Hymn text by William Clegg, 1823-1903. View the full text of this hymn.

Yesterday I watched a turkey vulture peck at a chunk of meat at the Phoenix Zoo and, naturally, thought about Christ’s Second Coming. Specifically I remembered these verses in 2 Nephi 30, which echo Isaiah’s words in the Old Testament:

“And then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb…and the lion shall eat straw like the ox…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” (2 Nephi 30: 12-13, 15).

The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord. Isn’t that the most marvelous phrase? Understanding the Lord’s will and works can even neutralize the killing instinct between species, bringing peace to every level of His creation. In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah gave one of the most beautiful prophecies of peace I have ever read.

“And [the Lord] shall…rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah 4:3).

Think of it. A world without war, where weapons are modified to till the earth and the skills of killing are lost to future generations. The thought of laying aside our current world–a place where wars rage and children starve and many, many people lose their lives in acts of senseless violence–makes me feel at once hopeful and a little weepy.

And that, in a nutshell, is the message of this hymn: peace restored by the Prince of Peace. Putting our faith in Him we can hope for a “blissful time…the day by holy men foretold/When man no more with man will strive/And all in each a friend behold.”

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