When this big boy jumped out of the bush in the dark with a rainstorm in the distance it was one of those surreal moments that writers love to talk about as being a “primal experience”. I was not just absorbed by the sight, I also had a distinct feeling that I needed to run or hide or get out of the way. When the wart hogs jumped out from under the vehicle that accelerated those feelings (see the blog on 1/15) There are no doors on this vehicle and the only barrier between me and this leopard are my clothes. I had been regaling the group with stories about the maneaters of Tsavo, the maneater of Mwefue, who killed and ate a women in the middle of her village in broad daylight and then came back for several days with her small rucksack of belongings and would play with them in the village square like a housecat would play with a cat nip mouse. Storys of the “Ghost and the Darkness” are frightening enough, but to be 15 feet away from the most efficent killer of human beings of all the big cats except the Tiger, is a primal experience. The lion as a man killer has been talked about for ages – Psalm 22, which we believe is a direct prophecy about the crucifixion of Jesus says
19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Habakkuk 1:8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
Jeremiah 5:6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.
Hosea 13:7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:
Daniel 7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
Interesting the leopard is descriptive of the anti – christ in Revelation 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.