Recently, the Spirit of the Lord began to share with me a prophetic message for the bondslaves of the Lamb from the pattern of the account of Paul’s sea journey in Acts 27. Firstly, I want to go through it with you and then discuss the prophetic parallels.
Paul had been imprisoned for a season and was now boarding a ship to complete the last leg of his life’s journey. The Spirit of God had showed him that he would give his life for the gospel in Rome and that this would mark the successful ending to his race of faith. Paul had clear understanding of what the Lord’s plan and will for him was. In fact, the first ship he was placed on was from Adramyttium, which means ‘I shall abide in death’ – what a sign of his looming execution! However, it not only speaks of this but of the fact that even though Paul had been shown that suffering and death awaited him in Rome, he was dead to his own will and did not try to change his destination but considered death to be gain. He was used to having death at work in him so that life could be at work in others.
The scriptures tell us in verse 4 that right from the start, the winds were contrary. This final leg of the race of faith was not going to be plain sailing. Verse 5 tells us that they docked in a place called Myra, which means Myrrh. This spice is used to embalm dead bodies and ward off decay. It seems as if the shadow of death is hanging over the whole trip. However, myrrh is also the oil which is used to anoint brides on their wedding day and is known as the oil of joy. Perhaps it alludes to a death to the old single life and, a change of name and identity, a death of the former chapter and the joy of becoming one and fusing with the new. In line with this change of name, there is a change of vessel and Paul and companions board a ship from Alexandria (meaning ‘defender of men’). The journey progressed slowly because of the opposing winds and after many days, they docked again at a place called Fair Havens on the isle of Crete.
Because of the inclement weather, they were forced to spend much times there and only after the Day of Atonement, the captain decided to try and press on to a safe place for the winter, called Phoenice. Phoenice means ‘land of purple’ – an obvious reference to the blue-purple dye which was used to make garments for royalty. Paul warned that he had been shown that the journey would result in disaster but no-one was in the mood to listen to an old man of God and considering that seasoned sailors knew their stuff, they set sail again.
The gentle warm southerly breeze seemed to confirm their choice and congratulating themselves that they had made the right decision, they raised the sails and set off toward their destination. The signs in the natural aligned with their own understanding and experience and this was enough to cause them to step forward.
Unfortunately very soon after this, a tempestuous east wind called a Euroclydon rose up and began to batter the ship. The sailors were no match for the force of the storm and had to let the boat be carried wherever the wind took them. Eventually they limped to a small island called Clauda, which means, not coincidentally ‘lame’! The ship had suffered considerable damage and had to be braced and supported with ropes just to keep it from falling apart and, knowing that they had no ability to steer the ship with such a raging wind, they lowered all the sails (thereby surrendering any chance they had of controlling the direction they were going) and were at the mercy of the storm.
Act 27:18 As we were being dangerously tossed about by the violence of the storm, the next day they began to throw the freight overboard; Act 27:19 And the third day they threw out with their own hands the ship’s equipment (the tackle and the furniture). Act 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days and no small tempest kept raging about us, all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned.
It as a terrifying time and twice they tried to lighten the ship by throwing overboard any excess weight but it made little difference. They couldn’t navigate by the stars because of the tempest and so had no clue where they were on the map. Finally, they gave up all hope of coming out of the nightmare experience alive. I can just imagine those sailors desperately clinging to any part of the ship they could just to keep from being washed overboard, and yet, in the midst of this horror, Paul has obviously been communing with God. He stands up and brings an amazing message of hope in their darkest hour:
Act 27:22 But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship. Act 27:23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship, Act 27:24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.
In the midst of this raging storm, Heaven declared their lives would be given them for a prey but that was all that would be preserved. Paul also told them they would have to be shipwrecked on ‘some island’. In other words, he had a partial blueprint, but not the fine details. He gave them just enough to banish the fear of death and light a candle of hope.
On the fourteenth day of the tempest, at midnight, the sailors realized they were nearing land and threw down four anchors. The lifeboat ropes were cut, preventing anyone escaping and they waited for morning to break so they could get their bearings. In the morning watch, Paul reminded them of God’s promise to save their lives and then he did something very significant – he took bread and gave thanks and broke it and began to eat, encouraging them to do likewise (Acts 27:35). This is the exact description of what Jesus did at His Passover meal in the upper room. He broke bread of the new covenant with His disciples. A Jewish Bride and Bridegroom break bread together under the chuppah on their wedding day as she leaves her old life forever behind and fully embraces oneness with her groom.
In verse 36, Paul mentions there were 276 people on board the ship. The Strongs number H276 is ‘possession’. When a wedding ceremony is finalized, the Bridegroom says to the bride that she is mekudeshet -‘holy unto me’ or ‘mine alone’. She will never belong to another. The people on board eat a final meal and then lighten the ship for a third time, tossing all the wheat overboard. Effectively they are declaring that they will no longer eat of the old; their next meal will be on land and nothing of the old chapter will accompany them to the next one. They are dead to the old.
AS daylight came, they still didn’t recognize any landmarks but decided to hoist the sails and loose the rudder and attempt a landing. Unfortunately, the currents where two seas met were violent and drove the front of the ship into the sand, where it held fast. This caused the rest of the ship to be torn apart by the wind and waves and all the passengers swam to shore, clinging to boards and pieces of the ship. But Paul’s prophetic word was fulfilled as not one life was lost. They discovered upon making shore that the island God had deposited them on was called Melita, meaning ‘honey’. A warm reception was laid on by the locals and they all remained there for 3 months, being fed and restocked with supplies. During this time, many miracles of healing were done and finally a new ship from Alexandria arrived, flying the flag of Castor and Pollux and they departed for Rome, much refreshed and equipped for the journey. Paul lived another 2 years in Rome, preaching the gospel and protected and guarded by his own personal soldier, before he finally completed his race.
Now I would like to share with you what the Holy Spirit highlighted. First of all, the plans of man to go to the place of purple to spend the harsh winter were overturned. Many are the plans of a man’s mind but God’s purpose for him will stand. As part of His remnant company, you may be a bondslave to the Lamb but have certain plans to escape the worst of what is coming. Your intention is to be part of the company of kings, wearing purple and ruling righteously. However, your life is not in your own hands. You may be taking up your cross daily, like Paul on the ship Adramyttium, and be aware of the contrary winds. And yes, there is an appointed anointing with the oil of joy as part of His Bridal company. At this point, you place yourself under the wing of the Defender of Men, our precious Bridegroom. And a warm southerly breeze accompanies you as you set sail towards your destination. But the Spirit is warning that a Euroclydon IS coming, an appointed tempestuous wind from the East and everything on this ship will be severely shaken.
The Spirit indicated that this ship is parable of all that has forged your Christian journey as part of the flock of the defender of men. Before the Euroclydon hits with all its raging strength, take time to look again, take stock and examine the contents and structure of this ship carrying you. It is made up of every scripture, every teaching and prophetic word you have taken on board to construct yourself a vessel to carry you forward.
And the first buffeting of the tempest is going to do damage to this ship. It is the enemy’s intention to cripple you and prevent you completing the race, but this is why Paul urges us to encourage one another more and more as we see the day approaching. You will need under-girding and encouragement and help to continue on. Faithful brothers and sisters in Christ will provide the right word at the right time to help you hold it all together. However, during the storm, there have to be 3 lightnings of this ship in order to safely get to shore. You are traveling too heavy. This is why the Holy Spirit is urging you to stock-take now, to prioritize and clarify for yourself with His help what is essential and what is unnecessary.
Let’s look at the pattern of trimming down described in Acts 27. First, the freight was thrown overboard. This was cargo that others had loaded into the ship, wanting to use it to get their cargo to your destination. It is not yours and is not applicable to your future, never was, and yet you have been carrying it with you. All it is doing is weighing you down and now it is time to identify this cargo and mark it for jettisoning. All the unnecessary weight that has beset you and been loaded into your hold must now be cast aside, so that you can run with perseverance the race that is before you.
The second sifting was the removal of the furniture and the tackle – all sources of comfort to the flesh, everything non-essential for survival was cast overboard. If this tossing overboard is not done, this ship will sink in the storm. Excess equipment, ropes of connection to this or that group or ministry, subscriptions to countless email lists that cram your inbox daily, bombarding and exhausting you with the amount of spiritual information you have to take in, must all be loosed. Those extra coils of rope lying on your deck will trip you up in the tossing of the tempest that is appointed. Ask the Holy Spirit to show which equipment is essential for YOU and His plan for YOU and which are just causing a jamming of signals on your spiritual screen.
And remember, just as God sent an angel with a message for Paul, He will be speaking to you while the waves crash over your head. the angel of death may be roaring all around you but you are not alone, abandoned by Heaven. Others may be hopeless and at their wit’s end but you will be given counsel and encouragement from Heaven! At midnight on the 14th day, the sailors threw down 4 anchors – these symbolize the four faces described in Ezekiel 1. Your revelation of the very present faces of the Lion, the Ox, the eagle and the Man present with you will hold your ship fast until the morning dawns. God is in the midst of you, as psalm 46 says, and you shall not be moved. He will help you at the dawn of morning. God has spoken a promise over you. His plans for you are for good, not evil, to give you a hope and a future. You shall not die but live and declare the glory of the Lord.
Once the two stages of tossing overboard have been done, you should just be left with the wheat, the spiritual nourishment to strengthen you for your swim to the shore. Bread must be broken and eaten, so feast on the Bread of Heaven, digest the bread of His Word in the morning watch as the Holy Spirit breaks it with you in a joyous communion celebration. This is your transition meal, the nourishment of His Body and Blood and then the excess wheat must be tossed overboard. God has nourishment planned for you from kitchens you have not yet encountered. The honey of revelation is going to be served up for you on the island of honey and your eyes will be enlightened. You will not need all the weight of wheat you have been carrying. Yes, it is good food, but keeping it on board with you, just in case, will put your ship at the bottom of the ocean. Just as the Israelites had to leave Egypt and trust God for nourishment in the wilderness, so too, your spiritual food will be provided.
It is significant that the frightful storm lasted two weeks, from the new moon to the full moon, although they could not see the heavenly bodies to get bearings because it was a time of thick storm clouds and darkness. Passover is a feast that occurs on a full moon, being on the 15th day of Aviv. Passover was a meal eaten during a very dark night, with shoes on and staff in hand, ready to move on; a feast on the lamb with the instruction that nothing was to be left over by morning. This is exactly what the occupants of the ship, the Bridegroom’s precious possession, did. They feasted on the broken Bread, the Lamb that was slain and by morning nothing was left to carry with them. All wheat to make more bread themselves had been abandoned to the waves.
Every single person on that ship made it ashore by clinging to planks and parts of the ship. Some part of that ship contains the plank that will hold your full weight as you are brought ashore. It is your rhema word. Ask God to highlight for you the one scripture, the one prophetic word that you can cling to in the final stages of Euroclydon, to finally bring your feet to solid ground again. Plant it deep in your heart, so it is at hand when the time of individual journeys to shore begin. At that time, there will not be contact with other swimmers. It will be you and Jesus making your way to shore alone. He is enough. After this, there will be a regrouping, the light of a flaming fire to warm you and shelter which you have not built.
Notice also that it is the forepart of the ship, representing the forerunners, which lays hold of solid ground first. And, in so doing, their firm stand triggers the breaking up of the ship, the division and release of the multitude on board to their own individual journeys. For the many days, the 276 have remained as one struggling group together on board, His possession encouraging and helping one another to survive the intensity of the storm, but there comes a moment when each has to take their own plank and swim ashore themselves. Each makes their own way to the island of revelation truth. Here, the sons of God are revealed as no deadly thing harms them and the glory of God is revealed in a release of His healing power.
Tabernacles is a feast called ‘God in the midst of us’. It begins on the 15th day of the first month and celebrates God’s provision and protection during the time in the wilderness. On the island of Melita, God was very present, working in the midst of them with signs and wonders, and they were lavishly provided for and protected from any attack of the enemy – Paul just shook off the serpent that emerged from the fire to attack him.
In the new territory God has brought you to, the miracle-working power of God will flow through you and you will be recognized as God’s son. This is a place of restocking, of strengthening and equipping, a place of great favour and blessing and lavish hospitality. And you will be provided with a new ship, fresh prophetic word, new scriptures highlighted by the Spirit, new blueprints from the throne to carry you on the next leg of your journey under the flag of the Bride and Bridegroom. Bullinger’s Gospel in the Stars says that the constellation Gemini is Castor and Pollux:
‘The name in the ancient Denderah Zodiac is Clusus, or Claustrum Hor, which means the place of Him who cometh. It is represented by two human figures walking, or coming. The second appears to be a woman. The Hebrew name is Thaumim, which means united. The root is used in Exodus 26:24 “They (the two boards) shall be coupled together beneath.” In the margin we read, “Heb. twinned”‘
Twins have the same DNA. Are we not bone of His spiritual bone and do we not carry the DNA of the blueprints of Heaven? Do our hearts not carry the engraving of what was written in the volume of the Book for us? We delight to do His will and the Euroclydon has done nothing but help us remove every excess weight, so that we can carry out and complete our Kingdom blueprints, hand in hand with our Bridegroom; the twinned man and woman, united as one, coupled together and going forth to bring in the harvest together. Space does not permit here to go into the details of all the stars in this constellation, but suffice to say that one is called in Hebrew ‘the Branch’, another Al Dira ‘the seed’ and a third Metsuba ‘treading under feet’. The prophecies of the coming Branch in Zechariah and elsewhere are going to be fulfilled.
“In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely For them that are escaped of Israel.” Isaiah 4:2
Your journey may not have taken you on the paths you expected, but remember that the Euroclydon is the wind that opened the Red Sea and precipitated the destruction of Pharaoh’s enslaving army. It is the wind that shattered the merchandise ships of Tarshish (Psalm 48:7). It is the wind that caused the seven lean years to manifest, so that Joseph’s blueprints and heavenly solutions could begin to unfold and God’s people could be moved to Goshen (the place of drawing near), and it also brought the locust plague to Egypt. The Euroclydon is a wind executing judgements in the earth, but God has promised you shall come through it, streamlined as a vessel fit for the Master’s use – and there is Kingdom work for you to do. If you will follow His instruction, get rid of excess cargo, baggage and spiritual weight and earmark your specific piece of wood or Word to cling to, you will come forth with a testimony of His faithfulness and complete your Kingdom race. The arrival of the Euroclydon tempest is not a sign the end is here. It is a sign that the old chapter is over and you will surely be brought safely through this tempestuous transition season, to share the gospel with all He brings across your path. There are still at least two more years of kingdom work to be carried out and you will receive a protective detail as you go about your Kingdom business, just as Paul did. And God will confirm His Word with signs and wonders through you, His bondservant.
Psa 107:25 For He commands and raises up the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. Psa 107:26 [Those aboard] mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the deeps; their courage melts away because of their plight. Psa 107:27 They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing]. Psa 107:28 Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. Psa 107:29 He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still. Psa 107:30 Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.