By Martin Cisneros
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)
Because of how I chose to title this article, let's begin with a few verses demonstrating the Scriptures attributing to animals a consciousness of God:
9 “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 12 And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:9-10, 12, 15-17)
Several times God confirms in Genesis 9 that His rainbow Covenant isn't just with mankind, which would be pointless if animals couldn't grasp a Covenant with God. But God's as much reassuring animals as He is Noah and his family. Remember that when considering God's Hosea 2:18 New Covenant with animals, Genesis 9 is His Old Covenant with them. I teach His New Covenant with animals. What many people will assert as the truth of God regarding animals, as they believe it to be contained in His Word, is merely His Old Covenant with them. They're not necessarily wrong, but there is a superior [Biblical] paradigm because of the boundless love of our Redeemer. They simply have incomplete knowledge of the Lord's Declaration and Preparations in His Word and His Grace for animals, from the times that we're living in, forward.
They're dealing in expired information about animals, if I may say that that way, while still intending total reverence for the Scriptures. What they believe about animals and our right to exploit them is in the category of circumcision of male children at 8 days old from a New Covenant perspective, as far as righteousness goes. There are parts of the Bible that endorsed doing this and that to animals, according to how we'd normally read those passages, as there are passages that say that if you're not circumcised, then you can't be a part of the worship experience and community life of God's Covenant people. Those who cite Old Testament principles when dealing with animals are simply in the position that Apollos was in, in the book of Acts:
24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 18:24-28)
Those who would bind animals to God's Old Testament dealing with them have only the knowledge of sin, rather than the revelation of God's righteousness where animals are concerned. Their knowledge is simply incomplete, when they'd bring up the Scriptures to justify our continued exploitation of them. They can be mighty in the Scriptures, as Apollos was, but still falling way short of what's been brought to pass in our days with what God's revealing of His New Covenant with animals. These people only know what's gone on up until the baptism of John. They have the knowledge of sin, but not the revelation of God's righteousness unto all and upon all animals in Hosea 2:18, for there is no difference: they'll all shake at His Presence. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself and need to finish this portion up about animals having consciousness of God, before we can leap into Ezekiel 38:19-20.
As of August 24, 2010, unfortunately, most Christians are thinking His Old Covenant with animals is in force, which included their being eaten. However, as the New Testament outweighs the Old in all matters of a Christian's right standing with God and Christ's work to draw all men to Himself, Hosea 2:18 far surpasses God's wisdom and kindness revealed in the Genesis 9 “Old Covenant” with animals. There are two testaments in the Bible for animals, as is witnessed by Jeremiah 31:27-28 where animals were previously fair game, but are fair game no longer for exploitation as “resources” to be devoured.
13 So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, Will give You thanks forever; We will show forth Your praise to all generations. (Psalm 79:13)
It is commonly known that Old Testament Israel worshiped God with their animals, though it didn't always end well for the animals, depending on the level of participation required of them. But I do mean to suggest that the aforementioned verse implies animals knew what it was about.
21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God. (Psalm 104:21)
14 As a beast goes down into the valley, and the Spirit of the Lord causes him to rest, so You lead Your people to make Yourself a glorious Name. (Isaiah 63:14)
Here in Isaiah, we're faced with the issue of supernatural guidance for God's Covenant animals and God's Covenant people. As His Covenant with the people wasn't in it's final draft until the coming of Christ Jesus, I wouldn't expect for people to necessarily see perfect guidance of the animals fully manifested yet in the Old Testament. But the promises of it are inferred all over the Old Testament for animals, including in Ecclesiastes 3:19 when speaking of the vanity of life that existed back then, uniquely so, prior to the coming of Christ.
In Jonah 3:7-10, we find animals sharing in the repentance [process] of Nineveh and God sparing them because all of them were prostrated before God without food and water:
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:7-10)
In Joel 1:20, we see animals praying and Joel 2:21-24 is an example of answered prayer for animals. Now, with having established that, in Ezekiel 38:19-20, we read in the New King James Version:
19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake (center column reference says, or literally “shaking”) in the land of Israel, 20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’
Matthew 27:51 indicates an earthquake, or a shaking, that occurred when Lord Jesus died. And I noted previously in my series “His Blood Sworn Oath” how St. Paul appeared to view that earthquake based on Zechariah 2:4-5, and numerous other passages, as the tearing down of the wall between Jews and Gentiles. However, Hebrews 12:26-28 appears to have anticipated one more shaking that would occur.
Here in Ezekiel 38:19-20 you've got the shaking of every man's and every animal's world in Israel. As I've noted previously, from Jeremiah 31:27-28, Psalm 122:6-9, Zechariah 2:4-5, Hebrews 12:18-24, and Revelation chapters 21 and 22, among other Scriptures, Israel and Judah in the Scriptures are viewed as the center of Christ's redemptive workings, and you could read Christ and Christ's Church as Israel and Judah in these Scriptures.
That's not to say that the Church replaces Israel in the Scriptures in a sense of God having no redemptive place for Jews. Jeremiah 31:27-28 and Romans 11 speak very plainly to God's faithfulness to Israel and Judah. Jeremiah 31:27-28 speak of God's sowing the seed of Gentiles and the seed of animals into the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Romans 11 speaks of a similar concept but side-steps the animal issue, except very briefly in Romans 8:21 where St. Paul is alluding to Hosea 2:18 as is evident in Romans from how a few verses later in the 9th chapter St. Paul is quoting from Hosea 2:18's context in establishing the case for Gentile salvations. However, with many passages such as Hosea 2:18, Ezekiel 38:19-20, Zechariah 2:4-5, a passage or two in the Psalms speaking of us and of the sheep of His pasture being present in His worship, and more than one passage with language similar to Ezekiel 38:19-20 and Revelation 5:13, it is clearly evident that we are not to understand by St. Paul's elaboration on the salvation of Gentiles that all such passages are summed up solely in those discourses of St. Paul's. (There's quite a bit he didn't cover of Biblical significance to you and me in these days that we're living in that we must prayerfully explore the rest of the Bible for, relying on Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth!)
The Scriptures speak of another shaking in Ezekiel 38:19-20 and Hebrews 12:26-28 that is subsequent to the shaking that occurred at the Cross, but that's clearly rooted in it, since Hosea 2:18 is in the Blood of Jesus that speaks better things than Abel did, if in fact Abel was an animal killer in his religious zeal. Many believe Isaiah 30:23-30 had it's fulfillment, or the beginning of it's fulfillment with September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers fell in New York City. While many Premillenialist futurists who expect a Great Tribulation to come, in the future, believe that Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 begins that Tribulation. Hilton Sutton and Jack Van Impe are examples of the latter.
Laying aside what other quasi-schools of thought believe about the general time frame of some of these passages having a contextual fulfillment, or a fulfillment of the surrounding verses according to how they read them, it's sufficient to say that even Premillenialist Fundamentalists would believe I was delivering a “Now Word” if it was on any other subject from these passages, but that we're to understand these passages to relate to our immediate era or what may transpire next in world events, if taken literally and as a geographical depiction of a war yet to come in the middle east. Again, speaking of the larger context of these passages I'm quoting from. The Hosea 2:18 Covenant is happening right now and will continue to increase in as much frequency and intensity as any other sign and wonder or omen that's cited by anyone else that teaches their view of the prophetic Scriptures.
The tearing down of every wall in Ezekiel 38:19-20 is in order to make room for all of them, according to Zechariah 2:4-5 and because God will not allow our defenses to be fortified with anything other than Himself. People are needlessly brutal, needlessly exploiting of others, and have a tendency to get into every form of covetousness, idolatry, and licentiousness when anything is their defense other than Him. He wants to be the hedge built around us (Job 1:10) that gives us richly all things to enjoy (1Timothy 6:17). He's a hedge around people and animals in these days, as every wall against His Presence for people and animals is falling, according to Ezekiel 38:19-20.
He's brought us to New Jerusalem in Christ, according to Hebrews 12:18-24, Zechariah 2:4-5, Jeremiah 31:27-28, and Psalm 122:6-9. He wants us seeking one another's good, according to Psalm 122:9, Jeremiah 31:27-28, and Isaiah 40:10-11. As His reward is with Him and His work before Him, in Isaiah 40:10-11, so is ours if we're joint-heirs with Christ, living out the Isaiah 58 realities of veganism exemplified, and caring for both people and animals in annual care of the King, according to Zechariah 14 and Matthew 25 so that we're not baring the indictment of Ezekiel 34:10 and Zechariah 11:15-17 of those who don't carry out Isaiah 58 duties in the behalf of people and animals as inhabitants of New Jerusalem, according to Hebrews 12:18-24, Jeremiah 31:27-28, and Zechariah 2:4-5. Jeremiah 31:27-28 says the age is over forever of animal-harm having a godly endorsement.
Lord Jesus said in Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, and Luke 13:18-19 that if His Word is abiding in you and really developing the Deuteronomy 1:11 thousandfold, then the birds can tabernacle in what you're about. Does His Word abide in you to where nothing hurts or destroys on the level He's exalting you to? According to 1Peter 5:6-7, Isaiah 58:14, Isaiah 11:9, and Ephesians 2:6, if you're really seated with Christ in heavenly places, then nothing should hurt or destroy in your holy mountain if you've really been following the Biblical path to exaltation in Christ from the fall you'd formerly endured in the world (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:1-5).
What really matters isn't what either Lord Jesus or St. Paul did in their earthly ministries if the Scriptures speak of ages to come after them through which God would continue to show us the exceeding riches of His grace (Ephesians 2:7). Lord Jesus was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, implying, in His own Words, that He really wasn't meant to minister to Gentiles. And just as that didn't mean the Door of God's grace was permanently slammed in the face of Gentiles, since God knew a St. Paul was coming, in the same way, we can expect more to be revealed of God's redemptive purposes as time progresses.
Jeremiah 31:27-28 says He'd sow the house of Israel and He'd sow the house of Judah with the seed of man, and He'd sow the house of Israel and He'd sow the house of Judah with the seed of beast. Romans 4:16 says “therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed...”; to all that the Scriptures call “seed” and not just to how we've previously limited our reading of “seed” in Scripture. Jeremiah 31:27 says He'd sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of beast, as well as the seed of man.
Ezekiel 38:19-20 says that all of the animals and people that we'd redemptively, eschatologically, and figuratively understand Him to be drawing into Israel are about to absolutely shake in His Presence. In closing, look with me at Jeremiah 33:7-16:
7And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
Right here, I would understand this to be talking about all of Israel and all of Judah, as understood through Jeremiah 31:27-28, including Gentiles and Animals of Ezekiel 38:19-20 that will shake at His Presence.
There's a tiny bit of randomness to chapter number and verse number designations in the Bible, since those only go back a few short centuries and would relate to what someone believed the Bible said within the past millenium. I personally believe the last clause of Jeremiah 33:7 where it says “as at the first” relates to the next verse. I take this “as at the first” plus the following verse to relate to the Genesis 12 call of Abram where he was cleansed by what God said to him, so that he could walk before Him and be blameless. It's alluding back to this in a foreshadowing portent.
8And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me (where applicable 'cause He's talking about people and animals, contextually); and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.
9And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them (people and animals: Jeremiah 31:27-28): and they shall fear and tremble (and shake, in the language of Ezekiel 38:19-20) for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.
10Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
11The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first (i.e. Eden: Isaiah 51:1-3), saith the LORD.
12Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof (Zechariah 1:17), shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin (which means “Son of My right Hand,” or the Ephesians 2:6 seating with Him), and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that counts them, saith the LORD.
Focusing on this Hosea 2:18 Covenant is imitating the Master, according to this 13th verse, who leaves the 99 and goes after the 1 until He finds it. Although people have always taken that parable of the 100 sheep to only refer to people, in God's Sovereignty, all of these redemptive Scriptures must be looked at again that have an animal reference when studying this neglected part of God's Word where this Hosea 2:18 Covenant is concerned. In the land of the Son of His right Hand and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks, including animals, pass again under the hands of him that counts them. Our reward is with us and our work before us, in Christ, according to Isaiah 40:10-11, if we're living an Isaiah 58 veganism.
14Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah (sowing them with seed of man and sowing them with seed of beast, according to Jeremiah 31:27-28).
15In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land (which takes us back to Isaiah 11:4-10).
16In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely (in the midst of the Lord surrounding people and animals as a wall of fire, that are trembling at His goodness: see Zechariah 2:4-5 and Jeremiah 33:9): and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.