Wednesday, September 14, 2016
"The Spirit of God," a very popular LDS hymn on page 2 of the current Hymn book, states in verse No. 4:
Would it surprise you to know that NO Biblical or modern scriptural passages specifically refer to the lion and the lamb laying down together?
The confusion comes not just from "The Spirit of God" hymn, but also because many LDS Chapels contain a popular painting (shown above) depicting a lamb and a lion laying down together peacefully.
This analysis is NOT to doubt that the day will actually come in the millennium when all animals -- and all of God's creations -- will be at peace -- but simply that after hearing a song so often and seeing a painting can alter one's memory of what scriptures specifically state.
Yes, the day will come after Christ's return in the Second Coming, that a lamb and a lion will be able to co-exist peacefully. That is not the issue here.
Isaiah 11:6 (King James Version) mentions a WOLF and a lamb together; and also a leopard and a kid laying down together -- not a lion.
"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." (Isaiah 11:6)
Isaiah 65:25 has similar wordage.
THUS, it is a wolf and a lamb, not a lion and a lamb that is featured in scripture!
Based on various Internet posts, other Christian Churches seem to have this same misunderstanding and so LDS Church members are not unique in this misconception, as it appears to affect the entire Christian world.
NOTWITHSTANDING, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote in 1834 about the lion and lamb dwelling together:
"In pitching my tent we found three … rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose its venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? … when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.’ The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.” ( p. 71).
Some official LDS manuals, on LDS.org, like "T," (year 2011), pages 248-260, also do state a lamb and lion laying down together in lesson material:
"The day is fast hastening on when the restoration of all things shall be fulfilled, which all the holy prophets have prophesied of, even unto the gathering in of the house of Israel. Then shall come to pass that the lion shall lie down with the lamb, etc."
Songs and artwork often take artistic liberties that may run slightly counter to doctrine or scripture.
I'm also sure a large African lion is much more imposing laying down with a little lamb than a wolf is, or even a leopard -- hence the artwork.
In the 14th Chapter of Judges, Sampson killed a lion with his bare hands, so the creatures did exist in Old Testament lands. But, wolves are the animal specifically mentioned in scripture as laying down with a lamb.