I have often talked about Saul as an important type of the church during the Pentecostal Age. Yet before he was crowned king on the day of wheat harvest, i.e., Pentecost, he was actually a type Christ, prophesying of deliverance over the devil through the power of the cross.
Saul’s coronation took place in 1 Samuel 12, but he was a type of Christ in chapter 11.
1 Samuel 11:1, 2 begins that story:
1 Now Nahash the Ammonite came up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will make it a reproach on all Israel.”
The name Nahash, or Nachash, means “serpent” and is the tempter in Gen. 3:1,
1 Now the serpent [nahash] was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
Hence, this story of Saul, prior to his coronation on Pentecost, represents a pre-pentecostal prophecy of Christ’s deliverance from the power of “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
The Covenant with Nahash
By obeying the serpent, both Eve and Adam submitted to his word and thereby made a covenant with Nahash. The story of Saul’s complete victory over Nahash prophesies of Christ’s complete victory over the same devil through His death and resurrection. In fact, Israel itself had entered into the same “covenant with death” through their disobedience. We read in Isaiah 28:15-18,
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, as with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge, and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”
Hence, the Israelites did what Adam and Eve did. The covenant with death meant that Sheol, “the grave,” had a legal claim on them. Yet the people entertained a false sense of security, denying that this “overwhelming scourge” (showt, “whip”) would affect them. Like Adam and Eve, who hid themselves with fig leaves (Gen. 3:7, 8), so also the Israelites had “concealed” themselves with doctrinal lies and self-deception.
This, in effect, gives us the spiritual meaning of the fig leaves. Fig leaves are man-made attempts to hide one’s nakedness (i.e., exposure for sin). It is self-justification by man’s works, as opposed to applying the blood of Jesus that alone can cleanse us from all sin.
The fig-leaf theme is developed further in the fig tree that Jesus cursed for having abundant leaves but no fruit.
Isaiah 28:16 continues,
16 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.”
Paul quoted this in Rom. 9:32, 33, telling us that this “stone” had become a “stumbling stone” for the Jews, who had resorted to deceptive fig leaves to hide their guilt.
1 Peter 2:6-8 comments on this “stone” again, telling us that to believers it is a corner stone, but to unbelievers it is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”
Isaiah 28:17, 18 concludes,
17 I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the level; then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and the waters will overflow the secret place [cether, “covering, that which conceals”]. 18 Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place.
The hail of truth, used in spiritual warfare (Job 38:22, 23), will shred the false covering for sin, so that their “covenant of death will be canceled.” While this judgment may bring pain and fear, it will ultimately result in the salvation and immortality for all, for that is its purpose.
Blindness in Part
King Nahash of the Ammonites insisted that the men of Jabesh-gilead would permit themselves to be blinded in their right eye as part of this covenant with death. In those days, most men held their shields in their left hand and peered out from behind the shield using their right eye.
The immediate purpose of putting out their right eye was to make it impossible to revolt or defend themselves for at least a generation.
Prophetically speaking, we can say that making a covenant with death prevents men from engaging in spiritual warfare. The sin of Adam put a veil of blindness over all the nations (Isaiah 25:7), blinding them to the light of truth. More specifically, God put blindness upon Israel (Isaiah 6:9, 10; 44:18) until the time of the end.
The people of Jabesh-gilead asked for a week in which to see if any would come to deliver them. If not, they would submit to the covenant and agree to be blinded. So they sent messengers to the tribes of Israel. Some messengers came to Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, and told them of their dire situation. 1 Sam. 11:6, 7 says,
6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen….”
Saul led the Israelites into battle and destroyed the Ammonite army that had laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. The fate of Nahash himself is not recorded, but we may assume that he was killed in the battle. Nonetheless, the divine silence seems to be necessary to include a broader prophecy about the old serpent’s fate. Though Jesus sealed his fate at the cross and through His resurrection, he is not fully bound until the second work of Christ (Rev. 20:2).
The story concludes with the fact that Saul had proven that he was worthy of the throne. 1 Sam. 12:12, 13 says,
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished deliverance in Israel.”
Christ later “accomplished deliverance,” which showed that He too was worthy of the throne. The Hebrew word translated “deliverance” here is teshua, which is made up of two Hebrew words, shava, “to cry out” (for help) and yasha, “to save” which is the root word of Yeshua, or Jesus.
Those who questioned Saul’s fitness to be Israel’s king were not put to death but were delivered (or saved). So also those who have questioned Jesus’ right to rule the earth will be saved as well.
The story ends in Gilgal, the place where Saul was crowned king of Israel. 1 Sam. 11:14, 15 says,
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
Recall that Saul had been looking for his lost donkeys when Samuel anointed him to be the king in Israel (1 Sam. 10:1). That anointing was done in secret, but Samuel then called for a public assembly at Mizpah (10:17), where they used the Urim and Thummim to determine which tribe, family, and individual was called to be king (10:20, 21).
But some questioned Saul’s fitness. 1 Sam. 10:27 says,
27 But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.
Here we see a direct parallel to Jesus, who too was “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3 KJV). Both Saul and Jesus were silent in the face of their accusers.
Shortly after the assembly at Mizpeh, messengers arrived from Jabesh-gilead, and Saul arose to bring deliverance to the city. After this one-day victory, the people went directly to Gilgal, where Saul was finally crowned king of Israel. Thereafter, he became a type of the church under Pentecost.
David’s son, Solomon, was said to be the wisest man on earth, having been gifted with wisdom. At the beginning of his reign, he went to Gibeon to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Then in 1 Kings 3:5 we read,
5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”
Solomon’s request is given in 1 Kings 3:9,
9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge the great people of Yours?
God was pleased with his request and told him in verse 12, “Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.”
Later, the Queen of Sheba heard of his fame and wisdom and came to see if the reports were true. 1 Kings 10:4-7 says,
4 When the queen of Sheba perceived all the wisdom of Solomon… [she told him] 7 “I did not believe the reports until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard.”
1 Kings 3:28 says that the Israelites “fear the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” In the New Testament, Christ is called “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). Solomon, then, was a type of Christ in his ability to discern and judge the people righteously.
The Queen herself was an example and prophetic type of all the kings of the earth. 1 Kings 10:24, 25 says,
24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 25 They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
The Prince of Peace
Solomon’s name means “peaceful,” being derived from shalom, “peace.” Being the son of David, he was a prince; therefore, he was a “Prince of Peace,” a title otherwise reserved for the Messiah (Isaiah 9:6).
This too makes Solomon a prophetic type of Christ, but this time in relation to his ability to bring about shalom. Not only did Solomon reign in peacetime, but shalom suggests wholeness in health, rest, and well-being on every level, including “prosperity,” as the Queen of Sheba said.
When we come to the New Testament, we find Jesus in command of nature itself. He stilled the storm on the lake with the command, “Peace; be still” (Mark 4:39, KJV). Jesus spoke a single word: Shalom, and Mark interprets it further by adding “be still.”
Prophetically speaking the sea (water in turmoil) pictures the nations in a state of war and unrest. John tells us in Rev. 17:15,
15 And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.”
The contrast between the wicked and those who follow the Prince of Peace is seen in Isaiah 57:1-21,
19 … “Peace, peace [shalom, shalom] to him who is far and to him who is near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. 21 There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
Paul tells us in Col. 3:15 to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” We discern the voice of God and confirm His will by the measure of “peace” in our hearts.
All of these elements of peace are bound up in the word shalom and point to the nature of Christ Himself, who is the Prince of Peace.
The Temple Builder
Solomon was chosen to build the temple of God in Jerusalem, and he dedicated it on the feast of Tabernacles. Christ later cleansed the temple at Passover and will dedicate the true temple at a future Tabernacles feast.
God did not allow his father David to build the temple but only to gather the materials and draw up the blueprint as God showed him. 1 Chron. 28:11, 12 says,
11 Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its store-houses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat; 12 and the plan of all that he had in mind for the courts of the house of the Lord…
1 Chron. 28:2, 3 says,
2 Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent house for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it. 3 But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood’.”
The true temple was not to be founded on bloodshed and war, because it was a house of prayer for all people, both Israelites and non-Israelites. David was “a man of war,” but Solomon was a “Prince of Peace.” Spiritual warfare prepares the way for a man of peace to build the temple.
Another way of looking at it is that the true temple is built through peace, not through conquest. Conquest by force is done through the arm of flesh; but when foreigners seek God with their whole heart, they come peaceably of their own accord.
Paul says in 1 Cor. 3:16 that “you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.” As individuals, we are each a temple of God. But on another level, we are just “living stones” of a larger temple (1 Pet. 2:5). This larger temple is described in Eph. 2:21, 22,
21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
This is the temple prophesied in the Old Testament. It is not made of wood and stone but of people who are classed as “living stones,” stones that are alive. This new temple is built in the heavenly Jerusalem, not the old city.
Paul tells us in Gal. 4:25 that the earthly Jerusalem is “Hagar,” who can only bring forth fleshly children (4:23), who are not inheritors (4:30). Those who claim Hagar as their mother and live by Old Covenant beliefs will, in the end, be cast out until they repent and alter their claims.
The point is that Solomon’s temple typified a greater temple yet to come, a temple that was not built with dead materials but was built with living beings. Those who teach that another temple must be built in “Hagar” Jerusalem, from which place Christ will reign on earth during the Age to come are looking to the wrong place.
If such a temple is indeed built, it will be just another temple built by men of war. That site was conquered by the Israelis in 1967, and now, it seems, they plan to attack the mosque, blow it up, and replace it with a Jewish temple. They think that today God will be pleased with a temple built upon war and forcible subjugation of “enemies,” even though He forbade King David from doing so.
Hence, Solomon was a type of Christ insofar as the requirements for the temple were concerned. The Prince of Peace has been building His temple for a long time already, and it is being built upon New Covenant foundations and in an entirely different Jerusalem.
The Universal House of Prayer
When the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon, she was a type of all the nations who would seek to see the glory of God in the Kingdom. She brought many gifts, including “a hundred and twenty talents of gold” (1 Kings 10:10). The number 120 always signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.
Isaiah 60:5 says “the wealth of nations will come to you.” Isaiah 61:6 says, “You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.” This prophecy has been twisted many times to promote carnal ideas of self-interest, where men think the nations will be enslaved to the Jews.
But in the context of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (120), it is clear that the nations will be blessed, not enslaved. Thus will the calling of Abraham be fulfilled through those who are his children by faith: “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:4).
Acts 3:25, 26 tells us how the nations will be blessed.
25 … saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.
In other words, to fulfill the calling of Abraham means that everyone will be turned from their wicked ways. That is how God defines “blessing.” It is not in terms of financial prosperity but in things of true value—people.
More broadly speaking, to bless the nations means to open up the temple as a house of prayer for all people. So we read in Isaiah 56:6-8,
6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord… 7 even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer… For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
This temple will have no dividing wall separating Jews from non-Jews and men from women, for Jesus destroyed that ungodly tradition of men (Eph. 2:14-16). We are all equal citizens of the Kingdom, having the right to approach the very throne of grace without barriers.
Unfortunately, the last half of Solomon’s reign was evil and ceased to prophesy of the coming Kingdom.