Revelation 5 uses two very different animals to describe two aspects of the nature of Jesus Christ, a powerful and ferocious LION and a meek and harmless LAMB. Jesus is both the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, symbolizing His kingly authority and power,and the spotless Lamb of God, symbolizing His submission to the will of His Father to be the perfect sacrifice of the sins of mankind.
“And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” Revelation 5:5-6 ESV
Yesterday we looked at Jesus as the Lamb of God. Today we are looking at Him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Genesis 49:9 describes the tribe of Judah as a “lion’s cub” (Hebrew words mean a young lion) and a “crouched lion” as if ready to attack. Based on this verse, the term “Lion of Judah” became the symbol of the Jewish tribe of Judah.
The following verse is the first prediction of a royal line of David which would come from the tribe of Judah.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:10 NKJV
Jesus Christ is clearly identified in Scripture as a descendent of the tribe of Judah, and more specifically as of the line of David. When we use the name Lion of the tribe of Judah to describe Jesus, we are saying He is the Messiah who is to come as King of kings and Lord of lords, ruling in His eternal kingdom. (The meaning of the word Shiloh is debated by biblical scholars; some understand it to be one of the names of Jesus, while others simply translate it as “tranquility”or “peacemaker.”)
As I was doing some research on this name of God, I came across a quote by Nancy Leigh DeMoss that perfectly ties these two aspects of the nature and purpose of Jesus Christ together.
“The triumphant, conquering Lion is also the slain Lamb. The Lion’s victory, the Lion’s overcoming, the Lion’s triumph was accomplished by His death as a Lamb. He conquered by His suffering.”
Having conquered sin and death by His suffering, He is now our soon-coming conquering King. And that’s a good reason to give thanks today!