On the 9th of Av, many centuries ago, the nation of Israel stood in the desert on the edge of Canaan – the threshold of the Promised Land! Great anticipation and joyful expectation must have been stirring in their hearts that day! Moses had sent twelve spies to view this land of God’s promises just before he planned to lead the Israelites into it. The story is recorded in Numbers 13 and 14. The spies brought back the report that the Promised Land was indeed beautiful and flowing with milk and honey! They carried a huge cluster of grapes back with them to demonstrate the fruitfulness of the land.
But ten of the spies reported that the Israelites would not be able to enter and conquer; there were giants in the land! Caleb urged them to go in – that they could surely take possession. Joshua agreed with him. BUT the unbelief and fear of the other ten spies was contagious. The whole camp of Israel refused to enter. Their excitement turned to despair. They did not believe that God would fight for them, conquer their enemies and lead them into the land He had repeatedly promised them.
The LORD was angry and viewed their unbelief as rebellion. He was grieved that, in spite of all the miracles He had shown them, they refused to trust and obey. He swore that none of those in unbelief would enter the Promised Land. So Israel wandered for 40 more years in the desert until that generation passed away. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter.
Since that day, the 9th of Av has been a day of mourning for the people of Hebrew descent! We are currently in the Hebrew month of Av. The time between the 17th of Tamuz, the preceding Hebrew month and Av 9 (this year: 7/10-11/17 to 7/31-8/1) is known as the Season of the Basilisk. Below, I will describe what a Basilisk is. Historically, this entire three weeks is a season of suffering for the Jews and the people of Israel. The season begins on the 17th of Tamuz because on that day Moses broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments when angered by the idolatrous revelry of the Israelites which he had encountered immediately upon descent from God’s presence on Mt. Sinai. The 3 weeks between the anniversaries of these two incidents of rebellion is called the Season of the Basilisk.
The Season of Basilisk ends on the 9th of Av, in Hebrew, Tish’a B’Av. This day is considered the saddest day of the year and is commemorated with fasting. Through the centuries, many assaults on the Jewish people have happened on this day. To give a few examples of events on this exact day: in 586 BCE, the Babylonians destroyed the first temple. In 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the second temple. In 1290, the Jews were expelled from England. In 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. In 1942, A.D., the Nazis first drafted the final plans for the annihilation of the Jews in WWII.
Here is a quote from the writings of the late Bob Jones and of Paul Keith Davis, “The word Basilisk is derived from basiliskos meaning “kinglet” or “king” signifying a mythical reptile hatched from a cock’s egg. In Scripture, Basilisk is sometimes translated “cockatrice” or adder”. The Hebrew word for Basilisk occurs in Psalms 91:13, Isaiah 14:29, Isaiah 11:8, Isaiah 59:5, Proverbs 23:32 and Jeremiah 8:17.” For further study see http://www.bobjones.org/Docs/PropheticArchives/2007-07-Basilisk.htm
When you think of a Basilisk, think of the hooded or winged snake on a pharaoh’s crown. The Egyptians worshipped this creature as one of their gods. So, spiritually speaking, the Basilisk is a powerful evil principality (Ephesians 6:12). Throughout history it has operated against God’s people by bringing death and destruction. Our wisest stance during this season is to be right with God and to pray fervently! We must take refuge in His name which is our strong tower and hide ourselves in the shadow of His wings. Pray also for the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, and for those of the lost ten Hebrew tribes who are awakening to their true identity throughout the earth. God blesses those who bless them!
He has alerted me that this particular Season of Basilisk will be difficult. Many are being “hit below the belt”, so to speak. The enemy is trying to intimidate us and to push us to be angry with God in our suffering, even to the point of denying Him.
But I was also impressed to say that this season marks the beginning of the end of a very long period of testing for His people! We are again at the threshold of our Promised Land. The great God of Israel who parted the Red Sea is capable of bringing you out of your current wilderness and into your Promised Land! As with the Children of Israel, the real issue is belief in Him and His promises to you. Don’t fail to enter in as the Israelites did! Decree His promises in your darkest moments of this next period. I sensed the Lord saying that, though we may face intensified trials during this Season of Basilisk, we must not succumb to the fear of giants or to unbelief in regard to His promises. Those who hesitate in fear or unbelief at this time in human history may miss the long awaited fulfillment of promises. Our Lord considers unbelief to be rebellion.
Let’s get our eyes off “the giants”, “the snakes”, “the wolves” and all ravaging circumstances. Let us say no to the discouragement biting at our heels and the giants looming on our horizon. Stand strong in faith! Let Him be your strength when you feel ready to retreat. Ask Him to come into your ragged emotions and to be your peace, hope and faith. The faith-filled will see the Land of Promise! Nothing will ever be the same once we stand in this new land! For those who have suffered in the wilderness, on the other side of this season is fulfillment, financial provision, promotion, longed for relationships, and healing. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! (Ephesians 6:10) Believe and enter in!
I do not believe that humans become heavenly angels in the afterlife. Humans and angels are each separate, distinct creations of God. But since the literal meaning of angel is messenger and Webster* notes that an angel can be defined as “a kind and lovable person,” and “one who manifests goodness, purity, and unselfishness,” then I would have to say that my mother has been to me a Messenger of God, the Angel of my Life!
I want to dedicate this book to you, my darling mother, Mary Anna Ogden Bryan.
You gave me life and unconditional love. You always listened and believed in me even when few others did. You are a model of unselfishness, self-sacrifice, generosity, kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, patience, diligence, and a delightful ability to see the sunny side of life! You have been my greatest encourager and deepest comforter.
With most tender affection and compassion, life-saving prayers and wise counsel, you have made my life’s journey so much sweeter. You are my heroine and one of the dearest people God has ever made! I love you with all my heart!
By the way, all my life you consistently encouraged me to write thank you notes – even to this day. This dedication is one of my feeble attempts to thank you, dear lady.
Your loving daughter,
Mary Anna Bryan Cropley, “Anna”
*angel, noun, definition 3., a. and b. Webster’s II, New Riverside University Dictionary, The Riverside Publishing Company, 1984.
Oh, watcher of men, keeper of tears, counter of sand.
Oh, planter of dreams, namer of stars – my heart in Your hands.
I am held in Your gaze. Watcher of men, You know my days
From beginning to end, beginning to end.
Oh, watcher of men, keeper of tears, counter of sand.
Oh, granter of dreams, namer of stars – my heart in Your hands.
I am held in Your gaze. Watcher of men, You know my days
From beginning to end, beginning to end.
Early one evening, in the fall of 2007, I decided to walk the tree-lined streets of my neighborhood. I stooped to gather pecans as I passed beneath the heavily laden pecan trees. Cell phone in hand, I thought I’d spend the time catching up with friends. But, before I made the first call, I received a clear impression, I believe from the Lord. He wanted to take the walk with me! He wanted to speak to my heart!
As I listened with expectation, I was surprised to hear, “I want you to write a book about Joseph.” Instantly I knew He meant the Joseph whose story was chronicled in the Old Testament. I felt I almost knewthat Joseph personally…
• • •
In the fall of 1978, during my junior year of college in Georgia, I sat in the Sunday School class of a gifted young Bible teacher named Clyde. As he instructed us on Joseph’s life, specifically regarding his thirteen years of suffering and testing, Clyde threw in, “By the way, would you be willing to live in obscurity for thirteen years before the Lord used you?” The question jolted me as I sensed the Lord was asking me directly. Immediately I recoiled, thinking, “No, absolutely not!”
I was a Music Major at Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Georgia, at the time. I loved to sing, act, speak, dance, debate, somersault (My P.E. teacher had really asked me to do somersaults in our first grade program…) – anything on stage. “Waiting in obscurity” was the last thing in the world I wanted to do! That prospect felt like death to my hopes and dreams!
But now, I realize when God asks questions, He is preparing our hearts to say yes to His plans for us. His journey for us involves detours to build our character which we ourselves would not have chosen. We are wise to let go of the tight hold we have on our lives and let Him lead! Jesus spoke the following just before his death:
…The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal” (John 12:23-26 The Message).
In less than three years following that memorable Sunday morning, I had graduated from college, married and moved to Fort Worth, Texas. From the time of the first question, “Will you wait?” to the second, “Will you write?” I had literally spent twenty-nine years in relative obscurity. By obscurity, I mean hiddenness, not doing what I felt I was born to do. I am not saying to be successful you have to have your “name up in lights”, but you know in your heart when you are living a life of frustration and seeming futility, continually having your dreams dashed and your “hope deferred.” During those years, the Lord repeatedly imparted a vision of the person I was to become and what I was to do. He wanted for me to have an impact for His Kingdom through the different communication genres with which He’d gifted me – in the future – a future that never seemed to arrive! I was serving the Lord during that time, but was always aware of a much bigger dream planted in my heart!
• • •
Later, I will write more of those intervening years which have stretched to almost thirty-nine at the writing of this manuscript. But, as I walked that night under the pecan trees, turning over in my mind God’s request to write about Joseph, the Lord continued, “There are thousands of ‘Josephs’, like you, and I want you to encourage them. Some are almost in despair. Some even want to die.” (Since then, I have realized there might be hundreds of thousands of us!)
So I answered, “Yes, Lord, I will write this book for You. But, please, I don’t want it to be long. I don’t even like reading long books and I surely don’t want to have to write one!” I was remembering the drudgery of writing college term papers. The Lord replied, “How many pecans have you gathered in your hand?” I counted. “Eight.” “That’s how many chapters will be in your book!”
I made my way home that fall evening, eight seeds of a pecan tree in my hand, the seed of a book in my heart and a deep awareness that I was a part of THE JOSEPH GENERATION!*
• • •
Since that encounter, the Lord has written this book on my heart. I hope my words will encourage those of you to whom the Lord has given big dreams, challenging assignments, and lofty callings only to find yourselves thwarted, demoted and asked to wait and wait and wait…. You have endured severe setbacks, repeated disappointments, and some of you have even battled despair and death.
I share these pages with you that you might “get a fresh breeze in the dank dungeon air, see a message of hope scrawled on the dim dungeon wall and feel vindicated for wearing your tear-soaked prison garb and enduring the lashes on your back.” And in this darkest of dungeons, may you learn to see the Light. He is the Light who lives in your heart. He is the Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in His wings. (See Malachi 4:2)
May you gain an understanding of the strange preparation you’ve endured through Joseph’s words to his brothers during famine. “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.” (Genesis 45:7 NASB) You are His forerunners! You carry a torch of deliverance for those who live in the encroaching darkness and increasing desperation of today’s world!
6/24/2013, Seymour, Texas
*Generation: A group of individuals considered as sharing a common contemporaneous culture or social attributes <the beat generation>, Ibid, p.524
Is there another stream running even more deeply and hiddenly these days among the members of the Body, a scattered people who are being taken into the depths of the revelation and experience of Christ in the most extreme measures of the Holy Spirit’s dealings, emptying, crucifying… a pioneer company which the Lord will need for the opening of the way for the remainder of the Body to follow – perhaps some “eleventh hour laborers” now in the process of His producing?*
*George Moreshead, as quoted by Frank Viola in Finding Organic Church: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2009), 305.
In the land of ancient Egypt, circa 1897 B.C., a thirty year old man came to a position of immense power: Joseph, a Hebrew, son of Jacob, great grandson of Abraham. Joseph’s life is a foreshadowing of many of our lives. We can find encouragement by drawing parallels between Joseph’s life and our own in the areas of (1) our dreams and our callings, (2) the pain and even trauma endured in preparation for the fulfillment of those dreams and callings, (3) the process of healing from the difficulties of preparation, and (4) the final actualization of God’s promises to us.
We are in the last of the last days of this current era. Every follower of Jesus Christ will be called upon to give their all: those who are currently serving to the maximum, those who are in preparation, and those who are yet to know Christ. A great awakening among the youth has been prophesied! But no one of any age or station in life will be excluded from service. All who are willing will be used by God in the coming days!
But just as God set Joseph apart to bring deliverance to his generation during a famine of worldwide proportion, so God has set apart a company of people as deliverers in the next global drama. Even now the Lord’s faithful servants are currently laying down their lives for the kingdom of God in public and in obscure ways. This book is addressed most specifically to those who have been quietly prepared for their larger task. The season in which God is beginning to release these hidden warriors is upon us!
Joseph’s life events form the outline of the book. I did not attempt to write a comprehensive biography of Joseph, but to ask, “What does Joseph’s life say to us today?” I have attempted to share truths that transcend the historical facts while holding to the integrity of these facts.
The Lord also asked me to include my own story. I really wrestled with His request, not just because it would make my task longer, but because, as with all of us, I have had painful experiences and relationships which I would prefer to remember.
At the beginning of and sprinkled throughout each chapter, I have included poems, songs, quotes, and Scriptures which I hope will elucidate the chapter. I have also included prophetic words, dreams, and pictures which I and others have received. Most of my prophetic words came to me as short statements in the middle of the night or early morning hours when my mind was less cluttered.
What I call “prophetic” is communication received directly from God. As Paul, the apostle, said, ”Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (I Corinthians 14:1 NASB). I believe all God’s children can learn to hear His voice and speak (prophesy) what He has told them. In the case of dreams, they are interpreted with the wisdom given by the Lord at the time of the dream and/or subsequently when deeper understanding is sought. Dreams also can be prophetic. I will share more later on hearing from God and on interpreting our dreams.
As deliverers, the Lord is employing us to prepare others for the traumatic days that precede the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of time until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22 NASB). Our mission may potentially involve preserving quality of life and even life itself! But our ultimate purpose will be that of leading others to eternal life beyond this world!
As of this writing, over 2.9 billion people have never even heard the name, “Jesus”. All who love our God will be His agents to help deliver these from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into the marvelous light” (1Peter 2:9 NASB).
The morning of 4/25/17, I was a little surprised by the Lord’s instructions. But, He helped me understand what a battle there was continuing to be for the release of the blessings He had planned. My human hopes had geared me to think all was done. He reminded me that often when He says He is going to do something, He wants us to participate in bringing it into the earthly realm.
So He asked me to pray with Him that the gifts He longs to bring will come and not delay! I will show you the verses He poured onto me. I was not looking for any of them. (All verses are from the New American Standard Bible.) “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 “…but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15b “Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.“ John 16: 29-30
Then I saw a faint, but huge swan in the sky nestling its head on its back fathers, as I have seen them do before. Then I saw a fish in front of it. I believe the swan represents the mature body of Christ in her glory.
I believe the fish represents the verse that says, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11
Then I “accidently” flipped to 1 Samuel 1:17, “Then Eli answered and said, ‘Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him.’” (Here Samuel was answering Hannah who had asked God for a son.) Today, 4/28/17, the Lord showed me this, “And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.” Ruth 4:11 (Boaz’s response to Ruth’s request to be her Kinsman-Redeemer.)
So our Great Provider is hearing our cries for “bread,” for “fish,” for offspring, for a mate…. He wants to answer! Join Him in ushering in the unfolding of His dramatic transfer of wealth and blessing to His “Beautiful Swan” who has so long been mocked as the “Ugly Duckling!”
Years ago, I heard Wesley and Stacy Campbell at a conference that I attended. That night, before they spoke the second day, I had a dream which seemed to last all night. The whole night I was keenly aware of the glory and presence of God! For hours, camels were streaming through the Middle East bringing treasures. I awoke with this phrase in my head, which was a sort of play on words, “the camels (Campbells) are coming!” I sensed it had something to do with the Joseph story and the provisions he made for his family and that region during famine. That day, I told Wesley that I had had that dream. The Campbells did bring incredible blessings that weekend! But I knew the dream meant more.
About a year or two ago, I had another dream: I was at the host house for our little home ecclesia, Mountain River. The meeting had ended and we all left, but I found we had all regathered in another room where we were seated around a long table. A man walked in and placed a large check in front of Jeff and me. Someone across the table good-naturedly placed their hand on the check and said,” I claim a similar blessing for myself!” “You will decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and a light willshine on your ways.” Job 22:28 (NASB)
I left and turned back to face the outside wall of the room I had just come from. I was amused to see, streaming from the far upper right corner down to the left lower corner, a series of tiny animated-looking camels! They all had people on their backs. For some reason, I was impressed to count them, 35 in all! I shared the dream later with my home group and that I believed it meant we were all going to be blessed financially enough to fund our needs and our God-given dreams!
I was impressed to look up Isaiah 35, in connection with the dream. The entire chapter is about the coming Millennial Kingdom. I would strongly encourage you to take some time and read this chapter! I realize we are coming to the end of this era and that great tribulation has been predicted. But I firmly believe that there will be a short window of time in which many of us, like Joseph, will be able to store up provisions for the difficult times preceding Christ’s Second Coming. I believe that season is upon us now!
Many of our hopes and dreams were intended by God to be realized in this season, for our sake and for the sake of those we will influence into the Kingdom during this next great revival! Seemingly impossible dreams to do great things for God have been planted in our hearts! To fulfill these God-breathed visions, some of us need more resources, financial and otherwise. Some of us need shifts in location, the marriage partner we have ached for, a change in relationships we already have, healing for ourselves or loved ones, favor with certain people, promotion at work, a change in occupation, open doors which had been closed, etc….
When I was 20, the Lord “called me” through Isaiah 61:1-3. That passage includes the following injunction: “The Spirit of the Lord God is open me… to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (NASB) I am now 59 years old and He is releasing me to proclaim to you forerunners, those who have waited and waited bursting with hope: THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE FAVOR OF OUR GOD! This Year! Right Now! Receive hope and proclaim this yourself. Hold fast to this promise, for it is in the process of fulfillment. Now is the day of salvation! Now is the acceptable year of the Lord! (see 2 Corinthians 6:2) The camels are coming bearing blessings!
Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of nations will come to you. A multitude of camels will cover you… Isaiah 60:5-6a (NASB)
In His Joy!
P.S. Hope you like my camel pictures! The watermark on my back porch left by the rain especially fascinated me! Whoever said, “God no longer speaks today?” He is shouting! 🙂
I want to relate an experience that I had a few days ago. I was standing in an open, brightly lit field beside deep woods meditating on the verse: ”But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2 (KJV). I remembered several night visions I’d had in which I saw a sunrise. I was aware that all those dreams were pictures of the Lord returning! He is the Sunrise: “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79.
Then suddenly, I felt the Lord’s presence and received the following impressions: “You ARE hearing me! I am showing you My imminent return. My Cyrus (speaking of President Trump) will begin to release wealth to My people in his first 100 days!” I realize our president is roughhewn and I certainly do not agree with all he says and does. But I do deeply respect him and sense strongly that the Lord will use him as he did Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Cyrus of Persia who did not even know God, at least at first. I believe that President Donald J. Trump is the modern day fulfillment of the following verse:
Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth in secret places, in order that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. Isaiah 45: 1-4
The wind stirred up. I turned to my right to look again for the red cardinal I had seen in the tree behind me. I then noticed a fig tree. The Lord continued, “My fig tree will bear fruit.” I knew He referred to Israel.
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated with no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting pride, a joy from generation to generation… Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your administrators and righteousness your overseers. Isaiah 60:15, 17 (NASB)