As a Christian and Pastor, one of the responsibilities that I enjoy the most in the church is teaching my Sunday school students.
The other day, I was teaching them a very simple chorus that refers to Jesus as the lion of Judah. I not only wanted them to learn the song but also understand the meaning of this title. So, why is Jesus called the lion 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: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
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 that he would be praised: “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.”
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: “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.””
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, to suffering and being despised, to now being a roaring lion and the King of Kings.
Isaiah 53:7 notes, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Luke 2:7 reads, “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
Revelation 19:16 says, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”
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.
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.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.