Heavenly creatures

Do you believe there are animals in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Let’s imagine we can have a peek in the Kingdom from the Bible.  Here’s the throne of God, with a floor of sapphire, and encircled by an emerald rainbow.

In front of the throne on what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.” Revelation 4:6

Covered with eyes?  I can’t really picture it.  The creatures described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 aren’t like anything we have on earth.

Perhaps God has tried to show us with the peacock!

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The Hebrew word for eyes is ‘ayin‘ which represents consciousness – the idea of seeing and watching as well as knowledge.  Here in this world, our animals eyes show innocence, the innocence of our lost Eden.  Before the throne of God, I can imagine their innocent eyes reveal intelligence and spiritual insight.

These creatures are in the midst of the throne so we can see that God has his companion creatures, just as we do.

The living creatures are of four types, and of four in number.  Four is the “earth number,” for they have something to do with the earth. “They wait in eager expectation for children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19.

Animals have a soul.  God had given his creatures breath, “ruach”, a soul – just as man has been given breath, a soul.  “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

Does God care about our animals?  I’d say yes, for he writes that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). He cares about us all.

He watches over them.  Jesus said “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  Matthew 10:29

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The animals belong to God, and he knows each one.  “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  Psalms 50:10-11

It says in Revelation 4:11 that God created all things, and they were created for his pleasure.

Although the creatures are God’s, God placed them under Adam’s dominion.  After the fall of man, all creation suffered when the Earth came under a curse.

Job, the oldest book in the Bible deals with suffering.  Job spoke of the life of the creatures and the breath of all mankind being in God’s hand.  He said, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”  Job 12:7-10

The creatures can’t tell us, but they have this hope of being released from suffering. They’re looking forward to the day when they can join us in the new Kingdom, where there will be no more death or suffering.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:19-22

All creatures will be brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God when God’s Kingdom comes.

The wolf will live with the lamb, 
the leopard will lie down with the goat, 
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; 
and a little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

Cat & Psalm 23

Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

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Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book won’t appeal to ‘Pharisees’ or ‘Teachers of the Law.’  It will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

I am offering my eBook free this month in return for a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Offer ends on the 16th November.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102

The Kingdom to seek, and the Kingdom to come

journey inwardThe Kingdom of God takes two forms – 
the Kingdom within, and the Kingdom to come.
One is a journey, the other a destiny.

The Kingdom to come

We are waiting for a Kingdom to come.  We pray in the Lord’s prayer “Thy Kingdom Come, thy Will be done”.

After the Pharisees asked Jesus “When will the Kingdom of God come?”, speaking of Himself He told the Pharisees “The Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20). 

The Pharisees were deeply religious men who were well versed in scripture and should have recognised Him as their King, but they didn’t.  Jesus called them “blind guides” who “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. They themselves did not enter, nor would they let those enter who were trying to(Matthew 23).   Watch out for the Pharisees.

The coming of the King, the Lamb and the Lion.

lion-judah-lamb-godWhy did the Pharisees not recognise the King?  It is because the scriptures speak of two comings.

The first coming was as the lamb of God – the suffering servant described by the prophet Isaiah, 700 years before His birth.  Read Isaiah 53 for His description.  Even though they had these scriptures in the synagogues, they were not prepared for the Lamb.

They wanted the Lion – the promised King who will come in great power, glory and authority to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.

This is the second coming, the return of the King, whose coming we await.

The Kingdom within

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 to “seek the Kingdom of God first”.  What does this look like?

How can we seek a Kingdom that is not yet established?  Or is it?

When we repent of our sins, are baptized and begin following the lead of the Holy Spirit, we voluntarily place ourselves under the laws and authority of the coming Kingdom of God.

Living by the laws of the Kingdom

There are two laws in the Kingdom.  This is what Jesus said in reponse to the Pharisees;

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-37

What would the world look like if we all did this?

The lost lamb

The lambing beat, Sharon & Jo Dassler

Sharon & Jo Dassler, back from the lambing beat

There is nothing more endearing than a lamb.  This is me in my earlier life when I lived and worked on our family farm, bringing in a lamb we found next to its dead mother.  We did a lambing beat each day to check the ewes and bring in any orphans.  We were really happy when one was found.  We did our best to search for the little ones and save them.

In the same way the Lord goes out of his way to search for and save us.  Jesus said;

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.

In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”  Matthew 18:14

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11 (Old Testament)

This shepherd loved us so much He laid His life down for us.

Jesus said I AM the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15 (New Testament)