LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH
the book of Revelation we see Jesus not only as the
Lamb, but also as the Lion. In John’s vision, Jesus
alone was found to be worthy to open God’s seven-sealed
wept and wept because no-one was found who was worthy
to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders
said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe
of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able
to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw
a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain---.
chapter 5, verse 4-6).
watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals
chapter 6, verse 1).
a son of Jacob the old patriarch, was the progenitor
of the particular tribe of Israel which bore his name---the
tribe of Judah. Of the twelve tribes of Israel, Judah
was the one from which the royal line would proceed,
leading to King David and ultimately to the King of
kings, Jesus. Approximately 1800 years before the birth
of Christ, Jacob was about to die and he gathered his
sons around him to prophesy over them. We hear of the
lion in connection with Judah at this point:
are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey,
my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like
a lioness---who dares to rouse him?”
chapter 49, verse 9).
then hear of Judah’s descendants being on the royal
line which will lead to Jesus:
sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s
staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom
it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”
chapter 49, verse 10).
‘sceptre’ and the ‘ruler’s staff’ show the line of kingship
in Judah, and we see the rule of the King to whom the
sceptre and the staff really belong, the King who all
the nations of the earth will obey.
in our modern times the sceptre and the ruler’s staff
have still not departed from Judah. Although we do not
know Judah as a recognisable tribe in today’s Israel,
the One who was crucified as the King of the Jews, the
One who is of the tribe of Judah rules in heaven, and,
at his return, He will rule completely upon the earth.
The kingly sceptre and staff are kept safe in the hands
of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
of the most difficult things I find in writing this
book is knowing how to set it out right, how to compartmentalise
it, where to begin and end each section. It could be
done a million different ways. The names and titles
and connections with Jesus are everywhere throughout
Scripture, and they intermingle constantly. This is
wonderful, really, because we do see Jesus as the ‘Alpha
and the Omega’, the ‘Beginning and the End’. We are
continually reminded of His words to the unbelieving
Jews of His time:
diligently study the Scriptures because you think that
by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures
that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me
to have life.”
chapter 5, verses 39-40).
the time Jesus spoke these words, the only Scriptures
in existence were those which we now have in the Old
Testament. The religious Jews studied them diligently,
but they never realised that those very Scriptures spoke
about Jesus. Jesus told them, and tells us, like it
is---the Old Testament testifies to Him. We know the
New Testament does. So, we find this ongoing interaction
between Old and New Testaments testifying to Christ.
But, notice the really critical phrase above, ‘you refuse
to come to me to have life.’ It is not enough to read
the Bible, not even to have degrees in theology, or
to wear the office of the clergy---if we will not come
to Jesus, it is all for nothing.
back to my point about the interactions and connections;
in the first four verses of Psalm 23 we read:
LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes
me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet
waters, he restores my soul.
guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and
your staff, they comfort me.
the above verses, written by Israel’s King David, we
see the ‘LORD is my shepherd’. Now we have already seen
Jesus as our Shepherd in chapter 6 of this book. David
is here speaking of Jehovah God as our Shepherd. Remember,
Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd and no-one could
snatch His sheep from His hand. He said no-one could
snatch them from the Father’s hand. He also said, ‘I
and the Father are one.’
speaks of Jehovah God’s rod and staff being a comfort
to him even when he comes to pass through death. This
rod and staff is the same royal sceptre and ruler’s
staff we have seen belonging to the Lion of the tribe
of Judah. And why should David find comfort in the rod,
the sceptre, the staff? Because, although such a staff
existed in a physical sense---Moses had one, the real
reason for comfort is this:
throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness
will be the sceptre of your kingdom.”
chapter 1, verse 8).
will be the true ‘sceptre’ of God’s kingdom, and those
made righteous in Christ will be the occupants of that
kingdom. We, who trust in Jesus, can, as could King
David, for ever take comfort in such a promise.
connections are everywhere, in both Old and New Testaments;
shared titles and attributes; the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit; the mysterious, glorious Godhead.
23 was written by David as he was inspired by the Holy
Spirit; God spoke these wonderful truths into King David’s
spirit, and the promises are for all who will come to
faith in Christ. Here are the last two verses (5 and
prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
goodness and love will follow me all the days of my
life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for
Lamb was led meekly to the cross. The Lion is about
to return in unsurpassed strength and power.
Scriptures do indeed testify to Jesus, the Lion and
the Lamb, from Genesis to Revelation.
Jesus, my Saviour, who died on the tree,
open a fountain for sinners like me;
blood is that fountain which pardon bestows,
cleanses the foulest wherever it flows.
the Lion of Judah shall break every chain,
give us the victory again and again.
Songs and Solos, an old hymn book compiled under the
direction of Ira D. Sankey)