A blogger called JRed posted this, and I really hope that JRed will forgive me for posting it onto my own blog - I would link it instead if I was more computer savvy, but I just thought it was too interesting an article not to share.
Today, I want to try to explain my perspective on why understanding symbolism is important especially to those who study prophecy.
Let's face it, symbolism is an integral part of prophecy. It is used throughout the Bible, but definitely a key component to prophecy. What would the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation be without the use of symbols? Thus, it behooves us to try to understand the role that symbolism has played throughout the course of history as well as the vital role it continues to play today. The Secret Sun blog has something to say about it here and also here.
Surely, there are some people out there who will say that any serious study of symbolism in relation to the Bible and its prophecies is one big load of crap. Not only that, they think it may rightly be considered heresy since they feel it really is deceptive and keeps us from studying and thinking about what they say is really important.
While that's obviously an important question to consider and ask ourselves (let alone take to the Lord in prayer), another important question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not this is EXACTLY what Satan wants us to believe to keep us from searching for God and developing a deeper relationship with Him through a search for the truth.
I mean, after all, who are we to decide what's "important" and what's "not important" when it comes to God and His Word as found in the Holy Bible? It's either all or nothing. We can't simply pick and choose for ourselves. It doesn't work that way.
Yes, Christianity is a "revealed religion," it’s not an esoteric religion. The Bible speaks for itself and the Spirit leads us to understanding of it. For these reasons alone, these people suggest that to study things like symbolism, to give them an important role in all of this, is to pervert the Bible. Again, I get what they're saying and we should consider that possibility. At the same time, why did God put so much symbolism in His Holy Bible especially pertaining to the end times if it was "heresy" and unimportant?
We're the ONLY creatures on the planet that use symbols in reference to something else. We use symbols for absolutely EVERYTHING the mind can conceive of. Is it any wonder then that God in His infinite wisdom decided to wrap His prophecies for the end times in a similar language? However, I believe He always intended for us to reach the same conclusions, but on our own accord, by our own efforts, and through our own thirst for the knowledge of the truth (obtained only through aggressively seeking Him and studying His Word), instead of solely relying on others to interpret things for us and doing the work we were meant to do.
If you have not seen this video I recommend viewing it, but remember - believe nothing and research everything for yourself to test and verify. Then, prayerfully consider what you have discovered. For those Christians who have continued to keep their "eyes wide shut" this well thought out video should serve as a good primer.
Again, we must ask ourselves why God cloaked Bible prophecies in symbols?
Luke 8:10 - "And He said, 'To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'"
Many of the apocalyptic prophecies were given while the prophets were in a hostile foreign land. Perhaps one reason God cloaked the prophecies in symbols was to protect the messages. Take some time to view this video in parts or from beginning to end so that you can continue with today's column holding a better understanding of symbolism and it's active and powerful presence in our daily lives as well as its key role in understanding prophecy.
A, B, C - ACORNS, BEES, SEE WHAT'S NEXT?
A hat tip to The 2012 Apocalypse for this bizarre story. Looks like we can add acorns to the list that includes bees as "Things-In-Nature-That-Seem-To-Be-Disappearing," and not only that, but at an alarming and inexplicable rate these days.
This report at the Washington Post claims the problem is widespread, from Kansas to Nova Scotia. Here are some excerpts:
"The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head."
"Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill."
"But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing."
"Zell began to do some research. He found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called 'No acorns this year,' reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. 'We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don't have any acorns this year. Really weird,' wrote one. 'None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser.' Jennifer Klepper of Annapolis even blogged about it."
"Last spring was so wet, he reasoned, perhaps the pollen was washed out of the air and down storm drains before it had time to do its work. Ed Zimmer, regional forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry, doesn't buy that. 'It would have to be Noah's flood kind of rain for me to believe that. Forty days of constant rain,' he said." (MY NOTE: interesting use of a biblical account within this news story, no?)
It's an extremely weird story much like similar reports of honeybee colonies disappearing and killing millions of bees. I learned that the issue with the bees first began in 2004, and $15 billion in U.S. crops each year are dependent upon bees for pollination.
Unfortunately, I have nothing substantial to add to this except to say that I just think it's more proof that God is using nature to reveal Himself to us just as He uses everything else in this world to try and get our attention. You better believe I'll be looking for acorns myself here in Buffalo, NY the next time I'm outside!
I tried to find statistics that were equally eye-popping for this acorn story, but came up empty. All I could find of significance was that Oaks live forever (sometimes as long as 200 years or more!), and that when they eventually die it's usually from natural causes and from an infection from within. Also, Oak trees in Marin County (which is north of San Francisco, CA) are dying at a rate that has reached epidemic proportions, and scientists still don't know the cause of this. Oaks, which typically take a year or so to die from infections, have been reported to die in just two to three weeks. Such massive die back of live Oaks has never been reported in California, and a severe environmental crisis is expected in the months and years to come.
A TRULY REMARKABLE CREATION FROM OUR CREATOR!
On second thought, eureka! If nothing else, perhaps this whole phenomenon is to be viewed as being very symbolic to us or, what I mean to say is that we might be able to take something very important from this story. Think of it as the "Oak Tree And Acorn Prophecy" in that there's definitely a message here for us to consider when you take a close look at this particular part of creation that God gave to us.
First, you have to ask yourself whether or not you believe that God can and does speak to us through His creation. I believe that He does this daily through nature; revealing Himself to us wherever we might go. We see it in the dependable cycles of the seasons for instance. So, if God does use His creation to reveal Himself to us, and to get our attention then perhaps we should spend a little more time considering what He could be telling us here with the Oak trees and acorns.
There are over 600 varieties of Oaks, ranging over a vast geographical area. Although thousands upon thousands of acorns are produced annually, very few of these ultimately manage to evolve into an Oak tree. As mentioned, some Oak trees can live well over 200 years, which is why they've historically been equated to symbols of strength and endurance. These concepts weren't lost upon various cultures or the arts either.
The poet Alfred Tennyson wrote,
"Live thy life,
Young and old,
Like yon Oak,
Bright in spring,
The writer Shirley Ann Grau wrote, "Oak trees come out of acorns, no matter how unlikely that seems. An acorn is just a tree's way back into the ground. For another try. Another trip through. One life for another". According to E. F. Schumacher, "Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become Oak trees." Other famous sayings include, "Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow" and, "Every majestic Oak tree was once a nut who stood his ground."
It held a place of special importance with the English later as the whole edifice of their Empire rested ultimately on the majestic Oak; nearly all of the ships that made them such a great naval power were constructed of Oak wood. The iron used for their weapons was also smelted using Oak wood. Churches and other buildings were constructed out of Oak. Oak wood was also used and is still considered the best medium for ageing Scotch whiskey. Oak bark has medicinal value and was used also in tanning and dyeing. Oak acorns provided food for animals as well as humans; it is also a source for tannin and oil.
Yet, when we look at the mythological and religious connotations associated with the Oak tree a more sinister pattern emerges. The question is, should that concern us?
OAK TREES HAVE HISTORIC, MYTHOLOGICAL, AND RELIGIOUS ROOTS
For thousands of years, indigenous people all over the world have attributed magical properties to trees, which are said to have particular personalities along with healing powers and messages for us. The Oak tree is one of the most famous of magical trees, and is considered sacred in many parts of the world. It has been associated with the "World Tree," and creation myths in which the first human was born from its leaves.
In Celtic mythology it is "the tree of doors," believed to be a gateway between worlds, or a place where portals could be erected. In Norse mythology, the Oak was sacred to the thunder god, Thor. Some scholars speculate that this is because the Oak, as the largest tree in northern Europe, was the one most often struck by lightning. Thor's Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic Chatti tribe. Its destruction marked the Christianisation of the heathen tribes by the Franks. In Classical mythology the Oak was a symbol of Zeus and his sacred tree. An example is the oracle of Dodona, which in prehistory consisted solely of a holy Oak.
The druids favored the mighty Oak as it was believed to impart divine knowledge. The leaves of the Oak whispered secrets, and the acorns were considered magical. When eaten, the acorns would give magical powers and the gifts of prophecy.
Buddha allegedly sat down under a Bodhi tree (Oak tree?) and meditated until he found enlightenment and produced the Four Noble Truths.
Oakland, California. The area was called "encinal" by the original Spanish colonizers, a word which means "Oak grove," and the origin of the city's name. It was so dubbed, because of a large stand of Oak forest that differentiated it from the surrounding region. The Oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of England, Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, Basque Country, Wales and Serbia. Oak leaves also symbolize rank in the United States Armed Forces.
But what about it's place in the Holy Bible? The oak is mentioned over 60 times in the Bible! In Genesis 18, the majestic Oak tree is designated as the tree under which Abraham greeted two angels and supposedly God Himself, all disguised as travelers. The Oak tree at Shechem is the site where Jacob buries the foreign gods of his people (Genesis 35:4). In addition, Joshua erects a stone under an Oak tree as the first covenant of the Lord (Joshua 24,25). But let's take an even closer look at where this tree shows up in Scripture to see if it can give us any pertinent information.
The Hill of Bashan celebrated for the Oak tree (Isaiah 2:13).
The Oak tree is described as strong (Amos 2:9), thick spreading (2 Samuel 18:9; Ezekiel 6:13), and casting its leaves in winter (Isaiah 6:13).
The Tyrian made oars of Oak (Ezekiel 27:6).
Idolaters often made idols out of Oak (Isaiah 44:14).
The ancients often rested under the Oak (Judges 6:11; Judges 6:19; 1 Kings 13:14), buried their dead under the Oak (Genesis 35:8; 1 Chronicles 10:12), erected monuments under the Oak (Joshua 24:26), and performed idolatrous rites under the Oak (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 57:5; Ezekiel 6:13; Hosea 4:13).
Absalom in his flight is intercepted by, and suspended from an Oak tree (2 Samuel 18:9-10; 2 Samuel 18:14).
Jacob buried his family idols under an Oak tree (Isaiah 2:13; Zechariah 11:2).
Fading, of the wicked under judgments likened to the life and death of an Oak tree (Isaiah 1:30).
Clearly, the mighty Oak and its acorns have been held in high esteem for centuries. Isn't it fascinating then to consider the symbolic if not prophetic implications of today's news story?
And why not? Even the greatest myths and legends hold elements of truth, and once you throw the Holy Bible into the mix and add a distinct spiritual connection things move from lore to legitimacy.
SO WHAT IS THIS OAK TREE AND ACORN PROPHECY?
Simply put, I don't think it's absurd to assume that there's something to be said about the relationship between the sudden and unexpected death of Oak trees along with the sudden disappearance of acorns, and the sudden decline (and soon to be unexpected death?) of the United States given where we are on the prophetic timeline.
Now, think about the nature (no pun intended) and tone of the subject matter presented here over the past few weeks, and you have a what I see as being yet another clear warning to America - - the world's mighty Oak (a symbol of international strength and endurance for just over 200 years). It can't be a coincidence, can it?
Once you include some of the things we find the Oak tree associated with in the Bible the correlation crystallizes a bit. I mean, consider that many of these references have to do with idols and idol worship. Others have to do with judgment administered upon the wicked and unrepentant. Plus, where do many of these references to the Oak tree show up in the Bible - - Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and Zechariah - - all books that are clearly provide us with prophecies for these end times!
The coup de gras for me was when I learned about a connection between the Israeli Temple Institute and the Oak tree. Apparently, they recently held the first "crimson worm" harvest in 2,000 years to prepare priestly garments in preparation for the rebuilding of the Temple!
Is all of this a mere coincidence too?
Another blogger recently wrote that if a person has enough time they'll find "connections" and "signs" where there aren't any. Where some see paranoia and delusions, I see passion and determination to seek out and understand the truth. There's no shame in that.
Besides, as always, I believe the Bible is the ultimate authority that tells us all we need to know on this subject.
Exodus 20:4 - "Thou shalt not make for yourself a graven image..."
Perhaps symbolism is one way God speaks to the world today. If so, it would explain its presence throughout the Bible (particularly in the prophetic literature) as well as His command to us here to be mindful that we do not create "a graven image" (a symbol) for ourselves.
If you're the type of person who believes that the order the Ten Commandments were given to us is indicative of how significant they are to God (a moral hierarchy of sorts) then it's equally fascinating to note that this commandment comes before "Thou shalt not kill..."
Personally, I'm not quite sure what it all means right, but that was never my main intent since I just wanted to point out some of the odd connections I was seeing in all of this. Whatever the case may be, I definitely don't think it's a good thing or a good sign for us. The Oak tree is attached to far more negative dare I say evil symbolism than good so there you go.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Did I mention that the infamous 1917 Fatima Virgin Mary appearances and prophecies took place directly over an Oak tree in Portugal?
Like I said, whatever the case may be I don't think all this Oak tree stuff is a good sign.
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