As a pastor with an extensive background in biblical studies, I understand that the Bible refers
to Jesus by different names. Some verses refer to him as the son of God or the Lamb of God.
Even when John the Baptist was baptizing him, he referred to him as the Lamb of God that
takes away all sins. While Jesus fit completely well into these descriptions, there was another
description that was opposite of the description that he was a lamb. While reading Genesis, I
learned that Jesus is also called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This led me to the question, why
is Jesus called the Lion of the tribe of Judah?
In this article, I will discuss how Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and where in the Bible he
is called the Lion of Judah. Join me on this exploration and learn what the Lion of Judah means
and the significance of Jesus as the Lion of Judah. You will also find out what the Lion means in
Revelation and how Jesus is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. Continue reading to get
more information on this and much more!
How is Jesus the Lion of the tribe of Judah?
Several reasons point to Jesus being the Lion of the tribe of Judah. First, in Jacob’s message to Judah, he told him that his brothers would praise him. We see in Philippians 2:9-11 the scripture tells us that Jesus will be exalted above every other name, and every knee will bow at the mention of his name.
Additionally, Jacob tells Judah that his hand will be on the neck of his enemies. We see that with Jesus in the book of Corinthians 15:24-26, “Then the end will come when he hands over the Kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he has put everything under his feet.”
Consequently, the book of Genesis records that Jacob told Judah the scepter would not depart from him. That is true because all through, the lineage of Jacob was blessed to produce Kings, and eventually, the Messiah himself, Jesus, came from the tribe of Judah.
Furthermore, Revelation 5:5-6 mentions the Lion of the tribe of Judah as the Lamb of God. It is so evident in the scripture that Jesus was the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, who, through his blood, our sins were washed away. So, Revelation referring to Jesus as both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God simply depicts the two natures of Jesus, he was the sacrifice for our sins, and he will come to rule over the earth in the end.
Where in the Bible is Jesus called the Lion of Judah?
Jesus is mentioned as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation 5:5, “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 can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Additionally, the book of Genesis 49:8-10 indicates that Jesus is the Lion of Judah. “Judah, your brothers will praise you, your hand will be on the neck of your enemies, your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from prey, my son. Like a lion, he crouches and lies down, like a lioness who dares to rouse him. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”
Jesus fulfills the above prophetic words, and thus why he is referred to in the book of Revelation as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Just like Jacob noted, Jesus came from Jacob’s lineage.
What does the Lion of Judah mean?
To understand what the phrase “Lion of Judah” means, you must review the two places in the scripture where it is used in Revelation 5:5. To understand this passage of God, let’s look at the significance of the tribe of Judah. Judah is recorded in the Bible as one of Jacob’s sons.
Simply, the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah is also significant in the book of Mathew 1, where the family tree of Christ is narrated. Jesus was a descendant of Judah.
The Lion of Judah also appears in the book of Genesis 49 when Jacob called them and spoke a prophetic word over each of them on what was to happen to them. Jacob told Judah in Genesis 49:8-12 that he would be praised. In both passages, the phrase ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ indicates a victorious King who will be from the lineage of Judah.
What is the significance of Jesus as the Lion of Judah?
The significance of Jesus as the tribe of Judah is that, just like a lion rules over the jungle, he will come and rule over the earth, and no other power will be above him. This fulfills the prophecy hidden in the book of Genesis 49. In this chapter, Jacob tells his son Judah that the scepter will not depart from him till the one who will rule generations come. That was fulfilled in the New Testament as Mathew 1 records that Jesus was a descendant of Jacob.
What does the Lion mean in the book of Revelation?
Generally, lions are legendary and well-known for their beauty, strength, and fearlessness. Lions are often referred to as the kings of the Jungle and the King of the beasts. However, Revelation 5:5 refers to Jesus as the Lion of Judah. The book of Revelation, referring to Jesus as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, expounds who Jesus is from being born in a manger (Luke 2:7), to suffering and being despised (Isaiah 53:7), to now being a roaring lion and the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16).
There is enough biblical evidence to point out that the Lion, mentioned in the book of Revelation, refers to Jesus. We all know that Jesus was born from the lineage of Judah when we read his family tree in Mathew chapter 1. Earlier on in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, when Jacob was blessing his sons, he indicated that Jesus would be born from Judah’s tribe, “the scepter shall not depart from Judah.” John, the author of Revelation, referred to Jesus as a lion to portray Jesus’ absolute authority over all creation.
How is Jesus the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God?
The book of Revelation 5:5 refers to Jesus as both the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Because the two are totally opposite from each other, one would wonder how he could be both. The lamb and Lion are two distinct descriptions of the nature of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the prophecy written in the book of Genesis 49:9 that the Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah and would be worshipped. On the other hand, Jesus is the Lamb of God because he was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity.
Therefore, when Jesus is called the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, we are to view the two natures of him as not only a conquering and victorious king but also as the lamb who was slain so that our sins could go away and we be washed clean.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.