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Mount St. Helens

Joel 2:

30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

The eruption

The eruption of Mt. St. Helens was an extraordinary event in the history of the world. This mountain erupted on May 18th, 1980 - very close to Pentecost Day - and there was seen in the ash cloud the face of a man. I believe this man was Elijah the prophet.

The face in the cloud of Mt. St. Helens

If this is Elijah, why is he here? I believe we'll find the answer to that question in Malachi 4 where our heavenly Father told us that Elijah would come:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

I believe this also means that God would send someone in the spirit of Elijah - even an Elijah ministry - just as God sennt John the Baptist, as we learn in Luke chapter 1:

13 But the angel said unto him, "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. 16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Elias is the Greek form of Elijah, and John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah (Matthew 17:10-13). I believe the eruption of Mt. St. Helens was a sign from Almighty God showing us that the spirit of Elijah is present with us even now.

With this in mind let's revisit the prophet Joel with whom we began this study, and take a look at one more verse in chapter 2, because I believe he prophesied of this eruption:

1 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;

Mountains are symbolic of nations (e.g. Jeremiah 51:24-26; Zechariah 4:7; Malachi 1:1-3; and Matthew 21:21), so let's apply this fact to Mt. St. Helens. This is what she looked like before the eruption:

Mt. St. Helens before the eruption

She was a beautiful nation, figuratively speaking. She used to be 9677 feet high, surrounded by pristine wilderness, and enjoyed by many for camping, fishing, and hiking. On her east-southeast side is located the Plains of Abraham which makes me think of Abraham's family including Isaac, Esau, and Jacob who was named Israel.

Beautiful snow-capped peak

Keep in mind however that Mt. St. Helens was an active volcano before 1980, and she was covered in evidence of this fact such as lava flows. One example was on the north flank, an area called the Goat Rocks lava dome (a photograph is available at the USGS Volcano Hazards Program), and another was called the Dog's Head. The Goat Rocks reminded me of the goats in Matthew 25 where Jesus said:

31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

When Mt. St. Helens erupted, the Goat Rocks were destroyed, as was the Dog's Head. Dogs are symbolic of unbelieving gentiles (e.g. Matthew 15:21-28), and a dog's head is the lowest of the low (e.g. 2nd Samuel 3:8).

When Mt. St. Helens erupted, what appeared to be a paradise was turned into a wasteland. After the eruption the mountain was only 8364 feet high, so it lost 1313 feet of its height (according to NASA's Earthobservatory). Thirteen is the number of rebellion (Genesis 14:4). Directly in the path of the blast was Spirit Lake. It's congested with fallen timber in this photograph:

Spirit Lake and Mt. St. Helens

The following satellite image illustrates the devastation from above:

Mt. St. Helens after the eruption
[Courtesy NASA]

Spirit Lake became clogged with volcanic ash, rocks, and rafts of trees, and it became a dead lake. Its name is very interesting because we all have a spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7), and I think we should be looking at this mountain from a spiritual perspective rather than a carnal one. Only then can we learn from it what our Father would have us know. Otherwise, it's just another volcano. With this in mind let's go to 1st Corinthians 2:

9 But as it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If we think spiritually, we'll learn a lot from Mt. St. Helens including the fact that the name Helens in Greek means 'light' (compare Strong's Concordance #2246).

When Mt. St. Helens erupted she devastated approximately 230 square miles. Most of the blast was directed towards the north (the side of the Goat Rocks), and it left a crater about 1.2 miles wide, 2.4 miles long, and 2000 feet deep. It killed large numbers of wildlife including an estimated 11 million fish, 27,000 grouse, over 18,000 mammals, and 57 people.

There were numerous warnings of impending doom. There was ample time to vacate the area. "The May 18 eruption was preceded by 8 weeks of intense earthquake activity, hundreds of steam-driven explosions from a new summit crater, and an ominous bulge that grew on the volcano's north flank. By May 17, a large area surrounding the Goat Rocks lava dome had been pushed outward by more than 100 m!" (from the USGS Volcano Hazards Program)

So day after day the warning signs occurred more and more frequently. They began as early as March 20th at 3:48PM when there was an earthquake measuring 4.2, the largest quake ever recorded at Mt. St. Helens. March 20th is also the spring equinox, and the first day of the year on the solar calendar. The volcano then erupted on the 60th day of the year following 59 days of earthquakes, explosions and other activity - that's plenty of warning!

Since a mountain represents a nation, then a volcano is a nation with huge problems. The face in the cloud of Mt. St. Helens is not a happy face. I think it's a warning sign that the end of this age is near. Besides Elijah's face there are other faces in the cloud as well. I hope they motivate people to study the word of God, and to show themselves approved unto God (2nd Timothy 2:15), and to find out why God caused this mountain to explode:

Another face in the cloudFace #3
Face #4Face #5

Note the location of the mouths in the first three photos. They all converge at Elijah's mouth, emphasizing the miracle of Pentecost when they all spoke with one accord those cloven tongues that the Holy Spirit gave them on that day (Acts 2:1-8).

I have personally seen this same face of Elijah in a cloud that changed from a large, puffy cumulus cloud to the right side of this man's face, beard and all - in a fraction of a second! It was quite astonishing. It was in June of 1992 in NW Arkansas. And I've heard the testimony of one other person who has seen it.

The message of Mt. St. Helens is not all doom and gloom because the mountain is rejuvenating in spite of all the devastation. Once again there are fish in Spirit Lake, large and small mammals have recolonized the area, as have insects and birds, and numerous plant species are now growing in areas that were completely decimated by the volcano. Details about all aspects of the mountain can be found at the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

I hope this study was a blessing to you. Let's close with Acts chapter 2:

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, 'I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

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