Serving the High Plains

Lions and lambs have many origins

Most have likely heard the phrase, “In like a lion, out like a lamb; in like a lamb, out like a lion,” regarding March weather.

There’s much discussion about meanings, with some relating lion weather to harshness because lions are fierce, while others relate it more to the lion’s coat as giving a sunny or warm feeling.

For the lamb, the harsh weather is related to the whiteness of snow indicated by the lamb’s wool, while the fair weather is related to the gentleness generally attributed to a lamblike disposition.

Generally, the concept is that March weather would be different at the end than at the beginning. Interestingly, this year, Feb. 29 and March 1 were about 20 to 25 degrees colder than the seven-day periods before and after, with a skiff of snow. I checked several websites to find more background information about the origin of the phrase, but this one ( contained the best cross-section of information with links to other sites providing more information.

Probably the earliest concept about the lion and the lamb was based in the appearance of Leo (the lion) in early March in the eastern sky and Aries (the ram or lamb) in the western sky in late March. The first known published allusion to the lamb and lion regarding March weather is in John Fletcher’s “A Wife for a Month.” Search the internet to find the plot and full text of that play in Old English.

Contrary to some thought, the saying isn’t likely based on Isaiah 11:1-10 and elsewhere in Isaiah. However, the Bible does say a lot about lambs and lions in the Old and New Testaments. I pluralized lion and lamb because there are two individuals representing both who are “interested” in leading us.

One website cited a theory that the lamb/lion saying was based in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and expected return, such that he came to earth and gave his life as the Lamb of God but will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5-14; John 1:29-34; 1 Peter 1:18-21).

But that’s backward to “in like a lion, out like a lamb” as stated in the first known printing of that concept. That said, the Revelation passage just cited says Jesus is still the Lamb God provided as the sacrifice for our sins, even before creation (1 Corinthians 15:21-23; Romans 5:12-19; Genesis 22:8).

The other lion/lamb is Satan himself. Although he prowls around like a lion looking for prey, he disguises himself as a sheep deceiving people into thinking he’s the Lamb of God and the Light of the World (Job 1:6-7; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Matthew 7:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; John 8:12).

Have you obeyed God, as Jesus did while on earth, and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the Holy Spirit as God’s guarantee of your salvation (Hebrews 5:7-9; Genesis 3:13-17; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; 8:9; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:24-25; Ephesians 1:13-14)?

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected].

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