Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Lamb of God

I dreamed that we were living in a dystopic society nearing the apocalypse. The governing powers announced one morning that all those in Christian leadership would be rounded up and put to death that evening for “treasonous beliefs,” unless they renounced their faith in Jesus Christ. In a vain attempt to make these actions appear humane, the rulers decreed that all these Christians would be taken to a camp in the woods for a last meal and fellowship with one another.

Two pastors, my husband and I were to be taken together, and we made last-minute preparations. I put on red slacks, sandals, a brown shirt, purple jacket, and a white cap.

“I trust God even if I do die tonight,” said the older pastor. “God has blessed me with a good life; I’d probably die in a few years anyway from natural causes; and I know where I’m going.”

“God has a plan,” the other pastor said.

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud mechanical roar outside and pounding on the door. Armed guards burst inside and escorted us out to a cattle car being pulled by a tractor. We sat quietly with the other prisoners, not putting up any resistance.

Our heads and bones rattled as the tractor pulled us along a rocky, unpaved road up a steep mountain to an abandoned camping lodge in the middle of nowhere. A forest fire appeared to have leveled the trees, and only a few charred stumps poked forth from the scorched earth like stubble on a three-day-old beard. The guards locked the four of us in a dilapidated room containing only four bare cots, one weakly flickering lantern, and a built-in cupboard. The only window had been filled in with concrete.

My husband opened the cupboard, which was empty except for a few roaches that scurried out. “So much for them feeding us, not to mention letting all of us get together for our last prayer meeting,” he sighed.

“I have part of a leftover sandwich,” I said, digging the sorry remains out of my pocket and offering it to him. He gestured to the others and placed it on the ledge beneath the cemented window, beside a chipped old plastic toy bird that some child must have left there.

Suddenly the sandwich transformed into a bountiful, fragrant loaf of fresh baked bread; the bird sprang to life as a white dove; and the obstructed window became transparent crystal befitting a modern cathedral. A brilliant white light shone through the window as the panes opened and the dove flew upward and away. Before us stood the Lamb of God, perfect in His humanity, yet resembling a Lamb with hair as white as wool, indescribably beautiful, radiant, powerful, tender, and compassionate.

As I reached toward His face, I realized we were being transported upward into His light, and I was overwhelmed by utter peace and joy!

Upon awakening and thinking about the symbolism of the dream, I realized that Jesus warned that Christian persecution would increase in the End Times (Matthew 24:6-10), and that Peter reminded us not to be surprised if we are facing fiery trials for our faith (1 Peter 4:12-19). We can only be prepared for these trials if we put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17), symbolized in the dream by my strange outfit.

Our loins are to be girded with the truth that we are bought (1 Corinthians 6:20) with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-20), red like the slacks. Our feet are to be shod with the Gospel of the preparation of peace, denoted by the sandals. The brown shirt may represent the breastplate of righteousness, as brown is the color of humility. We need to be humble and recognize that we have no righteousness on our own merit (Romans 3:10), but that we need instead to be clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ (Isaiah 61:10).

Purple is a royal hue and therefore the color of faith in the King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). The purple jacket reminds me of the shield of faith, which we are to use above all to quench all the fiery darts of Satan. We are to protect our mind with the helmet of salvation, symbolized by the white cap. Only when we realize that He saved us by His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) can our sins be washed as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).

All the prisoners in the dream had refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ, even though the penalty was death, much like Daniel facing the lions' den (Daniel 6:10-23). The two pastors expressed their trust in God to either deliver them from the earthly danger or to remove them directly to His presence, much like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo as they were thrown into the fiery furnace for their faith (Daniel 3:14-28).

Although the tractor was pulling us up the mountain, that destination and view had nothing to be desired, for it was but a charred wasteland. The best that man can offer by his own efforts are nothing but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) or dung (Philippians 3:8) compared with God’s abundant provision (Philippians 4:19). He alone can give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, to His glory! (Isaiah 61:3).

Our seemingly hopeless situation in the barracks reversed completely to a glorious new beginning after we offered what little we had for the good of our companions. Jesus transformed a little boy’s lunch into a banquet for thousands (John 6:5-14), and He honored the widow’s pitiful offering above all the riches poured into the treasury (Mark 12:41-44). The size or the value of our gift means far less to Him than the degree of sacrifice with which we offer it. But no matter how much we give, we can’t outgive God! (Luke 6:38).

In the dream, He transformed the stale crumbs from my pocket to a magnificent loaf that could nourish all, representing Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48, 51), and the forsaken toy into the Heavenly Dove of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32).

God is light (1 John 1:5), and if we seek Him we can walk in His light (Ephesians 5:8-11; John 8:12) and ourselves be light in this dark and wicked world (Luke 1:79; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6). He will take us from darkness into His marvelous light (Matthew 4:16; 1 Peter 2:9) and elevate us to heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6).

Words escape me when I try to describe what I saw and felt in the dream state of encountering Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world! (John 1:29, 36). In His perfect love we have nothing to fear (1 John 4:18), for our sins are forgiven (Mark 2:10; Acts 13:38). He paid the price; and if we belong to Him, we do not need to fear anyone or anything else (Romans 8:31). The “light affliction” of this world, as the apostle Paul put it, will fade the instant we see Him in glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

One day, I believe and pray one day soon, the Lamb of God will call all His children upward to meet with Him in the air, take part in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9), and forever serve Him (Revelation 22:3) and bathe in His light! (Revelation 21:23; 5:6; 7:17)). Until the Rapture occurs (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), may we stand fast in our faith (1 Corinthians 15:58), encourage one another, put on the whole armor of God, and share what we have with others in need, all to His glory!  

© 2018 Laurie Collett



Susan said...

Amen Laurie. This morning I read about Jesus feeding the 5 thousand then going by Himself to pray, then seeing His disciples struggling against the wind in their tiny boat...He walked on the water intending to pass by them but they thought they were seeing a ghost so He came on the ship saying “I AM” to calm them...I was reading this in Mark chapter 6 in the ESV and the study notes for verse 52 tells that by the verse saying “they understood not about the loaves” that they didn’t get the message...the message is that Jesus supplied manna (bread) to Israel and He is the I AM of the burning bush and the “Spirit on the waters” in Genesis. The simply “saw a ghost”. How often we get frightened by wind and waves and miss the point of Jesus being right there with us, miss the point that what we fear might actually be Jesus teaching us something. Your message in your dream dovetails with what Jesus was saying to me this morning. ❤️😊

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Susan,
I love it when the Holy Spirit uses multiple messages to bring a point home to us, and how He uses each of us to be a confirmation and encouragement in the lives of others. It is so easy in the midst of fear and turmoil to focus on the threat and the problem, when we should keep our eyes and heart focused on Jesus. May we not misinterpret His presence as something negative, but appreciate Him in all His love, mercy, grace and peace. Thank you for your encouraging comment.
May God bless you richly,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
That was quite an amazing read! That sort of thing makes me wonder how I would react if I was led to my death because of my faith in Christ. I hope I would have the mettle within to go through with it.
I once read a true story of an incident which occurred behind the Iron Curtain. A group of Christians were facing the firing squad under the orders of the Communist regime. Just before the bullets were fired, the officer announced,
"Is there anyone who wishes to save his life by going back on his faith, let him leave now."
One person looked around and walked off.
Then a bystander who was watching the whole scenario stepped forward and stood at the spot left vacant by the deserter.
"What are you doing?" The officer asked the newcomer.
"I saw a crown fall to the ground and I reached over to pick it up."
Indeed, should such a time come, I hope I would be as faithful as that newcomer.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I don't think any of us in our strength would have the courage to stand up our faith to the point of death, for God designed us with a powerful instinct for self-preservation. Even Peter and all the apostles but John scattered from the cross, even though they had walked with Him and seen His miracles firsthand for more than 3 years. This kind of faith is possible only through the indwelling Holy Spirit, for with Him, all things are possible.
Thanks for sharing that amazing story and for your encouragement.
God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

As we look at the new law proposed in California and the attacks on christian beliefs by political figures adn the media, it reminds us that we may well face such a situation in the near future. Praise God, he has promised to take care of us in such circumstances. Thanks for a great post.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald, for your encouragement. Christian persecution is on the rise worldwide, and we may soon face it here too. Praise God for His protection and come quickly Lord Jesus!
God bless,

S. Knowles said...

This was very encouraging Laurie. Thanks for sharing this. God bless you.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Sateigdra, for your visit and comment. May God bless you too!