Animal Gospel

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. ~Isaiah 11:9

Covenant Foundations

Hosea 2:18 - Part 2
By: Martin Cisneros

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

18 I said in my heart concerning the matter of the sons of man that God might cleanse them, so as to see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For an event is to the sons of man, and an event is to the beasts, even one event is to them; as the death of this, so is the death of that; and one spirit is to all, and the advantage of man above the beast is nothing, for the whole is vanity.

20 The whole are going unto one place, the whole have been from the dust, and the whole are turning back unto the dust.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of the sons of man that is going up on high, and the spirit of the beast that is going down below to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 YLT)

18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 KJV)

If mankind has no preeminence over an animal, then what does that do with Scriptures that we've always traditionally taken to ONLY refer to humans when God was OBVIOUSLY using the animal kingdom to illustrate something? If man has no preeminence over an animal, and animals are used to illustrate a precious spiritual truth in all of the wonderful redemptive passages everyone loves to cite, then the same truth must be seen literally as well as in it's figure, if man indeed has no preeminence over animals. Let me illustrate my point:

The gospel of John says in the 10th chapter:

1 'Verily, verily, I say to you, He who is not entering through the door to the fold of the sheep, but is going up from another side, that one is a thief and a robber;

2 and he who is entering through the door is shepherd of the sheep;

3 to this one the doorkeeper doth open, and the sheep hear his voice, and his own sheep he doth call by name, and doth lead them forth;

4 and when his own sheep he may put forth, before them he goeth on, and the sheep follow him, because they have known his voice;

5 and a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they have not known the voice of strangers.'

6 This similitude spake Jesus to them, and they knew not what the things were that he was speaking to them;

7 Jesus said therefore again to them, 'Verily, verily, I say to you--I am the door of the sheep;

8 all, as many as came before me, are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them;

9 I am the door, through me if any one may come in, he shall be saved, and he shall come in, and go out, and find pasture.

10 'The thief doth not come, except that he may steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

11 'I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd his life layeth down for the sheep;

12 and the hireling, and not being a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, doth behold the wolf coming, and doth leave the sheep, and doth flee; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep;

13 and the hireling doth flee because he is an hireling, and is not caring for the sheep.

14 'I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known by mine,

15 according as the Father doth know me, and I know the Father, and my life I lay down for the sheep,

16 and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock--one shepherd.

17 'Because of this doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that again I may take it;

18 no one doth take it from me, but I lay it down of myself; authority I have to lay it down, and authority I have again to take it; this command I received from my Father.'

Now, here we have the Lord as a loving Shepherd. Christians have gotten so caught up with Jesus as a Shepherd, that you would be glared at if you were to begin to insinuate that there was reason to believe that He was not a Shepherd, and rightfully so. But, it's sheep that need a Shepherd and not people. Jesus was illustrating a truth as well as calling attention to Bible prophecy when He was talking to the religious crowd He was speaking with on that day. Turning to the Old Testament for a minute we read:

10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him?

14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? (Isaiah 40:10-14 K.J.V.)

Now, in John chapter 10, verse 16, Jesus said:

and other sheep I have that are not of this fold, these also it behoveth me to bring, and my voice they will hear, and there shall become one flock--one shepherd.

Now taken traditionally, this refers to Gentiles who were to be brought into the Abrahamic Covenant of which Jesus Christ was the hope of, but taken for the illustration that it is, he was talking about Isaiah 11:6-9 when God would make peace between the different animal species and nothing would hurt nor destroy in all His Holy Kingdom.

In Isaiah 40 we have confirmation of this when it says:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

His gentleness will be known with those who are pregnant and nursing, both of those who are human and animal. He is the Good Shepherd.

In talking about imitating Christ (John 8:12-31; Ephesians 5:1), why is it that people want to know Him in the flesh rather than after the Spirit(2Corinthians 5:16)? People who want to talk about a carnivorous Christ as if the fishy passages in the 4 gospels were to be taken literally, instead of with the Eastern mind that they were written with, in justification of their own carnivorous ways, are people who are hell bent on never knowing Christ after the Spirit!

Hosea 2:16-20, from Young's Literal Translation says:

16 And it hath come to pass, in that day, An affirmation of Jehovah, Thou dost call Me--My husband, And dost not call Me any more--My lord.

17 And I have turned aside the names of the lords from her mouth, And they are not remembered any more by their name.

18 And I have made to them a covenant in that day, with the beast of the field, And with the fowl of the heavens, And the creeping thing of the ground, And bow, and sword, and war I break from off the land, And have caused them to lie down confidently.

19 And I have betrothed thee to Me to the age, And betrothed thee to Me in righteousness, And in judgment, and kindness, and mercies,

20 And betrothed thee to Me in faithfulness, And thou hast known Jehovah.

According to this passage, the same age in which the Church is betrothed to Christ, prior to the consummation of the wedding, (whether one takes that as at some form of rapture of the saints, or at the second coming,) the Church is to enter into a Covenant of peace with animals in which hunting is abolished from among us and in which animals are held in Covenantal esteem as heirs of the grace of life.

This Covenant necessitates a stand of Veganism. How can we be at peace if you were continually eating my children or spoiling them of their bodily fluids for your profit, pleasure, convenience, or in the name of your "liberty"? If the death penalty was mandated for animals who killed a man in the Old Testament, then these animals are more intelligent than 21st century Western-minded Christians give them credit for. Our inescapable, never failing, love in Christ DEMANDS veganism, if this Covenant is to come to the point where this age can close.

A lot of people have tried to make arguments for never adopting an animal and bringing it into one's home. But, there is too many issues at variance with that position. Animals have been bred in captivity for centuries until we've created "domesticated" breeds which require human care and understanding if they're going to survive as a distinctive blood line.

Also, the growth of human civilization has made captivity to humane living conditions the only reasonable alternative in some environments. The biggest problem facing animals apart from being exploited for entertainment, pleasure, profit, and convenience is that their inherent individuality has not yet been recognized. Selling an animal is as humane, logical, and moral as selling a human child.

Animals have distinct emotional needs, have personalities, have distinctive individuality, and are capable of bonding with human beings like a human infant with a man. They're capable of intellectual growth over time, can use tools, frequently bury their dead, mourn the death of a loved one, they get lonely, feel pain, pleasure, and selfishness. They're also on record as having saved each others lives, both that of their own kind as well as other species including man.

To regard animals as individuals worthy of appreciation, dignity, and respect is not to deny the image of God within humanity but is to recognize the compassion of God for all of creation. It is also to grant that God has made these animals our "roommates" in the cosmos. At the end of the day, human superiority still wins out even in a compassionate context, but needless suffering isn't forced upon others who have very definite central nervous systems, and complex mental and social structures with each other.

Making animals into performing artists through coercion when an animals has shown no natural aptitude towards doing certain tasks or playing certain games is as barbaric and degrading as child prostitution. It is an attempt to bend the will of an individual to the human will and to exploit them for sensual entertainment purposes for pleasure, profit, and convenience. It is morally reprehensible and is neither humane nor does it in any way appeal to the most godlike aspects of the human spirit. It is not becoming of the image of God to harm others emotionally whether they are human or animal.

History and experience are both replete with example after example of animals who have fought such captivity to no avail; animals who have struggled for their freedom, sometimes giving their lives in defiance of their captors. Personal freedom is as precious to an animal as it is to any human who's ever walked the face of the earth.

Isaiah chapters 11, 63, 65, Hosea chapter 2, and Romans chapter 8 all make it clear and witness to us that animals are as destined to know the liberation of their spirit from captivity and servitude to mankind as the African American was destined to know the overthrow of the yoke of bondage to their white counterparts in this country.

In Hosea 2,(which I will explain more thoroughly as we progress,) we read:

And I have made to them a covenant in that day, with the beast of the field, And with the fowl of the heavens, And the creeping thing of the ground, And bow, and sword, and war I break from off the land, And have caused them to lie down confidently. (Hosea 2:18 YLT)

Since God is making a covenant between us and the animals, it only follows that God must exercise His Word in their behalf just like He's exercised and is exercising it in our behalf. Since God is the One making this New Covenant between man and animal, it only follows that the same Spirit baptism that is ours is to flow over to them, not by virtue of proximity, necessarily, but in virtue of the fact that God cannot do any less for them without straining His covenant with us because of our Oneness with Him in the Blood of Jesus. And here we have God making the animals one with us by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ during the betrothal of man and God according to a proper rendering of Hosea 2:16-20 and in context with the entirety of the first three chapters of Hosea and the 8th and 9th chapters of Romans. So, then, if the animals are one with us in the Blood of Jesus, as in fact they are, because God is drawing all things to Himself in Christ according to Ephesians 1:10 and is making peace by the blood of His cross according to Colossians 1:20, then the Spirit poured upon their flesh is something we are to anticipate.

Isaiah 63:14 says that God will 'cause the beasts to rest in the same way that He leads His people. So, here we have it, in Isaiah, a testimony to the outpoured Spirit upon the animals.

The Spirit poured upon our flesh met our deepest and greatest needs. The Spirit poured upon their flesh will meet the greatest needs of the animals too. And here is where you will get really weird and try to accuse me of weirdness if you transpose the one to the other and try to say that the Spirit poured upon the animals necessitates the Spirit meeting needs in their lives that are unique to human beings!

Animals have need of peace and of being understood that are far greater than their need to understand and live a mystical life, although granted, some animals try to understand things more than other animals. And like with us, God will meet them where they are at with the Spirit of grace and supplication.

Animals have obviously prayed for the provision of their needs according to the other passages of Scripture that I have already cited, and this article is inseparably connected with the other ones I've written along these lines for those references and for my brief commentary on each of them.

Animals will speak, as in the Old Testament case of Balaam's donkey, only as the Spirit wills and as human beings have a heart to hear them! So, I'm not talking about the gift of other tongues in speaking of the Spirit being poured out upon animals. However, the Holy Spirit working in fullness in the lives of human beings who are experiencing the redemptive Blood and Power of Jesus Christ will begin to extend mercy to animals and walk with sober judgment where their choices are concerned that effect these animals in our world. In these days, the more that we speak by the Spirit, the more love for all of the works of God's hands will multiply and abound in nurturing ways towards all life on the earth. Our Love won't just be in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth!

Christ died for the animals too and that is a fact of history and of divinity that far too many of us have ignored. We must love and protect them because Christ first loved them and gave Himself for them, a ransom from the curses and the futility of the past.

The time has come to stop making these animals political prisoners, or worse yet --religious prisoners to our lusts, and to allow them to have rest from all of their enemies in the human family. Stop making love towards animals an escatological event! I beg you! The time is NOW!

It should be obvious to all, that the same devil that's been trying to destroy each of us has been active in trying to destroy them because God loves them.

Yes, those who were not beloved, He has called beloved, and of those of whom it was said that they were not His people, He has called them "Children of the Living God". And before you write me any dirty emails or letters, make sure you at least read this whole article! The proverbial "damnable heresies" haven't even started yet!

As we enter into a new century and even into a new millenium and we await the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ Who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing, it is becoming increasingly important, moment by moment, that we know that we are doing everything that the Lord would have us to do. Salvation is a product of the finished work of the cross and there's no mistaking that, but at the same time, Mark 16:15-20 and other passages do say that the Lord has asked us to do certain things to "hasten that Day" as St. Peter said in one of his epistles later in the New Testament. A really important question for us to consider today is whether we are really carrying out our Lord's Great Commission. Are we really proclaiming the Good News to "every creature" as Mark chapter 16 says for us to? Every creature would certainly include the animals. And yet, what seems to be the attitude of most Christians towards the animal kingdom?

Sadly, the attitude of most Christians towards the animal kingdom(s) is one of apathy and in some cases coldness. Some are quick to point to their favorite 1Timothy 4 passage to tell us that they are delivered from what they would consider to be "pagan-considerations" for the world around them. And yet, is this a true Biblical estimate of what the character of Christ is towards the animal kingdoms and in turn what our attitudes are to be? Let's take a look at 1Timothy 4 as we begin taking a look at what I've chosen to call "God's New Covenant between Man and Animal". First of all, in 1Timothy 4 we read:

Now, the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving, of them which believe and know the truth.

The Greek word for "meat" is "broma", which just simply means "food" or "foods". This passage is more than likely refering to a few of the overly zealous and extreme Gnostic-type sects, but by no means did that reflect the views of all Gnostics. For many of the Gnostics were followers of Christ in the truest sense and have given us such beautiful works as the Gospel of Thomas.

The groups that the author of 1Timothy had in mind were probably similar to the groups of that time that history tells us would not even drink wine or juice with communion because it would "arouse fleshly passion", in their view.

This passage has no baring on a correct Biblical interpretation of God's attitude towards animals, nor does it exempt them from the provisions of God because Colossians 1:15-20 says that God is drawing all things to Himself in Christ. This would have to include the animals, but I'm getting way ahead of myself here. Let's look at Hosea 2:18.

Consider with me a few different translations of Hosea 2:18 as we continue our study in God's New Covenant between Himself, man, and animal.

And I have made to them a covenant in that day, with the beast of the field, And with the fowl of the heavens, And the creeping thing of the ground, And bow, and sword, and war I break from off the land, And have caused them to lie down confidently. (Hosea 2:18 YLT)

And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. (Hosea 2:18 KJV)

And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely. (Hosea 2:18 ASV)

And I will make a covenant for them in that day with the beasts of the field, and with the fowl of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will break bow and sword and battle out of the land; and I will make them to lie down safely. (Hosea 2:18 DBY)

I have quoted 4 of the leading translations on Hosea 2:18 because this is such a neglected truth that I wanted it to be clearly shown at the start that I'm not reading anything into this verse from a pet-translation, but that it is a clear statement of God's Holy Word that man and animal are to walk in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ together. A careful examination of St. Paul's writings, especially his epistle to the Romans and a careful examination of the first 3 chapters of this book of Hosea will clearly demonstrate that this is a New Covenant passage, and is, therefore, referring to a covenant that is to be in the Blood of our precious Redeemer. Hosea 2:18 is between the two references of Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23, which clearly establishes context. Hosea 2:18 is most definitely a New Covenant passage. Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 are clearly referred to by St. Paul in Romans 9:25. It would be an act of supreme theological irresponsibility for a scholar to try to dispute Hosea 2:18 as not being a New Covenant passage. St. Paul clearly shows those first couple of chapters to be references to the New Covenant, whether we understand the total message of those first few chapters of Hosea or not in all of it's types, shadows, and other esoteric meanings. Hosea chapter 3 even closes with the statement that "They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days", according to verse 5!

The fear of the Lord is the "beginning" of wisdom, according to Proverbs 1:7. So, this is not a reference in the 3rd chapter to the consummation of time, because this is the "beginning of wisdom" in the "latter days". If the 3rd chapter isn't a reference to the consummation of time, then there's no just reason for trying to put Hosea 2:18 into the incredibly distant future. Furthermore, Young's Literal Translation begins this Hosea 2:18 passage with the statement, "And I have made to them a covenant in that day" indicating that just as we were blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ before the beginnings of the ages according to Ephesians chapter one, that this Covenant, though established and establishing in our day, is "from everlasting"; from before the beginning of time.

At the time then present, God was in the midst of one of His judgments of Israel when this prophecy was spoken through Hosea the prophet, but this Hosea passage is not to be confused as talking about man being in covenant with animals in the sense of the animals baring the same judgment that's spoken of in Hosea 4:3, where doom was spoken upon both man and beast in that age, in relation to that manifestation of Israel then present, but long since vanished. Covenants are always about blessings and not inherently about curses. God was not saying that we were in covenant together in these latter days, or in the days then present just so that His vengeance could pour out on both man and animal. Remember how St. Paul was using the first 2 chapters of Hosea in Romans chapters 8 and 9 in refering to man and animal walking together, totally purified, out of the judgments of God?

Hosea 2:18 is the remittance of the fear of man that came upon animals and the fear of animals that came upon man at the close of the receding of the waters of Noah's flood in Genesis chapter 9.

Covenants were always understood by the ancients to be an exchange of weaknesses for strengths, and that in taking on the weaknesses of another that you were forfeiting strengths in the legal sense in that now this person you were in Covenant with was now your Blood Brother. and your strength is their's(and vice versa). Covenants were never about creating subordinates(wars were the means of producing subordinates and never covenants). But Covenants were the direct means of acknowledging, creating, and validating equality. The word for covenant there is "berith" in the Hebrew, so there's no question that it is a covenant. The fact that there is now a Covenant between man and animal in the blood of Jesus means that you can't dishonor an animal in their place as a brother without dishonoring the blood of Jesus. Failure to do all within one's power to stand up for the rights of animals is a direct desecration of the blood of Jesus.

All of these animals, since the fall, have been in an embryonic stage; in a fog, from which God intends to redeem them out of. These animals ARE destined to be our brothers and sisters, if I understand anything about Covenants and the fact that Hosea 2:18 says that man and animal are to be in Covenant together.

Seeing that St. Paul quoted from Hosea chapter 1, verse 10, and from Hosea chapter 2, verse 23 in Romans chapter 9, wouldn't it be a fair inference that St. Paul may have written Romans 8:19-23 based DIRECTLY off of Hosea 2:18, since Paul was already thinking about the book of Hosea in writing his epistle to the Romans? It is within the same few verses in Romans where we have a reference to the first 2 chapters of Hosea, where we see this passage in chapter 8, and it is within a few verses of Hosea 2:18 that Paul is quoting from in Romans, however you want to look at it! Hosea 2:18 is EXACTLY what Paul is referring to in Romans 8:19-23. There's no question about it! Again, the book of Romans would put the redemption of our bodies within the same timeframe that animals were experiencing a great deliverance at the unfolding manifestation of the Sons of God.

An important point about the fact that Covenants create both equality and unity; actual oneness, is that Hosea chapter 2 speaks of the Covenant BEFORE it speaks of the betrothal. So, when God's declaring His betrothal to us to the age(Heb: olam), then in order to honor our covenant with the animals, He's betrothing Himself to the animals too. As the chapter closes it says, that her who was not beloved will be called beloved. That's talking about the animals. Her who was not called My people shall be called, My people. This also is speaking of the animals. St. Paul used it regarding the Gentiles because the Gentiles were viewed as beasts; dogs; animals, and everything conceivably unclean and abominable by the religious Jews of first century Palestine. Paul was using it of the Gentiles because the Gentiles were being brought into the Covenant. But, this does not take away from the passage's primary meaning of refering to the animals. This is the gospel to EVERY creature spoken of in Mark 16:15, which most preachers have never heard of!

(One example of many out of the Old Testament where Gentiles are refered to as animals is the 22nd Psalm.)

Paul was using Hosea 2:23 regarding the Gentiles in Romans chapter 9. In Romans chapter 8, verses 19-23, Paul used Hosea 2:18 to refer to the Gentiles who were a part of the creation around the early Jewish Christian Church that they would also experience the redemption of their bodies as the Jews who were first stewards of the promises would too. But, this allegory on the part of St. Paul does not take away from the literal meaning of this passage for our day, that as God's making a Covenant between us and the animals, and abolishing hunting by the Power of His Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of His promise in Isaiah 63:14 to give the beasts of the earth rest by the Spirit, in the same way that God leads His people, that the time for these animals to know rest from their exploiters is NOW.

Jesus entered into Jerusalem, on Palm Sunday, with the colt in a foreshadowing of the Earthly Kingdom age when man and animal would walk into the inheritance of God TOGETHER; at the same time. Romans 8 says that our manifestation as Sons of God will be the release of these creatures from their futility into the glorious liberties of the Children of God...again, another testimony to our eventual equality. Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 testifies that man has no preeminence over animals. In Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 from the King James Bible we read:

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

That is quite a strong statement in light of the fact that the Bible from cover to cover says very plainly that man has utmost priority over angels, right?

Animal theology is an area of theology that has never yet been as fully developed among Christians as it should have been. This has been because of fears, prejudices, and the desire to continue exploiting animals for pleasure, profit, and convenience. But, animals are included in God's Covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:5-17. It is prophesied in Hosea 2:18 that God will affirm His New Covenant with animals.

Animals are shown crying out to God in Joel 1:20 because of judgment that has struck the land and their prayer, in a time of national judgment, is heard and answered according to the 22nd verse of the following chapter. Animals are frequently omens of judgment throughout scripture in such passages as Ezekiel chapter 5, verse 17 and in chapter 14 verses 15 and 21, and in numerous other passages throughout the Bible. Animals are included in baring judgment when a society is under judgment according to Joel 1:18 and Ezekiel 14:21, as well as numerous other passages. Daniel chapter 2:37-38 plainly shows them to be citizens of the world's great empires. Jonah chapter 3 verses 7 through 10 shows that by decree of the King of Nineveh that animals were included in the extended fasting from both food and water that Nineveh did and that as a result, the judgment of God was prevented from coming on Nineveh. The little emphasized point, in this account, is the part that animals also had in fasting so that judgment would be avoided. Romans chapter 8 says that just as we groan for the redemption of our bodies as members of the New Covenant that the animals also groan for the redemption of their bodies. Ecclesiastes chapter 3:19-21 says that animals are equal with humans. Otherwise, how could they have atoned for man, for a season (until Jesus came, who's blood is superior in TOTALLY redeeming animal, man, and angel) in the Old Testament blood sacrifices. The fact that Hosea 2:18 says that God will include animals in His New Covenant and Romans 8 says that they are sub-heirs of the grace of life too, and we see a picture of their peaceful lives in the prophesies of Isaiah concerning the Messianic kingdom in Isaiah chapter 11, ought to prove that they have a right to a peaceful life here without fear of harm from mankind, don't you think?

Another interesting point is the statement of Jesus about preaching the gospel to every creature in Mark 16:15. Well, in the light of other statements throughout scripture, there is a comfort that can be ministered to animals by gospel ministry and Catholic tradition is full of such accounts on the parts of saints in generations past. St. Anthony, St. Francis of Assisi, and others....and even St. Paul if you put any stock in the "Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles" with St. Paul having allegedly ministered to the Lion that later refused to eat him in the arena. This is possibly referenced in 2Timothy 4:17. Now, I want us to consider, briefly, whether or not the typical evangelical Christian's attitude towards animals is truly reflective of all of Church history. In the Appendix of a book called "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve" that's translated by S.G.J. Ouseley we find these early Church Father quotes:

St. John Chrysostom, in his homily on Matthew 22:1-14 tells us that "flesh meats and wine serve as materials for sensuality, and are a source of danger, sorrow, and disease".

St. Jerome said: "As to his argument that in God's Second Blessing permission was given to eat flesh - a permission not given in the first blessing - let him know that just as permission to put away a wife was, according to the words of the Savior, not given from the beginning, but was granted to the human race by Moses because of the hardness of our hearts, so also in like manner the eating of flesh was unknown until the Flood, but after the Flood, just as quails were given to the people when they murmured in the desert, so have sinews and the offensiveness of flesh been given to our teeth. The Apostle, writing to the Ephesians, teaches us that God had purposed that in the fulness of time he would restore all things, and would draw to their beginning, even to Christ Jesus, all things that are in heaven or that are on earth. Whence also, the Savior Himself, in the Apocalypse of John, says, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end". From the beginning of human nature, we neither fed upon flesh nor did we put away our wives, nor were our foreskins taken away from us for a sign. We kept on in this course until we arrived at the Flood. But after the Flood together wih the giving of the Law, which no man could fulfil, the eating of flesh was brought in; and the putting away of wives was conceded to hardness of heart; and the knife of circumcision is brought into use; as if the hand of God had created in us more than is necessary. But, now that Christ has come in the end of time, and has turned back Omega to Alpha, and drawn back the end to the beginning, neither is it permitted to us to put away our wives, nor are we circumcised, nor do we eat flesh; hence the Apostolic saying, "It is a good thing not to drink wine, and not to eat flesh." For wine also, together with flesh, began to be used after the Flood."

St. Basil said, "With sober living well-being increases in the household, animals are in safety, there is no shedding of blood, nor putting animals to death. The knife of the cook is needless; for the table is spread only with the fruits that Nature gives, and with them they are content. John the Baptist had neither bed, nor table, nor inheritance, nor ox, nor grain, nor baker, nor other things regarded as the necessaries of life; and yet it was to him that the Son of God gave the eulogy that he was the greatest of the children of men." -end quote

In "Animal Revolution: Changing Attitudes Towards Speciesism" by Richard Ryder the third chapter is called "The Christian Legacy: Medieval Attitudes". In this chapter a number of very remarkable incidents between a number of Catholic Saints and animals of different types are brought into the spotlight:

"In the Liturgy of St. Basil can be found this prayer:

The Earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof. O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals to whom thou has given the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life.

St. Jerome(373A.D - 420A.D.), like the Roman slave Androcles, is credited with taking a thorn from the paw of a lion who repaid him by becoming a vegetarian and serving the monastery until he joined St. Jerome in death. Some saints even anticipated the tactics of the modern Animal Liberation Front: St. Neot is credited with saving hares and stags from huntsmen, and the twelfth century Northumbrian, St. Godric of Finchdale, rescuing birds from snares. St. Aventine, who lived around 438A.D. in Gascony, rescued a stag from the hunters. St. Carileff(540A.D.) protected a bull that was being hunted by King Childebert, and both St. Hubert(646A.D. - 727A.D.) and the Roman general St. Eustace (died 118A.D.), saw visions of the crucifixion between the antlers of stags they were hunting; in the case of St. Hubert this led to his renunciation of the pleasures of the chase. St. Monacella(604A.D.) in Wales is said to have protected a hare from the hounds, as did St. Anselm(1033A.D. - 1109A.D.) and St. Isidore in Spain about a century later. In 1159A.D., a monk of Whitby, who was living in Eskdale, rescued a wild bear from the hunt. So outraged were the huntsmen at the disruption of their sport by this early hunt saboteur that they attacked and mortally wounded him. The remarkable St. Cuthbert, too, was fond of wild animals and seems to have felt a sense of unity with them. A seventh century Scottish shepherd boy, he was fifteen when he became a monk in Melrose Abbey. Later he became a hermit, living on Farne Island in a small cell. There he made friends with the birds, giving them his protection from the depradations of men, and, so the story goes, receiving food from them in return, as they shared their meals together." -end quote.

There are statements in the Psalms about animals looking to God for their provision of food. Jakob Jocz in His masterpiece of Old Testament theology, called, "The Covenant: A Theology of Human Destiny" draws attention to this very thing, of God's care for the animals, in saying,

"That God's reign over His whole creation is the expression of His providential love is the natural conclusion for the psalmist, brought up in the tradition of covenantal grace. When the psalmist says that the young lion seeks his food from the hands of God(Ps. 104:21) and that the young raven cries to Him when hungry(Ps. 147:9), he gives expression to his belief that the whole creation is under the care of Almighty God. Providence is here not a detached, impersonal principle, but the expression of personal oversight over all God's creatures. It is He 'who gives food to all flesh,' says the psalmist(Ps. 136:25); 'He gives and they gather; He opens His hand and they are all well satisfied'(Ps. 104:27). In this His care for His creatures, He reveals Himself as the covenant-keeping God 'who keeps faith for ever'(Ps.146:6)....." -end quote.

And finally, in an article called "Christianity and Veganism" by my esteemed colleague Joseph Porter, we have these quotes from the period of the early Church:

It is good neither to drink wine nor to eat flesh, as both St. Paul and the Pythagoreans acknowledge, for this is rather characteristic to a beast, and the fumes arising from them(the flesh-pots) being dense, darken the soul.

Clement of Alexandria

How unworthy do you press the example of Christ as having came, eating and drinking unto the service of your lusts - He who pronounced not the full, but the hungry blessed; Who professed His work to be the completion of His Father's will, was wont to abstain - instructing them to labor for that food which lasts to eternal life, and enjoining in their common prayers petition, not for flesh but for bread only.

Florens Tertullian

No streams of blood are among them(those who abstain), no dainty cookery, no heaviness of head. Nor are there horrible smells of flesh-meats among them, or disagreeable fumes from the kitchen...with their repast of fruits and vegetable fumes, even angels from heaven are delighted and pleased.

John Chrysostom

Pliny refered to Christianity as a contageous superstition, describing those under supsicion as abstaining from flesh-food.

Seneca refered to the early church as the foreign cultists or superstition who abstained from the flesh of animals." end quote

So, what I am saying here, about God's love for animals isn't a new concept to theology, merely a neglected one, 'cause we've been afraid, as the people of God, of it's implications in our times!

It is the perfect will of God to establish a Covenant between mankind and the animal kingdoms in this generation, just before the coming of Jesus for the Church. Follow along as I take you through some more scripture on this and wrap this point up, with regard to the timing of this Hosea 2:18 Covenant.

Hostility towards animals didn't find a permanent place in Church history until St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century introduced into Christianity the humanistic doctrine of human superiority over animals from the writings of Aristotle, which plainly violates Ecclesiastes 3:19-20. Again, from the King James Version we read:

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

I believe that it's time to set the record straight on what a proper New Testament attitude towards animals is! Follow with me as we consider more scripture along these lines and lay aside the traditions of men. It's time to get back to God's Word where this issue is concerned and let His thoughts that are higher than our thoughts transform our ways until they are conformed to His glorious ways(Isaiah 55:6-13; Philippians 3:21) because He is coming soon.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:

Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31-32)

Here in Matthew 13:31-32 we have another reference to when the Word of God is starting to, forcefully, advance the Kingdom of God to the point where the roots of the Kingdom and the branches of the Kingdom age are upon us, the Kingdom of God(symbolized by the Mustard tree in this parable) would begin to provide nesting for birds! What else could this be, besides a reference to the New Covenant God's making between man and animals? This is a clear reference to it in the ministry of Jesus. A nest in a tree gives a bird shelter from calamity and the storms of life, and protection because they're lifted high above any evil on the ground. The Kingdom of God, according to Jesus, would reach a point, before His return, when animals would find shelter through the wisdom of the saints from all that harmed and harrassed them in the past, including man's own sensual appetites.

God's New Covenant between man and animal is a living, vital reality in the heart of God and in my heart.

These animals ARE spiritual beings as attested by their cries to God in Joel 1:18-20, Psalm 104:21, Psalm 147:9 and in other places in the Bible. A cry to God necessitates a consciousness of God; a consciousness of God necessitates a spiritual dynamic within the individual in question and the reason for their cry is irrelevant, if it's clearly stated in God's Holy and Inspired Word that these animals do cry out to Him. That heart-cry to God has gotten promises from God made to them, and that is something that we can not loose sight of, regardless of whatever other scriptures we find difficult to totally harmonize with this perspective. I am not having any problems finding answers within the Scriptures that satisfy me along these lines, when it comes to so-called problem texts with relation to my convictions on this matter. God spoke by the mouth of His prophet to the animals in Joel 2:22 in answer to their cry in the previous chapter. That is something that can not be denied, and neither can this Covenant be denied any longer to these animals; between mankind and these animals, in the sacred blood of God.

In this age, the firstborn (human beings) of the grace of God's Son are called to contend for the promises of God's Word and to fast until every yoke is obliterated; till bow and sword of battle are shattered from the earth, and all lie down safely, given rest by the Holy Spirit(Hebrews chapters 3 and 4; Isaiah 58:5-6; Hosea 2:18; Isaiah 63:14).

Our Love must not be confined to an eschatological event, but must be in deed and truth, according to 1John 3:18. Jesus has called us to be healers of all of creation, according to Mark 16:15-20. How animals relate to each other is in God's hands and the fulfilling of Isaiah 11:6-9 is a separate and distinct event from the animal liberation from human oppression spoken of in Hosea 2:18. If these animals are to be our Covenant brothers, according to Hosea 2:18, then should they be on our plates any longer? The life of the ages flowing from us to animals is what will bring about Isaiah 11:6-9, but Hosea 2:18 is written to the generation that would be betrothed to God in righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, mercy, and faithfulness(Hosea 2:19-20). Betrothal is not the actual wedding event, hence, this Hosea 2:18 promise isn't locked into the coming of the Lord, but is to be the outworking of that betrothal process in our lives, prior to that Day. Furthermore, the word mistranslated as "forever" in Hosea 2:19 is the word "olam", which according to Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible just simply means "age-lasting". So, this verse is telling us that before the actual wedding event of the Church and the Lord Jesus(as Christian theologians have frequently believed the coming of the Lord to His Church would be; as a wedding), this New Covenant will be extended in it's borders(Isaiah 54:2) to envelope the animal kingdoms in many of the fruits of the coming age; animals will know ever increasing freedom from exploitation and oppression as man and God walk more closely and intimately together, through Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. The generation that is to see the consummation of the wedding between the Church and Her Lord is the generation that will see animal oppression abolished; total animal liberation accomplished. This is not to be confused with Isaiah 11. This is a separate foreshadowing event, in which the Church will begin to place Her blessings on the animal kingdoms and the riches of the flow of age-lasting life from the church to the animal kingdoms will ultimately culminate in peace between the different animal species. Peace between man and animal will be achieved first, through the firstborn of the Covenant of Jesus Christ. And then, as the reign of the righteous begins in the millenium, then there will be peace between animals. Peace from the Holy Spirit will be ministered by the Church, by faith (in the scriptures that I'm drawing attention to here) to the animal kingdoms, in accordance with Isaiah 63:14. And then the Lord will come and a liberating reign will begin that will culminate in the regeneration of all things as the ages progress towards the abolishment of death.

Therefore, the Christian concept of the Lord's coming for the church being likened to a wedding, based on the allegory of Song of Solomon and other areas of Scripture is here shown to be after the world, or at the very least the church is vegan and fighting for the rights of these animals until hunting and other areas of animal exploitation are abolished. Because Hosea 2:16-20 says that it is still in the midst of the "betrothal" that the Covenant will be established between man and animal. Just as the salvation of the world is connected to the salvation of Israel in Scripture, according to Romans chapters 9 through 11, the consummation of the Covenant of marriage between the Church and their Lord isn't accomplished until the animals are in a Covenant of Blessings with mankind, or at the very least that segment of mankind that is firstborn heirs of the Covenant of Christ in God.

God loves them and according to Jesus, even attends the funeral of every bird (Matthew 10:29).

Now, before we transition into some deeper teaching on this Covenant, please receive communion with me as we ponder the limitless wonders of the finished work of Christ and of the full extent of God's wisdom:

The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed took bread and when He had prayed He broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is My Body which is broken for you." After the same manner also, when He had eaten, He took the cup and said, "This is My Blood of the New Covenant which is shed for the many for the remission of sins. Do this in Remembrance of Me". Heavenly Father, we partake of the broken Body and poured out Blood of the New Covenant. We judge ourselves before the throne of grace knowing that judgment, both ours and Yours, is Salvation. We end our communion at the table of demons, putting off the old man and putting on the New Man which is created in righteousness and true holiness. We partake of the finished work of the cross, knowing that all things are ours and that You'll never leave us nor forsake us, even to the end of the age. Father, we do not forget the least of these, our brethren that You have made known to us in these days are to be heirs of the grace of life also. They groan for the redemption of their bodies the same as we groan for the redemption of ours. So, holy God, we receive by faith the Covenant that it says here in Your Word in Hosea 2:18 that You are making between us and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and with all the works of Your hands that creep. We pledge ourselves to break bow and sword from the earth and that by faith, All will lie down safely. We ask for the same Spirit of grace and supplication that You have reached out to us with and will yet reach out to multitudes more with until Your house is FILLED, we ask for this to come upon the animal kingdoms in accordance with Isaiah 63:14. We pledge ourselves afresh to being ambassadors of mercy and truth, the cradle of Your loving-kindness in the earth from now until the abolishment of death, in Jesus' name. Amen!
 

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