Out of the Beaks of Birds

���And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ���Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!������ Revelation 5:13

Over the last year or so, I have been getting up in the morning at about 5:00 a.m. to run a mile. Every morning I am met with a cacophony of voices chirping and singing as loud and continuous as possible. What are the birds so happy and excited about? Is it because they have gone all night without food and now look forward to finding a meal? Is it because they are anticipating the sunshine? Is it their way of singing praises to God and thanking Him for another day of life?

It is interesting to note that the cardinals, jays, doves, robins and others, repeat their songs over and over and over continuously. While reading Revelation 4:8-11 I have wondered, If Jesus has told us not to use repetitive statements in our prayers to Him, why do the four living creatures repeat the same phrases night and day without stopping to rest; and every time the phrases are spoken, the 24 elders fall down to worship, repeating their own mantra each time? Don���t they at least have a second or third verse to use every once in a while?

Of course, the words of beasts symbolized in prophetic vision are no more literal than the prophetic beasts themselves. The question is, what is God trying to convey through the use of these words and pictures? Isn���t it that appreciation to God for what Christ has done, elicits a love response that cannot be stopped?

The birds are cheerful and expressive every morning because of their nature. Should our inner being become so changed that the praise for what Christ has done in us and for us will spring forth from within ��� a love response that is loud and continuous? Certainly this will be the natural result of a life saved from the degradation of sin and oblivion!

Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com / Rolf Lillfors

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8025

Inspiring article! There are many lessons for all of us to learn from birds as we provide service in life.
Next time you see a group of geese flying think about how the geese designate who will take the front position. We see that each bird is given a turn in leading the formation. For the geese, it’s not a question of their position in the pecking order. Instead, it’s a matter of which bird has the ability in that moment to offer the support needed by the rest of the flock for them to reach their destination.
In looking at the behavior of how geese migrate, we can appreciate that church leadership is not a position; it’s a disposition that people can exhibit regardless of whatever formal title they might carry in the church hierarchy.

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Having moved from a relatively quiet suburbia to the really quiet countryside, I can attest to the powerful bird concerts every morning. Absolutely amazing and indeed filled with a sense of spirituality that is hard to explain (ah … I want to go back to cognitive mode so quickly … I must be a good Adventist :innocent: ).

As to the question why Jesus “told us not use repetitive statements in our prayers” … it seems, because we often functionalize prayer … the more we pray, the higher, bigger, better the outcome. The birds (or the creatures of Revelation for that matter) on the other hand are “praying” without purpose or “hidden agenda” - out of pure worship, joy of praising the Creator.

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excellent reflection…ever since my conversion yrs ago, i’ve found that it becomes more and more natural to think of god, and to thank him, not only for the good things i have in my life, but for life itself…it’s with life that we can praise god, and experience him ever more fully…what will it be like in heaven, to know that the life we have isn’t moving towards a termination point, and that the joy we feel in praising god can only increase…

i’m not so sure…how do we know that there aren’t living creatures in heaven, each with four faces resembling a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle, and each with four wings, Ezekiel 1:5-10 (that is, Ezekiel isn’t usually thought of as a symbolic book)…maybe there really are centaurs and mermaids there, too…after-all, there were snakes with wings in eden:

“The serpent was then one of the wisest and most beautiful creatures on the earth. It had wings, and while flying through the air presented an appearance of dazzling brightness, having the color and brilliancy of burnished gold.” PP:53

and look at all the interesting-looking dinosaurs that no longer exist…i think we could be in for a big surprise when we get to heaven and see many more life forms than we ever suspected or imagined…

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This reminds me of the publication of a recent discovery that fish also sing at dawn, just like the birds. You can read about it here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2106331-fish-recorded-singing-dawn-chorus-on-reefs-just-like-birds/


We know that Whales sing. There have been recordings made. They have different songs.
Some say they can differentiate between whales by their song or songs.
Perhaps the Ancients knew way back then things that we are only finding out in modern times.

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I find it interesting that you think of the birds as singing cheerfully. As a scientist, I have carefully examined the question of what are the birds saying? There is no stock answer except that the birds are in no cases singing cheerfully. It may be mating. It may be driving other males or females away. There are many, many other reasons birds sing.

I am good if you want to think of them as singing. That is fine with me. However, if you are going to express a clear understanding of a matter, it is helpful to all of us to have some factual basis for that expression. If you say, “I like to think of birds as…” I am with you 100%. That is your thought and that is not required to have some factual basis. It may have another different and fully legitimate purpose.

As I mused about your writing, I suspect you have used separate lenses to understand a matter from different view points. If so, my highest compliments to you. I regularly use over a dozen lenses to understand the Bible. It makes the reading far more interesting. Even better, it frees me from the tyranny of thought that plagued many of my teachers. Sadly, without exception my Bible teachers had a single broken lense they read the Bible with. Sad. Very sad. The worst of it was, they refused to see the reasons things were written. They refused the understanding of those who what was written and preached. Instead, they were right. They had the correct understanding even when history completely contradicted their views.

My congratulations on accepting and embracing other views. I have also found it more than helpful.


Could some scientist explain to me why we assume birds are happy when they sing? Perhaps it is just some type of communication. Are we simply projecting our feelings onto them?