The Wolf Will Live with the Lamb
Our Haftarah is the source for one of the most popular sayings known to man.
The wolf will live the lamb and the leopard will prance a goat etc. I suggest that all read through the whole Haftara.
According to the Rambam this prophecy does not refer to a change in nature. Instead he says that it refers to the relationship between the wicked and righteous. The gentiles will no longer oppress the Jewish people.
There is a second opinion about this most famous prophetic prediction. Righteous people do not get attacked by wild animals. Not only that but their flocks and children are also safe. During the messianic era there will be no fear of wild animals because all people will be righteous.
A final opinion is that of Rabbi Shimon in the Sifra. He says that the prophecy must be taken literally. A lamb will sit with a wolf and a leopard will prance with a goat. In our generation I have heard many scoff at this opinion. I do not think that it is proper to scoff at an opinion which is explicitly stated by a Tana a rabbi of the Mishnaic period.
Let us examine the lesson behind such prophecy. If history has taught us one lesson it is that men are cruel to each other. Today people are just as cruel but more efficient at annihilating populations. It can be said that it would be a total change in nature for men to stop killing each other. The number of species that prey on others is perhaps as great as the number of humans who prey on each other.
Changing this nature of man would be no less incredible than changing the nature of beasts. If we are to believe that man will go through such an incredible change it is not far fetched to believe that nature itself will change. Even if nature does not change it will be a miracle far more incredible than the splitting of sea for Benie Yisrael.
Picture a world where guns are so useless that they are melted down into pitchforks. Every creep running around New York who is armed to the teeth with machine guns will become a pacifist. Instead of mugging old people he will help them cross the street. The only use for a sharp knife will be to cut tomatoes. The most violent act in the world will be a pat on the back. Obviously this means a miraculous and total change in human nature.
If such a prophecy applies to man than it is no less miraculous to picture wolves and lambs sitting together.