The account of David slaying the giant Goliath is one of the most well-known Bible stories of all-time. David, the young shepherd boy, through his faith in God, defeated the imposing giant Goliath, saving the nation of Israel from enslavement to their hated enemies, the Philistines.
Among the many wonderful spiritual lessons in this story there is also a prophetic significance. The account itself is a type and shadow of the final battle and victory of Jesus Christ over the False Messiah, the Antichrist, at Armageddon. This article will explain.
Types and Shadows – Key to Understanding the Bible
This article is based on the idea of “types and shadows” in the Bible. This is essentially the Bible’s way of foreshadowing future prophetic events through Old Testament Scripture. Here are some passages that highlight this:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a ‘similitude’ as: 1. Likeness; resemblance; likeness in nature, qualities of appearance; as similitude of substance.
It is very important to understand this concept because this is essentially, the “writing style” the Lord has used to communicate a great deal of revelation in Scripture. The Lord has used much of the historic events of the Old Testament to provide a preview of future events. Whether it be the Passover of Exodus foreshadowing the crucifixion of Christ on the cross and His shed blood which provides the remission of sins or the 12 tribes of Israel and the twelve disciples, there are many similitudes throughout the Bible.
When discussing the events surrounding the Israelites in the wilderness in the book of Exodus, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) Old Testament events provide a preview of the fulfillment of future Bible prophecy. Thus when reading the Bible any future prophetic event should have a type or shadow in a prior part of Scripture. And David and Goliath provides a preview of Jesus Christ’s victory over the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon.
King David as a Foreshadow of Jesus Christ
When studying the life of King David in the Bible, the parallels between he and the Savior Jesus Christ abound.
Names in the Bible, specifically in the Old Testament hold a great deal of significance as they often spoke of a person’s character and nature. The name “Jesus” means “Anointed” or “Chosen.” Jesus was obviously the most chosen person to ever live as He is the Son of God and Messiah. The name David means “beloved.” When King Saul sinned by offering a sacrifice without being a priest, the prophet Samuel informed him that he would lose his Kingdom because God had “the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people..” (1 Samuel 13:14). And God made it clear to the Prophet Samuel that David was indeed Divinely chosen when He said: ” for I have provided me a king…” (1 Samuel 16:1). God sent Samuel to the home of a man named Jesse, only telling the prophet that one of his sons would be the next King of Israel, but not saying which son. In order to determine who God had selected, Samuel had to take a horn of oil and hold it over the heads of each son, and the one the oil fell on was indeed the Chosen One. So like Jesus’ name, David was literally “anointed” with oil when it fell on his head and he was selected as King over Israel.
Not What People Expected
Jesse, had eight sons and David was the youngest. Jesse clearly did not think David could have been the chosen king because when it was time to anoint his sons, he did not even bring David in the house! The world often has its own perception of what a “great leader is.” Even Samuel the Prophet had the same worldly mindset when Jesse’s sons came before him and he saw the tall, imposing son Eliab:
And it came to pass, when they were come, that [Sanmuel] looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
God is not concerned with someone who has “the look” of a leader or a faithful servant. He is concerned with the heart, where faith resides. Where love resides. The Lord is not impressed by those who appear to be for Him but someone who truly believes, is obedient and loves Him (The reader would be mindful to remember this in their own lives). David may not have had “the look” at that time, but He was a man after God’s own heart, which is one of the highest praises anyone ever received in the Bible.
Jesus too was not what people expected from the Savior of the world. He was born in a manger. His parents were not wealthy. He was meek and humble. He traveled with a group of men who were not a part of the religious leadership, but were local fishermen, laborers and a tax collector. Once Jesus started His miraculous ministry, the people expected that He would conquer the Roman empire that occupied Israel at that time and liberate His people. When Jesus performed a miracle to feed thousands of people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, the people were amazed by His power:
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (John 6:14-15).
The people were repeatedly trying to make Jesus a King or doubting Him because of his modest background. The Jewish nation at that time did not understand that the Messiah was coming to save them from sin and that Jesus did not come to lead a rebellion but to die for the sins of humanity so that those who believed in Him could live eternally and be forgiven for their own sin. As with David, Jesus greatly exceeded expectations.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
As soon as he was anointed with the oil, David received God’s Holy Spirit.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).
Jesus too received the Holy Spirit impartation directly from God:
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:13-17 (notice God also calls Jesus “beloved” – which is David’s name).
A Heart and Love For God
Unlike Jesus, who was perfect and did not sin, David had his faults and did make grave sins for which he repented mightily. However, his heart and love for God were great. Unlike most of the Kings of ancient Israel, King David never worshiped false Gods. King David was obedient and trusted in the Lord. King David prayed to God for guidance. He made it his purpose in life to achieve God’s Will. It was David who brought the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Jerusalem, accomplishing God’s plan to have His Holy Ark reside in His Holy City (an event that made David so happy he started dancing). David also wrote most of the Psalms, a book unlike any other for its love, understanding and admiration of God. Reading the Psalms of David makes it clear how devoted he was to The Lord. He had a true relationship with God that comes from a life of studying the Word, prayer and living in a Godly way.
Jesus of course did everything perfectly. He was without sin and carried out the ultimate mission of God for humanity: redemption and a chance for those who believe in Him to escape hell. By giving His life on the cross, Jesus took on the sins of the world for all time and received God’s wrath and by His shed blood there is forgiveness of sins. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to satisfy God’s judgment and now those who put their faith in Him can live eternally. No greater act for God was done. And Jesus did it for the Lord. When faced with the moment of death quickly approaching Jesus prayed and said to God: ” nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” David was very obedient. Jesus was perfectly obedient. David brought the Ark, (which contained the 10 commandments, manna from Heaven and the rod of the high priest) to Jerusalem. Jesus IS the ark as He is “the bread sent from Heaven”, He IS “the Word made flesh” and He is the High Priest of all Christians.
Finally we see both men linked prophetically. God promised David that he would have a son who would have an everlasting Kingdom. (2 Samuel 7). This was a Messianic prophecy. Some of the people during Jesus’ time who actually knew their Bible called Jesus “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us” when they saw Him, properly acknowledging Him as the prophesied Messiah who rule an eternal Kingdom. In the Book of Ezekiel, God refers to the Messiah as “my servant David” (note that King David was already dead at this time).
When the angel Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, he informed her “He shall sit on the throne of His father David.” And of course by blood, Mary and Joseph were both descendants of David in the tribe of Judah. So David was a clear foreshadow of Jesus Christ.
Goliath as a Foreshadow of the Antichrist
They Appear Invincible
And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. – 1 Samuel 17:2-4
Goliath, the Champion and leader of the Philistines was an imposing figure. His height of six cubits put him anywhere from 8-10 feet tall. He was so imposing that no one wanted to take his challenge of a one-on-one battle. He appeared to be unbeatable to the point that the entire nation feared him. The Bible says: “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.” (1 Samuel 17:24). Similarly the Antichrist will have so much military might and power that no one on Earth will dare challenge him: “and all the world wondered after the beast… saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” All of Israel (except for David) feared Goliath’s power just as in the end times the entire world will fear the might of the Antichrist.
Open Defiance and Blasphemy Against God
Goliath was not just a war monger looking for more land to conquer on behalf of his people. He specifically hated God and The Lord’s chosen nation of Israel:
” And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” Notice his brashness. Later we read that: “And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.” Goliath was a pagan. The Antichrist as well will openly and brazenly speak out against The Lord: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13:5-7). The Antichrist will be the ultimate Blasphemer against God and lead the world in outright rebellion and satanic worship.
As discussed above, Goliath’s goal was to defy the nation of Israel and enslave it. The Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will not only seek to persecute the Jewish people, he will also kill the two witnesses sent to Jerusalem in Revelation 11 and he will complete the “Abomination of Desolation”, in the temple of God in Jerusalem. 2 Thessalonians says: “..the son of perdition..Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Israel is a clear target for the Antichrist’s reign of terror as it was for Goliath.
Revelation states that the number 666 is the number of the Antichrist. Numbers are very symbolic in the Bible and Goliath bears the number of the Antichrist as well. Notice that his height is 6 cubits. The description of his weapons and armor show 6 items. And his spears head weight “600 shekels of iron” giving reference to 666. Also of note is that Goliath was a Nephilim hybrid. He was a descendant of the Nephilim of Genesis 6 who were the direct offspring of evil angels who took human women as wives and had children with them (for our article on the Nephilim, see here). After the flood giants continued to have giant children. This is confirmed again in 2 Samuel 21 where Goliath’s brothers, who all have 6 fingers and 6 toes on their hands and feet, are killed. So the number 6 is all over Goliath.
In Revelation 666 is technically called the number of “The Beast”, an alternative name for the Antichrist. It is this author’s belief that like Goliath, the Antichrist will not be fully human (that will explored further in a later article). What is clear in scripture however is the Antichrist will have superhuman power and abilities supplied by Satan himself (like Goliath who received his supernatural size via genetics of Satanically-led angels).
Foreshadow of the Battle of Armageddon
The reader who is closely studying this may have already noticed that in the opening of 1 Samuel 17, the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines takes place with both armies on mountains across from each other with a valley in between. The Battle of Armageddon takes place in a valley at God’s Holy Mountain.
God Provides The Victory
David does not rely on human strength or ingenuity to defeat Goliath. His only source in the battle is God. While the entire nation was terrified of Goliath, David proclaimed: “for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David’s amazing faith was demonstrated once again when he confronted Goliath as he proclaimed:
Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. –1 Samuel 17:45-47
David did not care about Goliath’s size. Why? Because David knew that God was on his side. Notice David credits God for the victory before the battle even begins. David was so reliant on God that he refused King Saul’s armor as protection. Anyone opposing God will fail and be conquered. And the battle was over quickly. Goliath never lands a blow on David. Similarly Jesus, who is God, will defeat the Antichrist and his armies very quickly as well. Jesus shows up and destroys the False Messiah as soon as he appears. There is no real “competition” between God and Satan. The Lord is the true God and infinitely more powerful than Satan, a created being. This will become utterly clear at Armageddon.
When the King Saul questioned whether David could beat Goliath David gave his testimony:
And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. –1 Samuel 17:32-37
Here is the description of the Antichrist from the book of Revelation:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. –Revelation 13:1-2
The Apostle John’s vision of the monster that would be the Antichrist has both bear and lion body parts. So just as David slew the foreshadow of the Antichrist who was as a bear and lion, Jesus Christ will slay the real Antichrist who is bear, lion and leopard.
The Fatal Wound to The Head
David defeated very Goliath by slinging a stone that hit Goliath in his forehead. This foreshadow is repeated in the Bible pointing to the Antichrist who we are told suffers a mortal wound to his head: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3). At some point in his rise to power, the Antichrist will suffer a mortal head wound and come back to life solidifying his false Messianic status among much of the world. So where Goliath the foreshadow died, the Antichrist will recover.
Feast For Animals
Goliath was insulted that the Israelites sent the small young boy David to battle him. After cursing him Goliath gave this taunt: “And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air..” At the battle of Armageddon, we see this come to fulfillment:
“..and the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:20-21.
Notice the language consistency! The exact fate Goliath threatened David with, ended up happening to Goliath and will fall on the armies of the Antichrist at Armageddon. These are similitudes that God uses to teach us His Word.
In David and Goliath we see a type and shadow of Jesus Christ’s victory over the Antichrist. The Lord provides many types and shadows in the Bible. And by studying them, the Old Testament scriptures take on a whole new light. Continue to search for them in Scripture and be blessed by the depth of God’s Word.