It’s Time to Put on the Gloves
Yesterday, I began discussing a dream about me, given to a friend in 2007. The dream was a precursor to God introducing the Appeal To Heaven flag to me. Here is the dream:
“In the dream, you were a boxer. You faced five giants in five rounds and knocked each of them out - one per round. You knocked each one out with one punch; and with each giant, you alternated fists. The first giant was floored with a right, the second with a left, back-and-forth you went until they were all down for the count. Five giants, five rounds, five punches, alternating fists.
“‘After you knocked out the fifth giant,’ he continued, ‘you walked out of the ring and directly up to me. Holding up your gloved fists, you declared, “If you’re going to take out the giants in this season, you’re going to have to wear these two gloves.” One of the gloves had the word ‘Everlast’ on it; the other read ‘Evergreen.’” End of dream.
In yesterday’s post, we discussed what Holy Spirit was saying through the boxing glove with “Everlast” on it. Today, reading from my book, An Appeal To Heaven, we will look at what He was saying through the word “Evergreen.”
It was May, 2013, six years after receiving the boxing dream. I understood the meaning of “Everlast” glove, but the meaning of its counterpart, “Evergreen,” had evaded me so long it was now relegated to the Rarely-Ever-Think-About-It file in my brain. Not that I had ceased caring; it had just been so long that I rarely ever thought about it. That was about to change!
In a message being delivered at an event by one of my spiritual sons, Will Ostan, he turned to me and said, “I believe the Lord has asked me to give a special gift to Papa Dutch. Before I give you the gift, however, I need to explain the history behind it. It’s a replica of a flag displayed by George Washington and America’s Founding Fathers. This flag was actually used before the Stars and Stripes existed. In some ways, it is the banner under which America was born,” he explained.
“This flag has the phrase ‘An Appeal To Heaven’ across the top,” Will continued, “a phrase our Founders took from the writings of John Locke, a very influential English philosopher from the mid-1600s. Locke wrote a series of papers, ‘Natural Laws,’ stating that human rights originate with God, not government.”
Locke made the case that when people have done everything humanly possible to experience those God-given rights and have failed to do so, there remains but one option:
And where the body of the people or any single man, is deprived of their right, or is under the exercise of a power without right, and have no appeal on earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to heaven…(1)
Will continued, “Locke’s phrase, ‘appeal to heaven,’ connotes that when all resources and the ability to attain justice on earth are exhausted, an appeal to earth's ultimate Judge is the final recourse. This concept would become a foundational philosophy in American society, used even in the Declaration of Independence.”
Will went on to explain that George Washington and his contemporaries grabbed hold of this phrase in America’s cause for freedom from Britain’s tyranny. Having exhausted all peaceful possibilities of experiencing the liberty they so desired, the colonists realized their only hope for freedom was through war. Yet with Britain’s great military, weaponry, and wealth - contrasted by the colonist’s dire lack of these resources - any military attempt to break free from British rule was preposterous, even laughable. Laughable, that is, unless Almighty God intervened.
The stance of the colonists was simple. Their right to freedom came from God; therefore, He would help them. “We will appeal to heaven!” they declared.
And a flag was born.
From the days of the Pilgrims, godly men and women have believed the Almighty was involved in the birth of our nation. They also felt that if a nation chose to partner with and honor God, it would experience His favor and blessing in extraordinary ways. Washington and the colonial dreamers agreed. They knew of the planting of the cross at Cape Henry in 1607, and the ensuing prayer meeting dedicating the land to God’s glory. They had read the Mayflower Compact of 1620, stating the voyage was made “for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith…” (2)
General George Washington, leader of the American revolution, obviously believed in this divine plan. He had the Appeal To Heaven flag designed. Then Washington commissioned several ships for the Revolutionary War efforts and, highlighting their dependence on providential help, each vessel was to fly the flag, also known as the Pine Tree flag. (3) The flag’s popularity spread and it was soon flying throughout the colonies, as well as being adopted as the flag for the Massachusetts State Navy. It became the symbol of these colonists’ unwavering spirit of liberty, as well as a clear statement of where they placed their faith.
Will’s explanation of the “appeal to heaven” phrase and its connection to our past was very meaningful to me, but the impact was about to intensify. “Washington put an evergreen tree on this flag,” he continued, as he unfolded it and held it up for me to see. When I saw the Appeal To Heaven flag, the presence of the Lord engulfed me. And suddenly…I remembered the dream. A six-year wait was coming to an end, and a 250-year-old flag was about to be reborn. With a genuine sense of reverence and excitement I realized, I’ve just been given the other glove.
So, what is the significance of the evergreen tree? Because evergreens continuously maintain green leaves or needles, depending on the type of tree, for millennia they have come to symbolize longevity, even eternity. At times, this symbolization of eternity was expanded to include an everlasting or lifelong commitment to a covenant. At the time of our nation’s founding, evergreens carried this significance within the Iroquois First Nations tribe. (In the book I document this well, including the tribe’s influence on our government.)
Some historians believe that due to the Iroquois’ influence, the “covenantal” evergreen was placed on the Appeal To Heaven flag as a symbol of our nation’s covenant with God, and possibly of our Founders’ commitment to one another. This is consistent with the spirit of covenant they demonstrated when pledging “Our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor” to one another and the cause. (4) Certainly, the Appeal To Heaven phrase on the flag supports this belief that the evergreen tree is also related to our alliance with and dependence upon God.
As significant as the Iroquois connection is, however, the use of an evergreen tree to symbolize eternal fidelity toward covenant did not originate with them. The most important and weighty example of this symbolic use goes all the way back to Abraham and his covenant with Yahweh.
Yesterday, we saw in Genesis 21:33 that Abraham called on Olam El, the Everlasting God. Everlast, remember, was on one of the boxing gloves in the dream. I had already made the connection to this verse about Abraham back in 2007 when the dream occurred. But you can imagine my shock when shortly after being presented the flag, I discovered that before calling on Everlast, Abraham planted an Evergreen! In this verse he wore both gloves! The entire meaning of the dream would be found in this verse regarding Abraham.
Obviously, I had read this verse often enough to remember that Abraham planted a tamarisk tree before calling on Olam. I just didn’t know a tamarisk tree was an evergreen! Abraham planted an evergreen tree and called on Everlasting God. When I discovered this, I was astounded.
So, why did Abraham plant the evergreen tree? In his day, trees were sometimes planted as memorials, used to remind people and nations of significant events. When Abraham planted the evergreen tree, he was establishing a witness or memorial to his undying/forever covenant relationship with Everlasting God. The message was: “Olam has proven Himself faithful to His covenant with me time and time again. I now declare my faithfulness to Him. I will forever honor my covenant with Everlasting God.”
Abraham‘s choice of an evergreen, the tamarisk tree, is also significant. Three significant facts, among several, are important: tamarisks are slow-growing, long-living, and when fully grown produce cool shade. In fact, because they grow so slowly, no one would plant a tamarisk tree for him or herself; he or she would never personally benefit from it. When planting this particular type of evergreen, Abraham was thinking of his descendants, making a powerful declaration to them for generations to come, “I am in covenant with Olam, and you will sit under the shade of my everlasting covenant with Him.”
When we live in covenantal faithfulness to God, not only are we blessed but our children and grandchildren are, as well. This has certainly been the case with America. We have been extremely blessed by the God-connections of the generations before us. When the Holy Spirit used “Evergreen” in the boxing dream, then connected it to the flag under which America was born, He was pointing America back to our covenant with Him. If we would once again honor our promises to Yahweh, returning to the God of our fathers…if we would return to God‘s original purpose and plan for America, partnering with Him and
His cause of redemption throughout the world…then the faithfulness of Everlasting God would be demonstrated to us, delivering us from the giants ravaging our land. This is now occurring!
Put on the gloves and get in the ring. It’s time to once again, appeal to heaven!
Pray with me:
Father, just as our Founders placed an evergreen tree on the flag under which America was born, just as Abraham planted an evergreen tree when he called upon You, we honor our covenant with You. We stand in our intercessory role today and declare for the entire nation, “we are in covenant with God.”
We have been raised up as a nation to represent You, to bless the nations of the earth, just as Abraham was. So we call upon the Everlasting God, who is bigger than all of our failures, and plant our covenant tree in the atmosphere of this nation - a flag waving in the wind - declaring, “America shall be saved!”
Just as America was born under a prayer movement, we shall be reborn under the same movement: an appeal to heaven.
Today’s post was taken from my book An Appeal to Heaven.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Winthrop, John. “A model of Christian Charity.” 1630
The Mayflower Compact. 1620.
American Memory. “Col. Joseph Reed to Col. John Glover and Stephen Moylan.” October 20, 1775. The Library of Congress. Memory.loc.gov/mssp/mgw/mgw3b/001/08504.jpg
The Declaration of Independence. July 4, 1776.