Church silence promotes violence to humans, to animals, to our
environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health.
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
Isaiah 11:6-9 is one of God's most beautiful and often quoted prophecies, yet it is also one of the most ignored in practice, because most of us seem to fail to believe it. Let's take another look at it. (Painting below left - The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks - From CVA)
6. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
7. Also the cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den.
9. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
We have been ignoring the fact that this prophetic vision is to take place upon this earth, and the fact that we are to acquire the knowledge of the Lord that will help bring this peaceable kingdom into existence (Isaiah 11:9b).
We don't seem to want to accept Paul's word that "we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). We don't seem to want to accept Jesus' command to us: "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). We don't seem to want to receive the Lord's blessing to become the peacemakers and children of God (Matthew 5:9), for whom Paul says the whole of Creation is anxiously waiting to free it from the suffering and corruption to which it has been subjected (Romans 8:18-25). Why? Because we don't seem to want to change our present lifestyle.
How can little children lead the animals in a peaceable kingdom when we teach them to hunt, fish, and eat the flesh and by-products of animals who suffer all their lives on our factory farms and meet horrible deaths in our slaughterhouses. And we have been encouraging this evil even in our churches and from our pulpits. It's not the wolf, or the leopard, or the lion, or the bear, that kills the majority of other animals; it's us, the human race. (The above and below photos show part of the difference: the corrupted on the left, and the peaceable on the right.)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture's own figures, human beings slaughtered 9,713,000,000 animals for food in the US in 2000. Yes, that's nearly 10 billion animals according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This includes 41.7 million cattle and calves, 115.2 million pigs, 4.3 million sheep and lambs, 8,792 million 'broiler' chickens, 429.7 million laying hens, 304 million turkeys, and 26.1 million ducks. And these figures don't include about another 10% that died before ever reaching the slaughterhouses, nor the animals killed by hunters, nor any fish or other sea creatures. Humans are the most prolific killers in the history of the world, and this is why we don't have God's promised peaceable kingdom.
We are destroying the very basic human sensitivities that will allow us to acquire and develop the knowledge of God within ourselves that will lead us to having this peaceable kingdom here on earth. We harden the hearts of our children who in turn harden the hearts of their children. It's time we stop this chain reaction.
We can always come up with arguments and excuses against trying to have all or part of this peaceable kingdom in our own time, but all such expressions stem from the hardness of heart that is preventing the peaceable kingdom from coming to pass. We have closed our eyes and ears and kept silent about this truth far too long. We can be the children of God, if we keep our focus on what is possible to achieve instead of saying why it won't happen. The time has come to usher in the peaceable kingdom, and we can no longer afford to keep silent about it.
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