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"Advent on the Brink of Eternity:" Sometimes prey become predator. The big idea (theme): Only in Jesus is the threat of judgment lifted. Click for more . . .

December 9, 2018 Series: Advent 2018

Passage: Malachi 3:28– 4:5, Matthew 3:1–10

In our Advent readingfrom Isaiah of ‘A future time when God will bring about a transformation of the earth that extends even to the animal kingdom in which the violence from predators will cease: “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat—and a child shall lead them.” 

But scholars are somewhat mixed on the interpretation. 

Some see the prophecy in edenic terms hearkening back to the Garden—before death entered the world, before there were carnivores. The idea being, that the rule and reign of the coming Messiah would revert the natural order, restoring peace among the earth’s inhabitants. It’s certainly a pleasant picture. 

Other interpreters recognize that in Isaiah’s time, Judah was like prey to the nations. Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were predators. From this view-point these predatory imperial powers will come under the Messiah’s sway and learn to be peaceable. This might actually make more sense since the context of Isa. 11 is all about a future messianic age when the nations will no longer hurt or destroy God’s people. 



Isaiah encapsulates that thought with this statement: “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:9). 


The age to age to come will end violence and animosity toward others. Predatory behavior—if you will—will cease.  

But that day has not come yet. The nightly news reminds us that there are still predators in our world. People who walk into bars and schools and do mass shootings. Evil actors on the world stage who commit terror—blow up buildings/subway stations. Governments who oppress and torture their citizens.

Our human tendency is to divide up the world into good and evil. Good guys and bad guys. And, of course, we always—always!—place ourselves on the side of the good guys.