring and exciting to read. He was a man of immense physical strength – strength that came from the Spirit of God. But Samson had a weakness, and that weakness was reflected in his eyes. To Samson there was “nothing like a dame; nothing in the world”— (Rogers and Hammerstein – South Pacific). One day he lighted upon the delectable Delilah and he was blown away by her beauty. Quite often, behind every fallen man there is a fallen woman, and Delilah was no exception.
Samson’s excursions with his delectable dame, Delilah, led him into breaking his Nazarite vows; which in turn led to his hair being cut. At that moment the Spirit of God left him to the mercy of his enemies. Samson’s eye problem was about to be brought home to him – “And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:9). At first, the gouging out of Samson’s eyes by the enemy was part of his disgrace, but later it was to lead to his salvation, or, what man intended for evil, God used for good. (Genesis 50:20).
Samson, for many years became blind to the things of God, but he didn’t know it. In His mercy, God allowed him to see his blindness. Now that he saw that he was wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17), God could do a work in him. Samson was no longer distracted by the things of the world. He was no longer distracted by beautiful women. He took the time and opportunity to contemplate, to take stock and to consider his life and calling. After a time in blind isolation Samson began to see – not physically now, but spiritually. It was during this transitional moment when he began to see and to remember his Nazarite vows before God, so his hair began to grow again. When he was weak, then he was strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). A spiritual and physical change was taking place. As his hair began to grow and his faith and understanding of God increased, so his strength was restored as the Spirit of God settled upon him. Samson prayed: “O sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more…” (Judges 16:28). Samson was back on track. He had side-tracked his calling; now he was in line with the purposes of God, serving His Lord. There are parallels with Israel, blind in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. Israel side-tracked her calling to be a light to the nations, but in His mercy, God will remember His covenant and restore Israel. Already, spiritual changes are occurring in the lives of some Jews and the land of Israel is being restored from its former barrenness.
The Blood of the Covenant
God cannot be divorced from His people in Scripture. He is with the Jews even to the last pages of the book of Revelation; and Yeshua was with the Jews, not the Gentiles, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29). Yeshua will drink of the vine again, with the Jewish believers in His Father’s Kingdom. The Jews will be there in the Father’s Kingdom in fellowship with Yeshua; and by God’s grace and mercy, Gentiles are included in the Kingdom too.
Ancient Hebrew and the Cross
The last letter of the ancient Hebrew alphabet, “Tav”, was used to indicate a mark or sign of the covenant. Written down, “Tav” looks like a cross! In ancient Hebrew, the phonetic spelling of “Tav” is Tav (T), Vav (V). The ancient letter, “Vav” resembled in form a commonly used tent peg until later when it looked like a common nail. Therefore, it could be said that the spelling of “Tav” contains a cross and a nail.
This letter could symbolize the end of Messiah’s human life on earth as He established what some theologians call the New Covenant. At the Cross, Yeshua dealt the enemy the deathblow; and He rubbed His victory over death in through His Resurrection. His death and Resurrection brought forgiveness of sins, and life eternal to those that repent and believe in His Name.
What does the Messiah dying and Israel’s rejection mean for Israel? The story does not end with their rejection. God used their rejection to reconcile, but what does the Scripture go on to say? “For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.” (Romans 11:15-16)
Triumph and Tragedy
Samson’s death foreshadowed Messiah in his death (Judges 16:30). Under the Spirit of God now, Samson’s concern was for Israel's deliverance, and the destruction of their enemies. Samson died bringing down the enemy of God, but he died repentant. The effects of his death typified those of the death of Christ, who, of his own will, laid down his life among transgressors, and thus overturned the foundation of Satan's kingdom, and provided for the deliverance of his people. Here then is an emblem this of the destruction of Satan, and his principalities and powers, by the death of Christ. The dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.
Samson is an example to Christians in the West
There are Christians today that fail to live up to their calling. Like Samson they have been side-tracked by the pleasures of this world. They may be leaders or others that believers have looked up to as strong in the faith; but they have fallen and Satan, the enemy, moved in to render them useless in the Kingdom. Samuel is an example that the wages of sin is death; and He is an example of the grace and mercy of God to renew and restore one to faith, and through dying to the world and living to Messiah, one lives. (Romans 6:11-13; Philippians 1:21)
There are those that have become disillusioned and feel they have not been supported and loved; things have not gone right for them and the worries of the world have weighed them down, to the extent that they can no longer see or perceive the Father’s love. Instead of persevering they give up. The Church is weakened, blind and naked because of the watered-down preaching of the Word, and the doctrines of demons. The Church has become powerless to respond to the enemy’s advances. While Islam is taking its opportunity, Christians are cleaning the church buildings, arranging the flowers, not seeing the great danger that is upon us. There may be an occasional spasm of thought that we should do something; but we have become impotent and unwilling to reform our ways.
For all his ways and exploits against the Philistines, and with Timnah, the young Philistine woman; then there was the prostitute in Gaza; and then the delectable Delilah from the Valley of Sorek (The word “Sorek” derives from a word meaning “bright red” referring to the quality of the grapes), Samson ended up childless. His strength and energy in life did not produce life. When he was strong then he was weak. There were no heirs to follow on after him. The Church over these past forty years or more has been very active, but sterile. We grow old and leave behind ever-dwindling congregations. Church pews are sawn up and used in homes because the church buildings no longer need them. Churches throughout the land have closed down in their hundreds if not thousands. The education system in our land teaches evolution to our children. The might is right syndrome has seeped into all stations of life. Death is the end result of man capitulating our God-given intelligence to the level of animal life, or what might be described as “animalism.” So we have abortion, and euthanasia of those considered to be less-than-human animals that do not have the right to live, nor do they possess the strength or capability to defend themselves against the aggressor or “nature”.
God is showing us the end result of following a false religious system and worshipping a false god, which many do in our churches. They use the Bible and attend church, but they do not worship the God of the Bible. God is showing us through “extremist” Islam in particular that worship of a false god leads to violence and death.
Following human secularism, false gods, evolution, and making idols of science lead to death and destruction. That is the future of the world. God will pull down all the man-made structures that man glories in, and like the temple of Dagon that Samson pulled down, the mountains will shake and collapse on those that hate and stand against God, and the foundations of the world will crumble (Nahum 1:5-6; Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:16). God will destroy the world by fire and the elements will melt away. (2 Peter 3:10).
“O sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more…” (Judges 16:28)
Blessings and shalom,