We will now consider the prophetic calling as it is represented by the face of the eagle and further illuminated by the names of the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. According to God’s directives, these three tribes camped on the north side of the tabernacle with Dan as the primary tribe. On the banner of the tribe of Dan was an eagle.
The eagle is the majestic ruler of the skies. It is known for its remarkably keen vision from its “heavenly” vantage point, its effortless freedom of flight, and its swiftness of attack. Similarly, the prophetic ministry is a seeing/visionary calling from a heavenly perspective. The prophet is not spiritually governed or constrained by the rigid ways of earthly religion but freely soars above them being governed by the ways and winds of God’s sovereign Spirit. The prophetic ministry also bears with it consequence, and where rejected, divine judgement has been known to ensue, and that sometimes swiftly. Thus, the eagle is a fitting symbol of the prophetic ministry and calling.
Dan – The primary tribe of the northern encampment was Dan whose standard was the eagle and whose name means “judge.” A judge must be able to clearly see the big picture of a situation and also needs to have keen insight into the minutia of all related details. Similar to an eagle, a judge must be able to see both “the forest” and “the trees.” Whatever judgement is made springs from this lofty, all-encompassing, insightful, discerning, wise perspective. A prophet, who is often called a seer in the Old Testament, is one who wisely perceives a situation according to God’s heavenly perspective, rightly discerns the specific details “on the ground”, and speaks God’s righteous truth and judgement into it. A prophet not only has clear, heavenly vision, but also imparts that vision and accurately renders God’s assessment/verdict in relation to whatever situation he/she is engaging with. Thus the name “Dan”, meaning “judge”, gives clarity and confirmation to the essence of the prophetic ministry and calling.
Asher – The next tribe in this division is Asher whose name means “happy, blessed.” Although prophetic ministry can have a negative edge to it at times in the calling out of sin, and even the declaring of judgement, the end goal of prophecy is always to bring God’s people into the full blessing of the Lord, which is the root of all true happiness and blessedness. Interestingly, the name Asher comes from a primitive root, ‘ashar, which has the following shades of meaning: “to go straight on, make progress, advance, to lead on, to set right, righten” as well as to “pronounce or be made happy, call blessed, and be blessed” (see Strongs’ entry 0833) The prophetic ministry is fundamentally concerned with helping God’s people make straight-line progress and to set things aright among them so that they may be happy and blessed as they are lead onward in the way of righteousness. This is the underlying motive of prophetic ministry, and so the name of Asher is a very fitting name to associate with this “eagle” calling.
Naphtali – The third tribe of this division is Naphtali whose name means “wrestling.” This Hebrew name is derived from a primitive root word, pathal, which means “to twist.” The prophets’ lives were ever marked by deep wrestlings both with God and also with the people they were sent to “straighten out.” Their calling was and is to shine light on and confront that which is crooked and awry in God’s sight. They are His instruments to make straight that which is twisted and in so doing they, of necessity, engage in a wrestling with those people and things which are morally bent and spiritually askew. In order to be fit vessels for this calling, God has to deeply wrestle with them until all that is twisted and bent within their own lives is straightened out according to His righteousness and truth. The prophet’s life is ever marked by wrestling, both internally and externally, and thus the name “Naphtali” (“wrestling”) is a fitting third name to describe the nature of the prophetic ministry and calling.
Next we will consider the face of the lion, the kingly calling, as illuminated by the three tribal names of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon, which camped on the east side of the tabernacle in the wilderness.
Previous #thecorporatechrist posts:
The Anointed One (#thecorporatechrist)
Four Faces of the Anointed One (#thecorporatechrist)
Four Faces in the Wilderness (#thecorporatechrist)
The Face of the Ox – Priestly Calling (#thecorporatechrist)