THE LION OF JUDAH, a Devotion for 31 May 2019 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Revelation 5:1-5 (KJV)
The Majesty, Grace, Power, and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ is impossible of human comprehension to describe or fully understand. The Bible employs a profligacy of human terms in order to make His Person and Nature more comprehendible to mortal man and, yet, even our human vocabulary falls short of that objective. One term used in referring to the majesty of our Lord is “The Lion of Judah.” In what ways may we consider our Lord Jesus Christ as a Lion of His people?
The Lion is majestic in appearance. He fears nothing and is feared by all under his purview. The Lion is the King of the Beasts just as our Lord Jesus Christ is King of Kings. An army of one hundred timid deer, led by a Lion, would be more fearsome than an army of one hundred lions led by a deer. He is born to rule and not to follow. One great leader can swing the fate of a nation. Example: Admiral Yi Sun Shin Commander of the Korean Navy during the Japanese invasion of the 16th century. The Korean Navy was almost non-existent, and the seaman were poorly trained and equipped. In 1593, Commander Toyotomi Hideyoshi landed with 250,000 troops on the Korean soil almost unopposed.
The Japanese navy numbered more than 130 well equipped warships while Admiral Yi had only 13 small ships called Turtle Ships (Kobuksan) which he personally designed – the first iron clad warships. The ship was shaped like a turtle with iron plating on top with sharp prods protruding from the surface to discourage the enemy from forced boarding. There was a great dragon head mounted on the bow of the ship from which cannon could be fired and dense smoke emitted. It also was equipped with cannon on the port, starboard, and stern. The Japanese were terrified. They believed this to be a fire-breathing beast. A fifty-foot ramming rod protruded from the bow below the surface unseen by the enemy. When approached by the Turtle Ship, the enemy vessel would mysteriously sink. Admiral Yi never lost a battle at sea, and his sinking of more than 30 enemy warships caused panic to spread throughout the Japanese land army as they stampeded to the coast to board transport for home. One man made the difference since the Korean Navy had no previous means to resist such a formidable landing force fielded by the Empire of Japan. Admiral Yi defeated the entire Japanese Navy.
An insight into the character of Admiral Yi (often compared with England’s Admiral Horatio Nelson – Encylopedia Britannica) is observed in his death by a gunshot wound in battle in December 1598: His last words, “when the battle is at its height. Beat my war drums. Do not announce my death.” So, one man’s great leadership vanquished an enemy of overwhelming men and resources with 13 strange-looking ships. How much greater the Son of God in vanquishing the mentor of all wars, all famines, all disease, and even death itself at Calvary.
One characteristic of the Lion is its ability to see in what we would call dark. Though ambient light does exist, it is not enough to see at night. The Lion has eyes fashioned by the Creator to enable it to see in very low-light conditions – even if only starlight. The same is true of the Lord. There is no darkness that can abide His presence: “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Psalm 139:11-12 (KJV) Neither can the sinner, nor the devil, hide in the dark corners. Not only does the Lord see our outer physical forms in darkness, but He looks into the inner chambers of our hearts.
The Lion is a perfect warrior, courageous, persevering, and indomitable to the pain of suffering wounds. So is our Lord Jesus Christ: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:10-11 (KJV)
The Lion is very fierce when roused up by an enemy. Christ is not averse to exerting great measures to avenge the enemies of His people. There is one salient example of this in an incident occurring in the southeast of India in January 1999 to an Australian missionary, Graham Stewart Stains, who had been treating leprosy patients at Baripada for some 35 years. He had traveled with his two sons to a church at Manoharpur in eastern state of Orissa to attend an evangelical meeting. The three were stopped in a churchyard to take a nap during the trip. Soon, a mob of some 30 people doused their car with kerosene, held the doors closed with poles, and set the car afire burning the occupants to death. Unbeknownst to the mob, there was a Tsunami Wave forming across the Bay of Bengal and headed for that village. The entire village was destroyed by fifty-foot waves. I do not know if the offenders drew any connection between the two events.
The roar of a Lion is an awesome sound. It reverberates throughout the jungle environment. Birds fly away, animals scurry for cover, and the leaves of the trees quake at the sound. The voice of the Lord can likewise be even more awful in its effect: “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.” Zephaniah 1:14 (KJV) and “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16 (KJV)
The Lion is a creature of severe justice. He is known to return offense for offense. If a predator harms, or attempts to harm, a cub of his pride, he will respond with overwhelming violence and force. He delivers justice without mercy. Those who have rejected mercy will likewise be treated with severe judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ. “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy (of drinking their own blood). “ Revelation 16:6 (KJV) & “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” Revelation 18:6 (KJV) In judgment, God is not a ‘tooth for a tooth’ kind of Judge. He will take the full set of teeth in retribution. His great love, scorned, becomes a firestorm of judgment.
The parental Lion will stand and suffer grievous wounds in defense of its young, even to the point of death. Great strength often is evidence of a great heart. Our Lord likewise has suffered stripes and wounds to His hurt for us. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) & “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Zechariah 13:6 (KJV)
No prey can be taken from a hungry lion by any creature. So it is with our Lord when His chosen child is placed in His protective hand – nothing can cause Him to lose that one from the security of His grip.
Though we have pointed out many points of similarities of the Lion and the Lord, there are also areas of disparity. By its nature, the Lion striking out in animal instinct, is cruel to all who are not of its kind, and is a tyrant in his rule of the jungle. But Christ, on the other hand, is forgiving and merciful in treating those who have offended him but have repented. His love is all pervasive and indomitable. That love of Christ is first sent forth to His Elect and is echoed back by the recipient – else we could not love Him.
Walk down a crowded New York City street with a great lion on your leash and you will find that no man will lay a hand on you. The same is true of the great Lion of Judah – walk with Him and no harm will defeat you. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
Are you walking with the Lion?