I have to be honest and say that my Covenant Creation studies over the past few months have really blown me away. They have opened up so many doors. They are opening up doors in doorways that I didn't even know existed. The bible is truly bottomless in it's treasure chest of gems.
I've had a few opponents make a few false statements about what I believe and of course you'll always have a couple haters here and there like with anything else. But the clarity and revelation has been off the charts as of late. I am eternally grateful to God the Father for giving me eyes to see and helping me to communicate these incredible truths to those who He puts in my path.
Recently a fella who sternly rejects Covenant Creation made the argument that I was applying words and giving them meaning however I wanted and to fit my paradigm. He used the animal argument a lot. He said I was twisting things for my own benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth of the matter.
What this man fails to realize is that the bible is a complex book that incorporates many different styles of literary genre.
For instance in many places we see prophecy and metaphoric language used. In other places we see Apocalyptic imagery used. Many times we also see real, literal, things happening as well. The argument that this man made was that essentially since animals are used some places in scripture, then we have no right to say they are used as imagery elsewhere. I would most certainly disagree with that conclusion and state that the real deal is that since animals are used as imagery in places in the bible, we should be EXTRA cautious and pay special attention to them when we come across them. We should not just assume literal each time we pass a word that represents an animal of sorts.
People rule out the possibility that Genesis was an apocalyptic, and prophetic text without even considering if it might be so. After all, the END of the story in Revelation which shows the DE-CREATION of the sun, moon, sea, earth, and heaven, clearly is not physical literal as we all know. Isn't this important enough to at least CONSIDER that perhaps the START of the story may sort of follow that pattern as well?
For those who have followed my studies, you've seen just how much animals, plants, etc are used to portray people in the scriptures. We aren't just talking 5-10 times. We are talking hundreds of times. If you took every instance where an individual animal was used as imagery for a person in the bible, you'd most likely be in the thousands. My study below will contain at least 20 maybe more examples. Never mind outer biblical ancient Hebraic sources. The book of Enoch alone would probably add over 1000 usages as well.
Point is, let's not be so quick to dismiss something based on how wild it sounds. (Pardon the animal pun) Let's be Berean and do what we did when we came to Preterism.
Ezekiel 34 is another one of those real "thorns" in the side of those who reject Covenant Creation. The chapter is just overflowing with animal imagery to speak of Israel and those around her. I am going to simply quote portions of the chapter below with some quick commentary as we progress. As you read, please keep in mind the language used in Genesis creation and the same animals mentioned. Not only that, but the "way" these animals are mentioned. It's one thing to just say "beast"or "bird". But when you use specific terms like "beast of the field" and "birds of the air", there is likely more there than meets the eye at first glance.
The chapter speaks of the irresponsible Shepherds of the people of Israel pictured as "The Sheep". The chapter begins like this...
"And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed THE FLOCKS? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock...... So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and THEY BECAME FOOD FOR ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” Ezekiel 34:1-6
Now clearly we see some striking language here. The ENTIRE context is on the people of Israel. Also known as "THE SHEEP". God literally says that these SHEEP were scattered and BECAME FOOD FOR ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD.
Now, who here believes God was speaking about literal sheep and literal beasts of the field here? Nobody? Good. Me neither. The next passage reads...
"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food FOR EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” Ezekiel 34:7-10
Clearly again nobody here believes this is about real animals. This is clearly imagery for God saying that Israel was always under the threat of foreign invasion and persecution. They had no Shepherd. The next passage reads...
"For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from THE PEOPLES AND GATHER THEM FROM THE COUNTRIES, and will bring them to THEIR OWN LAND; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good PASTURE, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” Ezekiel 34:11-16
Now isn't it amazing what Ezekiel is doing here? He literally begins by calling Israel "sheep" and scattering the sheep. He says that God would then seek His sheep out and deliver those sheep from all the places they were scattered. Then in the same VERY NEXT breath he says...."I will bring THE PEOPLES AND GATHER THEM FROM THE COUNTRIES"
Wow. Do you see what He did? He just revealed who the sheep were and where the places where they were scattered were. The sheep were "His people" and the places where they were scattered was "the countries".
But notice how he just jumps right back into the imagery again in the next sentence. He says I will feed them on the mountains and feed them in good PASTURE. etc
Animal imagery used for the people of Israel as well as the countries where they were scattered. The chapter continues..
"And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between CATTLE AND CATTLE, between RAM AND GOATS. Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture." Ezekiel 34:17-18
Do you see the same language used in all the other animal accounts? The word "cattle" is used everywhere. It's in Genesis creation days as well when God said...
"And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind" Genesis 1:25
The chapter continues...
"I will make a covenant of peace with them (the sheep), and cause WILD BEASTS to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the WILDERNESS and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the TREES OF THE FIELD shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of THOSE WHO ENSLAVED THEM." Ezekiel 34:25-27
Clearly again here are people everywhere. No argument from anyone.
The chapter ends by God saying how in this New Covenant no BEASTS will feed on His people as prey. It ends like this...
"And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall BEASTS OF THE LAND devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a GARDEN of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the GENTILES anymore. Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the HOUSE OF ISRAEL are My people,” says the Lord God.’ Ezekiel 34:28-30
Notice the language again. Israel the people, would no longer be prey for the beasts. God would raise up a new GARDEN (Genesis imagery again) in the New Covenant. Which is what we see ironically in Revelation with the Tree of Life back in that garden.
In conclusion, we should not get upset over this. We should at the very least let it keep our options a bit more open that perhaps Ezekiel is using the same literary genre that the author of the early Genesis chapters used. That being prophetic, apocalyptic imagery to describe the creation of a Kingdom People for God. A Covenant people. A garden of God.
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