In 1 Kings 1 we see a pattern involving Adonijah and Solomon that reminds us of 1) the man of lawlessness prophesied to rise in the latter days of the New Testament church, and 2) the shepherds who try to lord it over God’s flock in our day.
First, the apostles made clear that in the last days, “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or “antichrist” (1 John 2:18) would appear. The “man of lawlessness” title refers to an outward profession of spirituality but an inward condition of death (Matthew 7:22-23). The “antichrist” title refers to the actual opposing of Christ – in the same way that the Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Christ and sought themselves to sit in the seat of Moses (Matthew 23:2). Only there wouldn’t be one of them – there would be many of them. This is why the apostle John wrote:
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
And this is just as Paul himself had said things would go when he was giving his farewell exhortation to to the leaders of the church in Ephesus:
Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Acts 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
For this reason the apostle Peter wrote to church leaders as follows:
1 Peter 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
1 Peter 5:3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Peter didn’t want any of the elders lording it over people as we certainly never saw the apostles lording it over people. Peter did not worry about successors for the elders because the Lord Himself was soon coming.
This brings us to the second point: the leaders of today’s organized church. They are seeking to take Christ’s place as shepherd of the flock. There is, however, only one shepherd of the flock in this the eternal age.
Therefore, watch how Adonijah seeks to acquire the glory that is due the king alone. Solomon is the true king; Adonijah is a usurper.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.