Burned Bible: call for prayer after Gatlinburg Tennessee wildfires
2nd December 2016, hej
So unreal and so apt was this find of the Bible Page from Joel 1 and 2 that Snopes had to comment confirming it. It was beyond coincidence, yet it happened. We may gain so much comfort from knowing that even in a human-made disaster, the God of the Bible knows and counts not only the hairs on our head but knows also the pages in a book. For those who hold onto their faith, we can know even in disaster that God works for good in the lives of all those who seek him.
This incident is a message to all who would hear. When a wilderness wild fire leaves only one verse of a whole Bible, a verse that says 'call unto God because of fire in the wilderness', we can know that the sincere will call and pray into God. The key passage on the page found is,
"O Lord to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness." - Joel 1:19-20, King James Version
This is the local account of the events,
The day after wildfires tore through Gatlinburg, damaging or destroying more than 700 structures, killing at least 10 people and displacing thousands, Isaac McCord was doing his part to help out, picking up debris from the Dollywood park grounds.
Gripping his rake, he revisited a spot in Craftsman Valley he had skimmed over after his co-worker, Misty Carver, quipped, "Is that how you clean your room?" Provoked, he said he had started "really getting in the nooks and crannies" under a park bench when he caught a glimpse of a piece of paper lying in a puddle of water — soggy, seared and torn in two.
McCord, a University of Tennessee alumnus who now works as a human resources training coordinator at Dollywood, said he had no idea what the paper would read, but considering the circumstances, he was curious enough to pick it up.
As soon as I got down on the ground, I noticed it was a Bible verse, and I was like holy crap," McCord said in a phone interview on Tuesday night. "It was in a puddle of water. I said, 'I want to take care of this the best way I can,' so I gently scooped it up and carried it out the best I could."
McCord, 24, sat on the bench where he found the paper, and called Carver over. Their work partners, Dollywood wardrobe manager Angela Davis and employee Kimberly Moore, had left to go to the restroom, McCord said.
In silence, the pair pored over the page, the edges of which were burned black, rendering many words illegible. But parts of the right side of the page were preserved enough to get the message across: it perfectly reflected, McCord said, the tragic natural disaster that had thrust Gatlinburg and Sevier County into the national spotlight the night before.
"O Lord, to thee will I cry: For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field," the page reads, according to a picture of the page posted on McCord's Facebook.
"At first, we didn't know what part of the book it was from," McCord said on Tuesday night, "but we saw bits and pieces about fire and scorching the land, and how the beast groaned and roared for help."
The page appears to be from the first chapter of Joel from the King James version of the Bible.
"We were like this is unreal, this is unbelievable," McCord said. "When we had both fully read it, we looked at each other — and I will never forget this moment — we both burst into tears. I was ghost white, and we just prayed. There was nothing else to do.
"Still to this moment, almost four hours after the fact, I don't have words for it."
McCord posted a photo of the charred Bible page on Facebook, and four hours later, he was contacted by Dollywood public relations workers who told him the post had been shared more than 50,000 times. McCord had no idea, he said: His Facebook showed less than 1,000 shares.
McCord wasn't a highly religious man prior to his discovery — he didn't go to church every Sunday or read the Bible often — but he said he has a relationship with God that shapes his morals and how he treats other people. He was impacted by the discovery because he said he knows several co-workers who lost their homes in the chaotic blaze. He intends to frame the Bible page, and now, he said he may re-examine the role religion plays in his life.
Angela Davis, reached by phone on Tuesday night, corroborated McCord's story, saying when she returned from the restroom, she saw him with the Bible page. It was burned, brittle, wet and in two pieces, she said. Kimberly Moore also corroborated the story, recalling the same details as Davis and McCord. Misty Carver did not immediately return requests for comment.
McCord said he knows people may doubt the truthfulness of his story. He emphasized he is not an official spokesman for Dollywood, and he does not speak on behalf of the park or its employees. He just wanted to share the story to give people hope.
"I wanted to share this message because it brought me to tears. I wanted to share this message because I think that faith and hope is very powerful in a situation like this. There are hundreds of people that are displaced and that have lost their homes. Most of these people will cling to faith. By no means was I trying to get social recognition. ... I would say to anyone who wants to call it fake, call me. Please call me. It is something that I'll remember for the rest of my life." knoxnews.com
I went to the source and I knew it couldn't be made up. In addition the photo showed it was from a wide margin leather-bound Nelson Bible (exact to a copy we have), and nobody who owned one of those would burn them deliberately.
Photo posted by Isaac McCord on Facebook
The whole passage in Joel, in context, begins with a question
Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? (Joel 1:2 KJV)
This was a question of the US election, why is it that the USA and nations are burdened by God given sorrow from drought and events such as this fire? No it's not climate change as some have mocked, nastily chiding those of Tennessee, it is God's withdrawal of his blessing of rain.
A call to Repent
The passage left for Isaac McCord to find and given to the world was a call to repent, a call for people if they will, to seek the God of Israel
Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered.
How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. (Joel 1:14-20 )
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants
of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
Now curiously some parts are burned and those I put in italics. You will see that it says “blow ye the trumpet- - and alarm in my mountain.” The trumpet is therefore in the US. Some have very nastily derided this state of Tennessee for voting for Trump, and have rejoiced in the damage due to 'climate change' affecting those who might deny it. This verse gives a whole new picture. The fire isn't 'the destruction of the Almighty' this verse is speaking of. This judgement is to be on those who don't repent.
The LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children.. let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar,
and let them say, “Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?”
Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: (Joel 2:11-19 KJV)
The people of the US and about the world who fear God, are asked to turn to the God of Israel with all their heart. They will be asked to plead with God not to give his heritage- this is Israel - to reproach.
At the same time there were fires in Tennessee there were fires in Israel, over half proven to be deliberately lit by terrorists. The people of this place in Gatlinburg will know how it feels, and all those who feel for others will know this also. Yet the nations wish to remove Jews from their houses. Obama and the Administration wish to make the mountains of Israel free of Jews to tear down all they have built there. Obama and his administration made no public statement about the fires in the heartland of the US though it was known three had died and more people had perished that were not yet found, and many homes and business were lost, yet the Administration can find time to criticise if Israel builds the same number of houses in their heartland! (Obama's sympathies were conveyed through the Governor of Tennessee, reported on November 30 not in a statement from the White House.)
Let us go onto read the outcome for everyone who repents and seeks the God of Israel for it is an end of hope and glory and truly great things!
There will be an invasion of Israel from the North where Russia and allies will think an evil thought (Ezekiel 38) and the people of the US and their allies who have sought peace will likewise fear.
But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he has done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:20-32 KJV)
May everyone who seeks find the Mightly God, He Who Will Be shown forth in Mighty Ones of Israel, (Yahweh Elohim of Israel) who knows what is written even on a Bible lost to a fire and also on the hidden pages of people's hearts. May you who read this be the remnant who are called, who see once again God speaking, not through a found page, but as he did of yore, through visions and dreams of living people.
Gatlinburg is the burg of the companion (Gatlin from Old English) and Isaac means 'he will rejoice' and McCord from 'Cuairt' "visitor" or "journeymen”, a travelling worker, which reminds us that even King David says we are all sojourners who wait for the day of joy that God has made.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.(Psa 39:12 KJV)
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.(Hebrews 11:9-10 KJV)
When we may say,
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)
The significance is recognised by some. It was even picked up in the UK.
‘Flames have burned up all the trees of the field’: Gatlinburg fire worker discovers charred page of the Bible that gives him ‘goosebumps’ independent.co.uk
AOL adds to the story,
McCord says fortunately his home is intact and his dog is safe, but he knows several co-workers who lost their homes. He says he hopes as the community rebuilds that everyone will come together as one with love and humility.aol.com
CNN heading was "Burned Bible page found near wildfires sparks hope in Gatlinburg and beyond"
In times of great tragedy, people often look for signs of light in the darkness.
Many commenters took it as a sign from God. edition.cnn.com
USA Today: Dollywood employee finds burned Bible page after wildfires usatoday.com
As did ABC: abc13.com
Appropriately also 'the Blaze' noted it was human caused
A National Park Service spokeswoman said Tuesday night that the fires in and around Great Smoky Mountain National Park were “human caused.” theblaze.com
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:(Malachi 3:1-2)
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1Peter 1:7)
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