Jesus is the Greater Gideon

To properly understand the Old Testament, we must connect it to the person and work of Jesus. This should not be done in an allegorizing manner where arbitrary meanings foreign to Scripture are assigned to Old Testament words and images, thereby changing their meaning. Rather, the meaning of the Old Testament includes symbolism and identity that are most fully revealed in Jesus.  

Unless Jesus is the central message of the Scriptures, errors abound. The most common is moralizing – i.e., reading the Bible not to learn about Jesus but only to learn principles for how to live life as a good person by following the good examples of some people and avoiding the bad examples of others. That kind of approach to the Scriptures is not Christian, because it treats the Bible like one of the endless parade of books that offer moral lessons utterly disconnected from faith in and salvation from Jesus and life empowered by the same Holy Spirit of Jesus.  

The victory of God through Gideon is connected with the coming of Jesus Christ as the greater Gideon. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Jesus was promised to come as the male child born of a virgin and as Immanuel, which means “God with us.” 

A Bible commentary asks: “What is the ultimate meaning of the story? Isaiah 9:1–7 recalls the humbling of Naphtali and Zebulun, and Gideon’s victory in Judges 6–8. Isaiah connects this with the birth of a leader, a child, on whose shoulders the government will rest. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His rule will never end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness, from that time on and forever. This leader will bring peace against the backdrop of Israel’s bloody history of struggle and warfare. We await his return, when he will do to his enemies as he had done to Sisera and Midian. Every battle in Judges points forward to the final victory over sin and Satan. This truth is reiterated in Psalm 83:1–18, where again, what happened to Sisera and what will happen to Midian in the next cycle foreshadow the judgment that will be on all nations.”1 

Further connecting the story of Gideon with Jesus Christ, a Bible commentary says: “Gideon was promised victory in chapter 6, but had not yet fought the battle. Before the denouement, the people of Israel had to simply trust that God was with them. In the same way, we trust God as we approach the end times. His enemies have already been vanquished. Death has no sting—but we still die. Satan is vanquished— yet he still prowls around like a lion. Sin is rendered powerless—yet we still miss the mark. Gideon’s victory anticipates the end of all things, when all the promises of God find their consummate fulfillment. The enemies of God will finally be defeated. This is the ultimate meaning of the Gideon cycle.  

The Midianites met their demise at the trumpet blast of Gideon. With the blast of the trumpet, fire was suddenly revealed that had previously been hidden. This is a picture of the return of the Lord Jesus. In the end, the Son of Man will send his angels with a great trumpet to gather his elect. The last trumpet will sound, and God will give his faithful ones victory over the last enemy. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. When the seventh trumpet sounds, the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever. The New Testament uses the trumpet to announce the end of the world, just as Gideon used it to announce the end of Midianite oppression. Therefore, Gideon’s trumpet looks forward to Jesus’ coming to judge the world. The trumpets and torches announce God’s judgment on Midian and, much later, on the whole world, reserved for fire.”2 

In summary, we are like the Israelites in the days of Judges, doing right in our own eyes and wrong in the eyes of God. Satan and demons are like the Midianites who attacked God’s people to terrorize and traumatize them. Jesus came the first time clothed in the Holy Spirit like Gideon to deliver His people from the slavery and oppression to the demonic forces that are at work in every area of culture and politics. Jesus is coming again as the greater Gideon who comes to judge and make war, and He brings an eternal victory greater than the battle that God won through Gideon’s 300 men, with the one God-Man, Jesus Christ, defeating every person and demon against Him by Himself. God’s people will live forever in the New Jerusalem, which is part of Jesus’ Kingdom as the greater Israel. The little story of Gideon is part of the big story of Scripture with Jesus as the greater Gideon.  

In studying Gideon, what is the big lesson you have learned about God? 

  1. George M. Schwab, Right in Their Own Eyes: The Gospel according to the Book of Judges, ed. Tremper Longman III, The Gospel according to the Old Testament (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2011), 95. 17. George M. Schwab, Right in Their Own Eyes: 
  2. The Gospel according to the Book of Judges, ed. Tremper Longman III, The Gospel according to the Old Testament (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2011), 117–118.

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