I recently received the following question. It is a common one that a lot of people ask. I have encountered this question in numerous formal debates as well as in countless personal discussions. In Kansas City just recently, during the extended Q and A session, Dr. Charles Westlake appealled to this very text to prove that the kingdom has not come. When I noted Paul’s use and application of Isaiah, he simply had no response.
It is taken for granted by too many people that the Bible is a woodenly literal book that basically cannot use metaphoric language. This is simply inappropriate, and imposes a presuppositional hermeneutic on the text.
Anyway, here is the question with my response below it:
How do we explain the “wolf laying down with the lamb… 100 year old man being called a child” passages?? This one is stumping me!
Well, notice the language: The wolf will lie down with the lamb, etc.. Now watch… “In that day, the Root of Jesse who shall be a banner for the people for the Gentiles shall seek him.”
So, in the day that the wolf and lamb would lie together the banner of the root of Jesse would be raised to restore Israel and call the Gentiles.
Note that in Romans 15:8f Paul quotes directly from this text to justify and explain the calling of the Gentiles into the body of Christ, and to call for unity between Jews and Gentiles in that one body!
So, if the banner has been raised, and the Gentiles called, this demands that the wolf was laying down with the lamb!