Prophetic people tend to be metaphorical thinkers. It is inherent to how we process the world and deciphering things of the spirit. You may have noticed Spirit is fond of speaking to us in metaphors. There is a greater level of understanding that needs to be adopted along-side the practice of metaphorical thinking, however that doesn’t let ingrained cultural metaphors and symbolism retard one’s perception of reality. Metaphors are just that, metaphors.
Animal symbolism is very dominant in my life. It is one of the major ways Holy Spirit communicates with me. Because of that I find myself often talking animals in the circles I travel. On several occasions, I have heard people say “I hate ravens! They are evil!” They actually believe that the ravens work for the devil I guess. Or, they chopped some poor snake’s head off because it was in their space and surely must have been sent by the devil. They post their mighty deed on Facebook so the world can see they just scored a victory against the devil! Eagles must work for the good side then? Have all the animals chosen sides? Are the ones we don’t like evil henchmen sent by witches to torment us? Obviously, these convictions are not very well thought through. I wonder how the Creator feels about people calling his ravens evil? Since we are talking ravens, they are actually mentioned five times in the Bible and it’s always in a context that reveals the Lord’s generosity and provision. But … they are black and black is always evil, right? Well, no. Doesn’t the word say God is fond of cloaking himself in darkness as in Psalms 18:11 and the enemy comes as an angel of light as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:14? Well now that is confusing. What are we supposed to throw rocks at now?
The Bible calls Jesus the lion of Judah but also says the enemy prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. The Word tells us to be wise as serpents but calls Satan the great serpent. Moses was commanded to make an image of a fiery serpent on a pole at one point and have the Israelites look upon it to receive healing. The serpent being a picture of Christ. I don’t think we’ll be hearing any songs about Jesus the fiery serpent any time soon though. In Job God points to the Leviathan as one of his great works yet the devil is called Leviathan. The enemy is called a ravenous wolf but the bibles says the wolf will feed with the sheep on his holy mountain … I could go on.
Redeeming Bad Omens:
There are no bad animals, but there are bad omens. Let’s just take a look at my favorite demonized animal, the wolf. For a 1/2 a century leading up to 2002 there are only 8 recorded wolf attacks on humans. There are an estimated 500-700 attacks by lions yearly. Yet, the wolf is scorned and the lion celebrated in our culture. Obviously, this is rooted in our subconscious because our ancestors had to compete with wolves for food so they are associated with evil. Everything created was called good by the one who created it though. That includes the wolf, raven, and snakes even. If you lived in a country where being killed by a lion was a legitimate concern you may have a different view on lions. Personally the wolf is a positive omen for me with a very layered and personal meaning.
It’s important to stop and ask ourselves if we are looking through pre-conceived prejudice that narrows our thinking. I was once interpreting one of my own dreams and wasn’t liking what I was deciphering when Holy Spirit said “Stop! You are interpreting this dream through fear. Who are you? Who am I? Start over.” When I started again remembering my identity as a son of God the dream was completely different. That being said if you associate something with evil, Sprit will likely use it as a symbol as such when communicating with you in efforts to speak your language. You could however have a broader vocabulary and better understanding in the spirit if you got over fear, prejudice and preconceived ideas and think about context and culture.
Give the Devil Nothing:
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away I was on my way out of the house to go meet with an intercessor group at our church to pray. I had mostly been showing up there because I was fresh out of a really dark season and I wanted to be where God was and the devil wasn’t. That seemed like a safe place. I wore a lot of black, I still do. What can I say, the noir look works for me. One of the older ladies in the group was always telling me I looked too dark and I should “try a white shirt or maybe a light blue.” So, as I was walking out of the house wearing a black tee shirt I thought to myself, I should probably go change my shirt so Sue doesn’t think I am evil. Just then I hear Holy Spirit chime in and say “Don’t give the devil black. I created black. The devil gets nothing.” Then proceeded to bring to mind beautiful things that are black. God did say that in the beginning everything he created was good and the devil only comes to steal, kill and destroy. That includes, black, the night, ravens … everything. I just received freedom to think. My motto since has been to give the devil nothing. It’s all God’s. It’s all-good. Why do we give things over to the devil?
Isaiah 5:20: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
I think we have called a lot of what is good evil.
That is not to say that every time I see a wolf, bear etc. in a dream or vision it is a positive omen. In fact, I have had many dreams where there are wolf-like or dog-like spirits that are undoubtedly out to ruin my day. Bears in my dreams are most often representational of death. In fact, I was given a bear skull that was a prophetic gift that the Lord has given me the head of my enemies. I don’t hate bears because their image is used to represent death in my dreams. I know why they represent death in my dream. When I was a kid my mom gave me a book about bear attacks that was quite graphic. It really disturbed me and I have had a fear of bears since. It does not surprise me that in my dreams, death would manifest as a bear. I have prophetic friends however who see the bear as representational of a mother’s protective spirit over her children in the natural and spiritual. That is a great image. Both interpretations are true and work in their context.
I submit that we have handed a lot of our things over to the devil because we have demonized some animals, cursed them and called them evil because of cultural bias. Matthew 16:15 tells us “What you bind on earth will be bound in the heavens.” The devil is more than happy to receive anything we give away. We were told to take dominion over creation. Let’s take our things back. The devil gets nothing.
So the next time you see a snake making it’s way across your grass maybe ask Holy Spirit if you are being remind to be wise as a serpent or you are being cautioned that your adversary the liar is close. Either way receive the message and let the messenger live.