What does Fly From Heaven mean?

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Toad the Wet Sprocket: Fly From Heaven Meaning

Song Released: 1995

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Fly From Heaven Lyrics

Paul is making me nervous
Paul is making me scared
Walk into this room and swaggers
Like he's God's own messenger

Changed the name of my brother
Changed the things that he said
Says that he speaks to him
But he never even knew the man
But I'd...

  1. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd report

    I don't think the I'd give my life for him refers to Paul the way a previous commenter suggests. I think he was contrasting how Paul never met him (Jesus) but James would give his life for him (Jesus).

    But he never even knew the man
    But I'd give my life for him

  2. anonymous
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    Jul 23rd 2020 report

    Glen Phillips was raised Jewish, and this song appears to me written from the point of a Jew who is curious about Christianity, and finds antijudaism there. The personal dynamic between James and Paul is well covered in the above. A couple of points:

    1. Much of the song is about the fundamental tension between the Jewish conception of the Messiah, a figure who puts *wordly* wrongs to rights, and the Christian notion, a figure who sets *spiritual* wrongs to rights. The song uses James's voice, and is therefore writing from the Jewish point of view. If Jesus were the Messiah as Paul says, which James understands Jewishly, he would "fly from heaven" to set the world to rights.

    2. The song touches upon on the responsibility of Jesus's death, and Paul/Saul's complicity in constructing a new narrative:

    "They took my brother /They ripped him from me /To twist his words as they did his body /
    Denied his family)"

    The "they" here is the Romans, and James is indicating that Paul/Saul has forsaken his people in favor of a Roman/Gentile-Christian message, and co-opting Jesus's teachings.

    In short, the song is as much if not more about antijudaism than it is about Christianity.

  3. anonymous
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    May 11th 2020 report

    I found a lot of credibility in the first explanation. The thing is you have to imagine being a younger brother. If someone told you your older brother was God, how would you react? You grew up with them, you’ve seen him. You’ve lived in His shadow. Suddenly your brother is someone speaking the truth of God. But as a brother, can you really believe he is God?
    When he says I’d give my life for him, my assumption is he’s talking about his brother Yeshua. Not Paul. He really had a problem with Paul.
    We know from scripture that Paul had differences with a lot of the apostles, Particularly Peter. But he sometimes seemed to understand Jesus better than the 12 that had been with Him.
    He corrected Peter about how Peter was dealing with Gentiles, because he feared how the Jews would react. I’m sure James was part of this group that was trying hard to hold onto Jewish traditions. Paul was knocking down that wall, and as a Jew that had persecuted the early church, who better to do this?!
    This is the beautiful story of redemption in Paul’s life. Jesus used someone that was completely against Him, turned him into a follower, an apostle.
    This would have truly bothered James and the other apostles, Paul or Saul, had just been killing them. This point of grace is the true essence of the Gospel of Jesus. Anyone can be a part of Gods family.
    The church needed Paul, Jesus knew this.
    It took a lot for the other apostles to accept this.

  4. RStevens
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    Sep 18th 2019 report

    Saul of Tarsus met Jesus.
    Acts Chapter 9.
    verse 15..Jesus said, "..for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."
    Acts chapter 13:9 - Saul who was also known as Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit.

  5. anonymous
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    Nov 8th 2018 report

    This song has stuck with me for a long time. It's written from the perspective of Jesus' younger brother, James. James was also one of the original 12 disciples. Imagine growing up in the shadow of an older brother you could never hope to better.

    This song is about the history of the early Christian church in the period immediately following Jesus' Resurrection (Book of Acts if you are a bible sort). This song occurred within the lifetime of people personally met Jesus. A fellowship of people who used to follow Jewish traditions is now adopting Christian beliefs and rituals, leading to the outgrowth of the Catholic church(es).

    >>Changed the name of my brother
    >Changed the things that he said

    This refers to the fundamental changes in the early church which became increasingly based on Paul's teachings as he began to build churches. Paul was not one of the original 12 disciples; he was formerly known as Saul, and used to persecute Christians until he converted. He 'took' Judas' 'place' as a disciple of Jesus, but as James points out

    >Says that he speaks to him
    >But he never even knew the man

    Paul/Saul never even met Jesus - he used to persecute Christians, and how he basically speaks for Jesus "Like he's God's own messenger".

    This song expresses anxiety and doubt, but turns on the line

    >But i'd give my life for him

    This is James reassuring that despite his doubts and anxiety with how the church is changing, and in some ways, being distorted, it is serving a greater good, and James will stand with Paul.

    It's held up well in 2018; imo it portrays biblical figures as real people, and is a treat for someone who looks at Christian beliefs criticially.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 27th 2013 report

    before understanding the song we need few information especially those who are not versed in bible/Christianity.
    firstly jesus had a brother named james, and paul is someone who never met jesus in person, but had a silver tongue and after jesus died, with his popularity growing, for whoever paul worked for (the romans)started twisting and turning the teaching of jesus and instead made him an icon/idol and acted as if he was closest to jesus

    Now for this amazing song explains a brothers loss and his dead brothers ideology being destroyed and all that he stood for by a man
    james is the one talking

    Paul is making me nervous, Paul is making me scared. Walk into this room he swaggers like he's God's own messenger. Changed the name of my brother (Jesus Christ was known to his followers, the real Apostles as Yeshua). Changed the things that he said (Paul distorting His words).

    james dosent care if his brother was a god or son of god or whatever, all that he belived was in the teaching of his brother and his brother died for people hwo scronned him and he keeps asking

    But if he's all you say
    Would he fly from heaven

    To this world again
    To this world again

    if he is all that they r claming him to be will jesus come back , that way james will get his brother back at the least

    guys my interpretation may be wrong ...one of the best song i have ever heard even soo much high standard is maintained even in 2013 i wish any musician can come even close

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 5th 2011 report

    It's about the stuggle between the apostle Paul, and James (the brother of Christ). That's how I interpret it anyway.

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