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APOLOGY AND CORRECTION - THE LION SHALL LAY DOWN BY THE LAMB

01/30/2018
Seek The Truth Blog

APOLOGY AND CORRECTION - THE LION SHALL LAY DOWN BY THE LAMB:

Since our website began, we have offered to correct any information found to be false, and issue a public apology after its correction. Recently, we were contacted by a researcher who noticed our usage of the Bible passage describing how the "Lion shall lay down by the lamb". The researcher writes:

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On this page you mention towards the bottom of the page the lion will lay down with the lamb. That is the scripture I remember well as it was my favourite scripture growing up. Isaiah 11:6. Now my Bible says wolf instead of lion. Every Bible on the planet says the same thing. What is going on? Why has this supernaturally changed? Why are some people saying it was always wolf? I know with certainty the way that scripture was written on my heart. Is this a sign of the last days?
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Growing up in the "Message", this passage was one often referred to in sermon, describing a time when carnivorous animals would no longer be predators or prey, usually referring to either the millenium or heaven. It was quoted from the pulpit, in song, and even in pamphlets published by various churches. The problem? This verse "lion shall lay down by the lamb" does not exist.

In the 1611 version of the King James Bible, the passage from Isaiah, translated from other ancient translations of the Hebrew text, describes a wolf ... dwelling ... with a lamb (not lying down by it), and the leopard lying down with the kid:

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"The wolfe also shall dwell with the lambe, and the leopard shall lie downe with the kid: and the calfe and the yong lion, and the fatling together, and a litle child shall lead them."
- Isaiah 11:6 1611 KJV
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The text has changed slightly with the New King James Bible, only to update the spelling of the words:

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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 KJV
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The Hebrew text used the word "zə-'êḇ" (wolf) as the animal dwelling with the lamb, so if one compares the most modern translations to the ancient Hebrew text, they are accurate. It is apparent that the commonly memorized phrase, "the lion shall lay down with the lamb" never existed in the Bible text. So how did this happen? How are so many people using a memorized "verse" that does not exist?"

The "lion shall lay down with the lamb" is a lyric made popular by the 1937 song, "Peace in the Valley" written by Thomas A. Dorsey for Mahalia Jackson. It was first made popular by Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys in 1951 after being recorded by Sam Cooke of the Soul Stirrers in 1950 and rising to limited success. But it wasn't until Elvis Presley recorded the song on his first Christmas Album with the Jordanaires that "Peace in the Valley" received worldwide fame.

On January 6, 1957, Elvis sang "Peace in the Valley" on the Ed Sullivan Show, and requested that viewers send emergency aid for some 250,000 refugees fleeing Hungary after a double invasion of that country by the Soviet Union. He dedicated the song to the refugees before an estimated audience of 50 million people, resulting in contributions of six million dollars.

After the popularity of Elvis' rendition of the song, many ministers around the nation began integrating the lyrics into their sermons. William Branham was no exception. Over time, the lyrics became associated with the passage from Isaiah, and ministers began using the "lion" and lamb lying together to portray various rapture or millennial theologies. Worse, many ministers who only loosely studied theology and scripture began quoting other ministers, mistakenly believing that the lyrics of the song were from the book of Isaiah.

Interestingly, the usage of this phrase on our website, "the lion shall lay down with the lamb", was not originally written by Seek The Truth. The web page in question quoted William Branham using the phrase in a sermon describing a "vision" that he appears to have copied directly from Clarence Larkin, "Future Home of the Heavenly Bridegroom".
http://www.branhamism.org/clarence-larkin/future-home-of-the-heavenly-bridegroom-and-the-earthly-bride/

As many have now pointed out, William Branham often used the works of others for content in his sermons. In the cases of C.L. Franklin's "As the Eagle Stirs Her Nest" and Billy Graham's "Thinking Man's Filter", William Branham copied entire sermons, claiming them as "revelation" or original thought after applying his cultish doctrine. It is neither surprising nor unique for William Branham to have used this phrase. Many ministers of his day were quoting the very popular song.

In most cases, William Branham was referring directly to the song or attempting to sing with the audience. It is only in a few instances where Branham uses the illustration of a lion lying down with a lamb in theology. One example:

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Look where She'll stretch out into the—into the sea, from sea to sea. Think of that fifteen hundred mile City setting out there on the mountains of the Lord. Oh, that'd be wonderful! And the lion and the lamb shall lay down together. The lion will eat straw like the bullock. And the bear will be gentle, and the wolf will be tame. What a time it will be! Nothing shall hurt or destroy; everything will be in peace and love. There'll be no more old age; there'll be no more sickness, no more dying.
- Branham, 64-0823E - Questions And Answers #2

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Using the lyrics of the song into his theology is not without issue, however. As the lyrics of "Peace in the Valley" became integrated into mainstream Christianity, and the passage from Isaiah was associated with the song, much of the context of the actual Bible text was overlooked or taken out of context -- it became theology based upon a song and not the Bible. Words and phrases used in the text as metaphors or symbolic were suddenly taken literal, while the rest of the words and phrases in the passage are symbolic or metaphoric. According to the prophecy, a "shoot" would be springing up from the "stump of Jesse", and a scattered Israel would return from "four corners" of the earth. The passage is describing the coming Messiah, and the restoration of the exiled Jews using symbology, and ministers do not preach about literal "shoots" or literal "stumps". (Though some do preach about literal "four corners", ignoring the time zones of daylight across the round earth). Ministers began claiming that the animals in the symbolic passage were literal, confusing the text with a mixture of both literal and symbolism.

Other prophets also metaphorically and symbolically used animals in their prophecies or text, and it is easily understood by all that the animals themselves are not literal. Eagles were used symbolically for their speed and eyesight, for instance. Jeremiah 5 uses animals as symbolic structures to describe Israel's enemies:

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Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many.
- Jeremiah 6
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Is the passage from Isaiah 6 literal? Is it symbolic? Will animals feed on each other in heaven?

On the surface, basing theology on music instead of scripture seems harmless. None of us have seen the world that is to come. Those arguing for it have never been there, just as those arguing against it have never been there. In the case of the "Message", however, the problem is much deeper. William Branham claimed to have seen "the other side" (heaven, or purgatory depending on how the details are interpreted). In a "vision" plagiarized by the works of Clarence Larkin, Branham described his version of the "future home", and then began quoting lyrics to a song as scriptural fact. Worse, an entire denomination of people were unaware of the plagiarism, and accepted this "fact" at face value.

Though our web page was only quoting William Branham, and the phrase "lion shall lay down with the lamb" was not our own, we have decided to remove it from the page and issue a retraction. At least one researcher read the page and was not aware that the page was quoting Branham instead of the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining proper context of scripture, we decided to remove that portion of the quote.

Should you find anything on our website that is incorrect, please let us know. If you can supply evidence supporting your claim, we will issue a public apology and retraction.