Animal Gospel

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 11:9

Covenant Foundations

Psalm 23: The Hope of the Universe
By: Martin Cisneros

The 23rd Psalm, though poetically written stands apart from all other poetry as being a divine revelation of all of the plans and processes of God in the behalf of Creation. The 23rd Psalm isn't poetry, again, though it is poetically written. The 23rd Psalm stands before us as the Genesis chapter 1 of all of Creation, the outworkings of divine grace through the eons of time, and as a masterpiece "snap shot" of Bible prophecy as it concerns us in both the immediate future, the coming ages, and the endless eternity of all in all.

The 23rd Psalm challenges all of our notions of what constitutes being a Shepherd by insisting that ultimately the divine benevolence towards all of us is called "Shepherding" when all other nouns, pronouns, and superlatives escape our ability to declare what exactly life in God is like. The idea of the Lord being our Shepherd offends the thoughtful and rational person, who in spite of his/her care for details of compassion and Christian gentleness and meekness in all other areas of life would still nontheless not give it a second thought to partake of some animal's poor and betrayed flesh.

Woe, indeed, to the person who views Shepherding as necessarily self centered and essentially and ultimately a means of exploiting animals for personal gain, gratification, and self centered comforts! Your view of your God is necessarily a view of someone who will stop at nothing to fulfill His purposes at your complete expense rather than at His expense!

If you view "Shepherding" as necessarily and eternally about growing "animal crops," for human consumption, then the 23rd Psalm is bad news to you, indeed, because by your set of definitions you are left with the same misguided emotions that tormented St. Paul that you are, therefore, a spectacle to both the world and to angels who are waiting for God to say the Word in finally granting them permission to do with your flesh and belongings all that you, yourself, would ever personally care to do to animals or a worst enemy!

But if the Lord being your Shepherd brings hope and a shout of triumph to your soul, then something within you may yet be more merciful and tender towards yourself, the animal creation around you, and all souls who will yet know Christ's saving power in their personal experience than you've thus far considered to be within yourself. The appetites, minds, and traditions of many hold the purest of hearts in strictest bondage to what's ultimately profane and immoral --the going after "strange flesh" in the Words of St. Jude!

The 23rd Psalm is the creative germ from which all of Creation was formed, molded, temporarily broken [as pottery or dough], and yet to be restored in fullness. The 23rd Psalm is eternal truth in the midst of a generation that still asks "what is truth?". You were created from and for the 23rd Psalm. That's where you come from and that is your destiny! It begins with an utterance of "The Lord" and ends with a focus on the "Time Lord," or the Lord of Time.

There's no need to fret or debate about the meaning of "forever" where that passage is concerned because it's not an utterance of any context of time outside of the context of God being All in all. God is the Creator, the dam, and the flood-gate of time. God in Christ is it's source, climax, extent, rules, definitions, and Redeemer. The last line of the 23rd Psalm is the Old Testament counterpart to the Romans 16 declaration of Christ as the God whose purposes of Redemption ride the currents of the ages that themselves have flowed from the age-enduring promises of Redemption. He's declared as the "age-lasting" God in the sense that no matter the period in which death, destruction, and damnation reign through the first man Adam's one act of disobedience, Christ is still the Man whose one act of obedience will seek and save every soul while [systematically] seeking and destroying every last vestige of rebellion from the cosmos!

We are promised to dwell in the "day" of the Lord all of the days of our lives while we are in this mortal body. To me, that's the real sense of the last verse of the 23rd Psalm. The house of the Lord is obviously our bodies, from what the Bible teaches about the Blood of Christ, the perfect lamb, having been applied to our hearts and consciences through faith and what we have of the downpayment on redemption besides and in lue of that reality.

The 23rd Psalm is a promise to animals, it's a promise to angels, and it's a promise to both men and women who've lived at either extreme of being either animals or angels. We dwell in the house of the Lord's ages, times, or days with the anointing on our heads, a corrective paddle on our butts, succulent provisions of green pastures and still waters for our weary bodies and bellies, and with the hope that we can sit down on our sore butts and partake of Christ in the presence of our enemies. You don't eat in front of enemies that haven't been defeated! The 23rd Psalm assures you of victory over every enemy that's ever waged war against your soul to terrorize, harass, and spoil you of every good thing and purpose of God in your life.

Christ is restoring your soul and leading you in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. You don't have to fear a single evil, either temporal or eternal, because He is with you always. His rod and staff are there to comfort you. His rod and staff are there to pull you out of the interesting ditches that you've fallen into. And they're there to test the depths of the waters He's asking you to cross, even before He asks you to cross them! They're instruments that'll be used more swiftly in the days to come to correct you and to frighten off your enemies --while correcting them and fulfilling His additional purposes of redeeming their lives from the very destruction that their hard hearts have necessitated. They'll be used more forcefully in the days ahead to restore your long lost provisions and to restore you to your rest. They'll keep the valley of the shadow of death from ever being anything more than a mere shadow!

His rod can be looked at as being the scepter of righteousness that Christ weilds as both our Priest and King. One might even go so far as to consider it the angels that inhabit His presence which He puts off as the coat of a gentleman which He's purposed to lay on the puddle before us which we've feared was a rushing river bent on keeping us from His provisions, direction, and rest. Though we should never give angels a place in our lives which the New Testament doesn't give them, we may still rest assured of their Presence and Activities in our behalf since we're the heirs of salvation. He's placed them before us so that our foot won't dash against a stone according to the 91st Psalm. If they're baring us up in their hands so that we won't dash our foot against a stone, then they're the appointed red carpet of life to the believer announcing all of the dignities of the New Covenant, the dignities of the first born, and the promise of God towards the latter fruits who though destroyed in this age are still subject to the Anointed Savior Who's the same yesterday, today, and through the ages of unfolding grace.

It can't be emphasized enough that Christ still restores souls that have weakened in the valley of the shadow of death. Though we've previously been so unsure about the waters before us and the title deed of the green pastures within view because of the menacing valley of the shadow of death, we don't have to fear any evil. He's with us to protect us, deliver us, teach us, and restore our souls. His Anointing, which is His burden removing, yoke destroying power in the Words of Isaiah the prophet, can restore clarity to our minds where there's only been fear and confusion until now. Even if we've never ever known peace of mind and rest from our struggles, He can create within us a pure, undefiled, strong, and healthy heart. He's committed to removing every fear of failure, every fear of abandonment, and every shadow of the past that's continually demanded our death, our tension, our frustration, and our fragmentation. He loves you, no matter what! He declared that before the foundation of the world and He declares it with every mistake we make, with every crushing blow that tries to bring confusion, estrangement, and loss, and He's determined to be satisfied with the results of the travail of His own Personal Soul according to Isaiah chapters 53 and 54.

"Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me." --Psalm 23:4

The Psalmist assures us of being delivered from the fears of the valley of the shadow of death. What are those fears that have to bow their knee to the greater fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom, according to the Proverbs)? Are you afraid of being jobless? Perhaps you are jobless or have just found yourself in a jobless situation. Or maybe the threat of being laid-off is ever before you. You can fear no evil because the Lord is with you. You can potentially be afraid from the perspective of the threats that surround you, but you can experientially be without the fear of evil because you abide in the secret place of the Most High. The threats that surround you may be more than shadows, but you're called into the fellowship of light.

In the fellowship of light His blood cleanses you of all evil. That doesn't just mean a total cleansing from the evils that either you've committed or that have been committed against you, but that also means having the immune system of the Lord at work in your being to where financial crisis can strike the body of your life or your life's work and that financial evil can be totally overwhelmed by the white blood cells inherent in the Blood of Jesus Christ at work in your life through the power of His High Priestly ministry and His manifest Spirit in your life. Perhaps you may be experiencing the fevers and sweats that bills bring on. That doesn't mean that the Blood of your High Priest in the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, isn't working in your life. When you weave in and out of sweats in the midst of a feverish condition, in the natural, that generally means that WWIII is going on inside of your body as your body is fighting against infection, right? The Blood of Christ will do the same exact thing in your spirit warring against those temptations that are warring against your soul and warring against those things that are invaders into your life to take away from the quality of your life as it progresses towards the eons of His purposes for your life.

It is not the will of God for you to be broke or to barely be able to pay your bills. It is not the will of God for you to have to decide which bills get paid this month and which will have to wait until next month! It is God's will for you to obey Him all of the days of your life and for you to dwell in the house, or riches, of the Lord, forever and ever! Just because your family has "always" been broke, busted, and disgusted, that doesn't mean that God's plan has ever been anything less than for you to reign in life through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness that He's given you in Christ.

My son, fear the Lord and the King; do not associate with those given to change; for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring? Proverbs 24:21-22

Have reverential awe for God and Jesus Christ, according to this in the book of Proverbs (i.e. the very book of the Old Testament that asks it's readers if they know the name of the Son of God in Proverbs 30:4).

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor -- this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Reflections on the past are only towards the undoing of one's life, unless it's the pure testimony of God's goodness in one's life or just historical studies in a general sense (apart from personal considerations). We are promised satisfaction in the book of Proverbs if we dwell in the fear of the Lord --satisfaction up to and including all of the days of our lives that we spend in the reverential awe of the Lord that proceeds from the Lord rather than from the flesh or the mind.

Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; do not plunder his resting place; for a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:15-16

Call to remembrance the reverential awe of the Lord that entered into your life when the Holy Spirit invaded your life. Honor Jesus, the King of Glory, and do those things that are consistent with His teachings and that are consistent in His teachings in unfolding towards the goal of universal sanctification towards the universal brotherhood. Don't associate with those who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, because the Bible warns that their immaturity will be their undoing. And you don't need to be sinking on their Titanic without hope and without God in this world because you estranged yourself from the covenants of promise that shine as a sure lighthouse unto the perfect day!

The fogs will come and go in the valley of the shadow of death, but keep your eyes on the light that's coming from the lighthouse. Stay focused on the ultimate glory of God in the regeneration of the whole of Creation after many purging judgments and baptisms in the Spirit. Keep your focus on the growing level of the fear of the Lord that's independent of any religious edict, but that has rather begun to unfold into your heart from the Father of Glory. That fear of the Lord, that has proceeded from the Lord's Spirit into yours, IS your source of Prosperity. Satisfaction is in that secret place of the Most High! Remember the abode of Praise:

A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. Proverbs 13:2-3

You don't need to be given to change but towards the reverential obedience of the Lord. Reverential fear is not enough. Reverential fear that actually proceeds from the Lord rather than from the clergy in your life or in your past is not even enough. You must actually do those things that the Father Who commands the obedience of all tells you to do. Jesus is the image and the Holy Spirit within you is the map. The soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. Does that mean that you and Jesus need a really long talk --with you doing most of the fasting and listening-- about the movies that you are watching or recommending? It says elsewhere in Proverbs that only by pride comes contention. Are you feeding on hours and hours of contention in the movies that you're watching, thinking about, and recommending to others? Pride goes before a fall. Pride is more than the puffing up of one's chest in defiance of all sound advise from the Scriptures. Pride is any deviation of thought form from the Scripture's presentation of the image of Jesus Christ that God has commanded to shine out of the darkness of your heart. Are you prefering darkness rather than light because your deeds are evil, as the Scriptures describe as the preoccupation of some who are among us? You'll not be satisfied outside and away from the Fountain of Living Waters that we have in Jesus Christ! Proverbs 12:27 calls diligence man's most precious possession. Proverbs 10:11 says that violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

What are you being most diligent towards? The image of the Son of God within and around you? Jesus taught, in the Gospel of John, that He abides in those who abide in His Word. Satisfaction is only possible in seeing the Godman on the inside of you. Can you see Christ within you as the hope of glory? Or have you departed from the fountain of living waters with your names inscribed in the earth as an indictment against you by the Son of God?

He loves you, but the only way to fear no evil because of the fear of evil having been completely and practically cast out of you is to have an awareness of all that He's done in your behalf. You must begin to guard the Spirit's activities in your life and not allow anything to ever again be a distraction from Jesus Christ and you crucified in Him! An awareness of the ever-expanding resurrection into all of Creation must begin to dominate your most basic thoughts. The only way that that'll happen is through diligent study, meditation, and praise to God along the lines, toward the lines, and in the behalf of the lines of all that you are discovering! There are no shortcuts. Proverbs 10:17 says that the one who keeps instruction is in the way of life. What has the Holy Spirit been pouring light on in your life? Both in a general and in a specific sense; both in a practical and in a mystical sense. You'll not escape death without it! You must begin to seek, again, for glory, honor, and immortality according to Romans chapter 2. If you don't, then there's no nicer way of putting it: you will treasure against yourselves wrath in the day of wrath and indignation of God. If you're self-seeking and not obeying the truth that has been revealed to YOU in Jesus, then you're following the destination of tribulation and anguish of soul. In that context, then you will fear evil and you will fear really great and powerful evils in your life!

It doesn't matter what God in Christ has revealed to others nearly as much as it matters --where your own life is practically concerned-- what God in Christ has revealed to you. Just as you won't be judged for the deeds of others, you must not worry about how much God has shown others or how much (you think) He has not shown you. You'll be judged for your obedience, even more than you'll be judged for your light. Stupidity is more easily overlooked by the Lord than disobedience. All of us are stupid to varying degrees in varying subjects and matters of importance. That's why humanity is called the cattle on a thousand hills by the Scriptures, rather than the "oracles" on a thousand hills.

For you to fear no evil then the greater reverential awe of what God in Christ has accomplished on the cross must dominate in your thinking. The chastisement in all of it's bloody fury necessary to bring us peace was upon Jesus Christ. He was totally impoverished in His one act of obedience towards the end of making us wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of an obedient, hopeful child. A crucifix should loom heavier and more menacing in the horizon of your life than any temporal storm you could ever conceive of. But it takes time to establish your heart, in the language of Psalm 112, to where you trust the crucifixion enough to obey your risen Lord in all that He commands of you as you follow Him into green pastures and still waters for baptism and lunch along the sea-side of life. Listen, anew, to His teachings and take the overflowing cup alongside Him, KNOWING that it's an overflowing covenant cup that speaks of reconciliation, sanctification, and the oneness of all spilling all over all of creation. The table set before the Body of Christ in the midst of His enemies is a covenant table over which we can celebrate the negotiating power of Jesus Christ to reconcile all things to God that are in the heavenlies and in the earthlies. Christ is Christ triumphant indeed!

The table set before us and the overflowing cup placed in our hands isn't a cup or a table of drunkenness as we try to drown the sorrows of the divine Sovereign Who's been vanquished from the presence of His enemies. It's His table that's set before us. And as our table is set before us in the presence of our enemies, it's only a type and shadow of the table set before Him in the presence of His enemies and to the ever expanding proportions that His enemies are brought to justice, peace, and to the new order before Him they'll likewise be brought to justice and peace and reformation before us!

We not only have the hope to fear no evil set before us because of this consummate hope for all of Creation that in the midst of the earth beneath where blood, fire, and vapour of smoke are the prelude to every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that Jesus is Lord, but we have this hope of no fear set before us in the fact that our heads have been anointed in the presence of our enemies. While hell has enlarged itself to overtake and imprison larger and larger sections of creation, the burden removing, yoke destroying power of Isaiah 10:27 is upon our heads to cause the most brutish beast to lie down in the presence of the most benign lamb in the creation around us. Isaiah 11 and the hope extended towards us in the Hosea 2:18 covenant are that bow, sword, and war are abolished as much in the behalf of animals as they're to be abolished in our behalf. When we talk of the abolishment of enemies and all enmity, then we can talk of the eternal struggle that wages war in the heavenlies and that our struggles with evil may enter with us into the new arena of the "hereafter." But when the same promises are pledged towards the animals in Scriptures that understand them to be animals still in bondage to the present futilities, then we have reason to hope in the justification of all of humankind not only in the final and consummate hope of the ages of the ages, but also in the here and now. Yes, there are yet many realms to plunder and many enemies in many hells to rebuke, tear, and heal, but few can deny the hellatious existence of this present realm towards those who aren't carried about through near endless personally (apparently) inherent wisdom (tailored to the age) or riches (tailored to the age) from birth.

Still waters and green pastures are not only a feature of the heavenlies, but they're also promised to our generation in this world in Isaiah 30 from the point of having seen the day of the great slaughter when the towers fell. You can know peace and provision in the midst of eonian (apparent) chaos simply because of the seasons that have been with the Father from the beginning that we've now entered into. We've entered into the ages of still waters and green pastures that'll comfort all of Christ's sheep and deeply punished and shamed goats.

Have you known Christ's "depart from me, because I never knew you" in the past? Cheer up because the time of the regathering is at hand when the Lord will reach out yet again to many nations according to Isaiah 11. The flocks shall again pass under the hands of Him who counts them, according to Jeremiah 33. The King of Glory who once only bade those perfect in the Blood of Christ to come forth out of the shadows of death now cries forth His command for all to come to Mt. Zion so that He can teach them His ways! Rejoice because the time of the greater universal deliverance is at hand! He loves you, He died for you, He's lived for you, and though He's judged you, rebuked you, torn you, and utterly destroyed you, He'll not abandon your souls to hell nor allow His holy One to see a corruption in His reign over all!


The Restorer of souls Who is ever with us keeps us from being in want by leading us through green pastures along still waters. He keeps us from fearing any evil by restoring our souls in the knowledge that He's with us and will always be with us, that He'll discipline and train us and love us, and continue to love us. He loves us with all of His Singularity, Heart, Mind, and Strength. He's always our Savior, the Healer of our hearts, the cleanser of our minds and consciences, and the Purifier of our enemies as we press them before Him in prayer. He's the One Who's taken away the sin of the world and is actively, and systematically, reconciling every enemy as He's subduing them and punishing them for their arrogance, presumption, and hardness of heart. As High Priest that's passed into the heavens, He's the continual guide of our words until they're conformed into the Image of His Words. He's the discipliner of our hearts and flesh Who's commanded the unconditional obedience of our words and actions before Him.

The punishments of the Lord are real and they frighten demons to almost no end. God will punish as deeply as it takes to separate us from our disobedience and to cast every fear out of us. His wrath is genuine, true, and faithful to the end. He'll have us obedient and far from paradise until that day. He'll rebuke us sternly and Scripture pleads with us not to grow faint and wearied at His rebuke, but to part with our sins and take our refuge in His promises of newness of being and restoration of righteousness, sanctification, wholeness, and paradise. He shows us His love and adoration hundreds of times a day, mostly in the little things, while despising the ugliness of our flesh-likeness that would ever try to put Him to the test. He loves and cherishes our physical bodies all of the days of our lives. What He despises is not our flesh, but our tantrums, our bitterness, our envy, and our fears. He loves us fully, eternally, and with infinite commitment.

He'll gather every heart in the fullness of time, destroy every expression of fear, rebellion, and darkness of mind, heart, and life. The greatest pain to initially strike the soul is the learning how to hear and obey His voice. Learning to hear is as learning to walk with our physical legs, while learning to obey is like learning how to run, tone, nurture, and rest our bodies. As fear is being driven out from before the Presence of the Lord in our lives, every part of our bodies will feel as if they're on fire. When disobedience and any sense of rejection is being parted from our spirits, it'll honestly feel, at times, as though a mighty warrior is running a sword through the deepest parts of our stomachs.

Eternal punishment is NOT ETERNAL IN DURATION, but it's ETERNAL in it's effects. It's ETERNAL in the sense that it's the ETERNAL God Who is punishing. It's ETERNAL in the sense that it's the ETERNAL response of God towards sin, now and in the ages to come, and in any other time, whether infinite past, infinite future, or some sort of parallel time/space in which God will deal with sin! God has but One reaction when His children anywhere, and at any time, sin, and that's the ETERNAL destruction of the sin from the Presence of the Lord and the Brightness of His coming -- coupled with the capturing, nurturing, and restoring of His lost/miscarried child. The Lord Who is our Shepherd Whose Rod and Staff Comfort us is the same Lord in Whose House we will dwell from time Immemorial to time Immemorial. His Rod and Staff are the curse and destruction of sin and His method of shattering EVERY yoke while removing EVERY burden of bondage. God is eternally committed to us, no matter what. He doesn't have a nodding attitude towards sin at any time, whether yesterday, today, or into any of the [ordained] forevers of divine graciousness, sternness, and wholeness.

Many people have criticized Origen's speculation of possible future falls from the divine grace after all things have been regathered to God through Christ. But I know that what the beloved Origen was trying to say was that God was eternally yoked and knit to every single one of us, and that though His holiness abounds forever to His glory, there never will ever be anything that can ever separate us from His love, His mercies, and His redeeming wisdom. God will always demonstrate the fullness of His commitment towards each and every single one of us. He'll never fall short of reaching the inherent demands of His own compassion, wisdom, and eternal commitment towards each of us!

Not any of us will ever "want," in any eternal sense from the perspective that He's always our Shepherd and He's always leading us, though through our own blind and insistent wrestling against the divine nature and commandment we may each find ourselves falling into ditches, up to our necks in water, and being pounded by the winds and broken branches of life. He'll rescue us. He's the Lord our rescuer - our Redeemer. None of our souls will ever be eternally broken, though through our own fears, fearful imaginations, and fear-filled rebellions we may each and every single one of us experience brokenness at one time or another that's more than we can ever seem to be able to endure. But He'll not tolerate the eternal existence of fear, but will burn it thoroughly out of our lives. What fear there yet remains in us at death will be hunted down and painfully extracted by the discerning Eyes of the Lord and the Eternal fire of His discerning Word/Scripture which is the filtration system of the cosmos.

Everlasting consolation will be born out of the pains and pangs of the previous ages upon which the Blood of Christ has struck through His High Priestly ministry and eternal Spirit. His Blood has struck the ages and germinated all of our brokenness into a beautiful flower of completeness before Him. His love is what we've always longed for, even in ignorance, because deeply imbedded in our spirits is the memory of the One from Whom we all proceeded at the foundation of the world. The emptiness that we've all felt at one time or another only indicated to the discerning mind that there was something that we were created to house. It's not the gathering of possessions or the accomplishment of anything on our part that restores our wholeness and gives us peace of mind and the ever-illusive mistress known as Contentment. It's resting at the feet of the everlasting Shepherd that causes all of our fears to flee and all of our needs to be met. The only thing that we're ever truly required to obey is His loving Eyes that look our way, look us over, and, most importantly, see us as a full grown harvest or as a completed exotic building. It's a true saying that we're not as complete in His Eyes as we are in His Arms. Look at His Arms that have been bludgeoned to death on their pilgrimage to bring us back to the divine glory that we were Created for. And then try to tell me, from your heart, that He's not the Shepherd of us all!

Return to Covenant Foundations


Covenant Foundations

 Covenant Prayers

Frequently Asked Questions


About Martin



Your comments and inquiries are welcome

This site is hosted and maintained by:
The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation
Thank you for visiting