Daily Thought for: 13th December

THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH

Revelation 5. 1-5

I dabble in art, but confess that many of the portraits in the Revelation are beyond me. The Lord Jesus with white hair? Eyes like flames? A sword out of His mouth? Creatures with four faces? Horns with eyes? One feels like Ezekiel who tried to describe a similar scene, writing of ‘the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it . . . This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord’, Ezek. 1.26,28.

In Revelation chapter 5, John is called on to look at one object but he appears to see something entirely different. There is a scroll that needs its seals breaking. As has been suggested, these are the title deeds of the earth and, at first, it seems that no man is worthy to set matters right on earth. John begins to weep. Is there no hope for this world?

One of the elders knows better. There is one man worthy to open the book. A man? But the elder calls on John to behold someone called ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’, v. 5. It is a popular thing for a man to be linked with some lion-like characteristic. In the Bible, many of the references to lions follow this idea. Jacob calls Judah a lion’s whelp, Gen. 49. 9, just as Moses refers to Gad, Deut. 33. 20, and Dan, v. 22. Balaam sees the whole nation in this way, Num. 23. 24; 24. 9. David laments Saul and Jonathan who ‘were stronger than lions’, 2 Sam. 1. 23. And Moses’ prophecy concerning Gadites came strikingly true, ‘whose faces were like the faces of lions’, 1 Chron. 12. 8.

In what sense is our Lord like a lion? The Proverbs may help us here. For example, ‘The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion’, 19.12. Yet the Revelation speaks of ‘the wrath of the Lamb’. Beware the wrath of a patient Man. ‘The righteous are bold as a lion’, 28. 1. And ‘a lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any’, 30. 30. With what boldness He entered alone into the battle of the ages. Yet it was not as the lion that He triumphed. When John looked, he saw a little Lamb. Judah’s Lion did not intimidate us into heaven; He won our hearts by dying for us.

 

Daily Thoughts