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Why is a lion unclean?

Often when we study the Bible, we tend to miss the mark and not ask a relevant question such as “Why is a lion unclean?”

We know that the eagle, the owl, and the vulture are unclean. The Bible specifically says they are unclean. But if you look closely, it does not mention cats and lions. The general prescription for four footed beasts is as follows: 

  • Split Hoof

  • Chews the Cud

We could just say “Well that’s obvious; the lion has no hooves and does not chew the cud, end of story…end of discussion.”

When dealing with God and His Laws, the question that should always be asked is “What is God trying to teach here?”

When looking at an owl or a vulture, one of the first things that should come to our minds is “The owl kills and eats, and the vulture eats dead stuff.”   That’s right; owls and vultures have eating habits that surround death.   An owl hunts and kills.  A vulture picks up the dead scraps and munches down.

A lion is similar. The two fold characteristic again is involved too with an unclean animal. The lion stalks and then devours. We have a name for such animals; they are called predators.

If we were to look at a lion in terms of how it lives, it preys on the weak, it goes for the stuff in the back of the herd, it suddenly attacks, it subdues in violence and then devours.

This is a life ethic which God hates. God often describes in the Proverbs how the wicked rule. 

Pro 10:6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. 
Pro 11:10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting. 

The wicked are characterized by predatory natures, and God pictures them as well as beasts. The most prevalent picture most of us recognize is the beast in the book of Revelation. But I bet most people don’t readily recognize the beasts described in the Old Testament.

In the ancient Babylonian empires, the kings were pictured as lions and men combined:  a lion-man. God being the genius He is, picked up on the imagery and pictured the chief Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, to be just that, a beast. He was a beast for seven years crawling on his hands and knees, eating grass like an animal.

Winged Lion of Assyria from Ashurbanipal's Palace,  thought by the people to ward off evil.

The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia 1999, page 22

God showed Nebuchadnezzar what he was, a beast: a devouring, merciless, hunting, predator. 

He had no problem ripping up Shadrack, Meshak, Abednigo and Daniel from their homes in Israel. He simply carted them off and made them serve him, just like Samuel says a King (who is a beast) will do.

Enslaving of the Nations.  Israel and like nations carted off to be slaves...

The Children's Bible in 365 Stories, By Mary Batchelor, Illustrated by John Haysom, page 216

Nebuchadnezzar, as a Wild Beast

The Children's Bible in 365 Stories, By Mary Batchelor, Illustrated by John Haysom, page 239


Dan 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? 
Dan 4:31 While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. 
Dan 4:32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 
Dan 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. 

A beast in culture is an ethic that is merciless and has no problem hunting down and devouring. When man is adrift from God’s Laws, God views him as a beast.

On a final note, God will bring literal beasts to our civilization to show us that we are beast-like. So when we see cougars which normally live in the wild on our back porch, we should understand that God is sending us a message: we are beast-like, we are predatory at heart. We as a civilization walk as beasts in the land; therefore, beasts walk among us.

"Here kitty kitty kitty! This is in Martin, Michigan, north of Kalamazoo.I'm sure the DNR would look at this photo and say that it's just a house cat.

These pictures are from a from a guy out at Martin,. Pictures taken from his kitchen onto his patio deck. It was watching his little kids on the kitchen floor!

Guess what! There are more and more Mountain Lion sightings in all of Michigan. Lansing, Kalamazoo, Comstock Park, Baldwin and many, many more locations in Michigan! This is what we will be looking forward to in the near future." 

Lori Folkertsma

A guy who lives in Phillips, Wisconsin took this picture on a trail- camera near butternut. This is a big cat and it looks pretty healthy, doesn't it? 

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