λέων ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Ἰούδα
LEON EK TES PHYLES IOUDA
Only once in the New Testament is Jesus described as a lion. The book of Revelation (named in part for what it reveals about Christ) portrays the risen Jesus as the only one worthy to open the scroll that contains the ultimate unfolding of God’s purposes for the world.
The apostle John perceived Jesus as both Lion and Lamb, who through His death and resurrection becomes the ultimate victor and conqueror. When you pray to Jesus as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, you are praying to the one with the power to banish all fear, to the one who watches over you with his fierce protecting love. You are also praying to the one who is judge of the living and the dead.
I cried bitterly because no one was found who deserved to open the scroll or look inside it. Then one of the leaders said to me, “Stop crying! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the victory. He can open the scroll and the seven seals on it.” — Revelation 5:4–5
GOD REVEALS HIS NAME IN SCRIPTURE
GENESIS 49:8–10, REVELATION 5:5
Open your personal Bible translation and read the same passages. Make note where you read the name JUDAH or LION.
8 “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. 9 Judah, you are a lion cub. You have come back from the kill, my son. He lies down and rests like a lion. He is like a lioness. Who dares to disturb him? 10 A scepter will never depart from Judah nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes and the people obey him.
5 Then one of the leaders said to me, “Stop crying! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the victory. He can open the scroll and the seven seals on it.”
λέων ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Ἰούδα
Understanding the Name
Throughout the Bible, the lion appears as a symbol of might, and it is hardly surprising that Israel’s enemies are sometimes depicted as lions. In the New Testament, Peter calls the devil a roaring lion and warns believers that he is constantly on the prowl, looking for someone to devour.
Though lions are sometimes a symbol of evil, they are also used as symbols of God’s people. Near the end of his life, the patriarch Jacob prayed a blessing over his twelve sons. When it came time to bless Judah, he compared him to a lion — hence the phrase “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah” (Aryeh Lammatteh Yehudah in Hebrew, pronounced ar-YEH la-mat-TEH ye-hou-DAH, or Leon ek tes Phyles Iouda, in Greek, pronounced LE-own ek teys fu-LAIS YOU-dah). Jacob’s prediction that the scepter would not depart from Judah has been traditionally applied to the Messiah.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, Yahweh is sometimes depicted as a lion who roars in judgment against the nations and against His own faithless people. But He is also depicted as a mighty lion who fights fiercely on behalf of His people. Revelation depicts the risen Christ as the mightiest of all victors. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the one found worthy to open the scrolls of history; this means that He is in charge of history and of how the world’s destiny unfolds.
Connecting to the Name
- Why do you think the book of Revelation portrays Jesus as both Lion and Lamb?
- In the Bible “seven” is considered a sacred number, symbolizing perfection or completeness, while a “horn” symbolizes power. What does this say to you about how the Lamb is portrayed in Revelation 5?
- How have you experienced and understood both the “lamblike” and “lionlike” nature of Jesus in your own life?
- What does it mean for us “to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God”?
- The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the ultimate victor and conqueror, has the power to banish all fear and to watch over you with fierce, protective love. Picture this literally, then describe how this promise of safety might affect the way you face your fears.
- What specific victories has the Lion of Judah already won in your life?
- If you could choose one adjective to describe the passage from Revelation 5, what would it be and why? Would you call it bizarre, moving, perplexing, enlightening, or something else?
Praying a Passage with God’s Name
Focus on the name Aryeh Lammatteh Yehudah, “Lion of the Tribe of Judah” as you read Hosea 11:8–11.
“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboim? I have changed my mind. I am deeply moved. 9 I will not act on my burning anger. I will not destroy Ephraim again. I am El, not a human. I am the Holy One among you, and I will not come to you in anger. 10 “My people will follow Yahweh when I roar like a lion. When I roar, my children will come trembling from the west.11 They will come trembling like birds from Egypt and like doves from Assyria. I will settle them in their own homes,” declares Yahweh.
Praying the Name LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH for Myself
Look up and read: Isaiah 11:6–9
Jesus is the lion and the lamb, who will bring all things to reconciliation at the end of history. Tell Him about anything or any circumstance that feels irreconcilable, and write a prayer of praise, surrendering that circumstance to Him.
Promises from the Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Be strong and courageous. Don’t tremble! Don’t be afraid of them! Yahweh your Elohim is the one who is going with you. He won’t abandon you or leave you. — Deuteronomy 31:6
A wicked person flees when no one is chasing him, but righteous people are as bold as lions. — Proverbs 28:1
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Read the following passages, considering the name the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH and how its meaning relates to the context of the passage.
Excerpted with permission from Praying the Names of God for 52 Weeks by Ann Spangler, copyright Ann Spangler.
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What does the name “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah” mean to you? How does it possibly change your view of Jesus? Come share your thoughts on this name of God. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily