Truth, Understanding, Insight

The lion Christian: Remembering

29th May 2009, hej


Today David Horovitz editor of the Jerusalem Post drew our attention to a connection of Christian the lion to Jerusalem. But there is more to it than even David Horovitz has found. The whole incident has deep significance on every level.

The oddness of Christian the Lion

Everyone values the footage of the lion's re-union with its rescuers, as it is unusual that a lion is affectionate, like a tame cat can be. BUT there is every evidence that wild lions are fierce animals and would rather maul than hug. This is just as Noah was told.

The fear of you and the dread of you will be on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the sky. (Genesis 9:2)

A fearful dog will attack, just as a wary lion will. Wild animals run, hide and may attack. And lions can be man slayers, even if raised in captivity. But Christian was very different.

Christian's Heritage

According to Horovitz,

The cub, which Harrods' staff had named Marcus, was born on August 12, 1969, they note, in England's now defunct Ilfracome Zoo. His dad, Butch, had come from Holland. And his mother, Mary, they say without elaboration, had come from the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem...

The cub called 'Marcus' meaning 'dedicated to Mars' was re-named 'Christian'. His mother had come from Jerusalem. Horovitz concludes she seems to be the daughter of Aharon Shulov's zoo's very first lion, which they named Yehuda.

The 1981 Hebrew book, The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lion: 40 years of the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, and there Aharon Shulov documents the remarkable circumstances by which Yehuda - whose original name was Fifi - came to Jerusalem, throwing up delightful precursors to the saga of Christian. Aharon Shulov also describes Yehuda's unusually gentle temperament and wonderful memory, again inviting parallels with his presumed descendant. And the book specifies that dozens of Yehuda's descendants were sent overseas, to Turkey, Burma, Thailand and India. Eight went to England, Christian's mother Mary presumably among them.

Horovitz adds that in 1942 Shulov was looking for a lion, as they were part of Jerusalem's heritage. He knew Gazit, later an Israel Air Force officer, who was working constructing an air base in Eritrea for the British. In December 1942, Gazit found a British officer with two lion cubs adopted after their mother was killed in a hunting expedition, who was prepared to sell them for £25.

But one of the cubs died. The other, Fifi, was raffled. Though they bought 60 one-shilling tickets for the lion lottery, they lost, but then bought the cub from the Scottish nurse who did win Fifi. Fifi is short for Josephine from (Hebrew) "Yahweh increases”. But apparently “they sought in vain for a ship to transport Fifi to Palestine”. One did turn up going via Egypt. But the captain refused until Gazit showed him the cub. And “The cub went straight over to the captain and began to nuzzle his feet and lick his hands.” And Fifi came to Jerusalem and was called Yehuda, Hebrew meaning "thanks, gratitude", "praise".

This lion lived up to its name change as when Gazit visited the lion at the Jerusalem zoo for the first time 3 years later in 1946-7, "the lion nuzzled Gazit's feet, licked his hand and tried to rest his head on Gazit's chest". And so the lion of Jerusalem showed gratitude.

From 1947-50 Yehuda the lion was located on Mount Scopus. Shulov tried during the siege of Jerusalem to keep alive his animals but was left with just two wolves, a hyena, a leopard, and Yehuda. As Horowitz wrote,

The lion was the emblem of the tribe and kingdom of Yehuda (Judah), and became the emblem of the city of Jerusalem.

Horovitz's article

Some Amazing Parallels

The lion of Jerusalem in 1942 was in Eritrea and called Fifi meaning 'Yahweh Increases'. In 1943 Churchill suggested Eritrea (and Tripolitania) as a Jewish colony for refugees.

The lion of Jerusalem, Fifi, was at that time in 1942-3 owned by a British officer. Like the lion, the only reason Jerusalem was ruled by a British officer was that the British had been on a hunt for Germany 'gone wild' and had accidentally 'killed' the Ottomans! So Britain had two 'cubs', the Jewish and Arab Palestinians. The Arab Palestinian one died as Jordan took over it.

The other, Fifi 'Yahweh Increases', was first offered for 25 pounds, (5 by 5 meaning grace). This parallels the Balfour declaration. But Britain changed its mind and the land was then put up for auction, as the Arabs demanded it. The Jews found they had to put effort into acquiring their state. In 1943 when they were trying to get the lion called Fifi 'Yahweh Increases' to the pre-Israel state, Jews found it also very difficult to enter the land due to the quotas of 1939 White Paper. Some had to go via Egypt, just as the lion did, where the Jewish population had climbed to 80,000 since the persecution in Europe.

Once in Jerusalem and called Yehuda “praise” in 1947 the lion shows gratitude. It was very close to the time when 'Yahweh Increases' became the 'Praise' of the nation reborn in a vote for partition in 1947. Then the lion is literally part of its nation's struggle for survival from 1947-50, living in an enclave in a hostile region.

All this time, however, 8 cubs (meaning 'super-abound', or strength) of Yehuda the lion of Jerusalem are sent to England. One of whom was called Mary. Mary means 'their rebellion' or 'bitterness'. The Jewish people had gone back to their land but thought the victories were theirs. There was still bitterness.

Mary in England is joined with Butch, which had come from Holland to produce Marcus 'dedicated to Mars'. But Marcus is made captive in a place of commerce. Jerusalem at that time was divided and captive. It was not easily accessible by Christians, until 1967.

Christian rescued from a cage at Harrods 1969-1972

Two Australians rescue the lion cub from the cage. They took the one they called 'Christian' as he struck them as sweet-tempered. He was bought for 250 guineas (meaning a multitude of grace). People from the young lion nation of Britain seek to free a lion, they then call Christian. Though he roamed in a shop called Sofisticat, they exercised the lion Christian in an enclosed church garden at the end of the street.

Christian was released to Adamson's Kora Reserve in Kenya. The famous reunion footage was filmed in 1971 when Christian 2 years old and full grown and 1972.

From 1969-1972 saw a freedom and revival of growth in Christianity. A Christianity that descended from and understood the bitterness of Yehuda the lion of Jerusalem its ancestor, who had been called 'Yahweh increases'.

The lion of Judah

The lion of Judah, is not just the king of beasts, but is associated with a king. Jacob (Israel) prophesied of his son,

Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49:9-10)

Judah is to be like a lion and from Judah was to come lion king.

But a lion mostly 'tears' and devours.

For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. (Hosea 5:14-15)

This lion Hosea speaks of causes Israel to seek their God.

Balam says Israel is a lion.

Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What has God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion. (Numbers 23:23-24)

Yet Christians have in their mind a different lion, A lion who overcomes,

One of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Behold, the Lion who is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome; he who opens the book and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

This Christian lion is clearly the lion Jacob prophesied of from Judah. The Hebrew scriptures prefigure a change from a avenging lion, to a ruling lion bringing great sweetness.

The Parable of Samson's lion

Samson kills a young lion that roars at him in the vineyards. He then goes back to look at the carcase, and extraordinarily a swarm of bees had made honey in its mouth. He eats of the honey and gives also to his parents. He later makes a riddle,

Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. (Judges 14:14)

But it is a parable as well. From a lion one day there would come food for people and from his strength would come sweetness.

The Sweetness from the Mouth of the Lion

Yehuda and Christian are 2 remarkable lions. In fact both are seemingly impossible lions. Both demonstrated characteristics of love, affection gratitude and remembrance. All sweet to humans. They are so famous, that we may wonder if indeed it is chance. Especially as they are named Jew (Yehuda) and Christian. And in fact Christian (the true Christian) comes from Yehuda (Jews) through Mary (their bitterness of rebellion: Acts 13:46, Romans 11). On another level, the Anointed (as Christ means) came from a Mary, born King of the Jews (Luke 1:32).

These 2, Jews and Christians, in those of their number who are faithful and have been gentle influences in their society are 2 lions that in peace have conquered souls and made a sweetness on earth (limited as they are so few).

But Messiah, who will roar like a lion, and break in pieces those that oppose him (Psalm 2:9), will bring peace, and an era where all lions are more like these two lions, Yehuda and Christian.

There is to be a reversal of the curse of the era of Noah where the lion will no longer fear humans.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the Cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viper's den.
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. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:6-10)

It is repeated, meaning 'it is established',

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth... But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her,.. for the child shall die an hundred years old; ..They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25)

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