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FEED MY SHEEP- Chapter 1, Death Comes to the World

Written by: Camping, Harold    Posted on: 05/07/2003

Category: Bible Studies

Source: CCN

                          FEED MY SHEEP                         by Harold Camping

A Scriptural view Of the Christian's responsibility To the world around him.

Copyright 1972 Family Stations, Inc. 290 Hegenberger Road Oakland, California  94621

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS


CHAPTER 1    DEATH COMES TO THE WORLD               May There Have Been Animal Death in Eden?               Does the Bible Prohibit the Idea of Pre-Fall               Animal Death?               Man and Animals Destroyed               The First Judgment               Herbivorous Animals in Eden               Herbivorous Animals in Eternity

CHAPTER 2    ADAM FAILS AS KING               Fill the Earth               Till and Keep the Garden               Dominion Over the Creatures               Adam is to Subdue the Earth               When Did Satan Fall?               Creation Cursed               Creation Redeemed               Christ Shall Have Dominion

CHAPTER 3    MAN'S TASK               God's Victory Timetable               Why Does God Delay?               The Cross and Satan               Sinless Man               Sinless Man Falls               Man, The Slave of Satan               God's Man, the Believer               Does the Believer Exercise Judgment?               The Believer's Task               He Must Reign Over His Body               He is a Prophet               He is a Priest

CHAPTER 4    FEED MY SHEEP               Abel Keeps Sheep               Cain - A Type of Modern Man               Ecology:  A Desperate Question               Population Control               Man and Animals on the Same Level               Abel - A Type of the Believer               The Wisdom of the World Versus                 the Foolishness of Preaching               Man's Rebellion Against God is Escalating


    Any  true  believer  worth  his  salt must be deeply concerned about his responsibility in relationship to the world in  which he is  living.  He must  realize that his  salvation resulted from an act  of completely undeserved love by  his Savior.  Because he has become  a  citizen  of  Christ's  Kingdom,  he should want to make certain  that he is  living in obedience  to this King.  He should know that Jesus saved him for Christ's glory.  But he should also know  that to  live as  a saved  believer to  the glory  of Christ involves obligations to the world in which he presently exists.

    As mankind becomes more bewildered, and as sin multiplies, the believer  is even  more pressed  to make  certain he is faithfully discharging his  duty to  God, in  relationship to  Him, all other truth, phenomena, and reality will pass away.

    But can he  know precisely what his mandates with reference to the world actually  are?  Can these  be articulated in  such plain fashion  that he will  have precise guidance  in such common place areas  of  his  life  as  choosing  his vocation, and spending his money?

    In general, we could probably say that two answers are offered to the question of the believer's task in the world.  The first is that  he is first  of all a  witness of the  Gospel of Christ, and this  is  to  be  the  motivating  philosophy  undergirding  every decision.  As  a  first  responsibility,  he  is not to be at all concerned  about the other  spheres of life  such as governmental, scientific,  business, etc.  As long  as he  is witnessing, he is within the will of God.

    The second is that which is held by many, and  which indicates that while we are witnesses, we do have dominion over this  earth.  We are to bring  it into subjection in the name  of Christ.  Thus, we are to become scientists, statesmen, philosophers, and building contractors that  we might  assist in  building a  better world in which to offer  the Gospel.  We are  to rule over every  aspect of this creation as God's vice-gerund.

    Which  answer  is  the  more  Biblical?  Or  is there another answer?  We must go to the Bible to find our solution.  Only it is trustworthy and authoritative.

    This  is  an  important  question.  Upon its answer hangs the whole philosophy of  the education of  our Christian youth.  Upon its  answer  depends  the  nature  of  each Christian's livlihood.  Indeed, to its answer the whole cause of Christ in the world today relates.

    In this  paper we shall  attempt to find  the Biblical answer.  In  order  to  find  this  we  must begin at the beginning--in the Garden of  Eden.  For it is  there that man is  first shown to us.  We shall  examine him in  his world of  long ago, and  in so doing shall discover our responsibility to today's world. 

    As we  search for these answers we shall also get a fresh look at  the  entrance  of  sin  into  the  world.  We  shall not only determine  the timetable of  Lucifer's fall into  sin but also the certainity of his destruction.

                            CHAPTER 1

                    Death Comes to the World

    Any attempt to discover the task of the believer in the  world today must begin with Genesis I.  For it was in this first chapter of  the  Bible  that  God  gave  the  initial decisive information regarding the role of man in the world.

    But  when  we  look  at  the  language  of  Genesis I, we  are confronted  by  a  contradiction  in  statements  that  seems  to frustrate us at the very outset in  our attempt to develop a clear understanding regarding the question we are examining.  In Genesis 1:28  God  said  after  He  had  created  our  first  parents, "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 air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."

    To be  fruitful, to multiply,  to fill the  earth, and to have dominion  over its  creatures is  language that  poses no apparent difficulties.  The Bible appears to teach  that the earth together with its creatures was  created good and beautiful.  There  was no  sin, and no  curse of sin.  Man was placed  here as the  crown of God's  creation to serve as God's  vice- gerund, as the Lord of His creation.  Logically, he would exercixe dominion or rule  over the lesser creatures.

    But there is  included in these verses the phrase "subdue it."  A contemplation of this phrase produces a whole host of questions.  If  this world  was created  good and  perfect, what  was there to subdue?  One subdues something that is an antagonist or that is in rebellion.  Maybe the  world, before  the fall  of Adam into sin, wasn't as perfect as  we always thought.  And isn't it a fact that God  placed Adam and Eve in  a garden?  Doesn't  this suggest that the world  outside the  garden was  wild and  in need of subduing?  Moreover,  didn't the angel  Lucifer, and his  fellow angels rebel against  God  at  some  earlier  date?  Couldn't they already have contaminated the earth  in some fashion  so as to  necessitate the command to Adam to subdue the earth?

    These are not  idle questions.  For  some reason, as  we shall see  in later  chapters of  this study,  the command to subdue the earth  and  have  dominion  over  its creatures was never repeated again  in  the  Bible.  It  is  imperative,  therefore,  that  we ascertain whether theses commands  related only to man  before his fall into  sin, or whether  they relate to  all mankind throughout history.

    An understanding of the  Biblical  statement  "subdue  it" is, therefore,  exceedingly  crucial  if  we  are  to  understand  the believer's task today.  If there was indeed  rebellion in creation before the  fall of man  into sin, then  God's command to  Adam to subdue the  earth would apply  in a similar  fashion to man today.  But if the  earth was good, without any  rebellious elements which we commonly associate with the curse of sin, then there must be an altogether  different explanation for "subdue  it" than that which appears at first  glance; and man  today would, therefore,  have a somewhat  different  responsibility  toward  the  world  and  its creatures than Adam did before he fell into sin.

    We should  therefore, examine  the world  that existed  before man's disobedience in the Garden of Eden to discover if there  was anything there  that looks like that which would result from sin's curse on the earth.

    A most obvious  place to begin in our search is to examine the question  of  death  in  the  world  before  the fall of man.  God decreed  to Adam that in  the day that he  disobeyed God, he would surely  die  (Gen.  2:17).  Death,  then--at  least  death  for  mankind--was an immediate  and terrible result of  sin.  And since we  read  in  Genesis  1:30  that  the  animals  apparently  were herbivorous--"I  have given  every green  plant for food"-- whereas today  and during known  history many animals  are carnivorous, we suspect  that  the  curse  of  sin  (death)  could have applied to animals as well as man.

    A  study of the question of  the timing of death's coming into the world,  therefore, should be made.  If  death did occur in the animal world before man's sin, we could readily believe there were other  rebellious elements  in the  world at  that time.  We Would then see the reasonableness of  the command to Adam to  subdue the earth.  On the  other hand,  if we  could know  that there was no death in the animal world before the fall of man, we would suspect that an altogether different solution must be found to the command "subdue it."  This solution  would also  have much  to say  about man's task today.

May There Have Been Animal Death In Eden?

    Let  us first  ask if  the Scriptures  in any way suggest that there may have been  animal death before the fall?  In a number of places  the Bible speaks of animals  and birds using other animals as food.  But none of these statements relates in any sense to the pre-fall  era.  The  only  verse  that  could  possibly  be  of significance is  that of Psalm  104:21, "The young  lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God."

    Some believe that this verse, which is speaking of carnivorous animals,  is  set  in  the  context  of  a  Psalm dealing with the creation  of the world.  If  this is so, we  have already found an answer to  the question of  animal death before  the fall of Adam.  But  is  this  so?  Let  us look  at this Psalm more carefully to determine  if  this  verse  is  pre-fall  or  post-fall  in  its application.

    It is true that verses within this Psalm speak of the  initial creation.  Verse  two--"who  has  stretched  out the heavens as a tent," verse five, "thou  didst set the earth on its foundations," verse nineteen--"thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons," all surely are speaking of  creation.  But these themes do  not assure us that the entire Psalm  speaks of creation.  They are often used in  other places in the Holy Canon to speak of creation but within a  non-creation  context.  (cf.  Isa.  48:13.)  Moreover, several verses  of  Psalm  104  definitely  do  not  have reference to the creation.  Verses 6 to  9 speak of  the waters standing above the mountains,  followed  by  the  raising  of  the  mountains and the sinking  of the valleys.  The promise  is then enunciated that the waters  "might  not  again  cover  the  earth."  The word `again' indicates that something different than  the separation of the dry land from the  seas as detailed  in the creation  account is being considered.  For  Genesis 6 to 9  tells us of the  covering of all the earth with water, and that event occurred long after creation.  These verses in  Psalm 104:6-9 are,  therefore, none other  than a description  of  the  flood  of  Noah's  day.  The mountains were covered at  that time  (Gen 7:19)  and God  faithfully promised He would never again destroy all flesh with a flood (Gen. 9:8-17).

    Other  verses of this Psalm  also describe things unrelated to the creation  program.  Verse  26 speaks  of ships,  a much  later phenomenon than Genesis 1:3.  And verses 27 to 30  indicated that death comes  to all who look to God for food.  But "these all" who look  to  the  Lord  must  include  the  fish, the animals and man himself who  are the subject of the preceding verses.  Since man's death  was without question a  result of  Adam's sin, we know that these verses  must be  referring to  conditions after  the fall of Adam.  Finally, Genesis 1:30 clearly states that plants were given to man  and animals  for food.  Psalm 104:21  does not conform to this condition and, therefore, must relate to conditions after sin entered the world.

    We see,  therefore, that  Psalm 104:21  must be  speaking of a situation prevailing during  the lifetime of the  Psalmist.  Since this appears  to be the only Biblical passage which might possibly relate to animal death before the fall, we conclude that the Bible offers no  information that would suggest  there was death amongst animals before the fall.

Does The Bible Prohibit The Idea of Pre-Fall Animal Death?

    Let us now approach the Bible from another viewpoint.  Does it suggest in any way  that there could not have been death among the animals  before  the  fall?  This  question  must  be  answered affirmatively as we shall see.

    When we  look at death we are surprised  to see the close link between  animals  and  man.  We  know,  of  course,  that  man is altogether  different from animals  in that man  is created in the image of  God with a  soul that lives  beyond the grave.  He dies when the soul leaves the body.  But we can also properly say  that he  dies when  the breath  of life,  which is  also called spirit, leaves his  body.  In this  the animal is  like man.  By  the same token, in this context, we can not speak of plants dying, inasmuch as they do not  have the breath of life.  In  fact, the Bible very particularly indicates that the created  function of plants was to serve as food (Gen. l:29,30).

    In Psalm  104:27-29 we  have an  example of  this relationship between man and animals.  There we read "these all...are dismayed; when thou takest away  their breath they die."  The phrase "these all" includes man and animals as the context of  this Psalm shows.  Death is the  lot of all men and all creatures who have the breath of  life.  This same truth is  given in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 where we read,  "For the  fate of  the sons  of men  and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one  dies so dies the other.  They all have the same breath...who knows  whether the spirit of man goes upward and  the  spirit  of  the  beast  goes  down  to  the  earth."  Interestingly the  word "spirit"  or "breath"  is the  Hebrew word `ruach' whether used of man or of animals.

    Since this identification  of man with  animals, by virtue  of the fact that each has the breath of life,  extends throughout the Bible, we can expect it  to be true at the time of Adam's sin.  It begins to  appear that  when death  came to  man it  also came  to animals.  The  spiritual  aspects  of  this death (eternal death) apply only to man.  The physical aspects (removal of breath) would apply to man and animals.

Man and Animals Destroyed

    When we look at the major judgments of God we discover in even more  striking  fashion  the  parallel  relationship  that  exists between  man and  animals in  the area  of death.  These judgments show that the weal or woe of animals is directly  parallel to that of men.  The first judgment after Adam was that that of  the flood of  Noah's  day.  Of  this  judgment  we  read,  "And  all  flesh died...birds,  cattle, beasts  and all  swarming creatures,... and every man;  everything on the  dry land in  whose nostrils was the breath of life  died," (Gen.7:21-22).  A  second judgment is  that upon  Sodom and Gomorrah;  "the Lord rained  on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone...and  he  overthrew  those  cities...and  all  the inhabitants  of the  cities, and  what grew  on the ground," (Gen. 19:24,25).  A third judgment is that upon the Egyptians; "the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh  who sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive who  was in  the dungeon,  and all  the first-born of the cattle," (Ex. 12:29).

    Another judgment is that upon the inhabitants of Canaan,  with the  destruction  of  Jericho  serving  as a prototype; "Then they utterly destroyed all in the  city, both men and women,  young and old, oxen, sheep, and asses, with the edge of the  sword," (Joshua 6:21).  This  was in strict accord with  the commandment of God as recorded in the  fifth book of the Pentateuch;  "But in the cities of  these  peoples  that  the  Lord  your  God  gives you  for  an inheritance,  you shall save alive  nothing that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them"(Deut. 20"16).

    Amazingly in all of these accounts, animals are destroyed with man,  even though  it is  man who  was the  cause of the judgment, rather than  the animals.  This would  explain the statement found in  the last  verse of  Jonah where  we read,  "should I  not pity Nineveh...in which there are...much  cattle."  The weal or  woe of the cattle would be in direct relationship to that of the Ninevites.

The First Judgment

    But  one  other  judgment  must  be  considered.  That is the initial  judgment,  a  judgment  so  severe  that  its shock waves continue through all of  time and on into eternity.  Adam and Eve sinned.  God's judgment was  immediate and quite fatal.  They were condemned  to  death.  In  Genesis  3,  where we read of this sad event, the animals  are not specifically  mentioned as sharing  in this judgment.  But  we have seen that all  of the other judgments upon man  were shared  by the  animals.  Therefore,  since God  is consistent and orderly in His dealings with His creation, we would expect that animals would also suffer death in parallel fashion to man.

    The  Bible nowhere intimates  this is not  the case.  In fact, Romans 8:20 indicates the creation  was "subjected to futility not of its own  will."  Animals were a part of  creation so they, too, must be  included with that which was  brought into the bondage of decay.  Genesis 3:17  states that the ground was cursed and Romans 8 surely  indicates that  this is  to be  understood as  the whole creation  including  animals.  Hosea  4:3  further  shows us this bondage as  including animals; "Therefore, the land mourns and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of  the air."  We must  conclude, then,  that animals  were subjected to death in like fashion with man, because of man's sin.

Herbivorous Animals In Eden

    This concept is  further strengthened when we note that in the Garden  of Eden the  animals were herbivorous:  "I have given you every plant...for food, and to every beast of the earth..., I have given every green plant for food"  (Gen. 1:29,30).  Note the close relationship between animals and man.  We do not know when animals became carnivorous, but undoubtedly the  results of the curse upon creation brought about this  condition.  We do know that  God must have  killed animals when  He brought skins  to cover Adam and Eve (Gen.3:21).  We know Abel killed  a lamb and his offering was very acceptable to  God.  But  these events  were after  the fall.  To clarify  this post- fall relationship, God told Noah in Gensis 9:3, "every moving  thing shall be  food for you."  Following the fall, the plan of  God was that animals  were to be killed.  Before the fall, the  herbivorous nature  of animals  accorded perfectly with the concept of the absence of death amongst animals.

Herbivorous Animals in Eternity

    If we look for a moment now at the weal of  man, we shall find additional evidence  that shows how animals are  related to man in God's plan.  In  Genesis 9:8-17 we read that  God convenanted with man and with every living creature with the breath of life that He would never again destroy the  world with a flood.  And  in Exodus ll:7 we  read that the animals of the Israelites were to be spared God's judgment of the tenth plague.  No wonder Christ spoke of the Father's concern of a sparrow.

    This concern  of God  for animals  and all  creatures with the breath of life is pictured for us all the way into eternity.  When judgment  day  comes,  all  animals  will  be  destroyed  with the unsaved, even as  they were destroyed  in Sodom and  Jericho.  But even  as animals were  saved with Noah  out of the flood judgment, and with the Israelites out of the tenth plague judgment, so, too, out of the final  judgment God gives us  word pictures of weal  or blessings for animals along with man.  In Hosea 2:18,19  we  read, "I will  make  for you a  covenant on that day  with the beasts of the field...and I will make you lie down in safety."  The  picture is one  of peace  and security  with no  fear of  death.  An  even stronger statement is that of Isaiah 11:6-9, "the wolf shall dwell with the  lamb...and the  weaned child  shall put  his hand on the adder's den."  That these conditions prevail in the new heaven and earth is assured us by the testimony of Isaiah 65:17-25.  There we read, "the wolf and lamb  shall feed together, the lion  shall eat straw  like  an  ox"  (Isa.  65:25).  The question at hand is not whether  there literally  will be  animals in  the new  heaven and earth.  Rather  the  truth  imparted  in  these  passages  is the revelation  of the completion of the predetermined program of God.  The  creation  that  was  "subjected  to  futility, not of its own will...will  be set free from its  bondage of decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:20,21).

    For mankind this  glorious liberty means  that death has  been destroyed and all decay has ceased.  Since the rest of creation is to obtain glorious liberty like man, death and decay must likewise be removed from  all of creation  including animals.  This  is the new earth.  The covenant made with all living creatures in Hosea 2 will be fulfilled.  Death will have been destroyed (I Cor. 15:26).  The evidence of the fulfillment of that promise includes the  word picture  of  Isaiah  65  that  shows  that  the  animals are again herbivorous.  God,  therefore, relates the  picutre of herbivorous animals to the  concept of the absence of  death.  The herbivorous animals  in  Eden  should  then  give  the same concept, i.e., the absence of death.

    Moreover, since  the promise of the removal  of death from man as well as animals must be understood as being included within the language of the `glorious liberty' into which the creation will be restored, death amongst animals must be a result of the curse into which  the  creation  was  subjected  by Adam's sin.  The pre-fall animals, therefore,  did not  die since  there was  no curse  upon creation at this time.

    The language of Genesis 1:31  supports this whole idea of Eden being  without death amongst animals.  There  we read that God saw all that He had made  and it was "very good."  This  had reference to man without the ravages of  decay and death.  But it also  had reference to animals since they are a part of creation.  Since man with the breath of life was without death and was "very good," the animals which likewise have the breath of life must also have been without death in order to receive God's commendation "very good."

    We, thus, see that  the Bible gives much evidence  that points to  the absence of  death amongst animals  before the fall.  This, incidentally,  means  that  the  fossil  record is that of animals which have died  after Adam's sin  and explusion from  the garden.  Thus, the General Theory  of Evolution or the idea  of a so-ca

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