Seeing Symbolism in Human Tragedy

by | Jul 27, 2008

Joseph Herrin (07-27-08)

After posting the writing yesterday that spoke of the deaths of two young men and the message inherent in their tragic end, I was met with a response that is not unusual. A person who did not give their name wrote: “You are not only sick in your body, but sick in your head.

The natural man judges many things through a sense of right and wrong that was obtained by eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. The thoughts of the soul, societal taboos, the pressure to be politically correct, and a host of other influences serve as the basis upon which judgments are formed. For those who are children of God, judgments should all derive from one source, and that is from the mind of God as revealed by His Spirit.

It is not my intent to be insensitive to the human suffering of those who have lost a family member or friend. The writing I posted did not go out to these individuals, and there is only a small chance that family or friends of those who died will ever read my words. I do want to speak to those who would find offense in the thought that God would speak a message through the personal details of an individual’s life, or more specifically through the details of their death. The Scriptures reveal that God does so quite frequently.

Proverbs 20:24
Man’s steps are ordained by Yahweh, how then can man understand his way?

Proverbs 16:9
The mind of man plans his way, but Yahweh directs his steps.

Romans 9:20
The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?

All of the details of a man’s life are appointed by God. Yahweh has determined what your race and sex would be. He determined what parents you would be born unto, and what siblings you would have. It is He who has determined the day and age in which you would live, and He has determined the length of your days, and the precise moment of your death. God has numbered the very hairs on your head, and the understanding of this phrase means that He not only knows the number of hairs on your head, but it was He who determined the number.

It is God who determines whether a man or woman will receive mercy from Him in this life, or whether they will be hardened. “No man can come to the Son of God unless the Father draws Him” (John 6:44). We are told that we cannot add one cubit to our life’s span, for these things are in the hand of the Father (Luke 12:25). Seeing that God is in control of the details of our lives, having planned the end before the beginning, does it not stand to reason that He has ordered the details of our lives, and even our deaths, with great precision? Indeed He has done so, and He has set many parables in the details of our lives.

Consider some of the profound ways in which God orchestrates the details of a person’s life that are little acknowledged in this hour. The order of a person’s birth is significant in God’s sight. He chooses who will be the first born, the last born, and all in between.

Genesis 38:27-30
And it came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez. And afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah.

Genesis 25:24-26
When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel…

It can hardly be argued that these babies knew what they were doing. Were there thoughts of obtaining the birthright filling their minds before they were even born that led to such wrestling? Was it not rather that God determined to show through these parables what would transpire in the lives of these men? Yes, it was God’s choosing.

Romans 9:11-13
for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

If God can cause a child to be born grasping his brother’s heel to indicate a profound truth about God’s divine election, then can He not also show forth parables in the events of a man’s life throughout his days, even to the circumstances of his last day on earth? Certainly He can and does.

In the book The Mark of the Beast I have written about very profound details of individuals lives, and the things for which they stand. Esau came out from the womb hairy all over. Esau is a symbol of a man rejected by God. He was very beast like in nature, and this bestial character was revealed even in the details of his physical being. When Jacob stole the blessing from Esau, he had to disguise himself like his brother. He took the skin of a goat and put it on his hands and neck, revealing the extreme hairiness of Esau. Goats are used in contrast to sheep in the Bible to represent the wicked who are separated from the righteous. Goats are known for their lack of discernment in the appetites, and for their lustful nature. Thus Pan, the god of lust, is pictured as half man and half goat. Esau brought grief to his parents by marrying women who satisfied his lust, but whose behavior was extremely vexing to his parents.

Genesis 27:46
And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am tired of living because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

Genesis 28:8
So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan displeased his father Isaac…

At the first mention of Saul in the Bible we find that he was searching for his father’s donkeys, but was never able to find them. Donkeys represent stubbornness, and this event symbolizes the stubbornness in the heart of Saul that he never fully identified and overcame, a failure which led to his being rejected as king over God’s people.

I Samuel 15:23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of Yahweh, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

In contrast, at the first mention of David we hear of him slaying both the lion and the bear. This contrast between these two men reveals that Saul failed to rule over the beast nature of fallen mankind, but David obtained great victory in this regard. Lion’s speak of pride, and David was a humble man. Bears are a symbol of depression, and David had much to be depressed about in his life, but he constantly encouraged himself in the Lord, overcoming that which could have led to unbelief and unrighteous action.

David was a shepherd boy, and in this occupation it was foreshadowed that he would shepherd the people of God. Christ was the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep, and David put his life on the line by rescuing his father’s sheep from the mouth of the lion and the bear.

It is certain that God orchestrated the events of these men’s lives to speak profound things through parables. I could fill hundreds of pages in detailing how God has spoken through the details of men’s lives. He whittled down Gideon’s army based upon the way men drank water. He led Peter to obtain the temple tax by casting a hook in the water and taking a coin out of the fishes mouth. All of these things stand for various truths, which can be discerned by the Spirit of Christ. But let me press on to providing a few examples of how He has spoken through individual’s deaths.

Christ died on a Roman cross. This was appointed by God to signify many things. “Cursed is he who hangs on a tree.” Christ became a curse for mankind. He died lifted up from the earth, yet His blood fell to the earth and paid the penalty for sin. His side was pierced, as well as His feet and hands, yet not a bone of His body was broken. Christ was scourged, stripping the flesh from His body. Yahshua was crucified between two thieves. He was laid in the tomb of a wealthy man. All of these details serve as profound parables, and they contain messages for the body of Christ. Perhaps you have heard messages on some of these things, or maybe the Spirit has spoken to you and given you understanding.

If the manner of Christ’s death was filled with symbolism, then why would we expect that our’s would be without symbolism? Yahshua prophesied to Peter how he would one day die, and the form of his death was a parable. Moses, the servant of God, died outside the land of promise. As the Law giver this had to be so, for the Law cannot take men into the promises of God. The law cannot set men free from sin. It was Joshua, a type of Yahshua, who led the people into the land of promise.

When Eli died, he was an overweight man, and blind. He fell off a bench, breaking his neck, as he heard that the ark of the covenant had been captured by the Philistines. His sons perished in the battle, and his daughter-in-law died giving birth when she heard the news, naming her son Ichabod, “The glory has departed.” Taken individually, these things would stand as tragedies today. It would be akin to seeing some symbolism in the death of Billy Graham, or some other religious leader of renown, but clearly the Lord intended for a message to be discerned in their deaths.

Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. She was the beloved bride of Jacob, and Benjamin is a symbol of the overcomers in Christ who come forth at a time of great sorrow for the church, the mother who gives birth to them. Rachel named this son Benoni, “son of my sorrow,” but Jacob renamed him “son of the right hand.”

Jezebel’s end was both terrible and prophetic. It was written of her:

II Kings 9:36
In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, “This is Jezebel.”

What a picture the Lord has portrayed in the death of this woman who typifies all that is detestable and loathsome to God. She ended up as dog feces spread over the fields of Jezreel. Jezreel means “God will scatter,” and surely He did so with this evil woman. God promised that the same fate would await all of the descendants of Ahab. Those who died in the city the dogs would eat, and those who died in the fields the birds would eat. Thus they would be scattered upon the face of the earth, and their would be no remembrance of them, for they would have no resting place and no grave.

Many wicked kings died violent deaths, testifying that God would not allow them to exit this world in peace. Saul, after leading Israel for forty years died in battle as he fell on his own sword. David, in contrast, after forty years of leading Israel, died at peace in his own bed. The manner of their deaths was very symbolic, and it was appointed to them by God. Two men are recorded as having died in Egypt, they were embalmed, and then transported to the land of Israel to be buried. The first was Jacob. The last was Joseph. Though they died within a single generation of one another, 400 years separated their burials in Israel. One was buried before the captivity, and one after the release from bondage. Many profound truths are bound up in these matters, and surely the Lord is the architect and planner of all.

As one examines the deaths of the various people whose lives are recorded in Scripture it becomes obvious that some deaths, like that of Jezebel and Saul, bring forth messages of judgment. Some might take offense that a person would discern a message in a young man being beheaded in this age, but Saul suffered the same fate, and it is a Saul church that must make way for a Davidic people in this hour. God will transfer the kingdom to the overcomers, and the rule of Saul will come to an end.

There are others whose deaths contain a message of reward and blessing. These ones are easy to talk about, for few would find reason to be offended in what is written about them. Yet it is not wisdom to receive only smooth words and pleasant messages. We must heed all that the Spirit is saying in this hour, and it is certain that with most of His people, God is not pleased.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:
Parables Blog:

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063


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This is the Blog site of Joseph Herrin. It is a companion to the Heart4God Website. Writings are posted here first, while the Heart4God site contains an archive of all of my books, presentations, concise teachings, audio messages, and other material. All material is available free of charge. Permission is granted to copy, re-post, print, and distribute (free of charge) any of the material on these sites.

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