Ashes ~ Repentance
This may seem like a strange post, but we are living in strange times, perilous times according to Paul in his letter to Timothy…
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1
This aerial image shows the crater at the summit of the volcano in southern Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull glacier, 17 April 2010.
On Wednesday April 14, 2010 A huge meteorite was seen over 5 states and landed in Wisconsin.
The meteor in Wisconsin seen Wednesday night appeared as a fireball in the sky, shaking the ground with its accompanying sonic boom.
News report…”Northern European skies were clear of most commercial planes Saturday. The European air traffic agency said Iceland’s volcanic eruption, which began on Wednesday, will continue to impact European aviation until at least Sunday morning. Thick clouds of ash continue to blow across the continent.”
The celebration of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for some denominations this year was on February 17. When I realized that the volcano erupted, spewing ashes over Europe on Wednesday, I thought about the significance of Ash Wednesday and what it symbolizes and what ashes symbolize in the Bible and I became curious to know what some Christians celebrate on Ash Wednesday.
Following is an article about Ash Wednesday:
“In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.
Not all Christian churches observe Ash Wednesday or Lent. They are mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday and Ash Wednesday is not observed.
The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.”
I also found this description of the word Ashes found in Scripture:
ash’-iz: Among the ancient Hebrews and other Orientals, to sprinkle with or sit in ashes was a mark or token of grief, humiliation, or penitence. Ashes on the head was one of the ordinary signs of mourning for the dead, as when “Tamar put ashes on her head …. and went on crying” (2 Sam 13:19 the King James Version), and of national humiliation, as when the children of Israel were assembled under Nehemiah “with fasting, and with sackcloth, and earth (ashes) upon them” (Neh 9:1), and when the people of Nineveh repented in sackcloth and ashes at the preaching of Jonah (Jon 3:5,6; compare 1 Macc 3:47). The afflicted or penitent often sat in ashes (compare Job 2:8; 42:6: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes“), or even wallowed in ashes, as Jeremiah exhorted sinning Israel to do: “O daughter of my people …. wallow thyself in ashes” (Jer 6:26), or as Ezekiel in his lamentation for Tyre pictures her mariners as doing, crying bitterly and `casting up dust upon their heads’ and `wallowing themselves in the ashes‘ (in their weeping for her whose head was lifted up and become corrupted because of her beauty), “in bitterness of soul with bitter mourning” (Ezek 27:30,31).
However, these and various other modes of expressing grief, repentance, and humiliation among the Hebrews, such as rending the garments, tearing the hair and the like, were not of Divine appointment, but were simply the natural outbursts of the impassioned oriental temperament, and are still customary among eastern peoples.
Figurative: The term “ashes” is often used to signify worthlessness, insignificance or evanescence (Gen 18:27; Job 30:19). “Proverbs of ashes,” for instance, in Job 13:12, is Job’s equivalent, says one writer, for our modern “rot.” For the ritual use of the ashes of the Red Heifer by the priests, see RED HEIFER.
by George B. Eager
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the use of sackcloth and ashes as signs of repentance: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.” Matthew 11:21, Luke 10:13.
The following prophecy was written in 2002 and poetically is very beautiful, whether it is truly prophetic remains to be seen. The moon spoken of on the horizon reminded me of the picture of the Meteor in the night sky. The people standing in the green meadow reminded me of the green of Ireland in the United Kingdom as they look up to see the ash in the sky coming from Iceland.
The prophecy by S. Miller:
the Spring or Summer months.
The vision occurred within the foreground
of a green meadow, but there was no sound.
It was completely and utterly calm. The sound of nothing.
The tree leaves remained completely still – motionless –
in front of a giant Moon suspended over the treetops.
The Moon appeared quite strange in its size
in stark comparison to the Earth.
The Moon appeared so close to the Earth
it was as if it were resting, just sitting, on the horizon.
Dark craters could be seen in its luminescent face.
This was unusual because the stars appeared to be the
proper distance as seen from Earth.
They were far off glittering in the night.
Through the stillness…the only movement
and/or contrast between the Earth and Moon
were thousands upon thousands of
falling softly to the ground.
The ashes were light, airy, noticeably grayish in color
with a thin, black trim around uneven edges,
and a reddish tint that faded as they fell to the ground.
Except for the color, the ashes reminded me of snow falling
on a cold winter night, and instead of cold snow,
the ashes heated the ground as they touched.
A group of people stood in the green meadow
looking up into the sky
when suddenly the ashes began to fall on them.
The ashes glazed their faces causing red measle-like splotches
to appear all over the skin before bouncing off.
In the background, against the Moon,
the horizon was aglow with a fiery-red color.
May 15, 2002
Of course the ashes do produce a red color as the sun sets…
Moody: Birmingham was bathed in crimson light last night as the sun set
Here is an article that speaks about some of the damage ashes can do to animals:
SKOGAR, Iceland — In Europe, the volcanic ash danger travels at high altitudes, but for Iceland’s farmers the problem is very much on the ground.
Farmers across the region where the volcano erupted this week under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier have been scrambling to protect their herds from inhaling or ingesting the ash, which can cause internal bleeding, long-term bone damage and teeth loss.
The fluoride in the ash creates acid in the animals’ stomachs, corroding the intestines and causing hemorrhages. It also binds with calcium in the blood stream, and after heavy exposure over a period of days makes bones frail, even causing teeth to crumble.
Wednesday April 14, 2010 marked by a huge meteorite in the sky, when ashes began to pour out of an Icelandic volcano and cover Europe… count 40 days including the 14th, it falls on May 23rd… Pentecost…interesting…
I just find this interesting and time will tell…
Is this a strong message to us for our desperate need of repentance? Will people heed to it?
A rarity: Saturday morning air traffic usually crisscrosses the skies above the Swiss Alps. Not a single streak in the sky 17 April!
Share your thoughts?