The Lord gave me a vision awhile ago. I need to tell you the story because it seems incredibly important, but I also don’t know if I can tell it in a way that you’ll understand it.
The nature of it is so deeply rooted in my life I may be unable to adequately convey some of it. It’s the vision I named my blog site after. Let me back up.
You may have noticed my username at the end of my posts: “entropiary”. It’s not just a smattering of letters; topiary is the art of sculpting trees and shrubs into beautiful shapes, and entropy is the increasing amount of disorder in a system, or you might call it degradation. So I picked it because in me God has made disorder beautiful, He prunes me into a work of art regardless of how broken I am, no matter how much more broken I become. It is my way of confirming to Him, to me, and to you, that I will always remember that no matter how much I screw up, no matter how far I fall or how much wrong I do, I am always in His arms, by His side, and whatever I may see He sees beauty. Well, brothers and sisters, I spend a fair amount of time increasing my entropy. I spend a lot of time wandering lost for absolutely no reason but that I have short-term remembery loss and need Him to nudge me to remind me I’m right by His side in the light. This vision was one of those nudges; it was an intense condensation of the universe into one incredibly pertinent story. So my deepest hope today is that I can tell it to you how He showed it to me because He didn’t give it to me so I could hold it in.
And, lo, I beheld…
I don’t know what a traditional vision is supposed to be. I know what they looked like in the Bible and I’ve heard people say they got them, but mine don’t ever quite align to that. I don’t see the world fall away and literally perceive them with my eyes, it is more like a daydream or a mental image. This one started out that way, but it was fleshed out as I wrote a Facebook post.
In the midst of worship one day at church I had this brief flash of me as a kid, soaked in mud and blood and dripping wet, and Jesus was hugging me tightly as if He didn’t even notice. It struck me in a way I can’t express, but it made me cry. Something fundamental, some wall of resistance, broke down. I felt a need to post it, so I did. While writing the image became more clear: we were in a large white house with a thick white carpet and I was walking in from outside, tracking muck across the carpet as I ran to Him and jumped into His arms. My post spoke of the Love that surpasses our flaws, sees past them, and our tendency to get lost in the dramas of the world. It’s a good message but, as it turns out, it wasn’t complete yet. So let me give the “cinematic” of it then I’ll talk about it.
I look out at the world and see an ocean of elaborate sand castles: skyscrapers, houses, warehouses… every building I see is made of sand. It is dirty, it is dark, and there is a soft, cold wind. Clouds of thick dust blow all around. The ground is black and somehow sticky, like it’s covered in tar. It is not night, but there is no sun in the sky, only thick dark clouds and the occasional crack of lightning. There is a dim glow on the horizon and all around I see fires burning.
Everywhere there are children playing war. Out here in the darkness there is violence and aggression and hate. Behind some groups of children there stand tall, thin kids wearing all black who cheer on the destruction, congratulate the victors, and call for the ridicule of the losers. In the face of one such child in black I see something move under the skin, I notice his eyes are solid black, and I realize these are demons. All around me kids are running — some fleeing, some chasing. It is a wild world, a world where everyone does whatever they want.
It is not a world without pleasure: some laugh as they kick down another kid, groups cheer themselves after scorning an outsider or telling a joke. Some kids start more fires, some try to put them out, some just flail in terror after being ignited by playing too close. I look around and I see the bodies of the dead lying in the street, sometimes in piles, sometimes alone. All in various stages of decay, many still smoldering from the fire that had clearly consumed them.
I am not the only one paying attention to the dead; there are scattered groups attending them. Some are trying to bury them, others building little sand monuments to them, some bowed down and worshiping them. There is a fixation on death here as everyone seems to be either awaiting it impatiently or being instructed by the demons how to properly pay homage to it: cruelty, bitterness, hedonism, vanity. I see some children pretending to be kings, others forced into slavery under their rule. I see other children, like sirens, calling us to see their view of the darkness, that in it there is a kind of light, a kind of power, a lawless freedom. I see horrors out here.
But there is also beauty. There is tragedy, but there is also laughter. There are despots, but there are also liberators. I see some gathering the wounded, some holding onto the broken and the lost. As I watch them I catch it: the thread of a memory. On the tip of my tongue is the whisper to look at… something. I search the darkness; each scene of someone helping someone scratches the itch a little. Why? What is it? And then I notice the light. There is light around them. But it’s not in them or from them, but rather to them, as if they are being hit by a spotlight. I follow the broken tail of those faint rays. I turn away from the scenes before me to follow that light and I see it: a house, though in truth that barely contains the sight.
It is a massive thing, extending for what seems like miles. It is shining white, a stark contrast to the dimness I’ve been watching. From it, or perhaps in it, protrude a million slivers of light cast out into the darkness. One of them shines directly on me. I can’t figure out why. I am not helping others, I’m just wandering out here in the dark. I’m not one of these people, but there it is all the same. I decide to go to the door and figure this out. The steps up are littered with people, but I can’t tell why at first. I take the first few steps and realize… the last step isn’t a step at all but a wall at least 30 feet high. This is the foundation of the house and you must scale it to get there.
Some have died by the wall trying to find a way up. Others have stacked those bodies in an attempt to reach the top, but they find themselves just shy. Still others are working in tandem trying to lift each other, but it’s just too high. I see many standing on the lower steps staring down at their feet. I ask one little girl why and she tells me that the next step is just so high, that she is scared she’ll fall, that maybe it’s better where she is. I ask her what she means and she snaps back at me asking why I am being so mean, why I’m being so superior, and asking who helped me get to that next step. I try to explain I am not trying to be mean, and she just tells me to go away.
I watch myself go to stand at the wall and I look back down: the crowds on this staircase seem inattentive to the war going on below, but they are not immune from it: occasionally one will get grabbed by a roving gang and beaten to death. No one seems to notice, or at least no one seems distracted by it in their thirst to go forward. Many of these on the steps have lights, many do not. Oddly, where many have clumped together their light is not additive, but subtractive: they seem dimmed by the grouping. For others the light is additive, and there are steps with a hundred people shining out like a beacon. Another shred of memory… what is it? If all the lights come from here then there must be something that ties us to it, some significance of it. What does it mean?
I turn back to the wall. I notice there are engravings on it I hadn’t seen before. “Ask and enter” it says. Over and over, densely packed together, it had to be carved here millions of times. I wonder how I hadn’t seen it. I hear myself say, “Dad, I need help, can I come in?” I hear a voice call back, “You can, but why haven’t you?” The voice strikes something in me; I know it, I’ve heard it before. I open my mouth to reply and notice something that freezes me: the wall isn’t a wall; it’s just a step. It was a wall, but now just a step. I find myself terrified to take that step, afraid that it really was a wall. I see my body trembling as I lift my foot and step up. And then I’m there. A rush of relief and gratitude draws me to tears. It lasts only a moment and then I remember where I am, where I was going. I run at top speed to get to the door, I throw it open and there He is, my Father’s Son, my Brother, holding His arms out to me. He stands in a large foyer, carpeted with thick white carpet, white walls, and a gleaming white stairwell to His right and a vast open room to His left.
I sprint across the carpet, dripping the dirt and mud and blood that’s caked me from outside, and leap into His arms. He holds me tightly, the most adoring and unconditional embrace possible. He doesn’t care that I am dirty, that have been running around out there lost. Countless tears flow from me, and He asks if I’m ready for breakfast. Unable to speak for my snotty nose and watery eyes I just nod into His shoulder.
He sets me down and we walk hand in hand into the large room. In it is a couch of white leather and a table of purist white marble. He sits on the couch and I on the floor. I begin to be aware of others in the room, though I don’t see them. As we sit we begin to sing, a song of worship and praise of Our Father. I close my eyes and to our two voices are a thousand, thousand other voices added.
I open my eyes and I see two things. The first is that I am clean, that I am wearing a white robe, and that those muddy tracks I’d made are gone. The second is that there are what must be millions of other kids sitting here in front of Him, singing, all dressed in white. And there we sit, singing together in one voice, for what could have been minutes or days. It is blissful and overwhelming. But I start to sense something discordant, something not perfect. It’s a sense of loss, of missing… something? Someone? Someone seems more accurate.
I turn my head and notice that along the wall there is a large picture window; a single pane of glass so immense I’m not sure such a construct is physically possible. Through it I clearly see the world outside: dirty, crowded, chaotic. I see many other kids standing at the window staring out, their faces blank, clearly lost in thought. I watch myself get up and go to the window. I look out at all the kids out there, all the violence and the discord. I am filled with a sense of panic at the idea that they aren’t here with us singing. I miss them, I want them here, want their missing voices back in our harmony. If I could just go back out and tell them, but I am torn because I don’t want to leave. And anyway how do you pull them from their play?
Then I see it. At the last step up to the house, the step that isn’t a step at all but an immense wall, I see me. I see myself staring back at me with an empty gaze. The song behind me fades as I stare, perplexed, at myself out in the dark, the cold, ruddy cheeks caked with muck. The more I focus on myself out there the more the song fades, until I realize that I am outside, staring at that wall, now knowing why I’m there.
Reading the bones
I’m sure that for you, like for me, there’s many immediate realizations, but we all know this isn’t an allegory: this is the truth of who we are and where we are. I have heard it said you’re not supposed to interpret your own vision, but it is presented in a language of imagery that is closely related to my past, so I’m going to try as best I can to explain some of what may not be clear. It will be a trip through the entirety of the Bible if we’re being honest. Let’s start with Genesis 1:2.
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the deep.” The “was” in that sentence is misleading. In fact, the second one that was thrown in by the King James translators is there precisely because they used a misleading word. A better choice for hayah would be “became”. That means somewhere between the “created” in verse one and this was there was a change that made the earth without form, void, and with darkness upon the deep. We all know what that was, but for the sake of saying it that was the accusation, the fall, of the worship leader of Heaven, and attendant to the throne of God Almighty: the angel Lucifer who, with one envious stroke of supreme pride, became The Accuser, satan. There was light here until he was cast down. This is the symbology of the dark sky and the crash of thunder in my vision: every bolt a renewed fall, the dark clouds and sticky ground his marring of the deep.
The dust, the chill, and the grime are of course the symbol of our curse, or at least the part I carry. He said, in Genesis 3:17-19, that men, children of the dust, would be cursed such that “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” Again those italics. We shall eat it, the ground, for all our days. We are dust and to dust we will return. This is my picture of a cold world, a hostile environment.
The sandcastles a picture of the temporary nature of all we do, both our mortality and our vanity. The fires a dual symbology for me: the druids saw fire as the strength of man, the art of war. I was a druid far longer in my life than I have been a Christian, and many times over years have I looked around and seen the fires of war. In God’s Word fire represents a refining, a passion, a purifying. Therefore in my vision the small fires are those of men, the chimes of war. The glow on the horizon, opposite the white palace, is the approaching, consuming fire, the greater fire and for that we dodge to Revelation 8:7 and the prophecy that the earth will be consumed by fire that it may be remade again.
The fact that all people in the vision are children should be no surprise. We are all children at our core. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Whatever we have been, in some sort we are still.” We have not grown up, we have grown larger. That they are cruel probably tells you a lot about my view of humanity: I see so much pain around us. We carry around every childish bias, every hate, every clique, across our entire lives and we use them to rage against each other publicly and privately. Sometimes we use them to rage all in our own heads. It breaks my heart that I see so much cruelty. It isn’t that I don’t recognize goodness and light, and this is reflected in my vision by those who are trying to help, trying to put out the fires, defend the weak, or free the slaves. But sarcasm and cynicism are so very popular and honored today that they dominate many of our instincts. Our default reaction is typically rejection, suspicion, and feeling put upon. It’s in me and I hate that fact.
The dead. Oh, I could write volumes on what He is referencing there. Each body, burning or not, collected or not, tells a story of one faith I’ve studied or another. Some were people immolating themselves according to the ancient Hindu tradition to cleanse them of their bad karma. Some were burning because of the Buddhist tradition (borrowed from India) that the body must be destroyed to prevent the soul, that lazy thing, from reentering it and becoming stunted from further transmigration. I find it interesting that so many pagan religions believe the body must be cremated to free the soul. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul talks about our new bodies in Heaven, and how we are granted that home whether our earthly body disintegrates or not. Doesn’t it seem so clearly a trick of the devil to convince men to burn their bodies in an attempt on his part to thwart that transition? I don’t think it matters if you’re cremated or not, I’m just saying the origin seems to clearly be from the little liar. But I digress. The dead represent many things in this vision that I may delve into in coming weeks if He gives me pause. Suffice it that they are symbolic of the pain and lost nature of our fellow man.
The demons, of course, are easy enough, though I think we — as in the vision — discount their influence far too much. They have power only where we give it, and the fact that I see them egging on and instructing the kids tells me that they are appealing to an instinct already implanted in us. They aren’t the ones who caused the groups to become groups and then violent groups; they simply trained those groups how to better serve their master. Which brings me to the worshipers. I have written many times of and referenced death-worship in the world. He strengthens that message to me daily, which is to say that every single day He shows me something in me or in someone else that flashes my mind to one of those kids reaching, striving for death. Stephen King once wrote a story in which characters would chant “all things serve the beam.” Everything in our modern world, brothers and sisters, serves death. Our focus on work, our obsession with time, our snarkiness, our isolation, our defiance… all these things root themselves in death and the worship of it because they all either cause it, promote it, or await it. These things are told throughout the Bible; from Genesis to Revelation there are messages about those who serve death and how not to be one of them.
The house… the vast Kingdom of God, of course it is shining and white. There is duplicity of meaning in its existence, but hold that thought. In His house are many dwelling places, said Jesus. Truly in my vision it could house a universe of souls. Access to it is free, but the way not so easy. So let’s discuss the steps.
He has showed me a vision of those steps, that final high wall, a number of times. Each time He shows me people stuck on certain steps that to them seem as another wall. These steps, of course, represent our salvation, our sanctification process. The steps are different for everyone, and which are high or low depends solely upon the viewer. But they are just steps, all of them. What makes them hard or easy is us, our fear or our acceptance of His guidance. Narrow is the way, says the Word. Not because it’s designed to be so, but because we are an elephant who was trained to be tied to a tree: we were told the way is narrow so we see the way as narrow, but it is not, in fact, narrow. The word there is thlibo and refers not to actual narrowness but to the effect of constriction. The way feels narrow, but its narrowness is a matter of perspective. Jesus, David, and Paul, speak powerfully about how much easier it is to obey than to rebel, how much easier to live than to die. We make it narrow because we were trained to see His way as more difficult, less worthy, than the path of death.
The inscription on the wall is subtle. “Ask and enter” was once said to be written on a rock in Glastonbury and if you are one of the chosen, or the magical, asking grants you access to the mythical isle of Avalon, home of an order of female wizards. It is worth noting that in my vision it is written in the Ogham alphabet, the supposed alphabet of the ancient druids. They believed that stones were powerful mystical totems because, being half in the ground and half in our world, they linked the world of the living to the world of the dead. Stones in my dreams have always represented such a threshold, the idea that to cross it I must leave something behind, must die to something.
So that wall in my vision is quite meaningful to me. It represents the wall that was so very high for me, and which continues to be to this day: idolatry. You see, I find it very easy to fall back to logic, to science, to my own mind to work through life. It takes forcibly calming myself to push out all of the years of pagan self-aggrandizement in order to see Him. “Be still and know that I am God” is the hardest command in the Bible for me. I walk through my days not keeping Him in focus and it leads me down such painful roads. But I can get past that wall; I get better every day. Just as in the vision, I do it by asking Him for help.
The prodigal returns
Of course Jesus opens the door and of course He holds me tightly, He holds us all in His arms, and there is why I named my blog site In His Arms. That He offered me food and then we sang is symbolic not only of the fact that He is our daily bread, but also that it is gotten through obedience and praise, not either one by itself. The countless others suddenly in the room is about the fact that initially our connection to Him is individual and becomes corporate only when we are fully open, fully engaged. The praise of God that brings down the voices of Heaven… I have heard this. In my church I have heard the voices of angels join to sing His praise, a cacophany of millions of clear, beautiful voices weaving in and between our human voices as if alive. It is a rare but crushingly beautiful thing.
The absence of voices. The Great Commission. The call of our Father to go reap His harvest in the world and bring our lost brothers and sisters home. This bears much discussion, but I have done so before. Instead let me give you a detail of the lights, the children at the window, the duplicate of me outside.
It is widely held that if one concentrates hard enough (or takes enough mood altering drugs) one’s soul can leave its body through what is called astral projection. Shirley MacLaine claimed to have mastered this at one time. It is described as the freedom to go out and see things elsewhere in the world that you couldn’t possibly see or know. The CIA experimented with LSD specifically trying to find a way to trigger this ability and use it as the ultimate spying method. While out of your body it is said that you see a shimmering thread that, if followed, always leads you back to your body. Like a tether back to the space station while you go do your spacewalk. This is occult mumbo jumbo.
The Greeks held the idea, and Paul speaks of this in Romans, of the pneuma, soma, and sarx or spirit, body, and flesh. Sarx is our actual flesh, the body we inhabit. The soma is you, the whole of what fills your body. You might call it your soul or your heart or your mind or your consciousness or your ego, but it is what makes you you. The pneuma is the spirit inside, the breath of God. Interestingly that is a true statement from almost every religion or cult to ever exist: there is an animating force inside of you called a spirit, a breath, an urge, a spark, a whatever-they-choose-to-call-it that was breathed into you by the creator god of that religion. For Zoroastrians it was the dying breath of the great dragon Tiamat as Marduk slew her and split her in two creating the universe and man. But always this idea that there is a part of you that is from God.
The druids held that trees were the most sacred of all things because they were alive and because they crossed all three realms — earth, sky, and underworld — and thus were capable of revealing the mysteries of the universe because they walked in all knowledge and vision. Because we had the spirit animating us, which they mostly referred to as the conscience incidentally, we had flesh that belonged to the mud, and we had a soul that moved independently of the two, the idea of traveling outside this flesh was a no-brainer. However, they got what I got: you don’t leave your body, you return from your body. In their view you returned to the spirit realm, the mystical land of magic and power where you could decide your reincarnation. But nevermind that part. The important part is that astral projection is errant because your body is not your soul’s home, it’s just a vehicle. Pneuma and sarx are facilities vying for soma‘s habitation.
In my vision, when I realize that I am no longer dirty it is true that is because He washed me clean, but He did it by showing me who I was in His eyes rather than mine. When I see myself outside it is confirmation that I am no longer in my body, but have abandoned it temporarily to return to Him. The lights shining upon the kids outside are the tendrils of connection between us and God that allow us to occupy the flesh while we search out and disciple His sheep but still find our way home to Him. Yes, it is highly steeped in my personal knowledge of the occult and years of looking at the world a certain way, but it is in this vision to show me a truth. That truth is something I’ve said before: we don’t live here.
Christ made it very clear that the Kingdom is here and now, that it isn’t a far-away land we will go to after Judgement Day, but a living place we are already in, if we but choose it. Not through leaving our bodies, but through leaving our connection to the flesh and carnality of this world and joining to Him instead. By aligning our intentions, desires, and actions to the pneuma, the spirit, rather than the sarx, the flesh. We are the Kingdom of God, brothers and sisters, right here, right now, today. None of the blood or mud that splashes on you or sticks to your shoes is real, not in any meaningful way. We exist in two realms at once: we are in the world, but we are in the Kingdom. We choose how much of our vision lies in which realm. Some of the kids were sitting at the feet of Jesus, content. Some left to long for the world outside, some returned to it to worship death instead — these were the groups on whom the light shined but on whom it was not additive but subtractive, and some returned to it to try and bring more home. None that entered ever truly left, it was only their perception that changed. Likewise those who sat at His feet only were abandoning completely this world, disregarding all the physical and all the lost.
I can’t tell you what is right for you. I can’t tell you what your relationship to God or to man should be; I don’t have the credentials for that. But I can tell you that the world is not what you think it is. If you read nothing else, if you skimmed this whole post please read this: this world is a shadow, it isn’t real. All the pain, all the pleasure, all the triumph, all the defeat, is just an echo. We have remembery loss because this world is dying and we know that there is more. But the more is not in some future after your death, that kind of thinking breeds only more worship of death, more candy for Satan, more confirmation of your training to be dead. Choose right now, right here, today, to shift your eyes, your ears, your soma to the Kingdom of God. Choose light instead of dark, Love instead of pain, the Lamb instead of the lion. In every experience see with those eyes and not the physical ones.
That. That is what’s meant by “seek first the Kingdom”.
Father, thank You for this vision and the education that comes with it. Every day I see more detail and every day I seek more instruction. I am learning not to fall over myself when I stumble, but to remain eyes affixed to You. I forget in the rush of the day to focus on this, but every day I make headway with Your guidance. Reach through my flailing, vain words and show them what You would have them glean from it. I pray eternally for peace, for light, for Love in our lives and in our hearts and in our finances and in our relationships, most especially in our walk with You. We will always be kids, but let us be kids trying to be like You rather than like us. Thank You for letting me see Your truth. I Love You forever. In the name of Your Word, and my brother, Jesus, I pray. Amen.