Several days ago, I dreamed that I was giving birth. The baby was coming at a breathtaking rate. No sooner had I boarded the motocar (local taxi) to head to the hospital, she was bursting forth. I received her into my own hands as she emerged, covered in the elements of the womb. I marveled as I embraced her that I had experienced no pain or discomfort, or even had to push.
I knew as soon as I remembered this vivid dream that through it, the Lord was initiating vital communication with me. But what did He have in mind when He breathed such an arresting picture into my spirit as I slept? What exactly had He hidden within His own allegory for me to search out and understand?
Have you ever had a dream about birthing and wondered about it too? Could God really be portraying a message from His heart through a picture of human reproduction? I am convinced that He actually delights in this kind of secret language. So, an invitation. I would love to explore together the rich depths of biblical symbolism pertaining to this topic – would you join me?
In reflecting on the imagery of my dreams, I keep a key principle in mind. Everything in God's physical creation points to a reality in the heavenly realm that existed long before He spoke the Earth into being. Everything that came into existence between verses 1 and 31 of the first chapter of the Bible is a shadow of an eternal spiritual reality.
A striking example of this principle is found in God’s Old Testament desert dwelling. Hebrews 9 explains that the Jewish tabernacle was a copy of the real sanctuary that exists in Heaven (see vv. 23-24). God warned Moses to be painstakingly meticulous in following the blueprint He gave him for its design. This is why: His glorious earthly habitation was to be a precise replica of His original, heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:5). In this way, His children would begin to have a taste and glimpse of the transcendent, otherworldly reality of His eternal home. To the Father, this was crucially important. His house was to be on Earth as it is in Heaven.
The natural sanctuary represented the spiritual sanctuary. In the same way, everything that we can perceive physically here exists in parallel to something bigger, greater, more powerful, and more exquisite in the celestial realm. (I am referring to everything that God called “good” and “very good” when He brought forth Creation. This does not include the tragic aberrations afterwards caused by the fall and the devil.)
This truth extends into every component of God-breathed life on this planet. In its original creation design, Earth mirrors Heaven. As a result, oftentimes we can learn something about the heavenly places by keen observation of the material world around us. We use our five senses to absorb what it around us, leaning in to listen to the Holy Spirit and to search His Word. We ask Him, “What does this -- that my hands are touching, that my eyes are seeing, that my ears are hearing -- teach me about Your Kingdom?”
Of course, Jesus was aware of this principle of parallel realities during His earthly life. He explained to the multitudes that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a sower who scatters his seed… like a pearl of great price… like yeast working its way through some dough... Each and every one of His parables seized on an aspect of earthly life to open up for His listeners a corresponding facet of heavenly truth.
This Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Today just like two thousand years ago, Earth mirrors Heaven in many, many ways. If you gaze intently and quiet yourself to hear, the simplest things around you have precious and profound gems of wisdom hidden within them. If you seek them out with Him, you will find them. (I get teased for finding a Bible verse or a sermon illustration in everything that happens around me, but it really is true! He is intimately present in His creation, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.)
Now I return to unpacking my dream. Pregnancy and childbirth are one of the most spectacular arenas where the principle of parallel realities comes into play. Did you know that the Bible talks about the elements of gestation in a spiritual sense? I recently came across this verse in my personal studies:
"No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God" (1 John 3:9, AMPC, bold emphasis mine).
Other Bible versions use the term "seed" instead of "sperm" in this verse. That probably sounds a little less edgy, more polite. However, the actual Greek word in the Apostle John's original writing is transliterated sperma. This word, sperma, is translated "seed" in other New Testament passages, referring to what a farmer sows in the ground. In still others, sperma is rendered "descendants" or "offspring." However, in this verse, the wording "divine sperm" is clearly an accurate translation of the concept John was bringing to us when he penned the word sperma.
We can see this by the context: being born of God. Sperm and birthing are closely related ideas. Just as I was engendered by my physical father's seed, so I was born a second time, in spirit, by my heavenly Father's seed. Just as my dad's DNA is reflected in every cell of my body, so God's sperma remains in the makeup of my spirit and defines who I am. Here is another Scripture that utilizes the same illustration: "You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God" (1 Pet. 1:23, AMPC, bold emphasis mine).
Spiritual birthing is an intriguing subject. As a result of the dream I told you about, I’ve been ruminating on it. I had a sense that the Holy Spirit was prompting me to write up some thoughts about it for you. It began to stir inside me when I ran across this “divine sperm” phrase in my reading. I prepared to obey. And then something happened that made me smile big.
As I was sitting with my laptop perched on my legs getting ready to type up this post, my daughter Ester came into my room. She lay down next to me and let me in on a musing that had "randomly" popped into her mind. "Mom, how is it possible that something so tiny as an egg and a sperm, can produce a baby?" Haha! I delight in how the Lord so often reinforces His direction for me through comments from my thirteen-year-old girl. She had no idea what I was about to start composing. I had not shared any of my contemplation of the topic with her. I knew immediately that His Spirit had provoked that pondering in her mind to encourage me in my writing. Instead of responding to her query, I beamed at her and said, "Thank you for the confirmation, honey!"
Her question is exactly what Holy Spirit is inviting us to consider from a heavenly perspective: How can God produce brand new life inside of us from something so “tiny” as a spiritual egg and sperm? I will elaborate in my next post. Good things to come -- stay tuned!
A prayer for today:
Lord, is there something You want to show me today hidden in the world around me? I don’t want to miss it for the hustle and bustle of life. Teach me to be still and know that You are God. Empower me to quiet myself in Your presence and lean into You. Train me in Your holy calm. Lead me beside Your tranquile, living waters. As I am attentive with my five senses, speak to my heart and reveal Your heavenly realities to me. Daddy, I long for more of You!
Do you have an experience to share of learning something about the spiritual realm from observing an aspect of our physical world? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section!