“SAMSON took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up.”
For some time past I have had a desire to write a few lines to the pilgrims and strangers scattered abroad throughout the east, west, north and south, many of whom I have met personally, and others I am acquainted with through their writings in the SIGNS. My desire has been hindered by a lack of spiritual thought; this lack is still as great as ever, and I fear it will never be brighter or better with me. I remember however of receiving comfort many times from the writings of those who were, as they felt, not exercised by the Spirit, so perhaps we are not capable of judging our own feelings or writings, but rather should follow our impressions, and leave the matter with the Lord to bless or not as it may seem good to him. The above text is somewhat in my mind, together with a few thoughts which I will give for your consideration. While the world stands the Scriptures will be unfolding to the people of God, but while the seal is broken in one place another portion that we have had light upon will be closed from our view. The ways of God will never cease to be mysterious, and his judgments we can never find out. The Scriptures are a testimony of Jesus, and in reading them we should desire to see him. He is seen in different characters as well as in their word. In the types it requires in some instances several figures to complete (he shadow. For instance, Saul, David and Solomon make a complete figure of Jesus. Saul who was king over Israel was from his shoulders and upward higher than any of the people; this places the head above the body; thus he was head over Israel in all things, being their head or king. Christ is Head over all things to the church, which is his body, he being their Head and King. David was the warrior who met and slew Goliath (death) and delivered Israel. Jesus in the battle against sin conquered death and delivered his people from fear of death. Solomon was the builder of the house unto the Lord, and reigned in his kingdom in judgment and wisdom. Christ builds the spiritual house an habitation for God through the spirit, and reigns in righteousness. Sampson also is in many respects a figure of Jesus, he was Israel’s judge; Christ is the judge of his brethren, and he judges not according to the sight of his eyes, nor after the hearing of his ears, “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor.” What a blessing, should he judge us according to our conversation and our deeds, who could stand in his presence? all would surely be condemned. When Peter cursed and swore and denied him, Jesus did not judge Peter as man would have done, he knew Peter’s heart and that he loved him and believed in him as the Son of God, but to save his own life he denied him. Man’s judgment would have been, Depart, thou cursed, but our righteous Judge only looked upon him, and the look caused Peter to remember, and he wept bitterly because of his sin. Sampson took a wife of the daughters of the Philistines, because none of the daughters of Israel pleased him. So with Jesus none of the daughters of Israel pleased him, and he took his bride from among the Gentiles. Sampson was betrayed into the hands of the Philistines by one whom he loved; Jesus was betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one whom he had chosen and sent out to preach the kingdom of God. Sampson’s eyes were put out, and he was brought into the presence of his enemies to make sport for them. Jesus was blindfolded, spit upon and mocked. The Philistines believed Dagon their god had delivered Sampson into their hands, but the God of Israel had done it. The Jews believed that Pilate had delivered Jesus into their hands to be crucified, but “he was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” Sampson, to avenge and deliver Israel, and Jesus for the forgiveness of the enemies of God. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The house into which Sampson was brought to make sport was tilled with men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there, and upon the roof there were about three thousand men and women, and all beheld while Sampson made sport. We would not be safe in saying what the nature of the sport was, but I think we may well say it was something as humiliating to him as their evil minds could conceive of. Sampson had indeed been their enemy, but he was doing the work (Jod ordained for him, many of their country he had killed by his mighty strength. When he was brought in from the prison, they set him between the pillars, he said to the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth. Then Sampson called unto the Lord, and said, “O Lord God, remember me I pray thee, and strengthen me I pray thee, only this once.” Mow strange it is to see the experience of the chosen of God the same in all ages of the world. When in need or distress they know no time but the present; whatever the trial of yesterday was it seems to be forgotten, and the cry goes up, Lord, help me and strengthen me to-day. “As thy day so shall thy strength be.” Sampson prayed for strength that he might remove the two pillars upon which the house stood. Had the desire been from a heart of malice and rage that the natural passions should be satisfied, the petition would not have been answered, but in that it was answered, we are assured it was indited of God, and his holy purpose was accomplished in the pulling down of the two pillars and the fall of the house. Jesus also prayed in the garden when he sweat as it were great drops of blood, saying, Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. In this he prayed for strength, and “an angel came and strengthened him.” After Sampson had prayed he took hold of the two middle pillars and said, Let me die with the Philistines, and he bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell upon all the lords and on all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life. Thus their power was overthrown, their government unhinged, and their courage daunted. Sampson’s brethren took his body and buried it in his father’s burying place. The greatest battle ever fought was in the death of Jesus, the greatest victory ever won was in his resurrection; he also was numbered with the transgressors, his body was also buried by his brethren (Jews). In his death the two pillars on which the house of Israel stood were removed and the house fell. The law and the prophets were the two pillars that upheld the house or church under the law. In the death of Jesus every demand of the law was satisfied, and the prophecies fulfilled. No more does Moses and Elias appear, Jesus alone is seen, and the voice from heaven says, “This is my beloved Son, hear ye him.” In fulfilling the law and the prophets they were taken out of the way, so that the church to-day is not under the law but under grace. The house that the children of God now inhabit hath foundations whose builder and maker is God, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of her stakes shall be removed, nor one of her cords be broken. In the ministry of Jesus he overcame every enemy, confounding and putting them to flight with his wisdom and might in the Spirit; he also healed hundreds of afflicted ones, but in his death he healed more than in his life, his entire body being made whole, he conquering their every enemy, death, hell and the grave, and now hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. What a blessing we have the gospel preached unto us, and that we are given to obey it in its ordinances and precepts. May we be found in the way, asking for the old paths. No change in doctrine or order since the days of Jesus and the apostle is warranted, since we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. If we are enveloped in darkness and sorely tried by temptations we must wait upon the Lord. This was the life of the Savior, and if the saints could avoid these afflictions they could never know the fellowship of his sufferings, without which they could never know the power of his resurrection.
H. C. KER.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 72, No. 8.
April 15, 1904