The belief that possessing animals counters heavenly will may seem to be
incorrect because so many of the wealthy people in the Bible possessed
animals who were considered to be part of their property.
But letís think about this in terms of what we recently discussed when a young man asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Note what we are told in Matthew 19:21-22Ö
21. Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your
possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and
come, follow Me."
22. But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.
However, in this passage even though we are not told what kind of property
this man had, it is very likely that animals were also a part of it, for in
those times people considered animals as part of their property.
The problem with this young man and many of the people in the world today is that they fail to recognize that God created all the other animals as living beings just like us with souls and spirits, who feel pain and have the emotional makeup of forming loving relationships and much more.
We strongly believe that God would not have created animals in this way unless His intent was that they would be our companions and not our property to do with as we please; they were to be our family members, just like our children.
Job was also one of the people who possessed many animals as part of his property, and along with losing his children he also lost all his animals, and even then Job didnít blame God.
However, after being constantly confronted by his friends telling him that he should blame God, Job did begin to question Godís motives, and God responded by asking many questions about whether or not he was capable of creating the heavens and the earth and all their systems.
Now, as we look at Job 42:1-17, we see Job repenting, but following that, God does something very curious, which on the surface seems to challenge our statement that possessing animals counters heavenly will.
1. Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
2. "I know that Thou canst do all things,
And that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted.
Job truly recognizes the fact that Godís power is infinite and that we can never equal it or do the miraculous things that He does.
3. 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
"Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4. 'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me.'
Now Job only wants to learn from the Lord, which is something that most of the people in the world should learn to do, because most people instead of listening to and following Godís heavenly will are instead further corrupting Godís creation, and causing or contributing to the suffering and death of millions of humans and billions of other animals every year.
5. "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees Thee;
6. Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."
If everyone did this, we would all have a much better world to live in.
7. And it came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.
To us, Eliphaz is an example of all the worldly living people on the earth
today, for they are living like they know better than God, and so they can
do whatever they like and pay no attention to the heavenly will of God.
They may think this way, but nothing is further from the truth.
8. "Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has."
We are told elsewhere in the Bible that obedience is better than sacrifice; therefore, we are fairly sure that all of the references to sacrifice were added by a scribe at a later date.
9. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job.
We also donít believe that Job was ever unacceptable to God, and that it was only Jobís friends who were not acceptable to God, because He just referred to Job as being His servant and being right.
10. And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his
friends, and the LORD increased all that Job had twofold.
11. Then all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all who had known him before, came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought on him. And each one gave him one piece of money, and each a ring of gold.
Once again we have to question this scripture, because that evil was not brought upon Job by God, but by Satan, whom God only allowed to do that by taking His protection off of Job.
12. And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning, and he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.
As we saw with the young man who couldnít give up his possessions, we donít understand why God would ever give anyone animals as possessions; it just doesnít make any sense.
13. And he had seven sons and three daughters.
Having ďreplacementĒ sons and daughters doesnít take away the mourning people have for their children; so again we donít understand why God would do such a thing, if He really did.
14. And he named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third
15. And in all the land no women were found so fair as Job's daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers.
Even discounting his daughtersí beauty, this is the way everyone should treat their children.
16. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his grandsons,
17. And Job died, an old man and full of days.
Long life was considered to be a blessing from God.
If we also look at the ending of this passage, we could also interpret the restoration of Jobís family as being an example of God raising us from the dead and bringing us to heaven, but having animals as possessions takes away from this heavenly understanding, because we cannot take our earthly possessions to heaven.
Hebrews 7:23-28 does not speak about the fact that possessing animals counters heavenly will, directly, but it does talk about it indirectly through references to the priesthood.
23. And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers,
because they were prevented by death from continuing,
24. but He [Jesus], on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
25. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
This is really the only way we get to heaven, because we cannot work our way or earn our way into heaven, and we sure cannot buy our way into the kingdom of heaven, in fact, as we saw with the young man, having many possessions can actually hinder us from going to heaven.
26. For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy,
innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
27. who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
And killing innocent animals never really saved anyone, for if the peopleís
heart and soul remained hardened, the sacrifice did nothing but cause an
innocent animal who wanted to live as much as we do to suffer and die just
to be a victim of a ritual, which we believe is even a greater sin than the
sin of the person who brought about the sacrifice in the first place.
And we also see that the animal sacrifice by its very act had to harden the hearts of the priest, for if their hearts remained soft, as the Lord wants us to be, they never could have taken the life of another living being.
28. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of
the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
And because Jesus was the last sacrifice, there was never any need to kill
any other animals, whether for a religious purpose or to satisfy the
gluttony of human beings.
Possessing animals counters heavenly will, and to us, eating or wearing animals or their by-products is a form of possessing animals, and such acts could just separate a person from the kingdom of God.
We can and should rise above these practices in mind, soul, and spirit.
We are to be like Jesus.
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