The Nature of Animals

by Garry Schaeffer

On December 25, 2007, a 243–pound tiger named Tatiana escaped from her enclosure and attacked three visitors to the San Francisco Zoo. One of her victims died from his wounds, and the tiger was shot and killed by police who responded to a 911 call. The zoo spent almost $2 million to improve the safety on all of its big cat exhibits.

When God created mankind and the animals, the whole earth was at peace. Animal and man dwelt together in harmony. Could it ever be possible for wild animals like tigers, bears or leopards to become pets for human beings?

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, clearly states that a time is coming when the whole earth will be at rest and quiet (Isa. 14:7). This vision of a time of peace is described in greater detail in Isaiah 11:6: “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.” In this verse seven animals are mentioned. Three of these—the wolf, leopard and young lion—are by nature predators of the other four animals.

Let’s take a closer look at Isaiah 11:6. Here God inspired the prophet Isaiah to record that at some future time these three predatory animals will dwell together with a lamb, young goat, calf and fatling . These seven will dwell together in peace, and a little child, perhaps about five or six years old, will lead them. And that is not the end of this vision: “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, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (vv 7–9). Today this just cannot happen due to the wild nature of some of the animals.

Taming the wild?

Throughout history people have tamed some of the wild animals mentioned, but a very real concern always remains that the tamed beast may suddenly revert back to its basic wild, predatory nature.

Thousands of individuals over the years have gone to the Mirage Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, NV to be entertained by the “Siegfried and Roy” show. Roy Horn explained how he tamed his tiger Montecore. For the first year of the tiger’s life he slept in bed with Roy and was bottle fed. They would swim together in the pool. By October 2003, Siegfried and Roy had completed 30,000 performances. Roy always said that one should never turn their back on these animals. Every night he realized he took his life in his hands by performing with these tigers.

In his 1992 book Mastering the Impossible, he wrote “after playing and rolling in the grass with a tiger, it suddenly pinned me down. Our eyes met and instantly I knew she wasn’t playing anymore—in a split second, she would bite. I raised my head and bit her as hard as I could on her nose. And she never attempted to bite me again.”

On October 3, 2003, near the end of a ninety–five minute performance Montecore was distracted by someone in the audience, perhaps someone tried to touch him. Roy tried to block the tiger’s view and tripped and fell. Montecore bit Roy in his neck and dragged him across the stage in front of the live audience. Roy survived but only after many surgeries. One year later he was still in a wheelchair.

A different nature

How can the nature of these wild animals be changed? When Jesus Christ returns and establishes His kingdom on this earth, He will change the nature of the wild beasts. He will change the lion’s inborn desire for flesh food to an appetite for vegetation, and He is going to give a peaceful nature to all other creatures.

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong stated in his book The Wonderful World Tomorrow, “You don’t have to believe it, it will happen, regardless. It is sure, the world’s only sure hope. This advance good news of the world tomorrow is as certain as the rising of tomorrow’s sun….Think of it. The glorified Christ—coming in all the splendor, the supernatural power and the glory of God Almighty—coming to save mankind alive—coming to stop escalating wars, nuclear mass destruction, human pain and suffering—coming to usher in peace, abundant well–being, happiness and joy for all mankind….Jesus Christ very soon is going to return to this earth. He is coming in power and glory. He is coming to rule all nations!”

The time is coming when wild animals will no longer be wild and all mankind will be able to enjoy all of them. What a wonderful, joyful and peaceful future awaits those who seek God and obey His word. II Peter 1:20–21 says, “…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

The prophet Isaiah was moved by God to write a wonderful vision, an encouraging glimpse into the soon–coming peaceful and joyous world when even the nature of all animals will reflect what Mr. Armstrong described: “peace, abundant well–being, happiness and joy for all mankind.”

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