By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry once again as we study another important topic about the end-times. Today’s message begins a short series on the life of Samson. As you will see, it will reflect on the dangers in the ecumenical movement that are designed to derail God’s last message to the world, the three angels message. But it also addresses unfaithfulness in the life of a believer, as well as how God’s mercy engages with a very compromised generation. But first we will establish how Samson is a type of God’s church in the last days, weak and defective, yet having the strength of the most powerful message ever given to human beings.
Today, we are going to look at Samson’s family, perhaps from a perspective that you may not have thought much about before. We’re going to draw out its lessons and parallels from the life of Christ and compare his beginnings with the end times. I hope and pray that through this series, you will see the dangers of leaving the principles of God’s truth and becoming infatuated with those who are determined to destroy your witness.
So, to begin, let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank You for the Bible that gives us insights into our times if our spiritual eyes are open. I pray that You will send Your Holy Spirit to us today, to help us learn of these great principles in the life of Samson. As we study the life of this man, whom God called to be His messenger and who began to deliver Israel, I pray that we will take heed to the obvious and the less-than-obvious counsel of the Lord through this important story, and be better prepared for the subtle temptations of the enemy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Please turn with me in your Bible to the book of Judges, chapter 13. Israel was under pressure. They were under control of those who hated God. But God had allowed the Philistines to oppress and control them because of their sins and the evil that they did in the sight of the Lord. Have a look at verse one.
“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.”
Do you think God had pleasure in bringing Israel under the control of these uncircumcised heathens? And the verse even tells us that this was not the first time they did evil in the sight of the Lord. By now, Israel was under such great stress that God saw that it was time for a deliverer to rid Israel of these heathens. These were Canaanites that Israel had not destroyed when God had told them to utterly rid the land of them. These Canaanites had ancestors that went all the way back to the tower of babel. God had suffered long with the Philistines too in their rebellion and determination to follow false gods.
These Philistines were Israel’s next-door neighbors. The land of Dan bordered the region near Gaza which the Philistines occupied. And today, these people are now mostly Muslim, but they are still the enemies of Israel today.
If Israel, God’s church, had not sinned against the Lord and gone after false gods, they would not be in this predicament now. The same is true today, my friends. God’s people today need to heed the counsel of the Lord to let God be in control of the church and its worship. But today we are not willing, generally, to stick to the pure system of worship that God has given us. So, we are still in the land of the enemy, under the increasing oppression of our foes. I don’t know if you are aware of it, but the LGBT movement is affecting everything from Christian businesses to accreditation of schools, from freedom of speech to bathroom privacy. And it is hostile to conservative Christians. It is like the Philistines are invading God’s church again. Yet, it will get worse if we don’t get our lives ready for the coming of the Lord. If we follow after the practices of the emerging church in its ever-changing iterations; if we continue to live for our own gratification; if we continue the current decline in morality within God’s church, God will suffer us to be oppressed by the very ones that are aiming to destroy us.
But God’s mercy is great! He loves to forgive when we repent, and He raises up a savior to deliver His people from their enemies. He has done that in the past with Esther, Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, Samson and others. So, why not in these last days. In fact, we will see many parallels to the life of Samson in our own day.
The scripture says in 1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
So, in other words, the history of the Old Testament was written for us in the last days. Are we nearing the end of the world? Certainly. Therefore, the story of Samson is especially relevant to us, not just because of the obvious moral principles embedded in the story, but also because of the symbolic parallels of the story. So, let us take this story and understand it as it was meant for us.
God does not live at our level. He understands things far more broadly than we do and He embeds things in the history of His people that are important for us to grasp.
Israel was in apostasy. Not one area of ministry was following God’s plan. In fact, they were involved in idolatry of their heathen neighbors even though God had expressly forbidden them to do this. They must have thought it was ok to dabble with the ecumenical friendship of the heathen religions around them and that it wasn’t so bad. After all, they falsely reasoned, perhaps they could win some of them to the truth by mingling with them. They made friends with them and consequently they were led into blasphemy and spiritual adultery.
So, God in His mercy allowed Israel to be oppressed by the very ones who had influenced them to engage in heathen worship. The Philistines were the chief among their enemies. And even though they only had five cities and were really a relatively small nation, God made use of them as the staff of His hand. They were very oppressive and vexatious. And they controlled Israel for 40 years, longer than any of God’s judgments yet. But even when it was early in their servitude, God was preparing for their deliverance. He was already about to bring a baby boy into the world who would eventually deliver Israel.
Likewise, in the time of Christ; when the Romans oppressed God’s church, it was because the Jews had a spiritual problem from which they needed deliverance. Christ came to deal with that spiritual problem. He came disguised as a humble servant from Nazareth, not as a majestic king. Not even His disciples really got it until after He returned to heaven. But Christ was the true deliverer. And as it turned out the Romans destroyed the Jews, even as Christ’s true followers escaped the destruction of Jerusalem.
And today also, because salvation is in Christ, and because Christ has given more light to this last generation than any previous generation, by rejecting it, we make ourselves vulnerable to the enemy who brings in subtle false teachings, ecumenical practices, and other things to compromise us and make us more willing, like the people in Samson’s day, to get involved in a form of modern idolatry. God’s last church is the most suited by its message to engage in battle with the enemy. But instead we are weak and divided, pursuing false doctrines and ecumenical practices that lead us farther and farther away from God’s ideal. God will have to raise up a deliverer. May I suggest that God’s chosen deliverer in these last days, are those who have learned and understand the experience of the three angel’s messages? These three angels represent a muscular message that will turn the world upside down when given under Holy Spirit fire of the latter rain.
Manoah was of the tribe of Dan, which means “a judge or Judgment.” Genesis 30:6 tells us this of Bilhah’s son. Bilhah was Rachel’s maid. “And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.” Dan lay next to Philistia. And how fitting that God would raise up someone of the tribe of Dan to judge the Philistines and deliver Israel, for judgment and deliverance go together.
Now Judges 13:2. “And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.”
We never learn of Manoah’s wife’s name, but she was a godly woman as was her husband, and when God surveyed the whole of Israel He could see that this family from an obscure tribe, and an obscure place was willing to do His bidding.
My friends, the respect of heaven for a family that observes the law of the Lord and does His bidding is enormous. And they bend every effort to bless that family with the presence of the holy angels and the Holy Spirit. And they do all they can to help them remain faithful to God.
Let us read verse 3. One day, as she was alone, and perhaps even a little despondent about her condition, “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive and bear a son.”
This answered the burden of her heart. She had longed for a son, but was unable to have one. But with this good news, suddenly there was hope.
Who else, by the way, did the angel of the Lord appear to in Bible history? Yes, Mary the mother of Jesus the deliverer from our sins. It’s interesting that we are told “Manoah and his wife knew not that the One thus addressing them was Jesus Christ. They looked upon Him as the Lord’s messenger, but whether a prophet or an angel, they were at a loss to determine” (Signs of the Times, September 15, 1881). He had shrouded His glory in humanity so as not to destroy them by His brightness and purity.
He appeared in the dress of a prophet or a man of God. In those days a man of God wore rough clothing of animal skins. Can you imagine Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, standing before this woman to give her the good news? Little does she realize who she is seeing and listening to. But she discerns that there was something unusually beautiful about Him. He has such a majestic commanding appearance, a sparkling eye more beautiful than any she had seen, a shining face that was beaming with a quiet settled peace; all of which made her think He was a man of God. She was so awestruck that she didn’t ask His name or what town in Israel He was from. Plus His message was so satisfying to her that she did not think to ask more about Him.
In any case, she perceived that He was not an ordinary human, but godlier, more godlike than anyone she had ever seen, and she thinks He looked like an angel. In fact, it scared her a bit.
She describes Him to her husband Manoah, by saying, “… and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible.” Verse 6.
But this was Christ Himself. He came to Manoah’s wife to announce the good news that she was to be the mother of Israel’s deliverer. That she would become pregnant with the one who would judge the Philistines and give Israel back its independence.
Keep in mind; Christ was giving her, and us, a symbol of Himself, the great Deliverer of sin that was to become the Messiah, who was to “save His people from their sins.” If Samson was to be a type of Christ, a redeemer, which was the original intention, his birth would be foretold by an angel, as was the birth of Jesus. But note that the word of God also predicted the last powerful message that was to be given to the world. What Samson did for Israel, God’s people will do on a worldwide scale; that is, to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” See Revelation 14:6.
And Christ makes it clear that He knew her sorrow at being childless. Maybe she was struggling a little with regret and pain over this. Perhaps she had retired to a secluded place to mediate and pray, and maybe even cry a little. Maybe she was feeling it the most at that very time. Christ reminds her of her condition. Not that she has forgotten. It is foremost on her mind and the burden of her soul. She thinks that perhaps she had done something wrong and God had cursed her. Or perhaps she was one of those unlucky women who were doomed to suffer reproach because of their barrenness.
But Christ did not scold or find fault with her. He showed her that He knew her plight and was sympathetic. He had to win her confidence, else she would disbelieve Him. Christ often brings comfort when we are most burdened with our troubles. It is one of His ways of binding us close to Him; of wrapping His arms around us and encouraging us with His love and His smile. A woman in Bible prophecy represents a church. So this symbol represents a church without a message. There was no child. It is a barren church. But God is about to make the church that really wants to do His will a very fruitful church.
“You are barren,” He said in so many words, “but you will not always be” (as she had feared), “and not very long from now you will be with child.” He even made the statement twice that she was going to conceive and bear a son. Christ placed emphasis on this because He wanted to assure her that she could be confident in the promise. Christ was telling her that the strongest man that ever lived on earth was a child of promise. Isaac was also born by virtue of a promise and faith in the promise. So was John the Baptist, and Christ Himself. All of them were children of promise. Samson’s strong body was a type of Christ, who had the strongest moral character of any man that ever lived.
Christ, the Prince of Peace, the wonderful counselor, now appearing as a humble man of God, was going to give Manoah’s wife the most important divine counsel concerning the way in which she was to raise Samson and prepare him to deliver Israel and give them peace from their oppressors. And He was going to manifest Himself to Manoah as well and do wonderful things before them to confirm His message and His person. For Manoah would later say that “we have seen God.” Verse 22.
Verses 4 and 5, “Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
Let us think about the words of Christ to this dear woman. He declares that Samson would be a Nazarite from his mother’s womb. The Nazarite was one who was separated to God. The Nazarite oath was generally taken by thinking adults or older children who knew what they were doing. It was normally a voluntary oath for a set period of time. The Nazarites typified Christ in their pure and holy living while under oath. But this woman is told that he would be a Nazarite from her womb until his death, which even more closely typified Christ. Christ did not sin, from the time that He was born until the time that He died. Samson was to be a Nazarite of God’s making and the Nazarite life was imposed on this woman even before she conceived her son. Samson would be entrusted with that same consecration from his mother’s womb from the moment of his conception.
In other words, she was to set in motion, even before Samson is born, the principles of purity and singleness to God. That means that she must be pure and single in her own heart to God. Otherwise, she would not be able to give him the environment, which would make it easiest for him to remain loyal to God himself. Even though women did not do the Nazarite vow, normally, this woman was given the gift of that vow for herself as well as for Samson. Therefore, she was to deny herself and not eat any unclean thing. Her temperance was to give him a strong constitution. He was to be healthy in mind and body, particularly if he was to have great strength.
Samson was to be an example of holiness and devotion. This was necessary for Israel’s deliverer. While other judges had corrected the apostasies of the church, Samson was to rise above them all in his devotion and consecration to God. He was to live a life similar to Christ. He was to be an example to all Israel of the strength they might obtain to overcome their foes, and in particular, the one inveterate spiritual enemy that was always on their track leading them to break God’s law.
(1) Now think about this. Samson represents Christ, but he also represents the message that God has given to his people at the end of time. He was to be an example to us of how to live in the sight of God in our day. Let us think about the parallels. First, God predicted our message, the three angels messages in the book of Revelation, long before their time had come just as He predicted the birth of Samson. Imbedded in the first angel’s message is the unmistakable calling to a holy life and an emphasis on the health message, just like Samson.
(2) Here is another parallel. Manoah’s wife was given the message of pure living. Samson had it imposed on him before he was born. God’s people in the last days, born as we are into the three angel’s messages have this clean living command upon us, even before our birth. Today’s generation of faithful souls are to leave off all unclean foods, in fact, all animal food, and other harmful foods. We are to live pure lives by the power of Christ living in us, just as the Nazarite. We are to be devoted to God and earnestly seek His will, and try to get others to join us in holy living.
(3) Today, Christ intends to use His last generation church, as He intended to use Samson in type, to deliver many from their deceptions and point them to the Savior who will not only forgive their sins, but who will give them power to defeat the enemy at every turn.
Put yourself in Manoah’s shoes for a minute. His wife comes to him and in great joy tells him all that she has seen and heard. She tells him that she has seen someone that looks like an angel who told her she was going to bear a son and gave her certain instructions about the way to live.
Manoah is astonished. He wants to be sure that his wife isn’t having some sort of hallucination or some fanatical delusion. But, she is sincere and doesn’t have a history of these sorts of things anyway. He perceives this is important, and is worried that if this is a message from God, he needs to understand it for himself. After all, a father is very important to the raising of the child, and if God was giving his wife this important message, he felt he needed to hear it too as the head of their home.
Verse 8. “Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”
So, again the angel appears to the woman and repeats His message after she went and got her husband. Verses 9-14 “And God harkened to the voice of Manoah: and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. And the woman made haste, and ran, and showed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She many not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.”
Manoah earnestly prayed for the messenger to come to them again. He believed his wife’s story and accepted it as fact. Not even Zachariah the priest, waiting upon the alter of the Lord, and to whom the angel of the Lord appeared, had as much faith as this humble Danite. He has a sense of responsibility for the child that is to come to them. He wants to understand the message for himself. Manoah fears that the great and exuberant joy of his wife at the good news of her forthcoming conception would have caused her to forget something that the angel told her, so he earnestly begged the Lord to send the messenger again so that he can hear it with his own ears.
Manoah wanted to get to know the man of God for himself. And shouldn’t we all! After all, this was Christ Himself, the bridge between God and man; the one altogether lovely, and the one in whom our hope of eternal life centered. Should we not want to become acquainted with Him and get to know Him better? Those who have heard from heaven cannot but wish to hear more, again and again. Manoah also wanted to be hospitable to his heavenly guest. He wants to feed Him so as to become a friend.
Manoah does not go himself nor send a servant around to the neighboring towns to find this man of God. He seeks Him on his knees. He prays that God will send Him again. And in seeking, he finds. And shouldn’t we do the same? If you want God’s messengers to come to you to bring you instruction, you have to seek Him on your knees. He will send you the messages you need specifically suited to your life.
Verse 9 says, “And God harkened unto the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field.”
Notice the woman sat in the field as if she was expecting the angel to come again. She likely went to the same place where she had seen Him before. It was as if she sat in eager expectation that her husband’s prayer would be answered.
God will not fail to guide those by His counsel who sincerely desire to know their duty, and apply themselves to it. “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” Psalm 25:8, 9.
The man of God is very willing that the woman call her husband. Like the woman at the well, to whom Jesus said “Go call thy husband,” John 4:16, this woman may also have been bidden to call her husband, while the angel of the Lord, who would have had plenty of other things to do, waited patiently for His human friends to return.
For her part, the woman does not desire Him to go with her to meet her husband, but rather that she would fetch her husband and bring him to their place of meeting. Her husband was probably in his place of business, with others around him. Meeting the angel there would be fraught with distractions, and perhaps even create some disturbance, or even a reaction. She knew that her husband earnestly wanted to meet this Messenger and learn more. And this could not be done in his place of business. The meeting had to take place in a quiet, secret place.
My friends, those who want to meet with God must go where He is pleased to manifest Himself to them, in the quiet. You will not find God if you don’t seek Him where He is. God is pleased to meet with us in His word. That angel that met with Manoah and his wife was the Word disguised in human flesh. If we expect to find God we must seek Him earnestly in the quiet.
Manoah does not complain that the Messenger did not come directly to him this second time. He is so eager for a private meeting with Him that he doesn’t even think of this as a slight or disrespect. And it wasn’t. The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman who had come back to the place and demonstrated her faith and devotion, while her husband continued his practical work.
Manoah’s words to the angel, “Now let they words come to pass,” are similar to the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, when the angel told her of her conception. She said, “Be it according to thy word.”
These are statements of faith, my friends. “Lord, I lay hold on what thou hast said, and depend upon it; let it come to pass.” We must exercise faith like that. God gives us a promise, we are to expect that it will be fulfilled and we are to act as if it is fulfilled. “Now let thy words come to pass. We cannot fulfill them. Only You can do that, O, Lord. But we will cooperate with heaven for their accomplishment.”
Remember, God’s words are powerful and will bring about the result that they set out to achieve. If we accept God’s word as instruction for us, plain and simple, we will increase in faith as we see God’s promises fulfilled in our lives.
Whenever God bestows some great mercy on us, our great interest is to be how to use it well. For mercies are only mercies when they are rightly managed. God has given us bodies, material possessions, influence, and all good things. We have to answer to the One who gave them for how they are managed in harmony with the intent of the giver.
So, those whom God has given children should earnestly seek to know how to care for them, and what to do unto them to drive out the foolishness that is in their hearts, and mold and shape them, train them and form their mind and behavior in the way that they should go. While most people, even so-called Christian people hardly give it second thought what they set before their children to eat, or to watch, we, as the last generation, should beg for divine assistance in everything pertaining to them. “Lord teach us how we may order our children, that they may be Nazarites, living sacrifices to thee.”
We, in the last generation just before Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, are to be careful that we take heed not only in eating and drinking, but in anything, however innocent, that does not deliberately lead us to holiness. When she was with child with a Nazarite, the woman was not to eat any unclean thing. Likewise, those in whom Christ is formed must carefully cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and do nothing that would make it difficult to be a “new man.”
Now let us read verses 15 and 16. “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of they bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the Lord.”
If the angel of the Lord had revealed Himself to Manoah at first, do you think Manoah would have spoken with Him as he did? It was in mercy to Manoah that the Lord concealed Himself as a man.
Likewise, Christ was in the world and the world knew Him not. We human beings cannot bear the sight of the divine glory unveiled. So, God chooses to speak to us through men like ourselves, prophets, apostles, ministers, and even when He spoke by His angels and by His Son, they appeared in the likeness of men of God.
Notice also that Manoah desired to show some token of respect and gratitude to this venerable stranger who brought them these glad tidings and begged Him to take some refreshment with him. But the angel did not accept his offer of food (similar to the way He refused Gideon’s offer) and invited him to turn it into a sacrifice to the Lord.
Those that welcome the message of the Lord will be kind to the messengers that bring it. I Thessalonians 5:12 and 13 says “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you: And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” We are to look after the messengers to make sure their needs are met.
But angels do not need meat and drink. To do the will of God and glorify Him is their meat and drink, just as was Christ’s. In John 4:34 He said to His disciples when they returned from Sychar and wondered what He had eaten, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,” He said, “and to finish his work.”
While we cannot live without food and drink, yet when we eat and drink to the glory of God, even our common meals are turned into sacrifices to the Lord, just as Manoah’s gift was.
And in giving the first angel’s message of Revelation 14 we are to make sure that all we do, including what we eat, gives glory to God. Listen to it from verse 7. “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and sea, and the fountains of waters.”
The scripture also says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. The apostle Paul tells us that as Christian’s committed to Christ, we are to live by every principle of heaven in order to give glory to God. But Paul especially mentions eating and drinking.
So the health message that was given to Samson’s mother and father is also given to the last generation.
Judges 13:17, 18, “And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?”
Manoah wanted to know this stranger’s name and what tribe He was from. He wanted to visit Him and get better acquainted. That was a good thing. But he wanted to do Him honor, meaning that when the child was born and the angel’s words had come to pass, he could name his child after Him, or send Him a present and honor Him as a true prophet. But the angel denied his curiosity. This was unnecessary though Manoah’s heart was honest. Remember, he did not yet know that this was the Angel of the Lord, or Christ Himself, especially. He was still thinking in human terms.
God does not satisfy mere curiosity. He does however give us instructions on how to live, raise our families and walk with Jehovah. The scriptures are full of direction and instructions for us so that we may know our duty. They are all we need. They were never designed to answer all the inquiries of a speculative or skeptical mind.
So, why did God tell Moses His name, but not Manoah? Here it is from Exodus 3:13, 14. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
In this instance, there was a specific need for Moses to know God’s name, or Christ’s name, more precisely. He is the I AM, and the people needed to understand that the great I AM was their leader, not Moses. The great I AM is the one who directs the work. And today we can be assured that we too are being directed by the great I AM if we do His will and order our lives after holy Scripture.
But Manoah did not need to know the angel’s name. That would have been too overwhelming for Manoah. He would have feared for His life because it was too wonderful for him. One of Christ’s many names is “wonderful.” Christ was sending him on a wonderful mission. He was to do a special work in raising his son. He needed to understand that work, not the name of the angel who instructed him. He just needed to have confidence that this was a message from God.
The angels’ name was a secret to Manoah. The secret things belong to God, not to human flesh. There are many things that we are in the dark about. But we are not in the dark concerning our duty. So, if we have faith in, and live by the promises of God, He will fulfill them and we will eventually know, even as we are known. To be willingly ignorant of the things God has revealed is sin. But to be ignorant of the things He has not revealed is wisdom.
So many people today try to speculate about things that are mysteries and not revealed. They elevate their speculative ideas above the things that are clearly and plainly revealed and which are especially important for us to know in these last days. These things distract God’s people away from the message that God HAS revealed to us about our duty to live righteously in His sight and to raise our children according to His instructions and get our lives right with God. There are many winds of doctrine floating around today. They are just designed to distract us from the message that it is our duty to proclaim.
Let me read from Maranatha, page 147. “The commandment of God that has been almost universally made void, is the testing truth for this time…. The time is coming when all those who worship God will be distinguished by this sign. They will be known as the servants of God, by this mark of their allegiance to Heaven. But all man-made tests will divert the mind from the great and important doctrines that constitute the present truth…”
Think about it, my friends. There are many winds of doctrine today floating around among God’s people. Some teach that we are to abandon the principles of the three angels messages. Other teach that we are to abandon our position on the Godhead, or the principles of the sanctuary, or our position on the Jewish feasts, etc. But these are distractions from the central theme that we are to uphold.
Verses 19 and 20, “So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the alter, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the alter.”
If the angels have entertainment, it would be the praises and worship of God’s people. They love it! And so does Christ. So, the angel assisted Manoah with his sacrifice on the rock. He did wondrously, the Bible says. In other words, He lit the fire of the sacrifice. The alter was a rock. There was no fire in the rock. So the angel manufactured heavenly fire to burn the offering and then ascended up to heaven in the flame.
Today, we must do the same as Manoah. That rock represents Christ. We are to bring our hearts to God and offer them on the rock to be broken and as a living sacrifice live unto God, submit our hearts to the operation of the Spirit, and thereby give the angels joyful entertainment in the process. “Lord, here is my heart, do with it as you please. It is yours.” That is the kind of prayer we are to pray.
When He ascended up to heaven in the fire, that’s when Manoah and his wife realized that He was not a mere man, but heaven’s messenger, sent directly with a message for them.
Think about it, my friends. When God accepted their offering He signified it by lighting the fire, and it suggests to what we owe the acceptance of our offerings; the mediation of the angel of the covenant, Jesus Christ Himself. He puts much incense on the alter which ascends in the spiritual flame that is implanted in our hearts. And as the prayers of the saints mingle with the incense, it is a sweet smelling savor unto God and all the hosts of angels in the courts above.
Without Christ our prayers and incense is but offensive smoke. But in Christ, they are acceptable in His sight who “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire,” (Psalm 104:4) and whose throne is enveloped in flame. It is interesting that Christ ascended in the fire He kindled, a symbol of the sacrifice of Himself for us, for by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place.” Hebrews 9:12.
As the angel ascended to heaven, the hearts of these two dear people ascended with him, for the verses twice say that they “looked on.” They were eye-witnesses of the things of Christ, which they had seen and heard. They saw His Majesty veiled in human flesh, a symbol of His sojourn on earth, yet to come, and His sacrifice for the redemption of man there on the rock (which fittingly represents Christ too). God always wraps indications of His love and acceptance of His saints in symbols of His sacrifice for the redemption of man. And if we open our spiritual eyes, aided by the Holy Spirit, we shall see them.
The Bible then says that they “fell on their faces to the ground. Then Manoah knew that He was an angel of the Lord.” Verses 20 and 21.
Obviously, Manoah realized that this was not a human body that they had seen. For it was an angel. Can you imagine the astonishment of Manoah and his wife when they realized He was an angel?
The Bible says that the angel did not appear to them any more. They were to go their way and do what the angel had told them to do and not expect to hear more.
Manoah now fears for his life. Verse 22 says, “And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.”
Notice that Manoah actually realizes this isn’t even an ordinary angel, but the angel of the covenant. Perhaps all the symbolism suddenly makes sense to Manoah. It was God Himself. Christ, the redeemer to come.
Also notice that now that the angel has gone Manoah has time for serious reflection. While they were watching the angel, they were silent as we all should be when we see a vision of the almighty in scripture. But now, he speaks. And he speaks of fear.
Verse 23, “But his wife said unto him, If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.”
Sensible woman. Logical. Discerning. And calming. She encourages and strengthens his faith. Isn’t that what our helpmeet is for; to help us, not only with our daily chores and ministry, but to help us by strengthening our faith?
To the Jew, it was understood that if you see God, you die. This preconceived and inaccurate understanding over took him and overwhelmed him. Here the weaker vessel had stronger faith. Perhaps that is why Christ chose to meet with her the second time and for her to call her husband. Two are better than one. If one fall into dejection and despondency the other can raise him up.
Her arguments were the clearest and best argument against Manoah’s fears. “We have received tokens of His favor, she said, why should we fear now? He would not have shown us these strange sights, now at a time when there is little or no open vision.” Remember this was the time before Samuel the prophet, and up to his early years, the scripture says there was no open vision. See 1 Samuel 3:1 “Nor would he have told us we are going to have a son who was going to be a Nazarite and a deliverer of Israel. He would not have told us these things if He was going to kill us. We don’t need to fear. We need to follow.”
The same is true for us. We are not to fear when God gives us special tokens of His favor. God does not design the death of repentant sinners, because He has accepted the sacrifice that Christ offered up for them. Let those who have communion with God in the word and prayer, to whom He has graciously manifested Himself, and who have had reason to think God has accepted them, take courage in every cloudy and dark day. Let them say, “God would not have done what He has done for my soul if He had designed to forsake me, and leave me to perish at last; for His work is perfect. Nor will He mock His people with His favors.” Learn the lesson of Manoah’s wife. “If God had designed me to perish under His wrath, He would not have given me such distinguishing tokens of His favor.” “If God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:31. O woman! Great is thy faith!
Now, let us see if we can summarize the parallels between the life of Samson and God’s last day church.
As his birth was foretold, so was the birth of the last church foretold in many places in the Bible, but especially in Revelation 12. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman (God’s church), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (the last remnant of faithful followers on earth), which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Samson was to be the deliverer of Israel. In this he was a type of Christ, but he is also a type of those living in our day who proclaim God’s full message of deliverance from sin in this wicked and evil generation.
Also, Samson was to deliver Israel through his physical strength. God’s last generation of faithful souls are deliver those who want to be God’s true people through spiritual strength in giving the three angel’s message. When rightly understood and practiced, the three angels message is very strong to deliver.
Samson’s family was given instructions to raise Samson from the womb as a Nazarite, set apart or separated to God for a special work. This pure Nazarite lifestyle included special instructions on health, especially dietary instructions. Samson was to live a pure life unto the Lord, and begin to deliver Israel. Likewise, last generation believers are to live pure and holy lives separating themselves from the world. They too have a health message that they are to live by. They too have been commissioned by God to do a special work just before Jesus comes, and to give a special message of deliverance; deliverance from all sin. They are to proclaim the last warning message to a fallen world to get ready for the coming of Jesus. The times will require a muscular experience with Christ.
Samson was ordained a judge in Israel. The Bible tell us that he judged Israel 20 years. God’s people in the last days are living in a time of judgment, in particular, the investigative judgment. They are to proclaim the judgment hour message, which no other church in history has ever been given to do. They are to teach about Christ’s work of judgment in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary.
God’s people in the last days will also begin to deliver the true Israel from bondage to sin, just as Samson began to deliver Israel from their Philistine enemies. By reaching souls in collaboration with heavenly beings, we are to help them see that by cooperating with God, they can be delivered from the power of sin, and live pure lives according to the scripture.
May God help us to see His will more deeply and broadly. God bless you. Let us pray.
Our Father in heaven, thank You for revealing to us the links between the scriptures and our time. Please help us understand the full meaning of what we have studied today. Show us, by Your Holy Spirit that we have a special work to do. May we learn how to live holy lives unto God, who is our friend and wants to save us. May we also help others to find their way to the Lord and to the great testing truths for this time. In Jesus name, amen.