When we understand the ancient Hebraic mind properly, we see things much differently.
We see how they used terms and words to describe things MUCH differently than we do today. Much differently than people did 500 years ago as well. Heck, even 1000 years ago. We are so far removed from their culture, and it shows.
For instance, the mentioning of "beasts of the field" or "birds of the air" or "creeping things" etc.
Now at first glance our minds automatically say "SIMPLE! These are animals." But what if they are not used to describe animals all the time? What if they are actually used to refer to Gentiles? People outside of the Covenant? Let's look at some scripture.
Look here how Hosea describes the day when God would make a new covenant with those who were once alienated from His promises....
"And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. In that day I will make a covenant for them with the BEASTS OF THE FIELD , With the BIRDS OF THE AIR, And with the CREEPING THINGS OF THE GROUND. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely. “I will betroth you to Me forever" Hosea 2:16-19
Now is God talking about marrying beasts and birds and creeping things in the New Covenant? Of course not. But look what Hosea says shortly after in the same chapter...
"Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’" Hosea 2:23
Is there any question? These are GENTILES being brought into New Covenant with God. Now, doesn't this line up rather perfectly with Peters vision in Acts chapter 10? Peter had a vision of ANIMALS. He saw these BEASTS in his vision. Take a look...
"The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, WILD BEASTS, CREEPING THINGS, AND BIRDS OF THE AIR. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “WHAT GOD HAS CLEANSED YOU MUST NOT CALL COMMON.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again." Acts 10:9-16
Now, anyone who understands what was happening here understands that God was revealing to Peter that salvation was going to be made available to the GENTILES as well. Was God concerned with beasts and birds here? No. God was using these images to depict PEOPLE. Peter goes to meet with Cornelius and we know the story from there.
A few more examples to chew on...
"The burden against the BEASTS of the South. Through a land of trouble and anguish, From which came the LIONESS AND THE LION, The VIPER AND THE FLYING SERPENT, They will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, And their treasures on the humps of camels, To a people who shall not profit; For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose." Isaiah 30:6-7
Now wait just a darn second! How could Lions and Vipers "carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys and their treasures on the humps of camels!!??"
This is people, clearly. And another one...
"I saw the RAM pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great." Daniel 8:4
How and WHY would a RAM do according to his will and become GREAT? Another...
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; And the fish of the sea will explain to you." Job 12:7-8
Woah Woah Woah! Beasts who teach!? Birds who tell!? FISH WHO EXPLAIN? Another...
"If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” 1 Cor. 15:32
There is NO record of Paul ever fighting with literal "beasts". When we understand this in context, Paul is arguing for the resurrection of the dead ones. His "fighting with beasts" represents his arguing and contending with MEN for the truth about the resurrection.
Can't forget the famous Isaiah 11:6 passage either...
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them."
Jew and Gentile, clean and unclean, coming together in peace. In Christ.
This should just give us a taste of how the bible uses beasts, birds, and creeping things to represent PEOPLE.
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