I would like to know where in the Bible does it say that the lion will lie down with the lamb?
In the 1,000 year kingdom of Christ on earth, peace will exist among the animals and people. There are a number of passages in scripture that describe this period of time. Isaiah 11:1-6 says that it arrives sometime after Jesus’ first advent or after His birth, death, return to life and ascension back to heaven. But does Isaiah 11:6 say the lion will lie down with the lamb? Does it say “and peace will reign in the kingdom and the lion will lie down with the lamb”? The future time of peace that is described in Isaiah 11:1-6 will occur when Christ returns (Isaiah 9:6-7; 65:20). It is a time of peace, long life and joy.
Isaiah 11:6 Describes Peace In The Millennial Kingdom
Just imagine the animal kingdom existing in peace with other animals and humans. That is what Isaiah 11:6 reports,
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (NASB)
Isaiah 65:25 is another Old Testament passage that is similar, but does not refer to the lion will lie down with the lamb. It says the “wolf and the lamb shall graze together.”
“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25 (NASB)
But there are no biblical passages that refer to the lamb and the lion lying down together. That is a very common misunderstanding.
Isaiah 11:6 Has Not Changed
Every historical document that refers to Isaiah 11:6 does not say, “the lion will lie down with the lamb.” They do not refer to the lion and the lamb. They say that the “wolf and the lamb shall graze together.” What follows are six historical examples of information that demonstrate Isaiah 11:6 has never read “the lion will lie down with the lamb.” They always refer to the wolf and the lamb.
The Hebrew Bible — The Tanakh
The first example of Isaiah 11:6 comes from the Hebrew Bible. It is identical to our English Bibles.
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (The Tanakh)
The Hebrew word that is translated as “wolf” is zeeb. It occurs seven times in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament (Genesis 49:27; Isaiah 11:6; 65:25; Jeremiah 5:6; Ezekiel 22:27; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3). Every time it is translated as wolf because that is the meaning of the Hebrew word. It is never translated as lion. Therefore, Isaiah 11:6 does not refer to the lion and the lamb.
1611 King James Bible
The second important example is the 1611 King James Bible. It should be noted that Isaiah 11:6 in the 1611 King James Version Bible reads the same as it does in modern Bibles. Here is Isaiah 11:6 in the 1611 KJV:
The wolfe also shall dwell with the lambe, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid and the calfe and the yong lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 1611 King James Bible
This reveals that Isaiah 11:6 has not changed since the 1611 King James Version Bible was printed.
Early Church Fathers (A.D. 349-407)
A review of the writings of the early church reveals that John Chrysostom paraphrases Isaiah 11:6 in his commentary on the “The Gospel of Matthew.” It is important to note that Chrysostom lived about A.D. 349 – 407. Here is his paraphrase of a portion of Isaiah 11:6,
Then wolves and lambs shall feed together . . .
Saint Ambrose (A.D. 340 – 397) also refers to the wolves and lambs feeding together. The article Did Isaiah 11:6 once say the lion shall lie down with the lamb? contains a more complete listing of the writings of the early church fathers that quote Isaiah 11:6. Each of the quotes contain the phrase “wolf and lamb.”
The Pseudepigrapha (A.D. 2nd – 7th Century)
Wolves and lambs will eat grass together in the mountain. Leopards will feed together with the kids.
Dead Sea Scrolls (circa 125 B.C.)
The scroll 1QIsa (~ 125 B.C.) in the Dead Scrolls also contains the book of Isaiah and Isaiah 11:6 states that the wolf and lamb will be together and not a lion and lamb.
The Septuagint (3rd to 2nd Century B.C.)
The Septuagint (third to second century B.C.), which is the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible contains Isaiah 11:6. The following is a translation of the Greek text,
And the wolf shall feed with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . .
Therefore, this means that Isaiah 11:6 has not changed since at least 270 B.C. The reader is also encouraged to visit, “Did Isaiah 11:6 once say the lion shall lie down with the lamb?”
There are those who think there is a Bible verse that says, “God helps those who help themselves.” But it does not exist in the Bible and there is no verse that says the lamb and lion will lie down together. Yet, since peace will exist throughout the millennial kingdom it will be true that all the animals will be at peace with one another. What is truly amazing about this passage is that a little boy will lead them. Now that is amazing.
The Future Millennial Kingdom Is On Earth
The Isaiah passages do not describe heaven – they describe Jesus’ earthly kingdom. We can see this by reading the verses just before the Isaiah 65:25 passage.
And there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying. No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Shall be thought accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build, and another inhabit, they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the lifetime of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My chosen ones shall wear out the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, and their descendants with them. It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:19-24 (NASB)
Notice that children will be born and older men will die. Revelation 20:1-4 describes heaven. It is a very different picture.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 20:1-4 (NASB)
The historical records help us understand that the phrase “wolf and the lamb” in Isaiah 11:6 has been the same since 270 B.C. Those who are looking for proof that Isaiah 11:6 once included the phrase “lion and the lamb” must remember that Christ promised that the Word of God would never change (Matthew 5:17-18).
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matthew 5:17-18 (NASB)
We must remember that every word in the Bible was written by or inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and the Holy Spirit moved men to write (2 Peter 1:21). This means Isaiah 11:6 has not changed.
It is also important to notice that Isaiah 65:25 also refers to the wolf and lamb.
The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25 (NASB)
The phrase “lion and the lamb” cannot be found in the Bible.
God loves peace. Sin brought war, violence, and hatred. Someday when Jesus reigns on this earth, He will bring a temporary peace. And those who are alive during that time will see real peace – as only God can give. Lord Jesus, come quickly!
1. Adele Berlin and Marc Dvi Brettler. The Jewish Study Bible. Oxford University Press.2004. p. 807
2. 1611 King James Bible. Hendrickson Publishers. 2010. Isaiah 11:6.
3. Peter Schaff. Chrysostom. The Gospel of Matthew. X. Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson Publishers. 1995. p. 64.
4. Peter Schaff. St. Ambrose. Concerning Repentance. Book 1, chapter XIII. Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers. Hendrickson Publishers. 1995. p. 340.
5. Sibylline Oracles. 3.788. James H Charlesworth. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Doubleday & Company. 1983. vol. 1, p. 379.
6. 1QIsa. MT. Plural 4QIsa. Abegg et al. Isaiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. HarperSanFrancisco. 1999. p. 288.
7. Sir Brenton. Isaiah. The Septuagint With Apocrypha: Greek and English. Hendrickson. 1986. p. 847.
Suggested Links:Where is the scriptural support that says Jesus will reign on earth?
Is heaven described in the book of Revelation?
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Did Isaiah 11:6 once say the lion shall lie down with the lamb?
What is the Pseudepigrapha? Should it be in the Bible?
When was the Bible translated into the Greek language? – The Septuagint