First posted: November 21, 2004
This article deals with the prophet Jonah's journey into the fish's belly and how we must react when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We will also deal with how our shadow-of-death experiences impact the spiritual atmosphere around us.
The Lord called the prophet Jonah and sent him to Nineveh to confront that city because of her wickedness:
"1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." (Jonah 1:1-3)
The name "Jonah" literally means "dove, pigeon" in Hebrew. As we shared in previous articles pigeons are spiritually connected to the apostolic ministry that reinforces right-handed principles such as truth, justice, and judgments. It is not surprising, therefore, that the name of Jonah's father, Amittai, means, "my truth".
As a herald of truth, Jonah was being called by the Lord to confront Nineveh with God's truth. Jonah, however, refused to heed God's call, and fled from the "presence of the Lord" (v2). The word "presence" was translated from the Hebrew word paniym, which literally means "face". In other words, Jonah was fleeing from the Face of God. Why? Because, God's Glory is in His Face (2 Corinthians 4:6, Revelation 1:16, 2 Corinthians 3:18), and His Glory causes the death of anything that is not righteous or eternal (Revelation 1:16-17, 1 Timothy 6:14-16, Ezekiel 1:26-28). The Lord's Face confronts us with His righteousness and purposes, so it is impossible to be "before God" if our hearts are not willing to abide in His righteousness.
When Jonah fled from the Lord's Face, he went down to Joppa. The name "Joppa" (or "Jaffa") literally means "beautiful", which speaks of "grace". In other words, Jonah was fleeing from God's truth in order to rejoice in grace, as is the sad case with many (if not most) believers in the Body of Christ.
In the New Testament, the "dove" is associated with the physical appearance of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus:
"And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22)
As John 1:6-14 declares, Jesus was the "Word" (logos in Greek) who was sent by God to the Earth and became flesh. Since the Greek word for "apostle", apostolos, literally means "one sent", and since apostles are called to preach logos of truth and judgment, we can safely say that Jesus in the flesh was the embodiment of God's apostolic truth and righteousness. As we have shared before, a heart that abides in righteousness draws in God's cloud of grace, because grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). As we have also said before, grace is strongly associated with the prophetic ministry, meaning that, when you abide in apostolic truth, God will pour His prophetic grace over your life. This is what happened when the Holy Spirit descended "in a bodily shape like a dove" upon Jesus. The dove speaks of apostolic truth and the Holy Spirit (Who is prophetic in His Nature), represents prophetic grace. Luke 3:22, therefore, is the Lord's way of saying the following:
"I will pour My prophetic grace over those whose lives are the embodiment of truth and righteousness"
Instead of abiding in apostolic dove-truth and pursuing God's prophetic grace, Jonah chose to forsake truth and go after earthly grace and blessings (represented by Jaffa). He chose to flee from the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2) that rises in the East and tried to go as far west as possible. No one knows the exact location of "Tarshish", but most believe that it was either Cyprus or Spain, both of which are to the west of Israel.
The name "Tarshish" literally means "yellow jasper". The color "yellow" points to the following passage:
"29If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard; 30Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard. 31And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days: 32And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, if the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall be not in sight deeper than the skin; 33He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more" (Leviticus 13:29-33)
Notice how the color "yellow" is related here to "leprosy". Even though leprosy can be taken to represent "sin" in general, it most directly represents "Girgashite earthliness" in Scripture. Leprosy is a skin disease where the person's flesh is rotting away while the person is still alive. This is a figure of a Girgashite person who has died to his prophetic, eternal calling, choosing instead to live out his earthly existence; in other words, a Girgashite is a "dead man walking".
The fact that leprosy is a skin disease is a figure of how Girgashites live their lives based on what their natural mind can see or perceive. Girgashites focus on what is visible and are unable to perceive what is not visible; in other words, their "spiritual eyesight" is only "skin deep" (notice how the passage quoted above speaks of the priest determining whether or not the "scab" is "in sight deeper than the skin" -- v32).
Therefore, we can say that Jonah's escape to Tarshish is a prophetic figure of how Jonah was trying to escape from his eternal, prophetic calling in order to live a life of Girgashite earthliness and conformity. As we have said before, Girgashites prefer to focus on earthly, temporary things because the pursuit of eternal, spiritual things implies paying a price that Girgashites are not willing to pay.
As you may know, God would not leave Jonah alone, so He sent a mighty tempest against the ship on which Jonah was escaping:
"4But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not." (Jonah 1:4-6)
The fact that Jonah "went down into the sides of the ship" (v5) is a figure of how Jonah descended from his high prophetic calling down to Girgashite earthliness. The "sides" of the ship represent how Jonah "sidelined" himself from God's purposes. Instead of fighting God's battles in the spirit, he took himself "out of the game", so to speak, to live out his Hivite retirement in Tarshish. There are many, many church-goers who sing in the choir and do "deacon duty" but who retired from God's spiritual purposes long, long ago. It is a Girgashite mistake to limit "serving God" to the performing of church-related activities. To truly serve God, we must be willing to shed our lives as living sacrifices for the sake of God's purposes in others. Serving God implies heartache, affliction, anguish, and suffering in our personal lives, and much of that sacrifice will be invisible to others. Serving God implies a direct and intimate relationship with Him where we become aware of what God (not man) wants us to do. Serving God cannot be limited to the execution of a predefined list of external, religious activities.
The fact that Jonah "lied down" (v5) once again points to how Jonah descended to Girgashite earthliness and made himself "one with the Earth", instead of seeking to be "one with God" (which in Scripture is called "eternal life").
The fact that Jonah "fell fast asleep" (v5) shows how the Girgashites' focus on earthly things makes them fall asleep to spiritual things. I know of many believers who are all perky and awake when they go to church on Sunday morning but who fall asleep 5 minutes into the sermon; many times, this is a sign of a strong Girgashite influence on the person's life. If the "SDS" ("sermon drowsiness syndrome") is generalized throughout the congregation, it could mean that the preacher is shelling out too many Girgashite sermons based on literal interpretations of Scripture. Wherever there is "spiritual drowsiness", there is a definite Girgashite presence, either in the hearer or the speaker.
The word translated as "wind" in Jonah 1:4 is the Hebrew word ruwach, which is the same word for "spirit" in Hebrew. Therefore, we can safely say that the wind was a spiritual manifestation of judgment sent by God to confront Jonah, but Jonah was able to comfortably sleep in the middle of this spiritual manifestation, since he was asleep in his earthliness. The mariners, on the other hand, recognized that the wind was a divine manifestation provoked by a spiritual root, not just another storm in the sea. This is why they all began to cry out "every man to his own god" (v5).
The mariners began to cast out the "wares" into the sea to lighten the ship (v5). The word "wares" was translated from the Hebrew word keliy, which we encountered previously when studying Isaiah 32:7; and, as we saw before, this word refers to "methods" or "procedures". Therefore, we can say that the "wares" represent the earthly, mind-based methods or procedures that Girgashites establish to organize their temporal existence. By casting out the "wares", the mariners were, in a sense, saying to God, "We don't want to anger You with earthly methods, Lord, so we are willing to cast them out so that we may find grace in Your eyes".
We have also shared how Girgashites are workaholics who act like warehouses that store up earthly blessings in the hopes of someday retiring to enjoy them. While Girgashites fall asleep to spiritual things, they are very much awake to earthly things, so much so that they often become sleep-deprived insomniacs obsessed with the achievement of earthly goals. Girgashites lead lives burdened with constant worries and concerns, and are unable to have true peace of mind. By lightening the ship, the mariners were prophetically saying to God, "We no longer choose to burden our lives with earthly concerns; we want to be light enough so that we may be easily moved by the winds of Your Spirit, without any earthly burdens weighing us down".
The fact that the mariners were struggling not to drown is also a prophetic figure of their struggle to be free from Girgashite influence. As we have shared before, Girgashites look to God like "selfish pigs" who die by drowning, because they die with their blood (i.e.- life) inside of them without ever shedding it in sacrifice for the sake of others. While the mariners were struggling not to drown, Jonah was sleeping comfortably, because he had resigned himself to the spiritual drowning of his prophetic calling.
After the mariners threw out the "wares" (i.e.- earthly, logic-based methods), they resorted to a non-logical method to find the spiritual root of the storm:
"7And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?" (Jonah 1:7-8)
Notice that the crew members did not engage in a "logical" discussion that analyzed the possible "root causes" and "potential, feasible solutions" to the problem at hand. They had already thrown earthly, logic-based methods overboard because they knew that the problem had a spiritual root. Therefore, they proceeded to "cast lots".
As we have shared in previous articles, Girgashites are anti-prophetic. Therefore, a Girgashite problem requires a prophetic solution. When the crew members decided to "cast lots", they were relying on "intuitive randomness", which is a left-handed concept. Because of their emotional component, prophets have the ability to intuitively follow the leading of the Spirit, as a sail ship that is guided by the wind currents, or as an eagle that softly glides with the air streams in the upper atmosphere:
"5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)
[The phrase "born in the flesh" refers to things obtained through human, earthly methods. The phrase "born in the Spirit" refers to things obtained through the methods of the Spirit.]
"8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9)
[Spirit-led people recognize that God thinks at a higher level, and that He knows things we don't know. Spirit-led people do things that are illogical to the natural mind, but they know that these "illogical actions" will always prove to have been the right thing to do, because God's thoughts include "information" that is not accessible to the natural mind.]
"29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)
[Verse 30 refers to those who rely on the arm of the flesh (Jeremiah 17:5-6), while verse 31 refers to those who rely on the Spirit (Jeremiah 17:7-8)]
Spirit-led, prophetic people become free from the burden of Girgashite weariness. They can fly above earthliness and follow the promptings of the Spirit by constantly hearing His voice (John 3:8). This does not mean that prophetic people completely disregard the mind. Notice, for example, how the ship's crew proceeded to question Jonah after the lots fell upon him. God calls us to rely upon His voice in order to be guided in the right direction; once He has pointed us in the right direction, He will call us to use our minds (in Him) in order to get to the root of the matter. It is like a person searching for a buried treasure who is led to the spot where he or she must dig. Once the person gets there, however, he or she must take the shovel and dig! The digging, however, must be done in Him. This means that we must be attentive to any unexpected digging instructions. God might tell us to dig a little more to the left or to change shovels halfway through the digging.
Our minds are also important for making judgments. God's laws and principles are to be stored in our minds; our minds then combine God's laws through spiritual logic in order to produce judgments. The conscience resides in the mind, and acts as the "jury room" from which verdicts are made. In God's wisdom, our minds act as "judgment factories" that release God's judgments into the Earth.
After the ship's crew questioned Jonah, this is what happened:
"11Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows." (Jonah 1:11-16)
Notice that Jonah gave the crew a very "illogical" solution to the problem: "Throw me overboard" (v12). To a certain extent, it is commendable how the crew members were initially reluctant to throw Jonah overboard, doing everything in their power to reach land. However, as they saw their human efforts fail, they were forced to accept God's solution to the problem, and they threw Jonah overboard.
The fact that they first asked God not to lay "innocent blood" upon them (v14) shows that these men were not "prophet-killers". They valued the stranger Jonah, even though they knew that he was the one to blame for all their problems. They had compassion for him and were trying to save his life. However, they finally understood that, in order to please God (v14), Jonah had to go!
The fact that they "took up Jonah" (v15) before throwing him over has prophetic significance: they were lifting Jonah up from his Girgashite earthliness where he was trying to lie down and sleep, and were sending him back to fulfill his prophetic, eternal calling.
After they threw him overboard (Jonah 1:16), the men
By their actions after throwing Jonah overboard, the ship's crew testified that they were completely non-Girgashite. Even though I have never heard a preacher make a comment on the ship's crew, it becomes evident, after studying Jonah chapter 1, that these men were largely responsible for the restoration of Jonah as a prophet. By being all that Jonah refused to be, they served as vessels of impartation through whom God restored unto Jonah what Jonah had so carelessly thrown away. God gave these men credit for the 120,000 men that were eventually saved in Nineveh through Jonah's preaching (Jonah 4:11). They became co-laborers with Jonah and have a share in the eternal reward.
As you may all remember, Jonah was swallowed by a fish after he was thrown off the ship:
"Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights" (Jonah 1:17)
In Jonah 1:2, the Lord had commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh, that "great city". The word translated as "great" in Jonah 1:2 is the Hebrew word gadowl, which is the same word that appears in Jonah 1:17 above when referring to the fish. The fish represented Nineveh. The city was under a great spiritual oppression, and Jonah's experience inside the fish represented the spiritual despair that was prevalent inside Nineveh. It was a wicked city, but its citizens were trapped inside their own wickedness and had no way of escaping it, just as Jonah was trapped inside the fish. This is why they needed someone from the outside to liberate them. However, that liberator had to first experience the oppression of those he was called to liberate:
"He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (Isaiah 44:20)
"14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:14-18)
In order for God to use you as a liberator, you must be willing to suffer the same oppression of those whom you are called to liberate. The Lord Jesus did it for us, and we are called to do the same.
The word translated as "belly" in Jonah 2:1 is the Hebrew word beten, which is derived from another Hebrew word meaning "to be hollow". This means that the word "belly" speaks of "emptiness". As we have shared before, Hittite spirits are the ones that produce a sense of emptiness, purposelessness and despair. Therefore, Jonah was trapped in a prison with Hittite spirits of torment and despair for three days and three nights.
Can you imagine how desperate Jonah must have felt as he was trapped inside the complete darkness of the fish's belly for 3 days and 3 nights? As the fish moved around, Jonah was tossed to and fro, with the fish's liquids washing over him. On many occasions, he must have struggled to stay above the liquids and avoid drowning. He was forced to endure the cold of night in his wet and sticky clothes. He could not eat; he could not drink. He probably could not see his own hand in front of his face because of the darkness. He did not know where he was inside the fish, much less outside. The smell inside must have become unbearable after a while. He had no friends; he had no one he could share his torment with; he was completely alone. No one knew where he was; not his friends, not his family, not even the crew of the ship from which he was thrown. For all intents and purposes, Jonah disappeared from the face of the Earth; he was no longer alive.
As the Hittite spirits of torment and despair began to haunt him more and more, Jonah suddenly understood a powerful principle, which can be seen in his prayer to God:
"2And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 4Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God." (Jonah 2:2-6)
Notice that, in verse 4, Jonah declares that he will look again toward God's Holy Temple, and in verse 6, he says to God, "you have brought up my life from corruption". It is worth remembering that Jonah said this while he was still inside the fish's belly. Jonah began to visualize the day when his ordeal would be over. Even though his natural eyes could not see a light of hope inside that dark hole, his spiritual eyes began to visualize and dream of the day when He would see the light of life once again. When he said, "you have brought up my life from corruption" (v4), he was doing two things:
When you are in the midst of Sheol darkness, you must dream. You must visualize the light at the end of that dark tunnel, and, as you dream, you will activate things in the spirit realm that will lead to that light becoming a reality:
"28And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down. 29For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness." (2 Samuel 22:28-29)
My friend, when the lions would leap on top of the Christians at the Roman Coliseum, they knew that their days on Earth were over. They were at peace and understood that their time had come. They did not harbor any false illusions that an angel would come down and rescue them. When Paul's time was up, he knew it as well, and he felt peace and fulfillment as he awaited his execution:
"6For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Even so, Paul also said the following a few verses later:
"17Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Timothy 4:17-18)
Here, Paul was speaking of a deliverance that went beyond being rescued from his upcoming execution. He was speaking of how he was strengthened by God throughout his life despite the persecutions and afflictions that he had suffered for the Lord's sake. He was also speaking of how God would continue strengthening him until his very last day so that he would eventually enter God's kingdom and into eternal life (not all believers will enter God's kingdom, even if they will not end up in literal hell). Paul was concerned about a deliverance that went beyond the preservation of his physical life. He was speaking of the preservation of his calling to be made One with God for eternity. If you have been obedient before God and have done all you can do, there is no reason to be desperate, my friend. You will be rewarded for your effort. You will see the Glory of God at the end of your journey, and God will show you all the spiritual fruits that resulted from your sacrificial effort. God will show you how your silent, oft-unseen libation produced an eternal impact in the lives of others, and God Himself will receive you with open arms and a smile on His Face on that day when you enter into Him forever.
However, if you do know that your time is not up, if God has impregnated you with a vision of things that you must still do in this life, dream with the fulfillment of that vision, even if it seems like the most improbable thing in the world. In the darkness of your deepest despair, hold on for dear life, just as Jonah did for 3 desperate days and nights inside the fish's belly.
When Joseph, the son of Jacob, went to bed at night inside the prison where he lived for so many years, he knew in his knower that he would not die in there. God had placed visions and dreams inside of him, and he knew that they would eventually come to pass. Even though there is no direct passage that may explicitly certify this, I am sure that Joseph would sit up on his bunk bed in the middle of the night and dream with the day when he would walk in the open fields as a free man. He visualized the day when God would restore to him all that the enemy had taken away from him. He visualized the day when all his God-given potential would be fulfilled, when all his hopes and dreams (for himself and for others) would be realized. He must have done this many times to avoid going "mad" in the middle of all that darkness. Joseph never lost hope that he would come out of that prison alive. That is why he told the butler not to forget about him after he got out of prison; he kept waiting for the door of his prison to open (literally and spiritually):
"12And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days: 13Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thine head, and restore thee unto thy place: and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. 14But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: 15For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon." (Genesis 40:12-15)
Despite Joseph's plea, the butler forgot about Joseph:
"Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him." (Genesis 40:23)
However, God did not forget Joseph, and, after two long years, God made the butler remember, and Joseph's visions and dreams were fulfilled.
If we become too focused on our earthly circumstances, we will become overwhelmed by the Hittite spirits of hopelessness. Girgashite vision leads to Hittite despair. Therefore, we must spread our wings and fly as we cry out to God and visualize God's redemption from our Sheol:
"1Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. 2Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; 3Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. 4My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. 5Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. 6And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest." (Psalm 55:1-8)
Notice that verse 6 speaks of having wings like a dove (as we said above, "Jonah" means "dove"). God wants to manifest His prophetic spirit through you, which implies that you must be able to lift yourself off the ground and fly, dreaming His dreams and hoping His hopes.
When Israel (i.e.- Jacob in the Spirit) blessed his son Joseph, he spoke the following:
"22Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: 23The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: 24But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 25Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 26The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." (Genesis 49:22-26)
As we have shared in previous articles, the "arrow" is a prophetic figure of both Hittite attacks (when they are enemy arrows) and prophetic attacks (when they are God's arrows). Therefore, the "archers" that hated Joseph (v23) refer to attacks by Hittite spirits of despair and emptiness on Joseph's soul. The fact that Joseph's bow "abode in strength" (v24) means that Joseph was able to continue projecting himself prophetically in the midst of Hittite despair. As an arrow, he continued projecting himself, flying into the future.
The word "mighty" in the phrase "mighty God of Jacob" (v24) was translated from the Hebrew word abiyr, which is derived from the word abar meaning "to fly". This means that, as we fly, God's mighty power is released, and He paves a way for our freedom from the Sheol we are in.
The fact that Genesis 49:24 speaks of the "mighty God of Jacob" has significance. As you may know, Jacob was given the spiritual name of "Israel" after he fought with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32:24-28). Therefore, the name "Jacob" in Scripture refers to the man Jacob in his human weakness, while the name "Israel" refers to the man Jacob in his spiritual nature. This means that the phrase "mighty God of Jacob" in Genesis 49:24 speaks of a God in Whom we can fly and dream even in the middle of our human weakness and limitation:
"And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob" (Isaiah 49:26)
[The word "mighty" here was also translated from the word abiyr that appears in Genesis 49:24]
Fly, prophet, fly ... up, up to the sky.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who abide in truth and righteousness:
"24Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. 25With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; 26With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. 27For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. 28For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness." (Psalm 18:24-28)
As verse 25 above declares, the door of mercy will open for those who are imprisoned for the sake of righteousness, for our God is a faithful God, and He will show Himself upright with those who are upright:
"Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous." (Psalm 112:4)
"6I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." (Isaiah 42:6-7)
As you voluntarily experience the torments of Sheol, the passage above declares that God will give you for a covenant to the people; in other words, you will become a vessel through whom the New Covenant will be made available to others. As we share in our previous article, the "New Covenant" means a direct relationship with God, without ministerial intermediaries. Your Sheol experiences will serve to open a door of direct communication between others and God. This happened with Jonah; when he was out of the fish's belly, he served as a means of restoration for the 120,000 men in Nineveh. When the Lord Jesus came out of Sheol, He became the mediator of a New Covenant (Hebrews 12:24, 1 Timothy 2:5) where we all now have direct access to the Father in Christ Jesus (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The word "Gentiles" in Isaiah 42:6 above was translated from the Hebrew word goyim, which literally means "nations". Therefore, we can say that, through your Sheol experiences, you will also become a light for the nations (Matthew 5:14, John 9:5). Through your life, the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and you will rescue prisoners from prison; you will bring God's prophetic light to peoples who are currently sitting in the darkness of the prison house (Isaiah 42:7).
As you visualize your freedom from prison, there are two aspects you must project... life and peace in an atmosphere of righteousness:
"1My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." (Proverbs 3:1-2)
[The word "long" in verse 2 was mistranslated from the Hebrew word shaneh meaning "year". Therefore, the phrase "long life" should really say "years of life".]
[The word "add" in verse 2 was translated from the Hebrew word yasaph, which can be translated as "to increase, to do again", and, therefore has a connotation of "multiplication". This means that the phrase "shall they add to thee" could have been translated as "shall they multiply to thee", which speaks of multiplication unto eternity. Again, a Girgashite, literal interpretation of this passage becomes problematic. Consider, for example, the life of Stephen. His life was actually "cut short" (Acts 7:54-60) because he chose to keep God's commandments in his heart. The "life" and "peace" of verse 2, therefore, have a connotation that transcends the natural.]
"4And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. 6The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity." (Malachi 2:4-6)
Visualizing "life" means envisioning an atmosphere where your emotions can experience the fullness of God; visualize the exuberant realization and joy of God's life flowing through you. Visualizing "peace" means an atmosphere where your heart is at complete peace with God; visualize an atmosphere where the stillness and restfulness of God's kingship reigns.
Fellow believer, envision an atmosphere of pure, unadulterated life and peace based on a foundation of God's righteousness. Castles built on any other foundation are just castles in the air.
"1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." (Psalm 91:1-8)
Isaiah chapter 60 shall come to pass.