There was quite an upset in the 50th Super Bowl as the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24 -10 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The Broncos, with white horses on their helmets, defeated the imposing, Carolina Panthers who proudly wore their black panthers logos. The winning team was led by #18, 39 year-old Peyton Manning, and MVP #58, Von Miller. The halftime show, considered controversial by many Christians, creatively promoted love and tolerance with rainbow colors throughout and a black pride tribute.
I'd like to explain why events like this one can be a valid way of extracting a message from God. Romans 1:20 tells us that the “invisible things of Him” are seen and understood by the things that are made. Luke 19:40 tells us that “the rocks will cry out” with the revelation of who He is. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” Science confirms that, at a subatomic particle level, everything is connected. This means the revelation of who He is and what He is doing is wired into almost everything that is taking place -- waiting to be seen. It's the basic reason we instinctively know our dreams are important. The interpretation of dreams and visions, when led by the Holy Spirit, can be used by God to provide us with encouraging truth. We can similarly approach other events in culture, such as national sports games. While I perceive great truth from Super Bowl 50, I don't want to over-reach with my interpretation and imply anything against anyone. God doesn't hate the Carolina Panthers, or Cam Newton, nor are the Denver Broncos more holy. Nor am I implying that God rigged the game. He simply knows how things will play out and speaks in the midst of both teams' hard work and choices. Truth has a way of showing up on multiple stages.
The White Horses Crush the Black Panthers
A black panther is known to represent not just the devil, but specifically the occult and witchcraft. In this context, I believe it represents the devils’ forecast and what he has been planning, in hopes that we will add our agreement to it. I believe the white horses are a picture of God’s thundering herd of angels and saints who have risen up to trample the devil. The black panthers weren’t just outscored, they were crushed. If my stat finder is correct, they were sacked 7 times and they had to punt 7 times. Deuteronomy 28:7 tells us that God Himself will scatter our enemies in 7 directions. Of course the enemies are never people, but rather the demonic strongholds that deceive His creation.
Von Miller: MVP #58
Von Miller, voted the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl, played an incredible game -- hitting, sacking, and stripping the ball from the Panthers' QB. I was drawn to his jersey number 58, which took me to Isaiah 58. I believe it's a Most Valuable Passage of scripture for us at this time. This chapter is an indictment of a zealous and religious Israel, fasting and praying for what THEY have determined are the priorities. God said, “They act so pious!...They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me…'We have fasted before you!', they say!" The Lord then goes on to describe the kind of fast He desires.
“No, this is the kind of fasting that I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people... Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. You will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes." (NLT)
God is breaking in with His thundering white herd and He is decimating the enemy using those who understand and uphold His present priorities. As He communicates in Isaiah 58, the priorities He lists are about those in literal prisons, as well as “lightening the burden of those working for us” -- the poor and needy who are imprisoned in poverty and lack, devastated and imprisoned in their inner city realities.
Peyton Manning: 39 Year-Old #18
Peyton means royal, noble, or regal. Manning means to fortify one's courage or spirits. Payton's age reminds us that our King took 39 stripes for us so that we might be healed. We are lead into victory by our Royal King (remember as well that the Royals won the World Series) who is presently fortifying our courage and fortifying our spirits. We have been decimated and devastated by fear, anxiety, and disease, but in 2016 we turn all that around!
Peyton's jersey number 18 is important to note because it's associated with 1 Kings 18. This is the chapter where Elijah takes on the prophets of Baal. When fire came down on the altar the people cried out, “The Lord He is God! The Lord He is God!” Baal was an oversized principality that had Israel under almost total control, but in an instant his deception was broken off the people. Baal and Jezebel have been the demonic black panthers over America, but they'll both soon be trampled by the powerful force and unity of the white horses. We're in the midst of a tremendous spiritual confrontation, but the "prophets of Baal" are about to be on the run.
Levi Stadium in Santa Clara
I believe it's significant that this game was played before the whole world in Levi Stadium. Levi is the priestly tribe from the Old Testament that was set aside for the work of the ministry. Revelation 5:10 tells us that through the cross we have been made “a kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” Every one of us is now called to be like the tribe of Levi, set aside for our unique ministry in every area of culture. What God is doing now is meant to be played out on earths' biggest stages. This is why we must understand this next wave of God's power, presence, and love that seems to have already begun to crash on us. We can refer to it as revival, but I believe it will actually be more pervasive in the streets, in the boardrooms, and anywhere public, than in churches. This next wave is about the reformation of society itself. The word Santa means holy and the word Clara means clear. In other words, God wants to give us holy clarity regarding what He's doing and what it's all about. We are all His ministers and what He's doing is about to go public! He's given us a seven mountain mandate, the context in which we are to receive His solutions and better ways of doing everything, that the world may know His kindness and love.
Final Score: 24 - 10
This prophetic score wonderfully connects us to Psalm 24:10, which says, “Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies -- He is the King of Glory.” This is the end verse of a chapter that begins with, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.” We sometimes get so caught up in "us vs. them" thinking that we forget He's not only pursuing each individual heart, but He's also pursuing the collective heart of the world. Psalm 24 is also the chapter with the prophetic command for the ancient doors and gates to open up! It's interesting to me that the Golden Gate Bridge is exactly 50 miles from Levi Stadium (on the 101) and is seen by many as a major gate of spiritual entry into our nation. This verse challenges us to recognize that the God of glory many of us are crying out for has shown up with heaven’s armies (the white horses) to break the occultic stranglehold of the enemy over the United States.
The 50th Super Bowl
If you've read any of my previous prophetic words for the year, you'll know that we're in a Year of Jubilee as it relates to the Hebrew calendar. This is a phenomenon that occurs only once every 50 years. It's a year of joy and celebration because all debts are erased and lost inheritances are regained. So then, we must embrace by faith the clarity of the heavenly message to us as the number 50 is highlighted yet again.
A Rainbow Halftime Show
This could be where I lose some of you, but that would be unfortunate because this part is the most important. In an exciting and entertaining display of creative flow and rainbow colors, tolerance and love were clearly championed. I wholeheartedly believe that God was speakingthrough even in that. It wasn’t what I would refer to as 100% anointed or pure (rarely is that the case even in our churches). It seemed to me to be a cry from all of His sons and daughters (even those who don't yet know they are His) for who He is and what He brings. It all ended in a huge colorful declaration, “Believe in Love!” Since God IS love, all we have to do is help others make the connection to the One who is love Himself.
This absolutely cannot happen when we're “pointing fingers” and “spreading vicious rumors” (Isaiah 58) about our most despised political figures. The world is sincerely looking for REAL LOVE and we have to stop mocking their search and trust the Holy Spirit to land their hearts in the place of freedom and acceptance that can then lead to truth. Our God is a God of grace, tolerance, forgiveness, unity, peace, and love. That must trump our description of Him as the One who simply hates sin. He is the former more than He is the latter. John 3:16 begins with “For God so loved the world…” When we begin with a steady stream of “For God so hates the world...” we sound a whole lot more like the Sharia Law elements that many are so afraid of.
The god of Sharia Law is known for his hate. He is pro-marriage, anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-pornography, pro-family, anti-theft, yet he has never been identified as Friend of Sinners.
It was Jesus who chased away the religious ones who were convinced that a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery should be held to the standard of God's word and stoned. I'm afraid we have a very strong contingent of Sharia Law equivalent Christians and I want to challenge you not to be one! Don’t be offended by the rainbow being used to promote tolerance that goes beyond what we know to be sacred. God isn't panicked and He is much more kind and patient with His process with humanity than we have realized. How much more so should we be if we are to represent Him? What are we so afraid of? I believe God is using His rainbow to pull them into Himself. Scripture tells us that there's a full circle rainbow around His throne. Everywhere that it is seen, it's declaring Him in our midst and the promise of His heart that is forever towards us. I believe we are all wired to want the real Him and if we can at least get our religion and its conditional love out of the way, many will find Him. What could happen if we concentrated on being radical lovers and left convicting of sin to the Holy Spirit? Jesus did say this was THE great command -- love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor/fellow citizen as yourself. Could it really be that simple? I think so.
For more about this theme and rainbows, see our book, Rainbow God: The Seven Colors of Love