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Animals - Will The Nature Of Animals Change In The Millennium?

When Jesus returns to earth as the promised Messiah, He will at last usher in the dream of ages -- world peace. This will involve even the whole of nature, as the world will be transformed into an Edenic paradise (compare Isaiah 51:3; Ezekiel 36:35).

Indeed, Isaiah 11:6-9 explains that the very nature of many animals will change: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

"The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain [God's Kingdom], for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

The question is often asked about the nature of animals when God brought them to Adam for naming (Genesis 2:18-20). There is no evidence in Scripture that any of the animals, at this point in time, were predators, or that Adam was wary or afraid of any of them. 

The very fact that, at Christ’s return, the nature of animals will be changed from being predatory and carnivorous to living together as peaceful dwellers indicates that, at some point in time, their original nature was corrupted. We can only assume that, just as Satan has influenced the nature of human beings to one of hostility and hatred, his influence extended into the animal world as well. 

Fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 11:6-9 will require, it seems, a restructuring of the global ecosystem. But we should note that the animals mentioned here are also symbolic of nations, and their peacefully dwelling together represents an end of war among people.

The lamb, kid, calf, fatling, ox and cow often appear in Scripture to symbolize the Israelite peoples. As for the great cats (leopard and lion) and the bear, Daniel 7 mentions them to symbolize great gentile empires.

These parallels are perhaps most clearly seen in Jeremiah 5:6, where the lion, wolf and leopard are widely understood to represent Israel's enemies. In God's millennial reign, God will change the wild nature of the "beasts" among men, as was figuratively portrayed by Nebuchadnezzar when God made him (the Babylonian lion; compare Daniel 2, 7) to eat grass with oxen (4:33).

Peace throughout the natural realm -- and a unified human race. What a beautiful picture God has painted for us.

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