We shared Noah's journey home and we remember the Children of Israel's journey to their new home in company with God. Man and beast from the past travelled to the future together.

God remained with them and gave a statement that has helped to clinch my thinking about our creatures being with us in eternal life. Jeremiah dreams of living in perfect peace with God and when he wakes, the Lord says to him, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast." (Jeremiah 31:27). The seed of man and the seed of beast means their offspring, or children.

Then in Hosea 2:18, the Lord says, "I will make a covenant for them, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground." He uses the context of the covenant with Noah and says in verse 23, "Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."

They were already in a country where man and beast lived so the Lord is reminding them that the seed of man and beast, past and present, includes the future also. God always pictures man and creatures living in the same world at the same time, never separated.

Now look at the birth of the Son of God. Where was it? In a mansion, a palace, a fisherman's cottage, a monastery? Couldn't God have organised some normal, proper home for the birth of his own Son? No; nothing was available

And yes. The Son of the Most High was born exactly where God planned he should be born. He was born in a stable where animals are housed. And the first people to be told about his birth were not priests or kings or governments. They were shepherds out on the hillside with their flocks (See Luke 2).

We celebrate that miracle every year at Christmas time.

Like the beginning of Adam and Eve, Jesus was "made in the image of God." (2 Cor. 4:4, Col. 1:15), and he was born where the creatures already lived. He came as "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45), and He came to us where animals lived as did the first Adam.

As with Noah and as with Israel, new life included the creatures.

Another name for the Saviour is "the Shepherd" and throughout the Book of Revelation, our Saviour is referred to as "the Lamb." Take another look at Revelation; and in the last chapter of the last Book we are shown a river, and a tree in the midst of a street.

Can you imagine a river without platypi or fish? Or whatever is native to your area? Can you imagine a tree without birds? Water and trees teem with life!

Nowhere in Scripture is redeemed man separated from the creatures of the earth so I believe that when we are redeemed, we will live in harmony with them as at the beginning. On the basis of what the Lord said, I believe the creatures will be the ones we have known and loved.

Jesus told his disciples that heaven and earth would pass away and the end of the world would be as it was in the days of Noah, Matthew 24. And Chapter 25, still talking to His disciples, He said, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34).

Jesus is saying quite clearly that our home and life was prepared at the beginning of the world, it is not a new idea scraped together to meet an emergency. It was always God's plan that we should live in harmony, in a Garden of Eden state, and we should care for the earth and have "dominion" over every living thing. God said so because we were "made in the image of God." (Genesis 1:26-28).

In the Old Testament God said, "I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6), and in the New Testament James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Then in Revelation 22:13, God concludes says "I am alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."

We need to accept what Jesus said. He has painted the pictures, shown us the photographs, provided supporting legislation so that we are legally entitled to live there, and our new home awaits us.

We are on the doorstep. Will you come home?

Elizabeth Price

(To access the other parts of the "Homeward Bound" mini-series, please click here.)