O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

According to some the animals are supposed to be only animals and not Gentiles in the bible. So let us do a quick examination and determine if these living creatures that swarm and the fish that exist found here in Ezekiel 47 are people (gentiles) or are they just animals that the river is bringing life to. The question is how do we determine how one is supposed to know when the scriptures are telling us when they are people and when they are animals? Let’s look closely at these illustrations and see if we can gather from the bible a pattern that exists.


Eze 47:9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. (10) Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. Compare this with Gen 1. Gen 1:21 And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that moveth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind: and God saw that it was good.


It seems obvious that the living creatures of Ezekiel are taken from Gen 1. Would it be possible to positively tell us why these descriptions above borrowed from Gen 1 then are somehow different from each other? Are the scriptures simply talking about transformer animals that change shape and definitions to please the wooden literalist when it doesn’t fit their purpose? Or is the Bible simply consistent in utilizing these animal symbols to illustrate the contrast between Jew and Gentile.


One may begin by asking themselves why Peter and the Jews understood the vision language of Acts 10 to be portraying Gentile peoples coming into covenant with them. A modern reader without knowledge of OT metaphors would not have a clue why the Jewish Christians inferred such an idea from that imagery. However when one acquaints themselves with this biblical background knowledge then the answer is not difficult in the least.


Ezekiel 38:19-20 read below is taking again the very same creatures from Gen 1 and ties them to the time of the Messiah and the occurring on that day (Parousia) of shaking (Heb 12:26-27). Notice also specifically that the word aw-dawm (man/adam) is designated as a separate category distinct from the animals which represent Gentiles. It is absolutely clear that we have a division of two categories of peoples the Jew and the Gentile represented here in Ezekiel 38 and these categories take their origins in Genesis chapter one. This makes sense then of Genesis 1 in which Adam/man/Jews (Gen 1:26) are to have dominion over these same animals just as Dan 7:27 also puts forth.


Eze 38:19-20 Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; (20) so that the fishes of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep (moveth nv) upon the earth, and all the men (adam/aw-dawm) that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence,


Same animals as found in Gen 1:26-30 in which there is man and creatures (Jew and Gentile).


Gen 1:28 And God blessed them (man/Jews). And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."


Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.


Dan 7:27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints (Jews) of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'


Ezekiel is not the only one who utilizes these same metaphors to distinguish between the Jew and the Gentile. Hosea also references these same Gen 1 animals in which the context being spoken of is to the Jews (Adams/man) and they again are told that they will enter a covenant with these animals (Gentiles). What is also interesting is that they will lie down in safety together with these animals which Isaiah 11 vividly portrays for us with the clean and unclean animals lying down together.


Hos 2:18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.


Isa 11:6-7 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. (7) The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together;


Genesis, Ezekiel and Hosea though are not the only ones to borrow from the Genesis 1 symbols of Gentile animals and Jews as men, look at Zephaniah.


Zep 1:3 I will consume man (Adam/Jew/aw-dawm) and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man (Adam/Jews/aw-dawm) from off the face of the ground, saith Jehovah.


In Daniel we have King Neb described as a Tree nation just as Ezekiel does in describing Assyria and Egypt in Eze 31:2-3 in which these Gentile peoples were fed under the oversight of these Great Kingdoms. However none of these Tree Nations would stand as they lifted their heads into the clouds and became proud and then are brought low down into the pit. (Eze 31:16) This is the language that is used in Rev 20 describing the last great Nation ruled by a powerful Beast whose influence is destroyed forever through the coming of Christ at the Parousia.


Dan 4:20-21 The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, (21) whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived”


I think we are now ready to look at the language of Gen 9 in which we seem to have the same kind of covenant language that is prophetic throughout scripture continually pointing to the time of the Messiah. Notice again the repeat and similarity of the Christian directive given to the Apostles and believers to fill the earth with the Gospel message. Folks this message here concerning Noah have its ultimate fulfillment in Christ and His body of believers and are primarily a Hebrew prophecy for the future utilizing the Flood account for this prophetic opportunity.


Gen 9:1-3 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. (2) The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. (3) Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.


The Hebrews had many ways of telling their story of the coming of the Messiah and they were not reluctant to presenting its prophetic coming within the context of other stories. Once one recognizes that the Bible is concerned with one primary issue and that is pointing to the Messiah things become clear. It is not about the creation account of a physical world (although that reality is implied deeply) nor is it about the destruction of Global Earth through a flood. But the flood has a primary purpose of looking and pointing to the flood that will occur in the last days just as Dan 9:26 says.


Gen 9 above is a prophetic repeat of Gen 1 in which the dominion of man/Jews will be brought to bear to include the Gentile people represented through the animal symbols. A final observation can be taken from Gen 9:3 in that every living thing (animals) will be good for food. This is the verse that Peter would reference to recognize the prophetic understanding that now the Gentiles are clean when he was told to eat what God had now declared as clean. This is why Paul now also could say that all food is clean and there is no unclean food as this verse has been fulfilled through Christ.


Finally in conclusion Christ uses the Tree metaphor from Eze 17:22,23,24 to describe his spiritual Kingdom which does not come with observation as a Seed that becomes the Largest of the Garden Trees that Genesis and Ezekiel describe. This tree though is described as a home only for the Birds of the Heaven which is illustrating that it would have a heavenly and Spiritual reality. It is of course the Tree of Life from which both the Jew and the Gentile (animals) will receive their nourishment.


Mat 13:32 which indeed is less than all SEEDS; but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becometh A TREE, so that the birds of the heaven come and lodge in the branches thereof.


The Bible is a huge piece of literature that is difficult to get one’s mind around. It is especially difficult when one brings wrong expectations to the scriptures making it near impossible to fathom. However when scriptures are studied with a realization that they are actually consistent then the Bible continues to unfold. We Preterist started this process in the NT regarding eschatology and what we are seeing now is the application of these principles taken back and applied to the rest of scripture. One of the beauties and breathtaking attributes of scripture is this consistent pattern of language that survived for a thousand years or more until Christ appeared. The NT writers confirm these understandings for us and add to the awe and magnificence that illustrates why we can have faith in the God of the Bible and His Son who redeemed us.

Norm Voss

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Comment by Norm on October 3, 2010 at 7:13am

The sexual degradation is a common application used in biblical literature. Many folks think that Paul is talking about adultery and fornication with literal people in 1 Cor 5-6 but a careful study shows he's talking about uniting oneself to someone else beside God. Its the same in the OT concerning the application of adultery toward Israel and fornication by the two sisters in Ezekiel. It carries forth into Revelation.
Comment by davo on October 3, 2010 at 8:25am
Ken: Just as in the creation account, Gentiles are beasts in human form created by God to serve the Jews in a Judeo-centric universe where everything orbits around Israel and her people, as in this case, Adam.

G'day Ken,

Leaving the CC "Gentiles are beasts" idea aside just for a moment… what you bring up here Ken also has its flip side, as in the other side of the coin – like Jesus i.e., ultimate Israel or last Adam, Israel herself while receiving the wealth of the nations [Rev 21:24, 26; Isa 60:3, 5] was in fact herself to be as Jesus demonstrated – a servant to all [Mk 10:45]; that is, Israel was God's covenanted priestly nation to minister God's light to those in the chaos and ignorance of darkness [Gen 1:2]. She was in fact of all God's creation His firstfruits, and as always the firstfruits were the treasured and dedicated first portion of the entire harvest, that is, ON BEHALF OF all…

Jer 2:3a Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of His harvest.
Comment by davo on October 3, 2010 at 9:40am
Indeed Ken… God's whole purpose to save folk was to enable service – hence as I've stated elsewhere being "saved to serve". This was honed and perfected in the firstfruit saints on behalf of all Israel; we can and do however follow their lead.

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