A captivating black and white photograph showcasing a serene moment where a regal lion and gentle lamb peacefully rest side by side, embodying the biblical prophecy.

Where In The Bible Does It Say The Lion Will Lay Down With The Lamb?

The imagery of the lion and the lamb together has captured people’s imagination for ages. But where exactly in the Bible does it say that the lion will lay down with the lamb? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The exact phrase “the lion will lay down with the lamb” does not appear verbatim in the Bible.

However, there are passages that convey a similar symbolic meaning.

In this comprehensive article, we will dive deep into the meaning behind this powerful imagery, exploring related biblical passages and analyzing what they tell us about peace and redemption in the kingdom of God.

The Origin of the Symbolism

Isaiah’s Prophecies of Peace

The imagery of lions and lambs living in harmony first appears in the Old Testament prophetic writings of Isaiah. In Isaiah 11, the prophet describes a future time of restoration and peace when “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat.”

This passage speaks of a radical change in the natural order where prey and predator will live together without fear or violence. Isaiah goes on to say that “the lion shall eat straw like the ox” rather than hunting other animals for food.

This prophecy envisions a world where there will be perfect peace and harmony between all living creatures.

Isaiah 11 formed the scriptural basis for the symbolic image of lions and lambs coexisting peacefully. The prophet was speaking poetically of a future era of universal reconciliation, justice and peace throughout creation.

Though literal lions are carnivores unable to graze on straw, Isaiah uses this vivid imagery to paint a word picture of a future paradise restored to its original perfection, before sin corrupted relationships between people and animals.

Imagery Building on Scriptural Foundations

The specific phrase “the lion shall lay down with the lamb” does not appear verbatim in Isaiah’s prophecy or elsewhere in the Bible. However, Isaiah’s words established the conceptual imagery of savage beasts dwelling safely with their prey that later Christian tradition developed further.

The vision of lions and lambs reconciled captures the imagination and conveys Isaiah’s message memorably.

By the time of the King James Bible translation in 1611, the symbolic pairing of lions and lambs had become well established in Christian thought and literature. The imagery spoke powerfully of the peaceable kingdom where all creation would live in harmony, fulfilled in Christ.

Though not a direct biblical quote, the phrase succinctly encapsulates the biblical vision from Isaiah of a future paradise restored.

Today this memorable picture continues to be invoked, whether in hymns, sermons or popular culture. Though lions laying down with lambs is not found verbatim in scripture, it has become a widely recognized biblical image representing the prophecied reconciliation of all creation under the messianic reign of the Prince of Peace.

Passages with Similar Meanings

Isaiah 11:6-9 – The Wolf and the Lamb

In this famous passage, the prophet Isaiah describes a future time of peace when predators and prey will live together harmoniously. Isaiah foretells that “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

This imagery conveys that even natural enemies will live peacefully alongside one another. According to biblical scholars, this passage is messianic and looks ahead to the future millennial reign of Jesus Christ, when there will be perfect peace on earth.

Isaiah 65:25 – The Lion and Animal Prey

Isaiah 65:25 contains similar imagery: “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.”

Here, predators like lions are predicted to live in harmony with prey like lambs. Their diet will change from meat to plants. This imagery again points to an idyllic time of peace coming on earth when the natural order is transformed.

Hosea 2:18 – A Covenant of Peace with Animals

The minor prophet Hosea also points to this coming time of peace, stating in Hosea 2:18, “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground.

Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.” This conveys that God will make a covenant of peace even with the animal kingdom.

While the specific metaphor of “the lion will lay down with the lamb” is not found verbatim in the Bible, these prophetic passages convey the same meaning. One day, an era of profound peace will come upon the earth, fundamentally transforming even relationships among predator and prey in the animal kingdom.

These prophecies remain to be fulfilled, but provide a beautiful picture of harmony for which believers wait expectantly.

The Significance of the Lion and Lamb Together

Representing the Peaceable Kingdom of God

The imagery of the lion and lamb together is often associated with the prophecy in Isaiah 11:6-9 regarding the coming reign of the Messiah, bringing peace even between natural enemies. Though the actual passage refers to the wolf dwelling with the lamb, the lion and the lamb has become a ubiquitous symbol of the peace and harmony within God’s kingdom (Isaiah 65:25).

This imagery signifies the reconciliatory power of Christ’s redemptive work.

In the Peaceable Kingdom described by Isaiah, all aggression, competition and strife between species will cease, indicating reconciliation between God and humanity. Some scholars suggest the wolf and lamb describe the reconciliation of humanity with itself, while the lion eating straw represents harmony between humankind and the natural world.

Conveying Redemption and Reconciliation

The lion is known as the “king of beasts” and often represents Jesus, the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5). Lambs were sacrificial animals under the old covenant, foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice bringing salvation.

Together, the lion and lamb depict Jesus’ redemptive life, death and resurrection reconciling humanity with God.

This image underscores key Christian themes: the hope of peace after conflict or enmity, friendly fellowship among former rivals, the new order brought by redemption in Christ, and ultimately eternal peace and rest in God’s presence.

Images of Christ’s Reign in Eternity

The symbolic image of the lion and lamb conveys promises regarding Christ’s return and eternal kingdom. Passages like Revelation 5:5-6 and 7:17 uniquely bring these two images together indicating Jesus as both conquering Lion and sacrificial Lamb ruling in glory and judging with righteousness.

This signifies the final fulfillment of God’s promises to restore peace and justice forever.

So while no exact verse matches the famous saying, the lion and lamb together becomes a shorthand reference representing the hope of harmony, redemption and divine rule that Christian scriptures repeatedly promise.


While the exact phrase “the lion will lay down with the lamb” does not appear in scripture, this poignant imagery builds upon several Isaiah passages that convey a similar meaning. Through exploring the origin and biblical basis of this symbolism, we gain a deeper understanding of God’s future kingdom – one of universal peace, reconciliation, and harmony with all creation.

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