Joseph Herrin (07-02-2010)
Me, Standing Next to a Giant Sequoia
(Note: click on any picture to view larger photo)
The Father has continued to order my steps in very remarkable ways. It was placed upon my heart to visit a few natural wonders while I crossed America at this season. A few weeks ago I visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. I hope to write a blog on that experience soon. Yesterday, Randy Simmons and I visited Sequoia National Park in California. The Father spoke through many symbolic events and sights there. It is these that I will relate in this blog.
To understand the symbolism through which the Father spoke, it is necessary to have some familiarity with the wonderful book titled Hinds’ Feet on High Places written by Hannah Hurnard. I have mentioned this book in the past, as the Father used it in a profound manner in my life. He has also done so in Randy’s life. Randy brought the book with him on this trip and has recently re-read it.
The book presents an allegory of a Christian who has been living a defeated life in the Valley of Humiliation in the town of Much Trembling. Fear is that which rules the inhabitants of the town, especially the main character whose name is Much Afraid.
Much Afraid is truly a child of God, and she serves the Lord after a fashion, but she is hindered by many things. She has crippled feet and a twisted mouth. This signifies that both her walk and her testimony are not what they should be. One day the Shepherd comes to the village and invites Much Afraid to travel with Him to the High Places. He promises that if she will do so that she will be transformed. She will receive Hinds’ feet, being able to leap over obstacles without difficulty, and that she will find the love of God blossoming in her heart.
The beginning of the journey almost is aborted by the efforts of the Fearing Family who seek to keep Much Afraid from leaving. Much Afraid receives help from her neighbor, a godly woman of great courage, and she is released from her fears just enough to begin the journey.
The Shepherd guides Much Afraid on her journey, and after a short distance He appoints her two guides to help her to her destination. The names of the guides are Sorrow and Suffering. Much Afraid, seeing the companions chosen for her, quails in fear, and is unwilling to take their hands. The Shepherd explains the necessity of having these companions, and seeing no alternative, Much Afraid relents to go with them.
Due to her crippled feet, Much Afraid makes slow going. She also slips and stumbles frequently, oftentimes leading to some injury. This allegory is a picture of the narrow (afflicted) walk that our Savior appoints to all His sons and daughters. He will lead forth the broken, the weak, and the lame and bring them to Zion.
"In that day," declares Yahweh, "I will assemble the lame, and gather the outcasts, even those whom I have afflicted. I will make the lame a remnant,
and the outcasts a strong nation, and Yahweh will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on and forever.”
Just before arriving at Sequoia, Randy and I were in Apple Valley where I spoke to the saints in the home of Jim and Andrea Bean and their children Gloria, Grace and Joshua. Jim arranged for a local mechanic to look at our vans before we got back on the road. Mine needed nothing done to it to continue down the road, but when the mechanic performed thorough diagnostics on Randy’s van, the verdict was much different.
The mechanic called Randy and began by asking him how attached he was to the van. Randy replied that he was very attached, for he was three thousand miles from home and was living in it, and counting on it to get him back home. The mechanic told Randy that he did not believe it would get him back to Georgia. He said it needed a new motor, new transmission, and new front end. He estimated the cost at over $7,000.
Randy handled this news very well. He said that the same problems existed with the van when we left Georgia and it had already gotten him more than 4,000 miles. If God was able to get a crippled van that far, He could also get it to the end of the journey.
I saw in this diagnosis a parallel to the book Hinds’ Feet on High Places. We have a Shepherd who will take the weak and crippled, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, and He will lead them down paths that many mighty would not walk. Yet, because He is strong where we are weak, He can get the most feeble to their destination. He is patient, encouraging, and always full of faith.
I Corinthians 1:26-29
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God.
When Yahweh gets the weak things of this world to their destinations, then all will know that HE HAS DONE IT! In an interesting parallel, Yahweh brought me the book Hinds’ Feet on High Places at a time when I had been stricken with Bell’s Palsy. Bell’s palsy affects the 7th cranial nerve, resulting in a temporary paralysis of one side of the face. For a period of several months my right eye would not blink, and the right side of my mouth drooped. Thus, I was like Much Afraid who had a twisted mouth.
Some years back Randy suffered an injury while working on a roof. He fell from the roof and landed on his feet, crushing one of his heels. He has a limp to this day, and cannot walk far without the injured heel becoming very painful.
I had no idea upon arriving at Sequoia National Park that one of the natural attractions there was a massive stone outcropping called Moro Rock.
Moro Rock from Below
When I heard that there was a look-out point atop this rock, and a steep path rising hundreds of feet that led to the top, I wanted to climb it. Some of you know I had a heart attack a few years back. Due to this, I am conscience of my body’s limitations. The starting elevation of the walk was over 6,400 feet high, and the ranger said there were 800 steps to the top. Still, I had a desire to go. Randy also had his crushed heel to consider, so we both went forth on this trek with limitations, but eager to make the ascent.
Randy climbing Moro Rock
I felt that this trek was spiritually symbolic. It was a testimony of Yahweh’s ability to bring the weak and the lame and lead them to Zion. From the top of Moro Rock I spied growing out of a crack in the rock a small plant with a single flower on it.
Acceptance with Joy
Closeup of Flower
Those familiar with the book by Hannah Hurnard will recognize that a similar experience occurred as Much Afraid was scaling a particularly difficult peak. She encountered a small flower growing out of the rock, and its name was Acceptance with Joy.
It is our Father’s will that we accept the afflicted path He chooses for us, embracing it with joy, knowing that it is the path that leads to life and to an unending abiding in His presence.
The view from the top of Moro Rock was spectacular. As one person told me as I was ascending and they were descending, “It is worth it.”
Me at Moro Rock
The sign at the top said it was 4,000 feet down to the valley floor below. Four in a number denoting humility (as in the Valley of Humility). After Much Afraid ascended to the High Places and received her Hind’s Feet, being able to now traverse difficulties with ease, her heart was turned to those remaining in the valley below. She wanted them to also be able to ascend to the High Places. (Interestingly, this area is called “the HIGH Sierras.)
Randy on the High Places
One particular aspect that the Father planned precisely for the parable He wanted to reveal to Randy and I is that on this particular day the National Park Service was conducting a controlled burn of the area. The burn was for only three days, and the last time it was performed was twenty years ago. Our arriving at that precise time was clearly ordered of the Father. From atop Moro Rock, we could see the forest below being burned.
After ascending to the High Places, Randy and I then descended to a world that was on fire. The Spirit bears witness that this is the experience that lies before us.
Scorched Earth in Sequoia National Park
As we rode a shuttle bus to the various locations of interest, we passed through a forest that was aflame and the way filled with smoke.
The Father has been leading sons through the fire, and along difficult paths on the road to Zion that they might in turn encourage others who must make this same difficult ascent.
If you have heard my testimony, you will know that I was born with a hereditary bone disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. The common name for this affliction is “Brittle Bone Disease.” I broke about ten bones as a child, and was not able to participate in sports. Yahweh has truly chosen the weak, the despised, the broken and the lame. He will bring them through the fire, and along afflicted paths, and lead them to Zion. Be encouraged, the same One who has held me to the course these many years is also your Shepherd.
The Spirit testifies that fire is to be cast upon the earth. The nations will reel in a day of great tribulation. Through the fiery trials to come many will be purged, purified and refined.
And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified and refined; but the wicked will act wickedly, and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.”
In the Greek language, the word pure and fire come from the same root. This is why there is a similarity between words like pyre, pyrotechnic, and purify. Fire is the greatest cleansing agent on earth. The Spirit expressly testifies that fire is to be cast upon the earth at this hour for the purpose of refining a remnant of God’s people.
I recently shared the following picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Lord told His disciples there would be signs in Sun and Moon and Stars before His return. I believe this to be a sign that He is even now casting fire upon the earth.
"I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Fire in the Hand of Christ
Image from Hubble Space Telescope
Immediately after speaking the words recorded by Luke above, Yahshua declared:
"But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no...”
Yahshua was speaking of a baptism of fire. Many of those readers who follow events in the news will remember the recent story of a sixty foot tall statue of Christ that was struck by lightning and consumed in fire. Christ had to pass through fiery experiences, and so must His body. Is this not what is signified by this event, which is given as a sign on the earth?
Perhaps it is not coincidental that Randy and I were standing upon a Solid Rock when we viewed the earth on fire below us. The church at which this statue of Christ caught fire was called “Solid Rock Church.” It is Christ who is casting fire on the earth, and judgment must begin at His own household.
People of God, it is because these things are at hand that we are receiving signs of that which is about to transpire. The people of God must pass through the fire in the days ahead. Christ is coming for a Bride that has been purified, and the greatest purifying agent on earth is fire.
The Father in His mercy has been leading some through the fire that they might in turn serve as Explorers, Pioneers, Pathfinders, and Guides for those who must follow. The parable of Sequoia National Park did not end with these things. Randy and I saved the most majestic part for last. We visited the world’s largest tree, the Sequoia named General Sherman. Those familiar with General Sherman, the Yankee General under President Lincoln, will know that he is renowned for his “March to the Sea.” Beginning at Atlanta and heading to Savannah, Sherman utilized a “scorched earth” policy. He burnt cities, homes, and crops, leaving nothing behind which the Southern Troops could use.
Base of General Sherman - (Note signs of having passed through fire.)
As I read the information at the site of this massive tree, more significant information was observed. The General Sherman is 2,200 years old. 22 is the number of flesh cutting, of removing wickedness. The tree is also designated as a Monarch Sequoia. These largest of Sequoias have obtained full stature, and the top, or crown of the tree, has died and fallen off.
It is a mark of the Overcomers who reach Zion that they have had their heads removed.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Yahshua and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Note that these headless ones are given thrones. They are Monarchs. They have had their own heads removed that they might take Christ as Head.
I Corinthians 11:3-4
I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man... Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head.
Even as these greatest of trees when mature have their heads removed, so too must the people of God. They must take Christ as Head, submitting to be led of Him wherever He would lead them. He will certainly lead them through the fire, for the people of God must be purged, purified and refined. Days of fire are ahead of the people of God. He would have you to be ready. Listen to the words of Peter.
I Peter 4:12-13
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
For the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross. There is also a joy set before us. There is fire to be passed through. Afflictions await the people of God. We will not walk alone. He will be in the midst of the fire with us. When all is said and done, only that which bound us will be consumed, and the smell of smoke will not remain upon us. Accept this path with joy. It is then that you will have hinds’ feet and be able to traverse difficulties with ease.
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