Lions, tigers, and bears.....
Imagine lions, tigers, and bears bowing down to pray to God in an open field.
Buffalo and cows shouting out praises to God.
Or perhaps ducks, geese, and raccoons singing the timeless classic 'Holy Holy Holy' out by the pond.
Sounds funny but this is what we would imagine when we come across certain passages in the Old Testament if we aren't familiar with the ancient Hebraic mind and how they used certain words and certain symbols or pictures to describe people.
If you haven't followed my creation studies, you've probably missed the many examples of "beast, birds, cattle, creeping things, and fish of the sea" being used to describe people in the scriptures.
I've used numerous texts to prove the point from the bible. I've also referenced outer biblical sources such as the Animal Apocalypse in 1 Enoch which lists about every animal imaginable to describe humanity.
There was the quote from the Zohar believed to be written in the 1st century during the Roman persecution which reads..
"There are many kinds among Israel that are called cattle and beasts. One is from the side of the serpent and another from the side of idolatrous nations, who are like animals and wild beasts."
- Zohar 2 Beresheet A29
There is much in the book of Sirach containing animal imagery. A commentary of the book writes this about one of the portions of the Sirach...
"In verse 19 the use of a lion as imagery for those who are rich has a biblical precedent in Psalm 35:17 and 58:7, though more frequently it is used to depict an external threat. (example Jeremiah 5:6) The animals hunted by the lions, which in Sirach 13 represent the poor, are the "wild asses of the desert". The poor are also compared to wild asses of the desert in Job 24:4-5. The context of Job 24 like Sirach 13, addresses the fact that the wealthy and powerful seem to prey on the poor and exploit the defenseless members of society."
The lions referenced there as being symbolic of the rich in that day reminds me of when Peter told the believers to "look out for your adversary the devil, he roams around LIKE A LION looking for someone to devour."
It's been my position for a long time now that the devil there pertains to the opposition, that being the Pharisees and Judaizers. They were the wealthy upper class who roared like a lion looking to devour the believers. Makes perfect sense to me.
We see the Gentile Kingdoms in Daniel as "beasts". We see the "beast from the sea" and the "beast from the land" in Revelation. We see Paul contending with "beasts" in Ephesus over the gospel and so on.
In Isaiah 43 we read this...
"Behold, I will do a new thing...I will even make a road in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert. The BEAST OF THE FIELD WILL HONOR ME. The JACKALS AND THE OSTRICHES, Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise." Isaiah 43:19-21
Now again, in the context here we see people. Clearly the subjects here are people.
God is saying He is going to do a "new thing"...sound familiar? ("Behold I make all things new")
He says the "beasts of the field, the jackals and ostriches", will honor Him in that day.
He will give water to those who thirst. To His chosen. To the people that He will form for Himself and they shall declare His praise.
This looks a lot like the wolf lying down with the lamb, Gentile and Jew coming together and finding peace in Christ. Sounds a lot like the New Covenant to me.
But in that passage we have 3 animal groups mentioned.
The Hebrew word for "beasts" is "chay".
This words main definition is "living man, life of man, relatives, and sometimes it means animal"
The strong majority of its usages refer to humans.
Considering that the Hebrews used pictures when they spoke and they used animals to represent people, this works just fine.
The Hebrew word for "jackals" is "tanniyn".
This word means "dragon, serpent, sea monster, venomous snake".
In fact, some translations substitute the word "jackal" with "dragon".
This is a perfect example of the concordances NOT picking up the picture language and metaphorical imagery used in the bible. Do we really believe Isaiah was saying that literal DRAGONS and literal SNAKES would bow down before the Lord in that day? Of course not.
So the "jackals" or "dragons" to me speaks to people yet again. If that doesn't sound too convincing, it's ok. Look at what word is used for "ostriches"...
The Hebrew word for "ostriches" in the passage is "bath". This word is used 588 times in scripture and 526 of those times it means "daughters". Human daughters.
So we have the beast, jackal, and ostrich. 2 out of three of those are clearly defined as "people". The jackal doesn't really translate well in our lexicons but clearly we can see that it is picture language for a person as well. But who?
To me, when applying a proper interpretation to the passage in Isaiah, I believe that the proper way to interpret the following passage...
"Behold, I will do a new thing...I will even make a road in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert. The BEAST OF THE FIELD WILL HONOR ME. The JACKALS AND THE OSTRICHES. Because I give waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen"
Would be just like this....
"Behold, I will do a new thing....I will even make a road in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert. The foreigners (beasts/Gentiles) will honor me. Their sons (jackals) and their daughters (ostriches) too. Because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen."
We see how smooth that works. It just makes sense based on how they used these terms.
We know that "the wilderness" represented the Gentile nations. The "desert" as well. God was going to make roads from the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Beautiful imagery of the rivers of living water extending to the Gentile people. These also plays well into Ezekial's vision of the "dry tree" becoming the "green tree" in the New Covenant.
As a side note and something to ponder for later...
When Jesus went away for 40 days into the "wilderness", was He really going into the deep dark forest as people say? :)
Or based on the fact that we know "the wilderness" was the Gentile nations, could it be safe to say that when Jesus went out of there to fast for 40 days and went into the wilderness, was He simply going into a foreign land with foreigners? After all, the text does say...
"Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him." Matthew 1
Do we see "wild beasts" in this "wilderness"? Is that Gentiles in their own land?
Who are the "angels" aka "messengers" who were ministering to Him?
These are some of the effects of having our ducks in a row. Things begin to get answered elsewhere. But we will save that for another day.
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