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Tuesday, December 27 2011
Howls Of The Wilderness
The English word "owl" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word that meant to howl ("owl" and "howl" are the same word in origin - owl is just a clipped pronunciation of howl).
"Owl" is used to translate at least four different Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures that are used for the variety of owls that were found in the Middle East at that time. As with the English word "owl," the Hebrew words are descriptive of some characteristic of the species.
Owls are nocturnal (i.e. active at night - the reason for "nature" giving them relatively large eyes for greater night vision) birds of prey, related to nighthawks and whippoorwills. Owls are unique among birds of prey in that they are silent in flight, made possible by the velvet-like texture of their flight feathers - their prey seldom sees, or hears, the owl coming until it's too late. Owls nest widely, in buildings, hollow spaces in trees, and in the case of some varieties, in holes in the ground.
The LORD created all living creatures, both "clean" and "unclean." Why create "unclean" creatures? The answer may be found in what they do e.g. vultures remove carrion, thereby reducing the spread of disease - the reason that vultures themselves are not to be eaten. Owls are also classified as "unclean" because of the useful purpose that they have in nature - every night, owls devour millions of rodents.
"11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; 11:15 Every raven after his kind; 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind, 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat." (Leviticus 11:13-19 KJV)
"The screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch"
The "LORD God" of the "Old Testament" was Jesus Christ (see The Rock Of The Church). Here, Christ, as given through the prophet Isaiah, provided Israel with both a reminder of their history, and a prophecy of the future time when there will be no more dry places (physically or spiritually) on the earth. Even the birds, including owls, will then know the truth (as also described elsewhere in Isaiah i.e. "11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" Isaiah 11:6-9 KJV).
"43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob [see The First Christian Church], and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 43:3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee." (Isaiah 43:1-3 KJV)
The people of Israel repeatedly failed to come out of the "wilderness," as the LORD made possible for them to do (see Don't Look Back). The result was that He left them, or returned them (see The Babylon Exodus And Exile), to that wilderness where they would make the howling sound of owls i.e. "Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls."
"1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Owls were frequently used in analogy because of the human perception of their solitary nature and mournful sound (although owls themselves are naturally very happy where they live, and with the sounds that they make). In this example, "an owl of the desert" was used for describe human emotion.
"102:1 A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. 102:2 Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
Job too, at the time of his extreme suffering, likened himself to his perception of owls.
"30:24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction. 30:25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor? 30:26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. 30:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. 30:28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation. 30:29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. 30:30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat. 30:31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep." (Job 30:24-31 KJV)
The LORD also used owls in analogy, but referring to the "wilderness" that humanity has created for itself, not the owls that naturally live there.
"34:8 For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. 34:9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. 34:10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever. 34:11 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. 34:12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing. 34:13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. 34:14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. 34:15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate." (Isaiah 34:8-15 KJV)
"Babylon" is what man's world has become (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?).
"13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 13:20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. 13:21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. 13:22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged." (Isaiah 13:19-22 KJV)
Fact Finder: When and where will humanity be "born again"?
This Day In History, December 27
1741: Prussian (not to be confused with Russian - Prussia is in Germany) forces took Olmutz, Czechoslovakia.
1822: Louis Pasteur, the French chemist and bacteriologist, was born. He originated the heat process known as Pasteurization, used to destroy micro-organisms in certain foods and drinks.
1825: The first public railroad using steam locomotives was completed, in England.
1831: The British survey ship HMS Beagle set sail from Plymouth, England, on its scientific voyage around the world. On board was a young naturalist by the name of Charles Darwin (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1922: The Japanese Hosho was commissioned; it was the world's first purpose-built aircraft carrier (earlier carriers were converted ships e.g. the first U.S. aircraft carrier was a converted bulk coal carrier).
1927: Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, marking a victory for Joseph Stalin.
1945: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was established.
1949: Indonesia became independent from the Netherlands by decree from by Queen Juliana.
1972: Lester Pearson died at age 75. The 14th Canadian Prime Minister (1963-1968) was awarded the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the Israeli Suez Crisis of 1956.
1972: Belgium became the first NATO country to establish diplomatic relations with East Germany.
1978: King Juan Carlos ratified Spain's first democratic constitution.
1979: Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan. Hafizullah Amin, President of Afghanistan, was executed.
1995: Israeli troops withdrew from Ramallah, completing the handover of 6 "West Bank" towns to the "Palestinians" ("Palestine" is merely a variant English-language rendering of "Philistine").
1996: Rwanda's first genocide trial opened with the accused facing charges for their part in the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis in 1994.