I Want a Nation: Australia and Oceania

Our last installment will be for all those incredible little islands in the South Pacific. Australia is the official continent, but Oceania will include all the people groups in the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve had the chance to visit Australia and New Zealand and there’s an incredible culture that is a clash of both the familiar and foreign. The Maori people of New Zealand for example are incredible warriors. The haka or tribal war dance is performed by New Zealand’s professional rugby team the All Blacks. Using mere intimidation, the warriors prove their fortitude by stomping, yelling and fierce body language.

The people I’ve met also have a beautiful expression of intimacy. Individuals in close relationship will put their foreheads together as a greeting and exchange breath. Literally inhaling what you’ve exhaled as a way to say “what is inside you I receive inside me.”

Australia was actually used by Britain as a veritable prison on the other side of the world. It was populated by the criminals of society who lived alongside the indigenous Aboriginal people and established a society that was tenuous at best.

The island nations have been populated by many European explorers and there is a wide mixture of cultures in the island nations. However it’s a place of cohabitation.

Australia – unknown southern land Fiji – home of the lookouts

Kiribati – trusted, bright son Marshall Islands – steward or caretaker of the horses

Micronesia – small islands Nauru – “I go to the beach.”

New Zealand – land of the long white cloud; sea land

Palau – indirect replies Papua New Guinea – frizzy hair, burnt or blackened

Samoa – holy center Solomon Islands – peaceable, perfect, one who recompenses

Tonga – southern, friendly islands Tuvalu – eight standing with one another

Vanuatu – our land

DISTANT SHORES AND THE ISLAND WILL SEE YOUR LIGHT AS IT RISES ON US!

May you be peaceful and unified! You are welcome to show us your beauty and use your voice to call the world to discovery and peace!

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I Want a Nation: Asia

We’re in the home stretch here. I’ve held off on Asia because of a couple different reasons, the first is that Asia intrigues me more than just about any other continent, and second, because it’s absolutely huge. The variety of dominant cultures contained within the continent of Asia is more dramatic than just about anywhere on earth.

The middle eastern, soviet, Indian, and mosaic of oriental cultures notwithstanding, the variety of dominant religious hubs is among the most pronounced of anywhere else. Three of the world’s most popular religions call Asia their home. Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism all have their roots planted firmly in this area of the world and cultures in Asia have their distinction as much from their preferences and tastes as they do from their religions (or lack thereof when considering the strong atheistic stance some countries take).

Asia

muddy or silty, rising light of the East, resurrection

It’s marvelous to consider how a clash of such dominant cultures exist side by side and share a prophetic name. As with all the continent’s we’ve looked at, there are a variety of opinions about how and why the continent received its name. “Muddy” is a strong picture and could be descriptive on a number of levels.

In considering the Buddhism of eastern Asia for example, differing countries have differing stances on Buddhist doctrine. It plays out in the mixtures of these religions with common folk religions and superstitions. However, I believe a case can be made that the inhabitants of Asia, regardless of their religious affinity, understand the idea of devotion. Nowhere have I found such contrition and sincerity than those who practice Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. It has been a convicting journey as I consider the sacrifices and disciplines I employ for my own religious stances.

And yet, written in the name is another meaning. Long has Asia been referred to as “the East.” It’s even said in Luke 2 that “kings from the East” followed a star which led them to Bethlehem. The rising light of the sun is the promise of a new day, a “resurrection” even. As we look at the diversity of beliefs, we can stand on one promise: there is a dawning light in Asia.

ASIA! WE CALL TO YOU AS CHRIST DID TO LAZARUS! COME FORTH!

Forsake your ways and commit your sincere, contrite hearts to the one true God. The Creator has a desire for intimacy with you. Live no longer as slaves. CLEAR THE MUDDY WATERS and walk forth clean and unblemished. From the middle east to the frozen north to the far orient BE RESURRECTED and show us all what new life truly means!

Afghanistan – land of the Afghans Armenia – assemble or create

Azerbaijan – land protected by the pagan holy fire Bahrain – the two seas

Bangladesh – land of the sun god Bhutan – highlands, land of the thunder dragon

Brunei – “there!” Burma/Myanmar – fast, tough, strong China – land of silk

Cambodia – weak, the least, unshaken East Timor – east island Georgia – tiller of the land

India – region of the Indus river Indonesia – east Indian islands

Iran – home of the free Iraq – land between the rivers Jordan – descend

Israel – land of the people who struggle with God Japan – land of the rising sun

Kazakhstan – independent-rebellious-wanderer-brave-free

Korea (North/South) – lofty, walled city, center Kuwait – fortress built near water

Kyrgyzstan – land of 40 tribes Laos – land of a million elephants, son of a pagan god

Lebanon – white, milk Malaysia – hill town Maldives – palace islands, garland

Mongolia – eternal fire Nepal – those who domesticate cattle

Oman – settled man Pakistan – (an acronym of the 8 major people groups of the area)

Philippines – land of King Philip (lover of horses) Qatar – port

Russia – land of the rowers Saudi Arabia – empire of the constellations Singapore – lion city

Sri Lanka – holy island Taiwan – terraced bay Tajikistan – leopard or tiger

Thailand – land of the humans Turkmenistan – land of the Turk-like people

Uzbekistan – home of the free Vietnam – south Viet Yemen – right hand

I Want a Nation: Americas

Continents are hard enough when considering the diversity contained within the nations that make up their borders without having two continents with the same basic name. North and South America are newer to the history books, but proud of their own heritage and just as rich and deep in ancestry. Consider the native American tribes of North America; the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures of central and South America; and the Caribbean flare to boot, we’re talking a wide, diverse, beautiful mosaic of stories.

America

ruler of his household, land of the prince, master workman, leader

Most of us were taught in school that America was named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. This is the widely accepted background but a few others would say that “America” comes from the British name “Emeric” which is the British version of what Americans would call “Henry.”

To be honest, in my research it didn’t matter because the etymology of the names all came back to some common trends. Leaders, masters, rulers, you can see this trend of independence and authority woven throughout any version of the name. The question then becomes is what prophetic value these names have.

It would be easy to analyze this from our own United States perspective but it would be unfair and grossly disproportionate to apply a single prophetic word to a small population in one corner of the western hemisphere. So instead of taking what I know from my own culture, I want to just dig into the prophetic nature of these meanings and see what we find.

“Ruler of his household” was a meaning probably given by some of the brave explorers on their quest for liberation. However, what happens to a culture who begins to see themselves as masters of themselves and only themselves? Where does the sense of community go, the sense of family, where does it stop when one’s world begins to shrink but into complete narcissism.

If the Americas are truly “master workman” then what prophetic responsibility does that give but to create, to mold, to produce, or to set an example? There are many great things about the beginnings of the United States for instance but knowing what we know now, would we be as proud and how would we have changed our approach?

As we approach nations like Haiti which are in the process of national restoration or consider the revolutions in Argentina or the tumultuous present of Colombia, Venezuela, or Mexico, what do we wish and what is our prophetic responsibility here?

BROADEN YOUR GAZE AMERICAS! GRASP THE OPPORTUNITIES AND LEAD ON!

Stand tall and create something worth noting! May the history books be filled with successes, with contrition, with compassion, with consideration and with conviction! From Arctic to Antarctic flee the temptation to rule yourself and look to the hope unity can provide! You are MORE than the land of the prince, you are land of the KING of KINGS! Worship Him and Him alone!

Here are some country names in the North and South American regions.

Antigua and Barbuda – ancient and bearded Argentina – silvery land

Bahamas – land of the shallow sea Barbados – the bearded ones

Belize – muddy water, beacon Bolivia – land of Bolivar, windmill in the valley

Brazil – red wood, red ember, isle of the blessed, land of the holy cross

Canada – village, the land where “nothing is here” (referring to gold), where the river narrows

Chile – where the land runs out/ends; cold, snow, depths

Colombia – land of Columbus, Condor’s nest, march

Costa Rica – rich coast Cuba – abundant, fertile land, great place

Dominican Republic – belonging to the Lord, abounding in rocks, navigable waters

Ecuador – republic of the equator El Salvador – the savior Guatemala – the place of many trees

Haiti – mountainous land Honduras – depths

Jamaica – land of wood and water, land of springs Mexico – naval of the moon or “sun”

Nicaragua – water Panama – the place of many fish or the place of many butterflies

Paraguay – crowned river or the river that comes from water

Peru – river Trinidad and Tobago – island of the Holy Trinity, tobacco

Uruguay – shellfish waters Venezuela – little Venice (city of water)

There’s something special about prophesying over your own land. If you come from a place in the Western Hemisphere and want God to move here, then leave a comment and prophesy some life over these lands!

I Want a Nation: Europe

Getting back to our series on the continents and countries of the world brings us north to the epicenter of much of our recent historical and even religious development. This may be one of the most challenging areas of the world to talk about en masse considering everything from English to Soviet to Germanic to Roman to Baltic to even Middle Eastern histories must be considered (and many, many more). Even with such a melting pot of pronounced and established cultures living so closely side by side, I believe there may be an overarching journey that the continent has traversed.

Europe didn’t receive much attention in world history until after the time of Christ (sure you could consider Greek or Viking history, but we’ll consider the discussion continent-wide for now). But in the last two thousand years, we’ve seen a lot of action. From empires to kingdoms to regimes to wars there’s been a lot of movement. The evolution of technology, innovation, intellect, academics, politics, and a host of other developments, Europe has made an undeniable contribution to our world.

There’s a chatter around the continent as of late that Europe has moved into a place of “post-Christianity.” (The United States is not far behind FYI.) Atheism is at an all time high and a predisposed disdain or indifference toward the things of God is palpable. I’m convinced that missions in Europe is one of the most challenging mission fields on the planet. God bless those of you who are seeing fruit through European missions, I have a deep level of respect for your investment and contribution.

Europe

land of the setting sun (the “West”), wide face, broad eye

As with “Africa,” Europe was a hard name to break down. There are a host of different interpretations and etymological breakdowns for the word. The most frequent I came across in my research, however, was “land of the setting sun.” When compared to Asia (known widely as the “East”) it was noted for its contrast. Europe was West; Asia was East. Simple.

And yet, not so simple. The prophetic angle to this takes some time to look into. The setting sun is a picture of closure, it’s the end of the day. Yet, it’s the beginning of night. If I were analyzing this as a personal name, I’d look at it through this lens: descriptive, redemptive and as a charge or responsibility.

The dark of night breeds its own temptations and reputations. Scripture talks often about the differences between light and dark and especially the cautions against the “night.” If “descriptive,” we should look at the current state of things: what darkness do we see. Darkness is much easier to expose and expel if you know where it is. I think about the Red Light districts in Amsterdam or the fact that Moldova is the 2nd highest exporter of human slaves of any country in the world and I see darkness. I’ll revisit this in a second.

Second, if names are redemptive, then they are given as hope. It’s a beacon for us to always know that where there are pitfalls there always remains a best hope in God’s eyes. To whatever depths the darkness has gone, there is always hope of the sunrise to come.

Third, there’s a responsibility tied up in prophetic names. If this is true, than Europe holds a responsibility, which I believe many have seen and taken on, to show the people of the world how to navigate through a night. Not all of Europe lives in darkness, there is a strong remnant and history and proclamation currently underway.

MAY THE LIGHT SHINE!

From your coasts to your mountains to your back alleys, may the light and truth of God shine forth! Show us the way Europe!

I wanted to look into some specific countries and see what their names held as well. Here are some names to consider:

Albania – land of understanding, land of eagles Andorra – to walk the forest

Austria – Eastern march Belarus – white Russia; free; pure

Belgium – to swell with anger; bright; dazzling Bulgaria – the land that is shaken, land of disorder, split off

Bosnia and Herzegovina – land of running water; land of the duke

Croatia – warriors with horn-clad armor, mountaineers Cyprus – copper

Czech Republic – land of the Czechs (a famous legend) Denmark – the boundary, forest

England – people of the narrow waters, people of the meadow Estonia – land to the east of the sea

Finland – land of the wanderers, people of the fen Germany – the People’s Land; neighbor, battle-cry

France – spear, free, land of foreigners Greece – to grow old

Great Britain – the land of many trees Hungary – alliance of the 10 tribes

Iceland – land of ice Ireland – the fertile ground Italy – bull

Kosovo – field of blackbird Latvia – boundary land Liechtenstein – light stone

Lithuania – unite, pour/spill, lake, seashore, a rainy place

Luxembourg – little castle Macedonia – the tall ones

Malta – the land of honey, a haven Moldova – dust, mud Monaco – single dwelling

Montenegro – black mountain, restoring, harvest Netherlands – low lands, hollow, wooded land

Norway – northern passage Poland – open field, man who plows virgin soil

Portugal – port, to heat, beautiful Romania – Roman realm

Russia – land of the rowers Scotland – land of the forest warriors (loose translation)

Spain – land of the rabbits Sweden – land of one’s own kin

Switzerland – land of the Swiss (to burn) Turkey – strong Wales – land of foreigners

Ukraine – marches and borderlands Vatican City – city on Vatican hill, prophesy

Join the group and leave a comment prophesying over the countries of Europe. God’s moving there friends. It can’t hurt for us to speak some life over places and people that have become so near and dear to some of our hearts. Speak it out.

I Want a Nation: Africa

Africa is truly a remarkable place.

It’s always interesting to me to hear people refer to Africa (unlike any other continent) as one big country.  (No one would ever say “Oh, I’m going to North America.”)  For those of you have haven’t had an African exposure, the diversity is incredible.

However, for the purposes of this blog, continents have a collective sense about them.  Africa is no different.  So in considering how Africa got its name and what that means prophetically, we’ll look at the whole before looking at the parts.

Many of these continent names have quite varied opinions on the etymology of what they are now called.

In one article I researched, the writer made a case that Africa was actually named from the Bible, that the “Queen of Sheba” that came “from the South” (widely accepted as Africa) came to King Solomon.  When she heard his wisdom she converted to following the God of Israel, which her homeland refused to acknowledge.  This particular writer claims that this rejection is why Jesus prophesied in the Gospels that the “Queen of the South” will rise and cast judgment on the unbelieving generation. (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31)  The Queen’s name and some of her declarations eventually became the word for “Africa.”

However, most etymological research led me to some more mainstream and consistent beliefs.

Africa

sunny, dusty, the land without cold

I won’t bore you with the names and breakdowns, but these meanings came from Greek and Roman translations.  Walk with me through this:

Here’s what I got when I saw this meaning.  Do you remember The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?  Do you remember what was said of Narnia?  “It was always winter and never Christmas.”

Why did this matter?  Some people in extreme environments live like this all the time and don’t consider it oppressive, yet in the story, it’s supposed to be see that way.

Now in Africa, the reverse is true (yes, I’ve been in South Africa when it snowed, but it’s still rare).  It’s hot.  Hot a lot of the time.  But beyond the temperature, I want to think about the prophetic meaning wrapped up in the phrase “the land without cold.”

What happens when there are no seasons?  Cold matters.  It’s been an unprecedentedly warm winter in Georgia, but seasons have a place, a purpose.  It’s supposed to get cold, it’s supposed to go dormant.  NEW LIFE DOESN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT THE CHANGE OF SEASONS.

If what we learned in studying our own names is true, then names can be descriptive, redemptive, and containing responsibility.  In looking at the continent of Africa and its fifty-something countries, how has the continent done with embracing the change of seasons?

When we prophesy, we speak and release life, so even though a continent is a “land without cold” it’s the responsibility of a generation of African people to stand up in the face of a name that could be descriptive and declare:

IT’S TIME FOR REDEMPTION!

It’s time to come out of dormancy Africa!  It’s time to spawn new life, to bud, to bloom, to release the life-giving pollination!  You are not destined for drought; you are destined for life!

Many countries in Africa are named after landmarks, but here are a few interesting meanings I found:

Algeria – moonlight               Angola – conquering chief/king

Benin – tribe, home of vexation               Botswana – equal and free

Burkina Faso – land of honest men               Cameroon – shrimp

Comoros – islands of the moon               Gabon – cloak

Democratic Republic of Congo/Republic of Congo – land by the river of the hunters

Ethiopia/Sudan/South Sudan – land of the blacks

Ghana – warrior king               Kenya – land of the White Mountain

Liberia – freedom               Malawi – flaming water, tongues of fire

Mali – hippopotamus               Morocco – sanctuary of God

Namibia – the land where there is nothing               Niger/Nigeria – flowing water

Rwanda – land occupied by a swarm or scattering               Sierra Leone – lion mountains

Tanzania – the island where the waters meet               Uganda – brothers and sisters of God

Zimbabwe  – house of stones

I invite you to join me in prophesying over this continent.  If a particular country is close to your heart, or if you agree in this declaration of hope and life, leave a comment and release it!  I’m very interested to see what you all have learned about prophetic names, so look at the list above and pray into that meaning and see what God may be speaking through these meanings.  Share it with us!

I Want A Nation

As I’ve been praying through how to follow my series on Prophetic Names, I’ve been drawn to another place where my heart finds its passion: the nations of the world.

Many of you who read this blog share this passion. The nations of the world are a mysterious, magical place. The canvas of this earth is covered with every shade of melanin and personality imaginable. The canvas is ripped in some places, taped together in others, some lines have been erased and redrawn more times than can be counted, and the piece itself is in a constant state of being colored and shaded into the masterpiece it was always intended to be.

The world isn’t a puzzle that’s being recreated from a picture on the front of the box. It’s an unveiling we’re all waiting for but are content to watch in progress.

I’ve done some research that I want to unpack with you all on how we should be prophesying over the nations and continents on this earth.

Psalms 2:8 has been an inspiring verse for me as of late. “Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

If we’re to inherit the earth, the nations and people, the earth in all its beauty and splendor, my recommendation is that we examine what we have coming.

In my next several posts, I want to examine the prophetic names given to the continents on this planet. How did they get these labels? What do they mean? How do we interpret these meanings in light of our present-day reality

I believe in two fundamental truths:

1) This world is full of UNACCEPTABLE REALITIES and we as the body of Christ must accept this fact and the responsibility that comes with it.

2) This world is WORTH FIGHTING FOR and eventually INHERITING. God has always believed this and has promised it to us. He wants us to join in the stewardship of it because He intends for us to participate in the creation of that which we’ll one day inherit…just like he did with Adam in the garden.

Let’s look at the places that are close to our heart. I think you’ll like what we see.