IS ISAIAH 11:6 (“LIONS WILL EAT STRAW”) LITERAL OR FIGURATIVE?

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Literal – The Watchtower 10/15/1950 p. 399 – Questions From Readers

If that outstanding carnivorous animal, the lion, is to “eat straw like the ox”, surely no others will be meat-eaters.

Figurative – The Watchtower 4/15/1967 p. 240 par. 12 – The Benefits of Mankind’s Millennium

these formerly divided peoples cultivate and display the peaceful Christian spirit toward one another, instead of beastliness. This was prefigured in the following Messianic prophecy…

Literal – The Watchtower 5/1/1970 p. 267 par. 8 – Keep Close in Mind “The Conclusion of the System of Things”

Even the animals will be peaceable… In fact, the scripture at Isaiah 11:6-9 pictures a wolf and a lamb living together peacefully.

Both Literal and Figurative – The Watchtower 4/15/1971 p. 245 par. 21 How “Restoration of All Things” Is Made

The beauty of that peace and harmony, besides now fulfilling the further words of the prophet Isaiah in a spiritual sense, will become more concrete in a literal fulfillment of those same prophetic words, which we read in Isaiah 11:6-9…

Literal – w71 2/15 p. 106 Family Study a Blessing

teacher called the mother, who through a friend explained the child’s desire to play with a lion in Paradise.

Figurative – Man’s Salvation book (1975) p 191/2

here these potentially harmful animals must be used as illustrations in the prophecy

Both Literal and Figurative – The Watchtower 10/1/1975 p. 607 par. 13 Flight to the True Kingdom Refuge

The harmless relationship between beast and man that will then prevail will correspond with the description of Isaiah 11:6-9, which has already found its fulfillment in the spiritual paradise now enjoyed by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.

Figurative – The Watchtower 2/15/1976 p. 127 Isaiah—A Book Overflowing with Good News!

In Jehovah’s spiritual paradise today persons who formerly had dispositions like a wolf, a leopard, a lion or a bear have become docile.

Literal – The Watchtower 10/1/1977 p. 592 – Changing Personalities in Kenya’s Paradise

in God’s new order, it can be expected that even the most vicious of the wild animals will be tamed, to live at peace alongside mankind

Figurative – The Watchtower 10/15/1979 p. 9 – What Blessings on Earth During the Millennium?

Irenaeus recognized that these words are a fitting description of how God’s truth can make personality changes in “savage men”.

Both Literal and Figurative – The Watchtower 1/15/1980 p. 14 par. 22 God’s Government—Mankind’s Only Hope

Even today persons with animalistic tendencies, by applying God’s Word in their lives, are learning to live at peace with others. God’s Word indicates that, under Kingdom rule, even the animals will live in peace

Literal – The Watchtower 4/15/1981 p. 5 Origin of the Millennial Hope

The lamb will not dread the wolf, nor will the leopard harm the kid (xi. 8 [6]); that is, as the following verse explains, tyranny and violence will no longer be practised on God’s holy mountain

Figurative – The Watchtower 12/15/1983 p. 15 Do You Remember?

This is a foretaste of how humans will live together peacefully on this earth in a physical Paradise during the Thousand Year Reign of Christ Jesus

Both Literal and Figurative – The Watchtower 12/1/1983 p. 31 Questions From Readers

“It would be inconsistent for God to inspire such a prophecy as that of Isa 11:6-9, Eze 34:25 and Hos 2:18 to have only a figurative or spiritual meaning and not have a true copy of these things in actual life…”

Literal – The Watchtower 11/15/1983 p. 30 par. 18 Abound in Hope!

…why, “even the lion will eat straw just like the bull,” as no doubt it did in Eden…

Figurative – The Watchtower 10/1/1983 p. 7 Can You Enjoy a Paradise Now?

there is only one force in the universe that can cause people to make such drastic changes in their disposition.

Literal – The Watchtower 10/1/1983 pp. 4-5 Can You Enjoy a Paradise Now?

This would restore the Paradise conditions that existed in the garden of Eden when animals and humans lived in that garden in perfect harmony.

Figurative – The Watchtower 1/1/1985 p. 14 par. 20 Unified In Publishing the Word of Jehovah

It is illustrated at Isaiah 11:6-9, which tells of the spiritual paradise now existing among Jehovah’s restored people…

Literal – The Watchtower 11/15/1988 p. 6 The New World—Paradise Regained!

Think of children able to play safely with animals now so dangerous.

Figurative – The Watchtower 6/1/1988 p. 7 Why Some Have Changed Their Religion

People with personalities formerly as different as sheep are from wolves are now getting along peaceably in the Christian assembly.

Literal – The Watchtower 11/15/1989 p. 13 par. 16 Do All Things for the Good News

she showed me Isaiah 11:6-9 about animals living in true peace

Figurative – The Watchtower 10/1/1992 p. 19 par. 19 The Messiah’s Presence and His Rule

the subjects of his Kingdom are learning to live peaceably together, fulfilling Isaiah 11:6-9

Literal – The Watchtower 12/1/1996 p. 15 par. 1 – Youths Who Remember Their Creator

Then I dream about how beautiful Paradise will be in the future and about how I can touch the animals then.

Figurative – The Watchtower 2/15/1996 p. 25 Spreading Bible Truth in Portugal

Truly a case of ‘the wolf residing with the lamb’!

Both literal and Figurative – The Watchtower 7/15/1998 p. 6 What Future Do You Want for Your Children?

Try to envision the grand fulfillment of this prophecy: “The wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Even today, the spiritual security described in these words has a figurative fulfillment…

Figurative – The Watchtower 9/15/2001 p. 18 par. 11 Jehovah’s Blessing Makes Us Rich

This “fruitage of the spirit” is part of “the new personality” that Christians put on in place of any rapacious, beastlike traits they may formerly have displayed.

Literal – The Watchtower 11/15/2003 p. 6 You Can Believe in a Paradise Earth

Animals will pose no danger to man.

Figurative – The Watchtower 4/1/2003 p. 19 par. 18 Mildness—An Essential Christian Quality

The Bible likens this transformation to the change of vicious wild beasts—wolf, leopard, lion, bear, and cobra—to peaceful domestic animals—lamb, kid, calf, and cow.

Literal – The Watchtower 1/15/2003 p. 6 Has Evil Won?

Their peace will not be threatened from any source—human or animal.

Figurative – The Watchtower 11/1/2004 p. 7 Who Is the Right Leader for Today?

Those men who today attack others like voracious lions or who act like ill-tempered bears toward their neighbors will have changed their dispositions completely.

Literal – The Watchtower 10/1/2004 p. 6 “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth”—How?

They will enjoy peace even with the beasts of the field.

Figurative – The Watchtower 5/1/2004 p. 8 par. 1 Be Courageous Like Jeremiah

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES dwell in a spiritual paradise.

Literal – The Watchtower 9/1/2007 p. 7 “Written for Our Instruction”

What a beautiful prospect!

Figurative – The Watchtower 5/15/2008 p. 28 Pursue “Holiness in God’s Fear”

Figuratively speaking, people who are violent and aggressive in action and speech are compared to wild beasts.

Literal – The Watchtower 9/15/2012 p10

So we should not be surprised when we read in the Bible that peace will come to prevail between humans and animals. (Read Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25.)

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