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The Stag

The Stag is known as the relentless enemy of the snake and is a spiritual symbol for Christ in His Victorious Resurrection, who has trampled the devil under His feet and invites us to join Him in destroying all the serpent’s works. He calls us into the waters of baptism to wash away our sins and to drink living water. He promises to give us an everlasting fountain, gushing out in rivers of life into all the world. He invites us to follow Him into a life of joy unspeakable and full of glory. “Joy,” C. S. Lewis writes, “is the most serious business of heaven.”

From the pages of the Song of Solomon, recognized as an allegory of the love of Christ for His Bride, we hear His call. We are told that He is coming to us as a wild stag: “Listen! I hear my Lover’s voice. I know it’s Him coming to me — leaping with joy over mountains, skipping in love over the hills that separate us.” (Song 2:8)

In the book of Acts we see the invitation being extended to Saul, a Pharisee dedicated to stamping out the new “cult” who called themselves followers of Jesus. When Saul, later called Paul, was confronted by Jesus in a blinding light from heaven while he was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, he writes, “And because I could not see for the glory of that light, I was led to Damascus by those who came with me.” God sent Ananias, a devout man to pray for Saul to receive his sight saying, ‘The God of our ancestors has destined you  to know his plan and for you to see the Holy One  and to hear his voice. For you will be his witness to every race of people and will share with them everything that you’ve seen and heard.” He said, “What are you waiting for. Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” ( Acts 22:11-16)

So we see that God’s call to all those who would follow Him is not to just “feel better and to be happy” although you will feel better and you will have joy. But the call of God is much deeper than that. It is to have a deep and abiding relationship with Him, to know His plan, to Hear His voice and to share with others everything that you have seen and heard.

King David chose the Stag as a symbol of the soul’s longing for God: “As the hart (deer) pants after the fountains of water; so my soul pants after thee, O God.” (Ps 42:1) It is important to know that the Hebrew word translated “hart” or “deer” in this passage is the word “stag” indicating a male deer. Why is that important? Because wrapped up in the image of the Stag is not only a longing after God but also an aggressive stand against the snake and the powers of darkness.

David identifies himself, not as a little timid deer, but as a Stag – longing for the fountains of water, not only to refresh his soul, but also seeking for God to empower him to take down the works of the enemy. Jesus himself would confirm this concept.

Jesus, the Source of Living Water

Speaking of the living water and prophesying of Christ’s invitation to the thirsty, David wrote, “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! . . . You give them drink from the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light shall we see light.” (Psalm 36:8-9)

When Jesus took His stand on the earth, He identified Himself as the God of Israel of whom David spoke. Jesus cried out: “All you thirsty ones, come to Me! Come to Me and drink! Believe in Me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing  from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says!” John tells us, “Jesus was prophesying about the Holy Spirit that had not yet been given because He had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

It might seem too good to be true, but Jesus does not want just a trickle of water, nor even a river of water, to flow out of us into the world. He wants “rivers” of water to burst forth from within each one of us. These rivers are for our spiritual refreshment, but there is more. He wants His waters to empower us to transform the world around us and to help Him take down the works of the enemy.

The Apostle John explained it this way, “For this purpose the Son of God appeared, to destroy the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) This is His Quest, and He invites us to take up our cross and follow Him into the fulfillment of His purposes. It is important to notice here that Jesus did not call us to destroy the devil – He has already done that – He asked us to destroy the devil’s works.

His Quest

Jesus did not leave us in the dark, trying to discover what the works of the devil were. Jesus defined those works specifically. In fact, He stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth when He began His ministry and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah the description of His Quest: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Jesus looked down the corridors of time and saw those who were chained and enslaved by the devil to sin, sickness, iniquity, and death, to harshness and cruelty — whether to another person, to their own self-hatred, or to the tyranny of oppressive governments — He saw every chain broken and every captive set free. John tells us, “For this purpose the Son of God appeared, to destroy the works of the Devil.” (1 John 3:8) H

Later Isaac Watts would capture Jesus’ Quest in his Christmas carol, Joy to the World, saying, “He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” Paul explained it this way, “One man’s disobedience opened the door for all humanity to become sinners. So also one man’s obedience opened the door for many to be made perfectly right with God and acceptable to him. And just as sin reigned through death, so also this sinconquering grace will reign as king through righteousness, imparting eternal life through Jesus, our Lord and Messiah!” ( Rom. 5:19, 21)

Has sin reigned throughout the world? Then righteousness must reign in the same measure. This is a Quest for world dominion, and it is the juggernaut toward which all history is moving. Not only that, it is Jesus’ certain plan to accomplish this through the redemptive work of His sons. And Paul was not silent as to who those “sons” were: “Those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” So this is not a gender qualification – it is a spiritual qualification of both male and female. (Rom. 8:19)

Paul explained it to the Roman church this way: “The whole creation is waiting to be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.”( Rom. 8:14)

When Jesus was born on earth, the world was a very dark place and for the most part all nations, with the exception of Israel, were bound to the servitude of idols and demons. As His disciples went into all the world with His message of salvation, the strongholds of demons began to fall, the demonic oracles quit speaking, and the temples of idols fell to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Europe, which had been given to a pantheon of tens of thousands of demons, became a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit and idolatry ceased to be. Upon the ruins of European idolatry Jesus began to build His church, just as He foretold, and “the gates of Hell could not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18)

Empowered from On High

After Jesus’ resurrection, He met with His disciples and told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for “power from on High” to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. He called this “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1: 1-8) Jesus explained that the same Holy Spirit He promised to give to those who were thirsty would also give them the Spiritual Power they needed to transform the world around them and extend Christ’s kingdom on earth. It is important to notice that Jesus did not call us to destroy the devil – He has already done that – He invites us to join Him in destroying all the serpent’s works and to help bring His kingdom on earth just as it is in heaven. For this Jesus asked His disciples to pray.

“I give you authority and power,” Jesus promised His disciples, “to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and physical and mental strength and ability over all the power that the enemy possesses; and nothing shall in any way harm you.” (Luke 10:19 Amp) He gave them this commission: “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believes not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

So when we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is important to remember that Jesus is not calling us just to a pietistic devotional life – He is calling us to a life of fellowship and to take our place as His sons (both male and female) and to join Him in the cosmic battle of the ages to bring people from darkness into light, from being bound by the power of satan to being set free by the power of God to the end the God’s kingdom my come on the earth just as it is in heaven.

The Transformation of the World Continues

As you study Christian history you will find that all the blessings and all the liberty this world enjoys has come to us directly through the work of God’s sons down through the ages. And why is this important for us to know? So we can follow in their footsteps until the Lamb gets the glory that is due His sufferings and the entire world is full of His glory. This is where you and I come in. As we give our wholehearted devotion to Jesus and come to Him for living water, we too will become vessels through which God’s rivers can burst out to transform the world.

It is important that we keep in mind that no matter how dark the hour may seem, the rise of Christian civilization everywhere is still moving the world to a day grand and glorious, when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ. The stone cut out of the mountain that Daniel saw is still growing to become a great mountain that will fill the entire earth. God’s kingdom will grow on earth exponentially, depending on how many of God’s children are willing to live in full surrender to His purposes. The zeal of the Lord hosts will accomplish this

It Many times the battles that we see raging that look like defeat and that everything is being torn apart are not just physical battles but spiritual battles as the light pursues and conquers the darkness.

It This is the conclusion that beloved American poet, Henry W. Longfellow, arrived at in the late 19th century, when during the American Civil War he was in great despair over the hate, the tearing apart of our country, and his personal loss. In his carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, he pondered this and arrived at this conclusion that he found echoed in the angel’s song announcing Christ’s birth on the hillside of Bethlehem thousands of years ago.

He He wrote, “And in despair, I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said, for hate is strong and mocks the song of ‘Peace on earth good will toward men.’ Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead nor does He sleep, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will toward men.” Following that dark hour, the greatest era of invention and prosperity for the blessing of mankind in the history of the world was released. In less than a few years, the people of our nation were unified and back at work.

Not only had slavery and the selling of people on auction blocks as merchandise ceased, men went from riding in a horse and buggy to traveling in a car an airplane, and traveling in outer space. People went from lighting their homes with the flame of a lamp to using an electric light, turning over 5800 years of recorded history when the only light mankind had was fire and the only travel was by foot, wagon, or animal.

God’s kingdom will not be established here on earth in some magical day, somewhere in the future, when at a “poof” of God’s wand, He will make all things new. Paul reminded the church in Corinth that “Jesus will remain in heaven until all enemies fall beneath His feet the last enemy to be destroyed will be death.” (1 Cor. 15:25) If Jesus was going to do this magically one day, then there was no need to send out his disciples to preach and face the lions den of Rome. No, according to the testimony of Scripture and the history of Christianity, God will work through His people to do this.

He will use His followers to fulfill His plan. The is the sure and certain testimony of Christianity and the growth of Western Civilization.

The progress of Christ’s kingdom in the earth has been developing just as Jesus foretold – “How can I describe God’s kingdom? God’s kingdom is like something as small as yeast that a woman kneads into a large amount of dough. It works unseen until it permeates  the entire batch and the loaf rises high.” (Luke 13:20-12)

So through sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom, through preaching and sharing, and prophesying and praying, and following the leading of His Spirit to create institutions build on God’s principles, that which is invisible will do its work until what can’t be seen will be manifest for all to see. The seed of the Gospel is guaranteed to take root and transform the world.

Jesus knew His people would eventually create good families and governments flowing from the inside out. He knew redeemed people would establish redemptive governments, good laws, productive schools, industries, and create inventions for the benefit and blessing of mankind and that Christian civilization would eventually flourish and take over the world.

A Moment of Reflection

Here is a question we might want to reflect on. Is God’s spirit bursting out of our lives in rivers transforming the world around us? If we can’t answer “yes” to this then we are forfeiting God’s magnificent promises through either unbelief, or by not pressing in to receive them, or by simply being ignorant of the implications of His exceedingly great promises. We are also short circuiting His power in our lives and are not allowing ourselves to be His vessels to bring His redemption to the world.

The Bible is full of grand promises. However, these promises are so magnificent that many Christians don’t really believe that God means what He says, and because of this, they forfeit those promises and the supernatural life that could have been theirs.

A case in point are the Hebrew slaves who were miraculously delivered from slavery to Egypt. In 40 days with mighty miracles, God led them to the border of the Promised Land and then told them to go in and take the land and He would be with them. But, they stumbled through unbelief and in disobedience, they refused to go in. The author of Hebrews, most likely Paul, exhorts all Christians in all ages to not be like them. Because of unbelief and disobedience we are told that they wandered aimlessly in the wilderness for 40 years and died there, not receiving what God had promised. Let’s agree together that we will not let that be us.

We want to offer to help you in this Divine Quest. Through our blogs, podcasts, and our books we offer you a place of community with those of like mind along with Biblical studies to establish a firm spiritual foundation in your life, knowledge of Christian history to help us know where we have come from and where we are going, spiritual insight, revelation, and inspirational works that will build your faith and give you a very strong spiritual foundation. This will help you be a powerful light in the world as you join Jesus to destroy the works of the devil, set sin’s captives free, and establish His kingdom on earth just as it is in heaven.

by Rose Weiner

The Symbol of the Stag in Medieval Art

by Rose Weiner

The Symbol of the Stag in Medieval England