Isaiah 60:1-2 “Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you.
The Ancient myth of the Phoenix
In Greek mythology, a phoenix (Ancient Greek: φοῖνιξ phoînix; Latin: phoenix, phœnix, fenix) is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or born again.
Job 29:18 JPS Tanakh 1917 (Jewish Bible)
Then I said: ‘I shall die with my nest, And I shall multiply my days as the phoenix; (sand in most translations)
John 21:25 (NIV)
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Across many cultures and religions lay an ancient story of a magnificent creature, a bird of beauty with a song of equal beauty that comes from within, inside the deep places of its very spirit.
Almost all old cultures retell this story. English literature also uses the expression “rise from the ashes” as an expression of strength and giving a human picture of “fight back”.
Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give >unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Jesus quoted this Scripture to demonstrate that the Spirit of the living God was upon him to give Him the Power to transform circumstances of those who “mourn in Zion”. This is a promise extended from Israel to Christians by the Lord Himself.
Yes you can rise up by the power of God and defeat emotional burn out, depression, spiritual heaviness and even death itself.
The Phoenix bird would build a nest of Frankincense and Myrrh and die in the nest to rise again as a new beautiful bird.
The Date-Palm that is a symbol on Palm-Sunday in Greek is called Phonix wish is a derivative of Phoenix.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree (phonix): he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
In Native-American culture the Phoenix is known as Firebird.
Today I will show you 3 Bible accounts of people that fell into depression and poverty and how God used seasons of pain to uplift them. In fact this is one of the main Themes of the Bible and I could talk to you about Job, Joseph and many others but I will talk about 3 people that lived as animals but God brought them back to a brand new life, a new beginning.
Rise above the Animals
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
We were created to have dominion over the animals. God placed man above the animals but our attitudes can cause us to fall from that position.
Falling from grace
Falling from grace is a real problem today.
Have you ever heard the saying, that person has fallen from grace? Often, Believers mistakenly think falling from grace is something that happens when they don’t uphold a certain moral standard. Falling from grace has nothing to do with our moral behavior. However, it has everything to do with our acceptance of grace. Accepting God’s grace (His unmerited favor) requires a willingness to abandon self-effort. We fall from grace anytime we trust in ourselves more than we trust in God.
Paul said in Galatians 5:4 (ESV) You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
In Galatians 5:4, the context is Paul’s warning against mixing law and the Gospel to attain justification. This doesn’t mean that they lost their Salvation but that they place themselves in a tough spot because of their lack of faith. Paul warns against setting aside the grace that comes from Christ. Those who do have nullified, or run away from, the grace that comes through His blood and attempted instead to justify themselves by their own works.
Believers in Christ, we are no longer under the Law but under grace.
Job 33:28 God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’
Dogs and Pigs
Matthew 7:6 is a notoriously difficult verse to interpret. Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
But who are the “dogs,” what is the “holy,” what are the “pearls,” and who are the “pigs”? Suggestions have been many. Jesus made use of an image which would have been familiar to His Jewish hearers and would have helped them to see the principle He wanted to show them. The verse under consideration describes the sacrificial gifts which were placed on the altar of the Temple under the Old Testament dispensation. As Jesus stated, these gifts were not to be cast out and given to dogs after they had been offered to God: in fact, these gifts were to be eaten by the priests who served at the Temple (Lev. 6: 24-30; 7: 15-21). It was only the unclean that was to be thrown out to the dogs (Exod. 22: 31) – to treat the holy offerings on the altar in this way would be an abomination. Similarly, Jesus uses the example of casting pearls before swine to illustrate the same thing: naturally the pig is utterly unable to appreciate the value of the pearls, so it tramples them underfoot and then turns and rends the person who gave it the pearls. In both cases the principle is the same: that which is holy should be given to those who will appreciate and use it, not to those to whom it is of no value and who cannot appreciate it.
The prodigal son bellow the pigs privilege
We often have this picture of the Prodigal Son eating pig’s food with dirty animals in a pen. But actually that is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t say he ate food with the pigs; what the Bible says is actually that it was even worse than that.
“And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:16
The Bible doesn’t say that he was eating pig’s food; the Bible says he “would gladly” have eaten pig’s food but even the pigs wouldn’t share with him. Go read that line again.
Wow! That’s low. That’s really low. That’s about a deep a pit as you can imagine. The boy had nothing. No home. No food. No family. No friends. No opportunities on the horizon. No future to look forward to. No reason for hope at all. He was deep in a pit.
The good news is that when he decided to return to the Father he was forgiven and restored
“Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:22-24
The fat belonged to the Lord. The fat of the sacrificial animal represented the richest and most excellent part of the animal. The father did not just offer up a calf but he offered up the fatted calf His best! The father gave the prodigal son his robe, ring, sandals, and his fatted calf as a sacrifice. They came as a complete package.
If you are a child of God, but you are in the pig pin right now suffering for your own actions, you need to come to your senses, acknowledge your sins, and come back home.
King Nebuchadnezzar eats like a cow
God sent a clear warning to Nebuchadnezzar. Through Daniel, the Lord encouraged Nebuchadnezzar to repent of his sin before it was too late. However, the King did not take this warning to heart.
“So, my king, I hope you will accept my advice. Stop being sinful. Do what is right. Give up your evil practices. Show kindness to those who are being treated badly. Then perhaps things will continue to go well with you.” – Daniel 4:24-27
Nebuchadnezzar did not give credit to his Creator, and His Creator had had enough. Listen to what happened next (in Nebuchadnezzar’s own words).
“I was still speaking when a voice was heard from heaven. It said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, here is what has been ordered concerning you. Your royal authority has been taken from you. You will be driven away from people. You will live like the wild animals. You will eat grass just as cattle do. Seven periods of time will pass by for you. Then you will recognize that the Most High God rules over all of the kingdoms of men. He gives them to anyone He wants.”
What had been said about me came true at once. I was driven away from people. I ate grass just as cattle do. My body became wet with the dew of heaven. I stayed that way until my hair grew like the feathers of an eagle. My nails became like the claws of a bird. – Daniel 4:31-33
God had warned Nebuchadnezzar and had been very patient with him. But finally, the prediction came true. All of the things that he was so proud of were taken away.
After seven years of living like an animal, Nebuchadnezzar finally looked to God. Nebuchadnezzar changed his focus from himself to the one true God who deserved to be worshipped and praised. He turned from his pride and became humble. Right away, his mind was made right. God forgave Nebuchadnezzar and returned all that he had lost, plus a lot more.
The prophet that saw less than a donkey
The story of Balaam and his talking donkey is found in Numbers 22. Balaam was a pagan prophet who practiced divination and other magic arts, led Israel into apostasy, and was identified as a false prophet by Peter and Jude (2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 1:11). Fearing the encroaching Israelites, King Balak of Moab sent for Balaam and enlisted his aid in repelling the Israelites by cursing them. The Lord spoke to Balaam and told him to refuse to go to Balak, although the Lord relented under the condition that Balaam would speak only His words. So Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab back to Balak.
But knowing Balaam’s heart, the Lord’s anger burned against Balaam for what He knew was Balaam’s rebelliousness, and He sent an angel with a drawn sword to bar his way. Although Balaam couldn’t see the angel, his donkey could, and she tried to discontinue the journey by going off the path, crushing Balaam’s foot against the wall and lying down on the path. Angered by her behavior, Balaam used his staff to beat the donkey three times. Then in Numbers 22:28, we learn that “the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’” Then Balaam and the donkey proceeded to have a conversation about the situation, with Balaam angrily berating the donkey, after which the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel and understand why his journey was stopped.
The Grace of God is upon us
Jesus is our example in all things and we are called to walk in His footsteps.
Luke 2:40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him
We are also called to grow up spiritually and as we do the Grace of God comes upon us. Grace comes upon you when you rest and trust God.
Dedicate your life to Christ
“Dedication is writing your name on the bottom of a blank sheet of paper and handling it to the Lord for Him to fill in”
― Rick Renner
I Peter 5:10-11 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
No one wants to suffer and sometimes we may think that we suffer for a long time but the Bible promises that ” after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Rise like the Phoenix!
The phoenix legend is observed in a variety of cultures. These analogues include Both culture and the Bible have this hidden knowledge that there is a cycle of life and death and we can learn from old knowledge. However the power to resurrect from the ashes comes from God and not a mythical bird. You can rise up from the ashes today by a decision of your will to seek the face of God.