Echoing across the wooded valley, the excited howls of coon dogs announced the presence of a raccoon hiding in a tree. Flashlights pierced the darkness as our hunting party made its way to the scene. A city boy knows nothing about coon hunting, so my country friends decided to take advantage of my naivety.
“The new guy has to climb the tree and throw down the coon,” they said. “It’s just part of hunting tradition.”
So, up the tree I went, clutching a flashlight as I looked for the beady eyes of a frightened raccoon. But I found no raccoon in the towering tree.
“Sometimes a coon will jump trees, using overlapping branches,” someone shouted. Wanting to please, I scrambled down and scaled the neighboring tree. Still no raccoon.
“Coons will top a tree—go higher!” they yelled. I parted branches and tentatively made my way higher. Grasping the sturdiest branch with one hand, I pointed the flashlight to the very top of the tree . . . and there he was, less than two feet above me, baring his teeth in self-defense.
My merciful spirit and love for animals kicked in (to say nothing of the adrenalin surging through my veins). I backed off and hollered down, “No coon here!” Both he and I survived the night, and I confessed my “white lie” to the Lord.
I did learn a lesson about raccoons that night—their agility in the trees was impressive. And they had managed to get the dogs to bark up the wrong tree.
Barking up the wrong tree can be just as true for misguided humans. We are all in the hunt for a better life in a sustainable environment. No one wants a polluted earth, leading to the demise of humanity by the end of the century. Yet, the question still looms: What’s the best way to accomplish the goal of global survival?
The Green Party garnered 1% of the national vote in the recent presidential election, and remains prominent in the news due to the attempts of Dr. Jill Stein (Green Party presidential candidate) to force a recount of votes in three swing states, plus Nevada. This caused me to take a closer look at the ten key values of the Green Party to evaluate their passion for change. Number 3 value is titled, “Ecological Wisdom,” and in the expanded version of the Green Party’s platform, they state:
Climate change is the gravest environmental, social, and economic peril that humanity has ever met. . . . It is a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.
Dr. Stein is a brilliant medical doctor with a long history of green activism—and, quite frankly, I share a few of her basic concerns. In my opinion though, she is barking up the wrong tree. As a Jewish agnostic, she has no frame of reference to comprehend God’s benevolent solution to bring about all that she is devoting her life to. As a Christian committed to Jesus Christ, I truly feel sorry for her and all those who are passionately involved in the Green Party.
This Christmas, Christians will once again celebrate the birth of Jesus, and rejoice in the biblical hope of personal and global salvation. Isaiah 9:6-7 has always been one of our favorite seasonal passages:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
This prophecy of Isaiah predicts a coming Messiah who will initially appear as a newborn son. Ultimately, this messianic man will govern the world and bring the long-awaited government of peace where justice and righteousness prevail. His government will not go through the cyclical demise of all other earthly kingdoms, but will last forever. It speaks of the utopian dream of every human being.
According to Romans 8:18-25, even the natural environment, which has been subject to the Law of Entropy (everything is wearing out and moving toward disorder), will be rejuvenated and cleansed. No government of human endeavor has ever been able to accomplish this Herculean task. This is why I believe that liberal ideology and the Green Peace movement are barking up the wrong tree.
NEW WORLD COMING
Only one person can accomplish all that Isaiah foretold. The Isaiah prophecy indicates that the child born and the son given will carry the world on his shoulder (like Atlas in Greek mythology). The Messiah will have superhuman qualities (those of God), enabling Him to accomplish the impossible. Notice the names that are given to Him, expressing a sequence of ability:
WONDERFUL COUNSELOR – or literally, Counseling Wonder
This person will have the wisdom to lead us out of the mess we are in. The world is looking for a leader who knows what is wrong and understands how to fix it. The man of Isaiah’s prophecy will be a Counseling Wonder.
MIGHTY GOD – or God Almighty
Not only will this man have the requisite wisdom to know what to do, He will also have the ability to do it. “God” in this phrase is Elohim, the God of Creation (Genesis 1;1). He made the world; therefore, He has the ability to fix it.
EVERLASTING FATHER – or Father of Eternity
This name is not saying that the Messiah is the Father—it is a construct phrase, signifying that He is the “Father of” eternity. He has the keys to forever; therefore, what He does will last forever.
PRINCE OF PEACE – or the Czar of Peace (Shalom)
What the Messiah does, proceeds out of who He is—so that the product of His new creation will be characterized by peace. That is why Isaiah went on to say, “of the measure of his government and peace there shall be no end.” Peace, including justice and righteousness, will prevail.
So, understand what Isaiah is saying about this amazing Person:
- Counseling Wonder – He knows what to do.
- God Almighty – He has the divine ability to do it.
- Father of Eternity – He can make it last forever
- Prince of Peace – He will bring ultimate peace.
All biblical evidence points to the fact that this person is Jesus Christ—which is why Isaiah’s prophecy is always quoted at Christmas. Jesus Christ is really the only hope this world has for personal and global salvation.
So, don’t bark up the political tree with the Green Party—it’s the wrong tree. Turn your attention to Jesus and be filled with realistic hope. And as you do, have a Merry Christmas!
Thanks for this excellent material. Zelfred Smith
Pastor Dan, it is good to read you again. I long for the days that we were all together in Orlando, delving into prophecy and the Lord’s teaching.
I hope all is well with you and your family. Tell Karilee hello from me, and I wish you and your family a joyous and peaceful Christmas. Blessings, Linda Roberts
Thank you for this message. I, too, wish we still met in Orlando for
Bible study. I am so blessed to partake of your gifted teaching, whether
in person, via CD, or written articles. God bless you, your family, and