Chicken, Magpie, and Easter Greetings

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“Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” For centuries, Christians have used this greeting to celebrate Resurrection Day, better known as Easter.1 Ironically, there are two birds that can remind us of the historicity and importance of Christ’s rising from the dead, three days after His death and burial.

CHICKENS

Amazingly, the Lord Jesus once compared His own willingness and ability to care and protect humans to that of a chicken—specifically, a mother hen—who uses her own body to protectively care for her own hatchling baby chicks.2 How good it is to belong to the Lord Jesus Christ forever! When He offers to take us in and protect us, we should be eager and grateful to accept His care and security.

But we more closely associate a male chicken (rooster) with the arrest, trials, torture, and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

Readers might have already guessed that male chickens are associated with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection because of the rooster who crowed after Peter ignominiously denied the Lord Jesus, thrice, in fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy.3 In fact, this incident is so important that it is reported by all four gospel writers.3

For example, Mark reports this disappointing failure of Peter, involving the tattletale fowl, a sad chapter in the life of the usually bold apostle: Peter’s triple failure to stand up for Christ, as predicted by Christ Himself. This display of Peter’s imperfect courage and loyalty (even though his inward belief never failed) is linked to the twice-crowing of a rooster.

A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.4

What a sad note to end with! Except, as proven three days later, that wasn’t really the end.5

MAGPIES

Most people are unlikely to guess that magpies—such as the Australian magpie (Cracticus tibicen6)—can be associated with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. How so?

The most famous variety of this “butcherbird,” formerly called the “piping shrike” or “white-backed crow shrike,” is now called the white-backed magpie (Cracticus tibicen telonocua). But many call it the Australian magpie because it appears on the official state flag of South Australia.

Whatever you want to call it, it is famous for its flute-like call, entertaining with a complex repertoire of vocalizations. The black-and-white opportunist has habituated to human-dominated habitats, such as the agricultural fields of farms, gardens, and even wooded parklands.6

The Australian magpie is not timid. It will defend its territory against raptors trespassing therein, such as brown goshawks. The Australian magpie is not a picky eater. Its diet includes both plants and animals. Its preferred diet, however, is dominated by a variety of larval and adult invertebrates, such as insects (like ants, moths, beetles, bees, wasps, cockroaches) and arachnids (like spiders and stinger-wielding scorpions!), as well as earthworms and millipedes. The Australian magpie is also known to eat some small vertebrates, such as mice, skinks, frogs, and toads.6

Some compare the problem-solving resourcefulness and the brash cockiness of this bird to the national reputation displayed by many Aussie ex-patriots.

The Australian magpie is quite a clever problem-solver. It has been observed breaking off the stingers of bees and wasps before swallowing such dangerous bugs!7

By now you’ve likely guessed why this bird reminds us of Resurrection Day—the Australian magpie’s power to neutralize a dangerous stinger.

But insect or arachnid stingers are nothing compared to the powerful sting of death. Yet, Christ’s bodily resurrection on the third day defeated death’s “stinger.”

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.8

Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

References
1. Morris, H. M. 2006. Christ Is RisenDays of Praise. Posted on ICR.org April 16, 2006, accessed April 7, 2020.
2. Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34. Cansdale, G. S. 1976. All the Animals of the Bible Lands. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 163-165.
3. Matthew 26:34, 26:74-75; Mark 14:30, 14:68-72; Luke 22:34, 22:60-61; John 13:38, 18:27.
4. Mark 14:72.
5. Matthew 12:39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4Romans 10:9Psalm 16:9-10.
6. Taxonomists have also labeled the Australian Magpie as the Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen (meaning “trumpeting bare-nose”). Regarding the physical and behavioral traits of the Australian Magpie, see Veltman, C. J., and R. E. Hickson. 1989. Predation by Australian Magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) on Pasture Invertebrates: Are Non-territorial Birds Less Successful? Australian Journal of Ecology. 14(3): 319-326; Cake, M., A. Black, L. Joseph. 2018. The Generic Taxonomy of the Australian Magpie and Australo-Papuan Butcherbirds Is Not All Black and White. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club. 138(4): 346-359; Brown, E. D., and C. J. Veltman. 1987. Ethnogram of the Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) in Comparison to Other Cracticidae and Corvus Species. Ethology (International Journal of Behavioural Biology). 76(4): 309-333. This author also appreciatively thanks Fiona Smith, M.C.Ed.—ICR SOBA graduate and Australian creation science educator/author—for her help with research and perspectives on Australian magpies.
7. Dr. Amy L. Adams notes: “Magpies will walk along the ground searching for food by overturning debris or probing their bills into the dirt. They eat insects, larvae and other invertebrates. Magpies are known to remove the stingers of wasps and bees before eating them.” Adams, A. 2016. Gymnorhina tibicen Australian MagpieMuseums Victoria Collections. Posted on collections.museumvictoria.com, accessed April 7, 2020.
8. 1 Corinthians 15:53-57, quoting Messianic prophecy in Hosea 13:14.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.


James J. S. Johnson Articles Here

Article at I.C.R. https://www.icr.org/article/chicken-magpie-and-easter-greetings/

Jesus And Birds – His Baptism

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

Matt. 3:1617. In the process of His baptism, Jesus went up . . . out of the water, the prepositions suggesting that He was completely in the water and came up out from it, again indicating immersion. The descending of the Spirit of God fulfilled the predicted sign to John in order to indicate the true Messiah (cf. John 1:33Is. 11:2). The dove was a symbol of innocence and purity (cf. 10:16) and served as an ideal symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit. The voice from heaven is that of the Father (see also 17:5John 12:28 where He speaks at the Transfiguration and just prior to the Crucifixion), giving His verbal approval to the ministry of His beloved Son. There can be no doubt that all three persons of the Trinity are actively involved here as distinct persons of the Godhead. The Father speaks, the Spirit descends, and the Son is baptized. (King James Study Bible Notes)

Matt. 3:16 Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus not to overcome sin (for he was sinless), but to equip him (see note on Jdg 3:10) for his work as the divine-human Messiah. (Case for Christ Study Bible)

Matt. 3:16 the Spirit of God descending: This was God’s official recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. (NKJV Study Bible)

Here are the other three passages from the Gospel writers:

“And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11 KJV)

Dove PD By Malone

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)

White Dove – Transparent Background PD

“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34 KJV)

Dove Landing PD

John 1:34 I saw. John gives his final, definitive answer to the Pharisees who were challenging his right to baptize in water. God Himself had sent him to do so (John 1:33), so that when Jesus also would come for baptism (Luke 3:21-22) to “fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15), God could identify Him by sending the Holy Spirit upon Him in the form of a dove (John 1:32-33), in order that “He should be made manifest to Israel” (John 1:31). (New Defender’s Study Bible Notes)

I trust you are enjoying and learning from these post of Jesus and the Birds. Stay Tuned for More. (I’m just letting the Word speak for itself.)


See:

 

Jesus And Birds – His Dedication

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

The first time, listed in the Gospels, when Jesus, in His Humanity, is near a bird, was at His dedication. According to the Jewish law, the first born son was to be dedicated at the temple. This was to take place 40 days after he was born. This was so that Mary, his earthly mother, to be purified and Jesus could be dedicated..

“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “EVERY MALE WHO OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD” ), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (Luke 2:22-24 NKJV)

Bible Gateway’s – MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV) note

2:22 her purification. A woman who bore a son was ceremonially unclean for 40 days (twice that if she bore a daughter—Lev. 12:2–5). After that she was to offer a yearling lamb and a dove or pigeon (Lev. 12:6). If poor, she could offer two doves or pigeons (Lev. 12:8). Mary’s offering indicates that she and Joseph were poor (v. 24). to Jerusalem. A journey of about 6 mi. from Bethlehem. to present Him to the Lord. The dedication of the firstborn son was also required by Moses’ law (v. 23, cf. Ex. 13:212–15).

At forty days old, we could assume that Jesus was not really aware of the doves or pigeons that were used for this offering. Assumptions are not always 100% correct. We are not going to delve into that discussion here. Nor will we try to assume whether other birds were near Jesus at the manger. We are just going to use what the Word says.

Common Rock Pigeon Pair ©ARKive

The reason the turtledove or pigeons were used, was because of the finances of his mother and Joseph, his step-father.

2:24 turtledoves. See Leviticus 12:8. Joseph, despite his royal lineage, was only a young carpenter, too poor to bring a lamb for his offering.” (Defender’s Bible)

“The fact that they offered two pigeons instead of a lamb and a pigeon is an indication that Joseph and Mary were not wealthy. Levitical law required a woman, after the birth of a son, to purify herself for 40 days before going to the temple to offer a sacrifice for her purification. The law stated that she was to offer a lamb and a dove, but if she could not afford these, she could offer two pigeons or doves” (Leviticus 12:2–8). (Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes)

As we journey on with Jesus and Birds, He will be telling about them by way of parables and others means. Stay tuned!


For notes and helps, I am using several resources beside God’s Word, the Bible. I use Bible Gateway as a source for many different Bible versions and study helps. Many are free, but a paid option is also available. [That is what I use – $3.99 month)

I also have many different Bibles I own and use, of which my favorite is the Defender’s Bible by Henry Morris. (older version) This can also be used online at Defender’s Bible from I.C.R.

Jesus and Birds – Introduction

Birds of the Bible

Birds and Jesus – Kids and younger reader version

Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds

House Sparrow by Ray

In 2013, the Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows articles were posted for part I and II. It’s 2020 now, and I’d like to repost these, plus add III and IV, which were never posted. They were overlooked by me. If your memory is like mine, you need a refresher. This time I will add the last 2 articles.


While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, this is the introduction and part one.

Better than the Birds

Luke 12:6-31

I have read that a dense fog – so extensive that it covers seven city blocks a hundred feet deep is actually composed of no more than one glass of water; water, of course that’s divided into more than 60 billion droplets of water.i

Just a couple gallons of water can cripple an entire city.

In many ways, this perfectly illustrates the substance of worry. Just a little bit of it can spread and deepen and ultimately cripple the mind and the heart of even believers.

One author put it this way when he wrote, “Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.”ii

I find it extremely gracious of our Lord that whenever He addressed the subject of worry, and He did on several occasions, He went much further than simply saying, “You know better than that . . . worrying isn’t good for you . . . it’ll mess up your mind . . . isn’t right . . . stop worrying right now!”

Instead, Jesus graciously causes us to think through this vaporous substance of worry; He gives us several reasons to stop worrying and He even condescends in His patience to give us illustrations – effectively – giving us principles to teach us why we really don’t ever need to worry.

And several of His key principles are the form of questions.

Let me invite you to Luke chapter 12 where Jesus asks some profound questions.

He’s teaching His disciples – this chapter in Luke corresponds to His sermon in Matthew’s Gospel.

Now if you’ve ever read His sermon, you’ll notice that He goes from one subject to the next – almost randomly touching on a series of different topics.

Jesus is actually employing a Jewish teaching style called Charaz – which means, stringing pearls.iii

In other words, Jesus will string pearls of wisdom on a number of subjects, like someone might string together a rare necklace of pearls.

And one of the pearls He adds to his string of pearls is this subject of worry.

Let me give you four principles in this regard as we work through His comments on overcoming worry.

The first principle to understand is that:

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

   1. Worry denies the gracious care of God

And He proves His point by asking two questions – notice His first question at verse 6. Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.

Now if you compared this account with Matthews account, we’re told that 2 sparrows were sold for 1 penny.

The Greek term for this coin refers to a small brass coin worth about 1/10th of a day’s wage for a working laborer.

Which is a long way of saying, sparrows were the cheapest meat sold in the marketplace.iv

They were the food of the poorest of the poor. You barely got a mouthful of meat from a little sparrow.

Sparrows in snow ©©Bing

Sparrows in snow ©©Bing

In fact, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that you can buy 2 sparrows for a penny and Luke here tells us that you can get 5 sparrows for 2 penny’s; how’s that add up?

Well, we know from history that during the days of Christ, sparrows were so abundant and so cheaply sold to the poor that if you bought 4, you got one thrown in for nothing.

And that’s what Luke alludes to here – are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.

Now watch this – Luke is effectively saying, even the free sparrow is not forgotten by God. Even the sparrow that got thrown in for nothing matters to God.

You want to know why you never need to worry? Because to God you are never lost in the crowd.v

Not only does God not lose track of even one sparrow – he doesn’t even lose track of one single hair from your head.

Notice further in verse 7. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

I’ve read that the average person’s head holds more than 100,000 hairs. Some of us are down to a few hundred.vi

A few dozen . . .

Now some commentators don’t think Jesus is being serious here – that He’s just exaggerating to make a point.

I mean, come on . . . He counts the number of the hairs on our heads? That number changes daily. Surely God doesn’t bother with that kind of detail. Gary Hallquist – 60,000; Dr. Burggraff – 12 . . . hundred.

No, I think that’s exactly His point. The glory of God revealed here is that He actually does know!

Jesus is effectively asking us, “Look, do you really think you can slip out of your Heavenly Father’s care – that you can somehow slip out from underneath the radar of His divine omniscience? Do you think He’s forgotten about you or that your problems are too numerous to keep up with?

I mean if He can keep track of 100,000 hairs on somebody’s head of hair, do you think He’ll get frustrated with you coming to Him over and over again to give Him your worries?

Do you think He’s going to say, “Look, there’s only so much room on my ledger and you’ve already been here a dozen times today . . . I just can’t keep track.”

Listen, if God is actually such a gracious, omniscient God – that He doesn’t overlook a single sparrow – even the one that gets thrown in for free – He will never overlook you either.

Worry denies the gracious care of God

Savannah Sparrow singing by Ray

Savannah Sparrow singing by Ray

(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)

i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
ii Ibid
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119


Lee’s Addition:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 KJV)

What a great encouragement not to worry. Thanks, Pastor Davey for a great message.

See:

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Two Suppers – By William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Walton County, Georgia by William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Walton County, Georgia by William Wise

Two Suppers

By William Wise of www.williamwisephoto.com

Revelation 19:17-18  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;  18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

While running a 10K race with my 69-year-old father, I laughed as he looked up and shouted at a group of circling vultures and said, “Go away! I’m not dead yet!” Although they were waiting to dine on him, he wasn’t quite ready to be their supper.

King James Authorized 1611 Pulpit Folio

The Bible tells us (and yes, I believe it) that one day in the future, God is going to host two great suppers, or feasts. The first is the party of the century… no, the party of the millennia… no, the party of the ages! It is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And all the followers of Jesus Christ will be given clean, white garments and enjoy the greatest wedding reception of all time.

Georgia Vultures by William Wise

Georgia Vultures by William Wise

But simultaneously, there is another feast. It is called the Supper of the Great God. Those who did not RSVP for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, but lived for themselves, will be attendees at this gathering. For it is a gathering of fowls; of carrion crows and vultures to feed upon the slain who turned in battle against returning Messiah. But you need not attend that feast.

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia by William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia by William Wise

When you pass a roadside party of vultures dining on last night’s unlucky road crossing, just remind yourself, “I’d rather feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb than be feasted upon at the Supper of the Great God.”


We are excited to introduce a new Photographer/Writer to the Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures blog. Not only is he a great Christian photographer, but a blogger who writes about Creation topics also. Welcome, William!

Check out his website at: http://www.williamwisephoto.com/index.html

Avian and Attributes – Step

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalms 37:23 KJV)

STEP, v.i. [Gr., the foot. The sense is to set, as the foot, or move probably to open or part, to stretch or extend.]
1. To move the foot; to advance or recede by a movement of the foot or feet; as, to step forward, or to step backward.
2. To go; to walk a little distance; as, to step to one of the neighbors.
3. To walk gravely, slowly or resolutely.
To step forth, to move or come forth.
To step in or into,
1. To walk or advance into a place or state; or to advance suddenly in John 5.
2. To enter for a short time. I just stepped into the house for a moment.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psalms 119:133 KJV)

STEP, v.t.
1. To set, as the foot.

“My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.” (Job 23:11 KJV)

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Africaddict

STEP, n. [G., to form a step or ledge.]
1. A pace; an advance or movement made by one removal of the foot.
6. Gradation; degree. We advance improvement step by step, or by steps.
7. Progression; act of advancing.
8. Footstep; print or impression of the foot; track.
9. Gait; manner of walking. The approach of a man is often known by his step.
10. Proceeding; measure; action.
The reputation of a man depends of the first steps he makes in the world.

Steppe Eagle

STEP, STEPP, n. In Russ, an uncultivated desert of large extent. [Webster Dictionary 1828, with editing]

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson

The steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It was once considered to be closely related to the non-migratory tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) and the two forms have previously been treated as conspecific.

It is:

  • about 62–81 cm (24–32 in) in length
  • wingspan of 1.65–2.15 m (5.4–7.1 ft).
  • Females, weighing 2.3–4.9 kg (5.1–10.8 lb), are slightly larger than males
  • Males, 2–3.5 kg (4.4–7.7 lb)

This is a large eagle with brown upperparts and blackish flight feathers and tail. This species is larger and darker than the tawny eagle, and it has a pale throat which is lacking in that species. Immature birds are less contrasted than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage colour. The eastern subspecies A. n. nipalensis is larger and darker than the European and Central Asian A. n. orientalis.

The call of the steppe eagle sounds like a crow barking, but it is rather a silent bird.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

The steppe eagle breeds from Romania east through the south Russian and Central Asian steppes to Mongolia. The European and Central Asian birds winter in Africa, and the eastern birds in India. It lays 1–3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree. Throughout its range it favours open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah.

It is found in south-eastern Pakistan especially in Karachi. Large numbers are seen at certain places such as Khare in Nepal during migration.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Nikhil Devasar

The steppe eagle’s diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds, but it will kill rodents and other small mammals up to the size of a hare, and birds up to the size of partridges. It will also steal food from other raptors. Like other species, the steppe eagle has a crop in its throat allowing it to store food for several hours before being moved to the stomach. [Wikipedia, with editing]

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:21-24 KJV)

More Avian and Attributes

Birds whose first name starts with “S”

Good News

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