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In the Spring of the Year, When Kings Go Off to War

April 25, 2013

April has become a crappy month to have a birthday. But reality is – from a purely secular perspective, it’s been a crappy month for a very long time. Pardon my language.

For many years, I have noticed and dreaded and thought about this time of year, when all hell seems to break loose in this country – and beyond. A short perusal of http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/will give you a day-by-day list of many of the worst things that have happened here and around the world in April, going way back to the founding of Rome (April 21, 753 BC, FYI). That seems a fitting time to start an organizational and military machine that literally grew up from blood-soaked lands that were conquered. New forms of torture – including crucifixion – were invented just to keep the appropriate terror volume vibrating in the brains of those subject to the Roman machine.

This weekend, my hometown newspaper (finally) took note of the sequence of events that have happened in April in the last thirty years, all involving horrific death, every instance a blow to the soul of America.

But no one has explained WHY. Or where this repetitive violence comes from.

This kind of thing troubles me. A LOT. Couple these kinds of anomalies with my hyper-sensitive spirit, and I can’t get away from trying to figure it out. See my blog post from April 2. Kind of like my husband can’t rest until he fixes something. Anything. Most days, I only hope he doesn’t try to fix me.

So my go-to in situations like this is to seek understanding from God’s Word. He promises over and over to reward those who diligently seek Him. He promises He’ll teach us Himself, which is sure to be a pretty comprehensive education.

One of the principles in the Bible is that behind what we can see are spiritual forces we can’t see. Ephesians 6:12 says that our real struggle is not with those we can see with our eyes, but with spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Spiritual forces who/that live outside our 4 dimensions of height, depth, breadth and time.

Pondering this concept, God brought to mind 1 Chronicles 20:1. Paraphrasing, it says: In the spring of the year, when kings go off to war, Joab (King David’s general) led the troops to destroy Ammon and besiege Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.

This chapter is arguably far more famous for what comes next rather than this quiet little verse 1. David was king, but he didn’t go out to war. He stayed in Jerusalem. He ultimately found himself completely overcome with lust for Bathsheba, which led to lies and crime and total moral failure.

In the spring, though he was a king, he didn’t go out to war. But the other kings did.

Ephesians 2:1-2 says that before we know Him, all of us live our lives according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit working in the sons of disobedience.

Spiritual princes, spiritual kings. Kings go off to war in the spring.

But why? Aside from longer daylight and ease of travel (compared to winter), is there a deeper reason for wars in spring?

Everything Satan does is to copy and distort what God does, or to attempt to thwart or delay His plans. Everything. From the beginning, from the Garden, this is what he’s done.

Does he hate the spring for another reason?

Here’s a question, for you, dear reader: if a dreadful thing happens to you on a particular date, do you remember it? If a loved one dies, you remember the anniversary of their death. If you are diagnosed with a terrible disease, you remember when and where you were when you received the diagnosis. If a terrible event transpires in world history, you remember when and where you were when you first heard it. Like you’ll remember every year going forward, with every new Boston Marathon, that during one of these annual races, spectators were maimed and killed and for days a city was understandably paralyzed with fear.

So maybe Satan has had an early springtime defeat, and he just can’t stand it. It drives him so crazy that he seeks after those who are far from God and just unleashes his fury in their hearts so they want to act out in ways that defy explanation. Just like God’s Word says he does.

So in the springtime, Satan inspires ‘kings’ – those who have excelled in allowing evil to reign in their hearts – to go to war. To wreak havoc on their enemies, sometimes on their friends. Satan lives vicariously through these acts because of bitter defeats in the springtimes of his past.

Such as?

God’s victory over Satan’s attempt at thwarting the coming of Messiah Jesus, and His victory over death.

Shortly after Adam and Eve, demonic entities came to earth, took beautiful women for their pleasure, and became parents. By the time of Noah, the only family who had not succumbed to these lusts was Noah’s. Scripture says “Noah was perfect in his generations…”; this is what is meant by that phrase.

So the flood happened, wiped out all the half-breeds (nephilim) on earth, and Noah and his family lived on an ark while the earth was transformed.

The ark came to rest on the 17th day of the 7th month of the Jewish civil calendar. Later, the Jews were given a religious calendar, akin to the differences between fiscal and school year and “calendar-year” calendars in our culture. The 7th month in the civil calendar would come to equal the 1st month of the religious calendar, or Nisan. Nisan corresponds to March-April on our calendar.

About a thousand years later, the Hebrew slaves in Egypt were told to slaughter a perfect lamb and paint the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, in preparation for and protection against the final plague.

What we now know as Passover became the grotesque “death of the first-born” in Egypt, a terrible time of Egyptian national grief and mourning. This plague judged Egypt for its “abortion of the innocents” about 80 years earlier, an attempt to control the Hebrew population and the economic resource that the slaves were for Egypt.

With Passover, God declared that the Hebrews would follow a new calendar to commemorate religious holidays. Passover would forever be remembered and revered on the 14th day of the 1st month, Nisan.

At the time of Christ, Passover was a well-known ritual in Jewish national life.

On Nisan 10, Jesus entered Jerusalem with great fanfare. Enthusiastic crowds called him their Messiah, their king. On the same day, Passover lambs were selected for slaughter.

In observing the Passover, now known to Christians as ‘The Last Supper,’ Christ took the matzah and declared that it represented His body. He took the third of four cups of wine, the “Redemption” or “Blessing” cup, and declared that it represented His blood, to be shed for the sins of mankind.

Shortly after this meal, between the evenings of Nisan 14 (Jewish days began at sundown), Jesus was arrested, beaten, sentenced and then crucified. On the same day, lambs were slaughtered for the Passover feast.

On Nisan 17, Christ resurrected from the dead, allowing mankind a fresh start from sin. And several thousand years earlier, a well-constructed boat filled with strangely calm animals and a few sea-weary humans came to rest in a mountain range after a long and treacherous voyage.

If you were defeated not once, but twice, on the same day, in an utterly unpredictable and spectacularly humiliating way, wouldn’t you be angry?

That’s why Satan works overtime in early spring. That’s why the kings go off to war. He was defeated not once, but twice, on the very same day.

Can’t you just hear Satan seething: Fool me once, God, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

No wonder kings go off to war in spring.

Sidebar: One small minor detail about the Boston bombings: the brothers’ last name is “Tsarnaev.” I’d appreciate your help finding the full meaning of this name. I asked the only two people I know who have any connection to Russia and Slavic names; I searched a variety of websites – some in Russian – to try to determine the exact meaning of their names. Couldn’t find this name.

I believe with every fiber of my being that our names are no accident. My maiden name (Schuermann) is the un-anglicized version of Sherman. It means “scissors man.” Not “Scissorhands,” thank you very much. But the really truly odd thing about this is that from a very young age, I began needlework and sewing, almost compulsively so. During my anorexic years, I used sewing as a means to keep me from eating, to keep my mind and hands occupied. I was never a “cutter,” but ponder the significance of a person with the name “scissors man” being a cutter!

About five years ago, I made a list of – as best I could remember – all the things I had made in my life, whether garments or window treatments or needlework of any kind. I think the count was around 150 items. And that doesn’t count anything I’ve made since.

But the really weird thing is that my sisters are both outstanding knitters; our dad was also a person who always had a project, something he made with his hands.

My first name is Catherine, which means ‘pure,’ and my married name is Boyle, so as you’ve already figured out, I’m a pure pain! Seriously, Boyle is thought to mean ‘pledge’ or ‘profitable pledge.’

But back to Boston: the bombings happened on Boylston Street, a little too close to my name for my spiritual comfort. A quick perusal of surname meanings didn’t reveal anything, but I’m betting it derived from “Boyle’s town;” Boston after all has a huge Irish/English ethnicity. I don’t know Boston well; only been there a couple of times. I don’t recall ever traveling to the part of the city where the bombings took place.

Back to the bombers’ last name: Tsarnaev. I’m no genius, but the first part of their name means Czar, or king.

Russian naming conventions often add an ‘ov’ to surnames when a man has a son. Ivan’s son becomes Ivanov (literally, son of Ivan). “-naev” looks awfully close to “-ov” to me, which would mean the bombers’ names mean “son of a king.” These two kings went off to war, led by the spiritual princes and king who hate the victories that this time of year represents. By their actions, on Boylston Street, they ‘pledged’ their allegiance to their spiritual king.

I’m pretty sure they’re not the sons of the same king I serve.

Pray for Dzhokhar; though it’s early in unpacking what happened, spiritually this situation reminds me of Lee Boyd Malvo and his svengali, John Allen Muhammed, also known as the DC Snipers. In the fall of 2002, my son, a kindergartener at the time, had not one but two “sniper days.” Not snow days, but days missed due to specific threats to schools issued by the snipers.

God has used prison many times to reach the hearts of those operating under the influence of the evil kings. Perhaps in prison, Dzhokhar will change his allegiance from the prince of destruction to the prince of peace.

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