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The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 01-07-01

The Doctrine of the Enemies of the Cross. Part 4.

Point 8 in the Doctrine of Enemyship is the principle that God is the enemy of the reversionistic believer.  In 1Sa 28 we see two believers, one who is carnal, another who is reversionistic. David is in carnality at this time in his life, as we noted under Point 7. Carnal believers are temporary enemies of God because they are no longer in fellowship with Him, ROM 8:7-8. Saul is a reversionistic believer under the sin unto death as revealed in 1SA 28:16.

The setting here is interesting; the Philistines were the enemies of Israel, and because David had failed to wait upon the Lord, he has now compromised his doctrine and is on the side of Israel's enemy.

1SA 28:1  Now it came about in those days that the Philistines gathered their armed camps for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish [the Philistine king] said to David, "Know assuredly that you will go out with me in the camp, you and your men."

David, while running from King Saul, had allied himself with the Philistine king and is now in a serious jam, as he finds himself going to war against his own people. In 1SA 28:2, "And David said to Achish, 'Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.'" David finds himself lying to King Achish, who had been a good friend to him.

1SA 28:3Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his own city.

Samuel had been the leader and teacher of Israel all his life. The priests would communicate the written word, and Samuel and the prophets would communicate the spoken word they received through revelation. Samuel was a prophet and a priest, the last of the judges, who were being replaced by a king. While Saul was the people's choice for king, God's choice was for Samuel and David.

1SA 28:3And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums [witches] and spiritists [wizards].

The city of Ramah was known as a center of doctrinal teaching, a place Saul passed by many times (a perfect commentary on Saul, for he was always "by-passing" doctrine). "Mediums" in the Hebrew refers to those who are controlled by ventriloquist demons (necromancers, or those who claim to communicate with the dead). "Wizards" are men who claimed to have contact with ghosts and the spirit world. At the time of Samuel's death, Saul had removed all the witches and wizards, and had no interest in them. Contact with such people was specifically forbidden by the Word of God in Lev 19:31, 20:6. Demon-possessed people destroy their society and nation. Saul will die the sin unto death for seeking counsel from a demon-possessed woman, 1CH 10:13.

1SA 28:4  So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa.

These two armies are a mere four miles apart and within eyesight of each other. Shunem is a much more strategic location, and is between Gilboa and En-dor; therefore, Saul's trip to En-dor is a very dangerous one. Saul, a typical unstable emotional reversionist, is afraid of the Philistines but brave enough to go through their lines to get to En-dor.

1SA 28:5  When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly.

The first stage of Saul's reversionism was his hatred of David.  Through continued negative volition toward doctrine he advanced his reversionism to the second stage, the frantic search for peace and happiness. He tried to eliminate David from his life. This led to the third stage, the backfire stage (operation "boomerang"). The more he pursued David the more David prospered, and the more jealous Saul became. Once he entered the fourth stage, theemotional revolt of the soul, Saul was no longer a rational person. He was no longer a good administrator, leader, or military general, and he began to fail in every area of life. In the fifth stage of reversionism, he began to neglect the intake of doctrine. He ignored the great messages of Samuel. He became antagonistic toward Samuel because he had anointed David the next king. This led to the sixth stage, blackout of the soul (EPH 4:18).  Saul's mind was blinded from truth, and his soul received the "doctrines of demons" of 1TI 4:1. He will now enter the seventh stage, the revenge stage, trying to get even with David.

Saul, as a backslider, was filled with anxiety and fear. In time of prosperity, the backslider never thinks of God. He is occupied with whatever prosperity he has. However, in time of disaster, he always runs to God for help, 1SA 28:6,"When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets." The "Urim" were the lights of the ephod, which was worn by the priests. If the "Urim" (on the right shoulder) lit up, it meant the Lord was with them, and then the "Thummim" (on the left shoulder) would give them answers in more detail.

1SA 28:7  Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his servants said to him, "Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor."

En-dor was a town filled with numerous caves, and apparently the location where many of those who were demon-possessed were living. Saul is so confused, double-minded, and desperate that he is doing exactly what he knows he should not do. He is relying on human viewpoint and seeking counsel from a witch.

1SA 28:8  Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes [He had to disguise himself, not only because of the Philistines, but because he had ordered the execution of witches. Saul was the king who had prohibited divination and necromancy, and now, in the last stages of reversionism, he seeks help from the very ones he once outlawed.], and went, he and two men with him and they came to the woman by night and he said, "Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you."

Here is a reversionistic believer who should have been listening to doctrine; instead he is creeping from rock to rock on his way to have a séance with a witch. The witch of En-dor is very skeptical; in fact, it seems that she suspects a trap from the beginning. However, Saul is going to have his request fulfilled, much to the surprise of both the witch and her demon - they are going to get the shock of their lives!

The witch of En-dor does not follow the typical stereotype of demon possession. She is not violent, foaming at the mouth, and totally lawless. She looks and acts very normal. Notice however, that she does not recognize Saul, 1SA 28:9, "But the woman said to him, 'Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land.'" Even the demon who possessed her did not know that this was Saul, and she received no warning. Demons are simply fallen angels with a fallen nature, and many are not extremely intelligent. Only a minority of demons excercise leadership and rulership. Demons, like humans, are not created equal and possess different levels of authority, Eph 6:12. Saul is not demon-possessed but he is under demon influence. Saul is not a winner believer (and therefore does not have a demon assigned by Satan to watch him), but he is being influenced by demons much more clever than the one who possesses the witch of En-dor. The demons that teach false doctrine are some of the most dangerous and ingenius of all fallen angels, while the ones that act as ventriloquists usually are not. 

We see two types of individuals here:

1. A woman who is demon-possessed but understands the laws of the land.

2. A man who is demon-influenced and is now lawless.

The kingdom of darkness will not oppose King Saul as long as he is a reversionist. Saul is Satan's man, even though he is a believer; he has become an enemy of God.

1SA 28:10  And Saul vowed to her by the Lord, saying, "As the Lord lives, there shall no punishment come upon you for this thing."

Saul used his staff to find the witch, used his army to chase David, and used the Lord's name to persuade the woman, whom he was using to get to Samuel. Saul, like all reversionists, uses others, and he is using the Lord's name in vain. The promise of Saul is no greater than the character of Saul. Believers like Saul are unstable, selfish, vindictive, jealous, implacable, and unreliable, and cannot be trusted.

1SA 28:11  Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?"  [This is a satanic lie, because only God's sovereignty can bring someone back from the dead.] And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me."

1SA 28:12  When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul."

King Saul is sitting at a table waiting for the witch of En-dor to do her thing, but instead she stands up and starts screaming. She screams because something has happened that never once happened at any of her previous séances - a dead person has really come back to life. God in his great sense of humor actually brings Samuel back! What was intended to be a fake has gone terribly wrong! What is amusing about this situation is that Saul, the king of Israel, who has been frightened all day, is not frightened at all right now. For the first time all day Saul has forgotten his fear. He is totally fascinated by what is going on. Unlike the witch and her demon, he exhibits no reaction of shock and fear, 1SA 28:13, "And the king said to her, 'Do not be afraid; but what do you see?' And the woman said to Saul, 'I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.'" She literally said, "ra`ah elohim" ("I see gods"). The woman has never seen anything like this before, so she assumes it is a god. It is interesting to note how she begins to think when the Lord interrupts her little scam. A great principle to discover is the fact that when God interrupts anything in life it gives those involved the chance to think. Catastrophe, many times, is designed to awaken people out of their spiritual sleep.

The woman sees Samuel but Saul does not; she is apparently looking behind Saul. Saul, however, is able to identify Samuel from her description, 1SA 28:14, "And he said to her, 'What is his form?' And she said, 'An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.' And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage." She now realizes what she is seeing.

Only God can bring people back from the dead, and He has done so on several occasions. At times, He has brought certain people back in a physical body, sometimes to give a message (MAT 27:53); this is resuscitation as opposed to resurrection. In resuscitation, a person returns from the dead in a body of corruption and eventually dies again (e.g., Lazarus, Paul in 1Co 15, the sleeping church-goer in Act 20:9, and Elijah and Moses during the Tribulation). Apart from this, the souls and spirits of those who are dead cannot communicate with the living or return from the dead, 2SA 12:23, LUK 16:27-31.

Saul finally recognizes the authority of Samuel. If he had recognized Samuel's authority in the past, he would not be on the road to death now. We could all avoid so much heartache and difficulty if we would only humble ourselves and surrender to the teaching of the Word of God. We are no different than Saul when we are without doctrine. Saul had everything going for him, and he lost it all because he failed to recognize the authority of Bible doctrine and his Bible teacher (1CH 10:13-14). His failure not only hurt him, but also those associated with him. Saul is the typical reversionistic believer; he is now in a jam and suddenly he respects and needs his doctrinal teacher.


1. Even a reversionistic believer like Saul eventually recognizes the authority of the one who communicated doctrine to him.

2. The absence of doctrine in Saul's life has caused him to be forcibly humbled and to prostrate himself on the ground before Samuel.

3. The reversionistic believer will seek help from doctrine after many years of rejecting it. 

4. It is possible for a believer to start searching for doctrine when it is already too late.

5. Those who reject doctrine are always ready to inconvenience others to get them to "wave the magic wand" for them.

6. The hypersensitive reversionist is totally insensitive toward the feelings of others.

7. Those who reject doctrinal teaching usually expect the pastor to give them instant attention plus instant miracles.

8. The responsibility of the communicator of doctrine is to teach those that are positive rather than personally counsel people.

1SA 28:15  Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"

Samuel was not filled with sweetness and "brotherly love" when he came into the room. He was not happy about being disturbed, especially since the message that he will give now he had already given before.  Samuel has already taught Saul that he was going to lose the kingdom. Saul, however, is totally thoughtless and self-centered.  He inconsiderately demands the attention of others. When the discipline of the reversionist is intensified, he becomes very selfish and very unpleasant to be around. And that is the sad story of King Saul.

The only cure for the reversionistic believer is (1) homologeo (rebound), 1JO 1:9, (2) metanoia (repentance), REV 3:19, and (3) the "breathing of the soul," EPH 4:23. Repentance and the change of one's mind and attitude includes (1) consistent exposure to Bible doctrine, (2) the setting aside of the details of life, and (3) concentration and  intensification of a "crash diet" of Bible doctrine.

Point 9: The reversionistic believer is the enemy of God. Through his rejection of God's Word and his fellowship with the world (cosmic system), the reversionist appoints himself the enemy of God, JAM 4:4.

Point 10: The reversionist is also the "enemy of the Cross." This is the subject of PHI 3:18, which we have recently studied in detail.

Point 11: The pastor who counters legalism with truth is considered the enemy of the legalist. In GAL 4:16, the Apostle Paul wrote, "Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?"

This concludes the Doctrine of Enemyship.  

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