There are many scriptures that use arrows as a metaphor. To understand we have to consider the powerful role arrows played in battle before the invention of gunpowder. Britannica.com says, “Incredibly powerful, these were the most formidable missile weapons of mounted combat until the revolving pistol.” Archers were often a game changer in warfare. They were death from the sky from an enemy you probably didn’t even see. Consider the Battle of Crecy, French versus English, where an English force of 20,000 with English Long Bowmen decimated a French force of 60,000.
It is no wonder that arrows are metaphor for concealed death, as David said, “Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword, they aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; Suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear” (Psalm 64:3).
But what’s better than an arrow?
“Flaming” arrows probably saw limited use in by bowmen due to reductions in accuracy and effectiveness in actually lighting things on fire (Gizomodo). However they would been used at closer ranges especially against wooden structures (Wikipedia). Mechanically driven crossbows substantially increased accuracy and range. Flaming crossbolts up to 2.2 meters long were reported in the 14th century and the “ox-bow” machine used by the Mongols had a range of 2500 paces (Wikipedia).
Flaming arrows are famously used in Ephesians in a negative context referring to the flaming arrows or darts of the enemy. However there are numerous references to God releasing flaming arrows and often used as a direct representation of lightning.
Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Send out Your arrows and confuse them (Psalm 144:6).
But God will shoot at them with an arrow; Suddenly they will be wounded. So they will make him stumble; Their own tongue is against them; All who see them will shake the head (Psalm 64:7).
The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there. The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. (Psalm 77:17-18).
One particularly famous portion of scripture is David’s lament over his enemies in 2 Samuel 22 with the famous passage in verse 5, “For the waves of death encompassed me; The torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.” We believe this was Stephanie’s motivation to chose the name Flaming Arrow, a passage that vividly demonstrates the fury of the LORD YHWH as He rushes to defend his children.
From the brightness before Him Coals of fire were kindled. The LORD thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice. And He sent out arrows, and scattered them, lightning, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea appeared, The foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of the LORD, At the blast of the breath of His nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support. He also brought me forth into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (2 Samuel 13-20).
One other famous passage with a similar theme of restoration comes from Zechariah:
As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you. For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim and I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece; And I will make you like a warrior's sword. Then the LORD will appear over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning; And the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And will march in the storm winds of the south. The LORD of hosts will defend them And they will devour and trample on the sling stones; And they will drink and be boisterous as with wine; And they will be filled like a sacrificial basin, Drenched like the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God will save them in that day As the flock of His people; For they are as the stones of a crown, Sparkling in His land. For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins. (Zechariah 9:11-17).
Passionate Defense and Restoration
It is from this position of passionate defense and restoration that we use the name Flaming Arrow. In Samuel and Zechariah we see the emotional response the Father rushing to save his children. We see mothers leaping at the sound of their child’s terrified cry. We’ve all heard that cry, when a child is really hurt, and it evokes a passionate response in all of us. It is no wonder then that a flaming arrow / lightning response is representative of the Father’s response manifested as the Messiah himself.
For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:7)
The lightning of parental response is powerful but not a danger the children. It is an overwhelming love response. It screams, “I will do anything to protect my children.” Lightning is immediate and illuminating and as such speaks to revelation brought by the light of Christ in John 1.
And who is Christ? He is none other than the Savior who lays down his life for his friends and family. He is the Salvation of YHWH. And He is so much more. In the context of rescue He is the Christ who reconciles and unifies flesh and spirit. By his sacrifice flesh is made perfectly holy and able enter complete union with the Spirit. Christ reconciles matter and spirit across the universe. Jesus reconciles our flesh and spirit here on earth. He returns us to the Father’s side.
We are holy and perfectly accepted based on nothing we have done. What a miracle! We no longer have to fear failure. We are free to explore, expand, bless, and heal others. If a mistake is made, there is no fear!
Lightning flashes and we are perfect once again. Love strikes and we are transformed.