Messianic Time and Animals – Part One

Photo by Marcello Newall

LIVING AT THE END OF HISTORY

In 1989 the political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote a landmark paper entitled ‘The End of History’. In the view of Fukuyama the end of the Cold War represented the completion of history as we know it and, what he believed to be, the triumph of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism that would now become the default political and economic system of all of humanity. Even though Fukuyama’s hypothesis is highly debatable, his basic premise is strongly reminiscent of the Judaeo-Christian worldview. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Six – Conclusion

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

To put it simply, the sacrificial cult does not work. It never has worked. All those animal sacrifices were completely unnecessary. Even if the original tabernacle were put in place by God to teach a sacrificial people about having peace with God, the atonement of sins and even the coming messiah, the people have not listened, ever. They go and make sacrifices, literally get blood on their hands and then, nothing. Continue reading

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Prayer Event “Loosing The Animals” Recap

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
–Matthew 16:19; 18:18
For more about our important role as prayer warriors see this post,
“Keys To The Kingdom”

Used with express permission from
livingoutsidethestacks.com

During the week of Monday 5/1 through Sunday 5/7, many of SAGC Prayer Group members joined in prayer to bind the enemy’s evil forces which oppress creation, and to loose the animals to the Lord for their liberation. We also prayed to bind the evil powers which deceive humans into committing, supporting, and covering up cruelty, and loose all people to Jesus, so they can know and reflect His truth and love. We focused our prayer on specific issues facing animals, detailed in our Prayer List. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Five

NASB_Matthew 21-12 Money Changers in the Temple

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Part Three
Part Four

I suspect the reason why most preachers focus only on the money changers is due to the words that Jesus spoke. In the Gospel of John He says ‘Stop making My Father’s House a market place!’ (John 2:16). Indeed it was a market place, specifically the temples animal market! This marketplace was necessary for the running of the sacrificial system. However, in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus refers to the temple as a ‘den of robbers’. This has led people to believe that Jesus criticism was about the money changers who were being dishonest with their customers. However this is not what the text implies. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Four

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Part Three

~

There is an often overlooked detail in the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was not alone in his protest. After Jesus chased out those buying and selling, along with the money changers and those who sold doves, Jesus’ protest culminated in the blind and the lame coming to Him in the temple. They occupy the area and right there in that place Jesus began to heal them. These protestors then begin to sing a victory song, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David.’ Naturally, the temple authorities freaked! (Matthew 21:13-16). So what is the significance of this aspect to Jesus protest? Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Three

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

For those who have not yet read:
Part One
Part Two

Those who sold doves

NASB_Matthew 21-12 Money Changers in the Temple

Last, but certainly not least, Jesus turns his attention to those selling doves for sacrifice. Whilst Jesus initially targeted those buying and selling cattle, He does not forget about the birds. There is a nice detail given in each of the synoptic Gospels that He overturned the ‘seats’ of those who sold doves, whereas with the money changers He overturned their tables. Had He overturned the tables or cages of the doves it would have harmed the birds. Jesus does not attack the birds but those who were selling them. The fact that all four Gospels speak about Jesus’ protest against the dove sellers may also indicate that Jesus is concerned here with issues other than the financial exploitation of the poor. The main reason why doves were sold was to make the sacrificial cult accessible to everyone, despite their income level. If you could not afford a bull, sheep or goat, you could substitute them for a dove.

Taking all of this into consideration, is it at all possible that Jesus protest against the temple’s animal market was more than just a condemnation of capitalism? Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part Two

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

For those who have not yet read Part One

 The Sellers and Buyers

In various Bible movies the temple marketplace has often been depicted as secular. We often imagine a scene where local people come to buy their groceries, tourists purchase souvenirs and market traders call out “two for the price of one, get them while their hot!” Contrary to popular opinion the temple marketplace was not a secular one. The principle items for sale were animals and birds for sacrifice. That is what “those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple” were trading in and it was those people who were Jesus’ first point of attack. Continue reading

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The Activism of Christ – Part One

Jesus Casts Out The Money Changers
By William Hole
Wikimedia Commons

Twice in Jesus ministry He is seen in the role of an activist, protesting in the temple. In the Gospel of John, Jesus goes into the Temple and makes a whip of cords and drives the animals and those selling them out of the temple. He overturns the tables of the money-changers and tells those who are selling doves to get them ‘out of here’. This incident took place during the first Passover season of Jesus public ministry. Many theologians believe that this story is used by John as an illustration of how this Jewish institution is ‘meant to be replaced by Jesus’ (René Kieffer, The Oxford Bible Commentary, edited by John Barton and John Muddiman, published by Oxford University Press, page 965). The Synoptic Gospels speak of a similar protest in the days leading up to the third and final Passover season of Jesus public ministry. This event is seen by many as the catalyst that enables the temple authorities to finally act against Jesus. These protests were huge revolutionary statements. The modern equivalent would be if you went into a nation’s capital, to the main political and/or religious centre and you started to burn that nation’s flag for all to see. It was a way of declaring that this system is wrong and you are passionately opposed to it. Continue reading

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Introducing Another Writer to Our Blog!

We are pleased to announce we are adding a new author!  Phil Guyott expressed interest in joining SAGC shortly before the SARX Creature Conference in March.  Roslyne, Marcello, and I were able to meet Phil at the conference.

We find Phil’s passion for the cause of animals unflappable, his relationship with the Lord is front and center in his life.  We are excited to add his talent in writing skills and rich style to the blog as we add his voice to ours in our ministry speaking out for animal welfare from a faith perspective.  Phil also joins us in our efforts to insist that the shepherding of creation is made an integral part of the function of church doctrine, just as feeding the poor and speaking out for those who are being oppressed is a matter of faith.
Continue reading

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Prayer As Spiritual Warfare – Part Two

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  ~Ephesians 6:10-18

Painting by Hogarth
‘The Sleeping Church’

During our first of this two part series, we left off with a segment about the Lord’s Prayer.  The prayer is often prayed as a means of submitting to God accepting all that happens to us, good and bad, as the will of God; it is said as though “his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven” is entirely up to God.   The prayer is actually a spiritual warfare prayer.  We are to put on display as Jesus followers, as his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), as peacemakers and those who emulate Jesus (Ephesians 5:1.2), his will being done “on earth as it is in heaven.”  The rest of the prayer when we act upon what it says will keep us from allowing Satanic strongholds to take root in our lives.  We are free to partner with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit in order to put on display his kingdom on earth as an act of war that is done through putting on love above all else (Colossians 3:14).  For a rendition of this prayer said in this light, go here.

In addition to prayer as a weapon of war, here is a list of other tools of spiritual warfare discussed during the prayer event: Continue reading

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He Is Risen!

Internet Photo of the Tomb of Christ

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.”
Luke 24:1-8

Easter Blessings to all of you at Shepherding All God’s Creatures and beyond!!

Continue reading

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Prayer As Spiritual Warfare – Part One

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving’.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise, they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.”
Isaiah 6:9; Matthew 13:15

Painting by Hogarth
‘The Sleeping Church’

Over the last week from April 3rd through the 9th, SAGC held our first monthly prayer event with a prayer conference call taking place on the last day. To learn more, go here.

As the Title suggests, the topic was about exposing lies that the powers and principalities hold the world and the church in bondage to, and about seeing spiritual warfare in the reading of scripture.  In the narrative that began the event, Jessica wrote: Continue reading

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Our Saviour Is With Us – Lent Reflections

Shaded Cross, by Michael Bernico, Courtesy CreationSwap

The Lent season is upon us.  It is the season in which we celebrate our Saviour’s resurrection and the sacrifice He made in order to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8) and provide a way for all of us to come to Him personally for salvation.  His redemptive work on the cross, however, does not stop with human-creatures.  It includes the entire created order – the earth, animal kingdom, and cosmos.  For a good read on what science can teach us about the nature of time, life, and the expanding cosmos, check out “The Cosmic Dance“, by Greg Boyd.  In it is shown implications that we partake in, for ill or for good, determining the future.  This can shed light on the passage of scripture that says we can speed the Lord’s coming (2 Peter 3:12) when we partner with God, bringing creation closer to the day of God’s final redemption for us all. Continue reading

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Sarx Creature Conference – Part Two

Izaak van Oosten – Garden of Eden
Wikimedia Public Domain

It seems like yesterday I was writing, excited to be leaving to fly to England for the Sarx Conference.  Here it is, ten days later, the event and the entire trip is over!  It was a marvelous conference!  Each and every speaker had messages appropriate to reach the churches today, this is so needed on a broad scale.  Oh, that we could all attend our church to hear a message that includes animal welfare, making shepherding the earth and ALL that is in it of prime theological concern!

Continue reading

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Sarx Creature Conference

I am excited tonight, as tomorrow, I will fly to England to attend the Sarx Creature Conference held March 18th in London!  I will meet Roslyne Smith and Marcello Newall for the first time!  We have been blogging together for nearly four years.

The story began in December of 2013.  I had been introduced to an online animal welfare organization called “Not One Sparrow”.  Continue reading

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