Dark Rivers and Yellow Caterpillars

Photo by Pixabay

Today is March 19, 2020. The world lies quivering in the fearsome grip of the Coronavirus crisis. Starting yesterday evening and continuing through night I experienced what I sometimes call a “spiritual download”. The Holy Spirit delivered revelation to my spirit man via three different modes of communication: 1) a published word from a leading voice in the prophetic movement, 2) a waking vision, and 3) a sleeping dream. This threefold revelation dovetailed into a classic “two or three witnesses” combo, and since the resultant message is relevant to the current crisis, and I feel it would be of benefit to share publicly.

Before I do, I want to make a couple of prefatory points.

First, I make no claims to being a prophet. That may sound strange, seeing that I write a blog on dream and vision interpretation, but I am fairly green at recognizing prophetic experiences and interpreting them. For over 45 years, I sort of assumed that the only prophecy a modern Christians should bother with was printed on the pages of Scripture. I considered most modern prophets as borderline kooks and probable charlatans.

I won’t go into the details of how I broke through that barrier and began my journey toward appreciating the ongoing gift and ministry of prophecy. At least not in this post. But I gradually came to understand that I do possess a bit of prophetic gifting, myself. It’s not my strong point, mind you. Teaching seems to be my strongest spiritual gift. I am also talented in creative writing and acting. And I can whip up a mean skillet of shakshuka. But when God was cooking me up, He evidently mixed in a dash of the prophetic. I’m taking baby steps and trying let Father teach me the ropes.

My second comment is that this post may be a little complicated. I had not planned on jumping into the deep end of the dream interpretation pool this soon. I was going to break my readers in nice and easy, illustrating each progressive point with simple examples, gradually increasing the complexity so as not to overwhelm anyone with too much information. I guess that was my teacher side coming out.

But I had told the Lord when I started this blog that He was my editor-in-chief. Whatever He wanted me to write, I would do so at His timing and discretion. Maybe this won’t seem complex for you. Maybe it’s only complex to wobbly little toddler prophet me, but I’ll try to explain things the best I can and let the Holy Spirit fill in any gaps that I leave in the telling. Okay? Here goes.

Crossing Over

Picture by Pixabay

The first step of this process came when I read a word from Johnny Enlow on The Elijah List. His word was entitled, “The Storm Is Here – But We Are Crossing Over!” I would recommend that you read the entire word, but in it, Johnny wrote the following:

(Mark 4:38): “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion…” Jesus is in the BACK of the boat and He is not just sleeping, but sleeping on a cushion. Ever been in a storm of life where that feels like the reality?

The disciples manage to awaken Jesus with “Don’t you care if we drown?” This was not just a fear attack but a set of circumstances accompanied with an irrational fear. We have that today as well. Why do I say that it was an “irrational fear”? First of all, they could see Jesus and He was with them. Secondly, this whole thing started with Him saying “We are crossing over.” When Jesus prophesies He should be believed. Here, now, is an important insight for us today:


Three things jumped out at me.

  • We are in a storm.
  • We are crossing over
  • God’s Word, revealing His perfect plan, is more sure than any storm.

I think that all of us can agree that this Coronavirus is a perfect storm. Yet it is not what defines our circumstances. This storm is merely a transition stage that we must pass through in the process of crossing over to reach our goal–a goal which has been established by the irrevocable Word of God.

Now, in my personal circumstances, God had remarkably confirmed His will and purpose for my life and the future of my family through a series of miraculous events that occurred just as the news of the Coronavirus was beginning to trickle out of China. His promises had resonated with hope and grace.

I don’t know what your last promise from God may have been, but I guarantee it didn’t involve the fear and panic that came lumbering in on the heels of this pandemic. Like Johnny Enlow suggests, hang onto God’s stated purpose, oh ye of little faith. The Master of the storm is a passenger in your boat.

Hold that thought. Let’s move on to the next layer of revelation.

Prepare to Dine

Photo by Pixabay

After I had gone to bed, I went into the spirit and prayed awhile. As I lay there in that state between sleep and wakefulness (a state called “hypnagogia” in case you care) an image came to me, as often happens to me during those moments. This is not uncommon among mankind. Sadly, many artists, including Salvador Dali and Mary Kelly, have used the images encountered during their periods of hypnagogia to feed their earth-bound creativity, instead of taking time to ask God to unwrap these seemingly random images for them, and reveal what He was trying to communicate.

I found myself standing in the hallway of a house. On either side were doorways, but at the far end, the hallway opened up into what I could identify as a kitchen. I could see the end of a long table, set for a meal, and beyond that, against the wall, a counter and cupboards were visible. Everything was a clean, sterile white, except for what protruded incongruously from between the counter and the table. Sitting there, about eighteen inches tall, was a big, bulbous, yellow, molded, plastic caterpillar face, with antennae on top. The rest of the caterpillar was out of sight behind the table, but I knew there was a big plastic caterpillar body attached.

I had no idea what to make of the image. The only thing I could guess was that the plastic caterpillar was some sort of child’s riding toy, but its meaning was incomprehensible. I was inclined to smirk and ignore it, but I knew I should ask Father God to interpret for me.

“What’s up with the big yellow caterpillar, Lord?”

His reply was instant, enigmatic and unexpected.


Father God does that a lot. He gives a single cryptic key that upon further meditation, prayer and research unlocks the interpretation of a dream or vision. I somehow knew that He was talking about a laundry hamper, rather than the verb which means “hinder”, although, in retrospect, I suppose it meant both simultaneously.

A hamper is a place to discard dirty clothes. The fact that it was positioned next to a table set for a meal, immediately brought to mind Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast.

But when the king came in to look at the [wedding feast] guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless.

Matthew 22:11-12

Although the Father’s invitation to His feast is free, we cannot attend in our filthy street clothes. We must lay them aside…put them in the hamper, so to speak, and accept the complimentary robe of Righteousness provided courtesy of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

This theme is further reinforced by additional details of the imagery. First is the caterpillar. The analogy of metamorphosis is familiar and apt. A butterfly cannot emerge from the cocoon without shedding its caterpillar clothes, so to speak.

An additional detail is the color yellow. The Hebrew word for yellow, tsahob, is used in Leviticus chapter 13 to describe the hair and skin of a victim of leprosy. We know that leprosy symbolizes sin which corrupts our flesh. This is the “body of death” that Paul bewails in Romans 7:24.

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

New Living Translation

Leprosy was ceremonially cleansed by the blood of two birds killed outside the camp in an earthenware vessel over running water. There is not room in this post to explore the rich symbolism of this ritual. You can study it for yourself. For the purpose of this revelation, I simply want to zero in on one aspect–the running water.

Remember Johnny Enlow’s word about the storm on the water. Hold that thought, and we’ll move on to the dream.

The Dark River

Image by Pixabay

Then I fell asleep and dreamed that I was on stage during a live performance with my drama association. While standing with his back to the audience, one of the actors was delivering a line extreme downstage right. I knew that his name was Doug. At a certain point in the delivery, he took a dramatic step backwards…right off of the stage. The stage was high. He fell hard, and the audience gave a collective gasp of shock. I froze, unsure if we should continue the scene, or interrupt the production. When he didn’t get up, I knew I needed to check on him.

Summoning my EMT skills from my ambulance driving days, I quickly determined that he was unresponsive, was not breathing and had no pulse. In other words, Doug was dead. I yelled for someone to call 911 and began performing CPR. On my fourth cycle of compressions, Doug grabbed my arm and pushed it away. He had regained consciousness and was no longer appreciative of my efforts. About then the paramedics arrived. I gave them a transfer report and left Doug in their care.

What was that all about? The first symbol I researched was the name Doug. The actor in my dream was nobody I recognized from real life. He had certainly never been part of my cast or crew in any of my productions. So I knew the symbolism lay in the name. Douglas is a Scottish name, a conjunction of two words which mean “dark river”.

Wow! The theme was becoming obvious. I’d been shown a storm on a lake, flowing water cleansing leprosy, and now the dark river of death. Yet none of them signified the end. Each one represented a transition, a cleansing, a passing from brokenness and filthy rags and fear and tragedy into promise and righteousness and feasting and resurrection life.

In my dream, we had been acting. Performing. But we were unexpectedly interrupted in our performance to deal with death’s dark river. Perhaps we have all been focusing too much time on performing. Perhaps we enjoy men’s applause too much. If we live according to a performance-based value system, that is like expecting to wear our own grungy clothes to the wedding feast. None of us can ear our way into the Kingdom of God. Jesus already gave us access through the veil of His broken body. His shed blood is our password, and His righteousness is our tuxedo.

It is scary to have our comfortable act interrupted, or our boat rocked. Especially by death and pandemics and other sorts of trauma and tragedy. When that happens, do we respond with panic and fear, or do we set aside our agenda, remaining confident in our destination because of the unshakable Word of God which reveals His plan and character?

Then, bolstered by that confidence, do we humbly and uncomplainingly attend to the hurting around us during this time of crisis?

If you would like to support this work, you may become a patron at patreon.com/dRhema. Your investment into this journey frees me up to spend more time in study, prayer and dreaming.  In turn this enables more people to benefit from the process.  Thank you, and God bless you for your support.

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