Who is the Lion of Judah?


By BibleAsk Team

The Lion of Judah

In the Old Testament, the phrase the “lion of Judah” first appeared in Genesis 49:9 when Jacob the patriarch prophesied while giving his blessing to his fourth son Judah. He said, “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?”

Judah had shown a noble character. Even in the dark hour when Joseph’s brothers were plotting to kill him, Judah had planned to save Joseph’s life (Genesis 37:26, 27). But his more superior traits were revealed when he offered his own life as a pledge for that of Benjamin, and also when he pleaded with Joseph on Benjamin’s behalf, to save him from slavery (Genesis 43:9, 10; 44:16–34).

So, Jacob gave Judah unqualified blessing, one which bestowed upon him supremacy and power. Jacob stated that Judah was represented as a young lion growing up into the full strength of an old lion that goes to conquer and succeeds in his mission. Based on Jacob’s prophecy, the lion is a symbol of the kingly tribe of Judah from whose descendants came King David.

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus is the Lion of Judah: “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. Jesus is the long-awaited Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5;5). Christ was born of the tribe of Judah (Matthew 1:2). The figure of a lion resembles strength (Revelation 9:8, 17; 10:3; 13:2, 5), and Christ has triumphed over all the power of darkness. This is what gives Him the right to open the book (Revelation 5:7).

In this sense, Christ is the second David which Paul also taught, “There shall be a root of Jesse; and He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope” (Romans 15:12). David was Israel’s greatest king and military hero. The Davidic idea of the Messiah was that of a conqueror who would restore the kingdom to Israel (Matthew 21:9 Acts 1:6). In that sense, Christ’s victory in the great controversy with Satan sets Him as the One who will finally restore the kingdom eternally, the Lion of Judah.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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