Prophecies Run Together, Part II

The Midewiwin Lodge will serve as a rallying point for the people and its traditional ways will be the source of much strength. The Sacred Megis will lead the way to the chosen ground of the Anishinabe.
Sarah Schroeder

Sarah Schroeder

Nourish the Word

I ended Part 1 of the Seven Fires Prophecies topic with a note that there was more I hadn’t addressed and that I had yet to understand how to explain. I think I am ready to do this now. This post also is Part 4 of my Re-creation and Rebirth series that I began with. It was originally going to be titled Turtle Island. Both these topics run together here, though, so they have been combined.

The complete combined seven prophecies can be found in the video link in part 1, in Edward Benton Banai’s The Mishomis Book, or found on different internet sites, including this wikipedia page. One important part I have noticed in the prophecies begins in the very first prophecy.

“In the time of the First Fire, the Anishinabe nation will rise up and follow the sacred shell of the Midewiwin Lodge. The Midewiwin Lodge will serve as a rallying point for the people and its traditional ways will be the source of much strength. The Sacred Megis will lead the way to the chosen ground of the Anishinabe. You are to look for a turtle shaped island that is linked to the purification of the earth. You will find such an island at the beginning and end of your journey. There will be seven stopping places along the way. You will know the chosen ground has been reached when you come to a land where food grows on water. If you do not move you will be destroyed.”

 Dual Fulfillment

To begin, the idea of dual fulfillment is described well here. It basically means that scriptural prophecies often have an immediate fulfillment and a more future one. Here, an immediate fulfillment is obvious and is the fulfillment attributed to it in the resources that make the prophecies available. Since this prophecy precedes the colonization of the continent by Europeans, the immediate fulfillment is the destruction of the Anishinaabe that came due to that. According to tradition this was the cause of the Anishinaabe migration from the East Coast to where they are presently spread from the Great Lakes to as far west as Montana. The migration history even accounts for the turtle shaped islands at the beginning and end of this physical journey.

A dual or secondary fulfillment of this prophecy takes on a much more spiritual meaning, as the mention of the sacred shell of the Midewiwin Lodge would indicate. The link I have attached, takes you to Part 3 of the Re-creation and Rebirth, which discusses how the religion of the Midewiwin Lodge mirrors that of the scriptures. I believe the mention of the turtle shaped islands also reinforces this idea. This specific reference comes from the Anishinaabe (and many other tribes’) creation story, which can be found beginning in Part 1 of the Re-creation and Rebirth series, The Muskrat. The prophecy containing a reference to the Creation, makes me think that this prophecy has a greater meaning than first glance would give it, one that perhaps has yet to be fulfilled.

The Beginning and the End, and the Muskrat

In the Ojibwe creation story, particularly, the only creature able to bring some earth above the flood level, for the first people to dwell on is the “humblest of all” creatures, the muskrat. He alone is able to descend below to retrieve it, and sacrifices his life to achieve this feat that was impossible to all the other creatures. He is the one whose hand provides the “foundation of the world.”
 
I believe these actions are identifiers meant to inform both the Anishinaabe and Christian about who we each remember and worship. There is a passage found in both Isaiah and quoted also in the Book of Mormon that I think was meant to tie these two things together. In the passage, Isaiah is quoting the Lord:
 

I am the First, and I am also the Last. Mine hand hath also laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens; and I call unto them and they stand up together. Isaiah 17, paragraph 21 Nephi 6: paragraph 3

In this passage He declares His often repeated title and role of being the first and also the last, or the Alpha and the Omega. Similarly the prophecy says the turtle shaped island (whose foundation of earth was provided by the muskrat) would be at the beginning and end of the Anishinaabe journey. The turtle island grew to be this American continent in the story, the place where the Anishinabe were given to live. What if this reference was meant to point to Him as being the beginning of their journey, and the end of their journey?
Indeed, here was Nephi’s take on the beginning of the journey:

And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water? And now I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfill all righteousness in being baptized by water? Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he sheweth unto the children of men that according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. Wherefore, after he was baptized with water, the holy ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. And again, it sheweth unto the children of men the straitness of the path and the narrowness of the gate by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. And he said unto the children of men, Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said, Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my beloved Son. And also the voice of the Son came unto me, saying, He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the holy ghost like unto me. Wherefore, follow me and do the things which ye have seen me do. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ by baptism — yea, by following your Lord and Savior down into the water according to his word — behold, then shall ye receive the holy ghost. Yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the holy ghost, and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.  2Nephi 13:2 

 

It even fits a metaphorical explanation of the “land where food grows on water” in the prophecy. Nephi describes baptism by water as the entry to the gate, which when executed in sincerity, “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy, and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism…” that one then receives the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. To which Nephi says: 

Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the holy ghost, ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the holy ghost? Angels speak by the power of the holy ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. 2 Nephi 14, paragraph 1

If the words of prophecy about the water can be understood as the waters of baptism, then the “food which grows on water” can also be understood as the words of Christ we are meant to “feast upon” after having entered the waters of baptism, which is the gate to the path which leads to Christ, putting Him at the beginning and the end of the journey.

Nephi’s words about the end of the journey:

For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way and receive the holy ghost, it will shew unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. 2 Nephi 14, paragraph 1

Also similar to the Anishinaabe creation story about how the sacrifice of the muskrat allows for the birth and survival of Sky Woman’s children, the baptism described by Nephi is a metaphor of birth. Those who are baptized in sincerity, emerge from the water, having taken upon them the name of Christ, as a child takes on the name of its father when it is born in this world. The Anishinaabe attribute this occurrence as the beginning of their people, their birth. Perhaps it was in more ways than one. Perhaps the “turtle island” is meant to represent the birth of a covenant people, a people who have entered the gate and are following the good path, the Creator’s people, whom He is keen to bless and protect. A people like this is described in Lehi’s words as those who shall serve Him according to the commandments which He hath given. He further explains that this land (like the turtle island) is promised to his (Lehi’s) descendants and others that the Lord will bring here, and that there remains a conditional promise on it: “if iniquity shall abound, cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed for ever.” Anyone’s heavenly right to it, depends on their following the path of the Creator, Him whose hand has laid the foundation of the earth.

 
If this hypothetical has a basis in truth, the meaning of all of this would be that Christ was known to the ancestors of the Anishinaabe (though probably by another name) before He was ever preached to them after the European colonization. It would mean they would have at one point been among the “other sheep” He spoke of to those at Israel after His resurrection.
 

And I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. St. John 6, paragraph 26

With the words “one fold and one shepherd,” Christ also ties in to the oneness spoken of in first part of the fourth fire.

“In this way, two nations will join to make a mighty nation. This new nation will be joined by two more so that four will form the mightiest nation of all.”

Coincidence?

 

Chiasmus

As a disclaimer, I am not the best at recognizing when chiasmus is being used, but I think the complete 7 fires are in a chiastic structure.
 
This type of literary tool is described here, and here is a blog that has a good write up of chiasmus also. 
 
The Lord also appears to use a pattern of chiasmus when He declares His titles as the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, and when He says the the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. Even Noah’s flood, and the destruction by fire the world is prophesied to experience, mirror each other in a way similar to chiasmus. They also mirror that baptism of water and by fire that are part of the strait and narrow path in scripture.
 
The First and the Last fire
 
Likewise, the Seven Fires appear to mirror each other from beginning to end in a chiastic way. The first fire is a message of restoration and potential destruction to the Anishinaabe. The last is a message of restoration and potential destruction to the white race (referred to in the Book of Mormon as the gentiles) and the Anishinaabe. It does so in a pattern of the first being last and the last being first, where the roles are reversed. The destruction spoken of in the first fire is to the Anishinabe, the destruction spoken of in the seventh fire is described as being brought back on the white race, which it says will effect not just them, but all the earth.
 
The first fire speaks of the “purification of the earth,” “Sacred Megis,” and the “turtle shaped island,” and “a land where food grows on water,” all of which involve water and its symbol of purification. The Anishinaabe story of creation is the story of a flood, in which the earth was purified from wickedness. Similarly, The seventh fire speaks of “a rekindling of old flames,” the “sacred fire will again be lit,” in some versions the wrong road will be “black and charred,” and “the seventh fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an eternal fire of peace, love, brotherhood, and sisterhood.” Fire scripturally is also a purifying agent, such as the “refiner’s fire.” A baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, is a moment when a person is spiritually purified by God, they are made Holy. Both of these elements are essential parts of the sweat lodge purification ceremony as well. Fire, particularly, is believed by the Anishinaabe to be connected to the power of the spirit world. I believe that these two purifying agents being emphasized in the both the first and last prophecy follows a chiastic structure.
 

By referencing the “purification of the earth” and the “turtle shaped island,” invoking the Creation story, the first fire is reminding the people of their own creation, when they were a “new people.” Likewise the last fire speaks of a “New People” that will emerge.

These two fires also introduce a choice that both peoples’ will need to make between different paths or roads. The Anishinaabe are warned that they do not “rise up” or move, they will be destroyed. The light-skinned race will also have a choice to make, symbolized by roads. This imagery is used in the scriptures as well.

Repent therefore and enter in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat, because strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads unto life, and few there are that find it. Matt 3, paragraph 45

The easier way is always the one that leads to destruction, like the choice of the Anishinaabe to stay as they were, like the choice of the “light-skinned race” to follow greed, rather than harmony with our Creator and the creation.

 
The Second and the Sixth fire
 
In both the second and sixth fire, a falling away and loss is described. Although, a reason for hope is indicated in each one. In the second fire, a beginning back to the correct path is promised. The reason for hope in the sixth fire is a little trickier to recognize. It says that, “the promise of the Fifth Fire came in a false way.” The reason this gives for hope is that for it to have come in a false way indicates that there is a true way for it to come. It says that the “cup of life will almost become the cup of grief.” But the use of “almost” is also reason for hope. It indicates that something will change that.
 
The Third and the Fifth Fire
 

If the “land where food grows upon the waters” spoken of can be understood not just in the obvious way, but also in the metaphorical way I mentioned earlier, then it can also be understood as feasting upon the words of the Creator after entering into baptism. If this has any basis in truth then it has a connecting meaning with the fifth fire, in which the “promise of great joy and salvation” comes in a false way. The third fire speaks of the true promise of great joy and salvation. The fifth speaks of the word of the promise coming without the fulfillment of the promise. I personally see this as the plain and precious things that Nephi describes as being missing from the bible and Christianity by the time it reaches this land. Among the plain and precious things missing is the Doctrine of ChristChrist’s direction on baptism, how He performed the sacrament, etc. Basic things that have huge repercussions when they are lost. Things that the Book of Mormon has kept intact as the teachings of Christ as they were given to some of His other sheep.

 
The Fourth Fire
 

The fourth fire has two separate parts, and as the middle of this chiastic collection of prophecies, I find that particularly interesting.

One thing I notice is an emphasis on water in both the first part and the last. This may be a confusing idea since the first part does not actually use the word “water” at all. However there is imagery that applies quite accurately to water as it flows from streams to rivers, and so on into the ocean.

“They will bring new knowledge and articles that can be joined with the knowledge of this country. In this way two nations will join to make a mighty nation. This new nation will be joined by two more so that the four will form the mightiest nation of all.”

Like two streams, two nations will join together to form one mighty nation (river). This mighty nation will then be joined by two more nations (rivers), becoming the mightiest nation (ocean) of all. This powerful nation is created through pure intentions and actions. This metaphor of water would require that the water likewise be pure. This joining of two nations is mentioned in the Book of Mormon too:

Wherefore murmur ye because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God? That I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. 2 Nephi 12, paragraph 12

This scripture is more specifically given in the imagery of water, as these nation “run” together just as two streams run together.

Conversely, in the second part of the fourth fire, when the “rivers run with poison,” it is a result of greed. While waters running with poison has an obvious literal meaning, it also has a metaphorical one.

This comparison to pure waters and filthy waters is one used in the Book of Mormon, but in that more metaphorical way, as seen in a vision by Nephi.

And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron which my father had seen was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life, which waters are a representation of the love of God. And I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God. 1 Nephi 3, paragraph 10

And the angel spake unto me, saying, Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw, yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are the depths of hell. And the mists of darkness are the temptations of the Devil which blindeth the eyes and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost. And the large and spacious building which thy father saw is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and a terrible gulf divideth them, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God and Messiah who is the Lamb of God, of whom the holy ghost beareth record from the beginning of the world until this time, and from this time henceforth and for ever. 1 Nephi 3, paragraph 17

Perhaps following the Word of God can and should lead to pure waters both literally and figuratively.

The emphasis of this fire is on the intentions of the white race. There are two ways in which they may come. This tells me that there will be two ways in which the white race will come, and not just one way of the two. Some will come one way. Some will come the other way. This fits Nephi’s description of events: 

And now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you, for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God, ye shall all likewise perish. And because of the words which have been spoken, ye need not suppose that the gentiles are utterly destroyed. For behold, I say unto you, as many of the gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord, and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off. For the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel. 2 Nephi 12, paragraph 11

 
This really is the crux of the matter for every individual, regardless of identity and race: “For the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel.”
 
A reasonable question to ask after reading through this is, Just what is chiasmus doing in a prophecy that is supposed to predate European and Hebraic influence? Fascinating, isn’t it? It speaks to me of the patterns the Lord uses to help us to identify His presence in different places, among diverse people. It’s like leaving His stamp or His signature in the message. Hopefully, we can use these patterns to recognize a commonality, and these can help us to come together as diverse people, rather than finding cause to fight and hate one another.

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