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all will be in vain".

The Lion

The use in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles


of Narnia of a lion named Aslan
as a messianic figure may be a
The lion has been an icon for potential reference to this section of
humanity for thousands of years, Revelation, or simply more generally
appearing in cultures across Europe, as an allegorical representation of
Asia, and Africa. Despite incidents of Jesus. "Aslan" or "Arslan (Ottoman
attacks on humans, lions have Arslān and aṣlān) is the Turkish and
enjoyed a positive depiction in Mongolian word for "lion".
culture as strong but noble. A
common depiction is their
representation as "king of the The Lion of Judah
jungle" or "king of the beasts";
hence, the lion has been a popular
symbol of royalty and stateliness, The Lion of Judah
as well as a symbol of bravery; it is has its origins in the
featured in several fables of the sixth Book of Genesis,
century BC Greek storyteller Aesop. where the Israelite
tribe of Judah had
"Lion" was the nickname of medieval the lion as its
warrior rulers with a reputation for symbol.
bravery, such as Richard I of England,
known as Richard the Lionheart. Within Judaism, the
Lions are frequently depicted on Biblical Judah (in
coats of arms, either as a device on Hebrew: Yehuda) is
shields themselves, or as supporters. the original name of the Tribe of
Judah - traditionally symbolized by a
The Metropolitan Borough of lion. In Genesis, the patriarch Jacob
Chelsea has a lion in its coat of refers to his son Judah as a Gur Aryeh
arms, from which it was taken as the ‫ גור ארְיֵה יְהודָה‬, a "Young Lion"
crest of Chelsea Footbal Club. The (Genesis 49:9) when blessing him.
borough of Chelsea was granted a
coat of arms by the College of Arms “Then Jacob called his sons and
in 1903. The motto was Nisi dominus said, "Gather yourselves together,
frustra or "Unless God be with us that I may tell you what shall
happen to you in days to come.
"Assemble and listen, O sons of
Jacob, listen to Israel your father.
"Reuben, you are my firstborn, my
might, and the firstfruits of my
strength, preeminent in dignity and
preeminent in power. Unstable as

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water, you shall not have destroying and punishing, and of
preeminence, because you went up saving and protecting. In ancient
to your father's bed; then you Jewish art we find the lions in this
defiled it--he went up to my couch! protective role, guarding the Holy Ark
"Simeon and Levi are brothers; or at the entrances to the chapel, as
weapons of violence are their in the sculpture of the ancient
swords. Let my soul come not into synagogues at Sardis (in Asia Minor),
their council; O my glory, be not Horazin and Bar'am (in Palestine),
joined to their company. For in their and in many mosaics dating from the
anger they killed men, and in their early Byzantine period
willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is Scholars speak of the influence of the
fierce, and their wrath, for it is medieval European heraldic lions
cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and decorating either side of the crests of
scatter them in Israel. "Judah, your the nobility, symbolizing balance,
brothers shall praise you; your hand justice, order or guardianship.
shall be on the neck of your
enemies; your father's sons shall In medieval Jewish art, we find the
bow down before you. Judah is a lion pair commonly leaning up on
lion's cub; from the prey, my son, either side of the Tree of Life, next to
you have gone up. He stooped the crown; thus is the heraldic shield
down; he crouched as a lion and replaced by a symbol of God, and the
as a lioness; who dares rouse him? lions are seen as serving the King of
(Genesis 49;1-9). all Kings. During the last two
centuries, lions on Jewish ceremonial
From ancient times to the present, art are generally portrayed carrying
the "Lion of Judah" has been one of the Tablets, a continuation of the
the most popular symbols of the same idea.
Jewish people. The Bible mentions
the lions that roamed the deserts and
mountains of the regions more than
150 times by six different names.

Both the tribes of Dan and Judah are


compared to lions, although it is
Judah whose name ultimately
became inextricably linked with this
symbol (David, a descendant of
Judah, is identified with the lion,
as is the Davidic monarchy and Lion of Judah in
the Messiah who will spring from
this royal house). The writings of Christianity
the Jewish Sages often draw
moralistic analogies between the lion In Christian tradition, the lion is
and the righteous individuals. often assumed to represent
Jesus. Many Christian organizations
The lion motif was common in the and ministries use the lion of Judah as
ancient Middle Eastern civilizations their emblem or even their name.
as: a battling, fighting and
attacking force. In the Bible, the The phrase appears in the New
lion is portrayed as both capable of Testament Book of Revelation.

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who know God as He speaks to us
"Then I saw in the right hand of him through the Bible.
who was seated on the throne a
scroll written within and on the This appellation is not given
back, sealed with seven seals. And I elsewhere to the Messiah, but it is
saw a strong angel proclaiming with not difficult to see its propriety as
a loud voice, "Who is worthy to used in this place. The lion is the king
open the scroll and break its seals?" of beasts, the monarch of the forest,
And no one in heaven or on earth or and thus becomes an emblem of one
under the earth was able to open of kingly authority and of power.
the scroll or to look into it, and I Christ. Christ Himself said: “All
began to weep loudly because no authority in heaven and on earth has
one was found worthy to open the been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).
scroll or to look into it. And one of Everything is under His control. He is
the elders said to me, 'Weep no the only one who has authority to
more; behold, the Lion of the open the secrets of the universe.
tribe of Judah, the Root of
David, has conquered, so that Jesus here is not a vague universal
he can open the scroll and its principle, but he is clearly identifiable
seven seals.'" (Revelation 5:1-5). with historical events in a definite
geographical location. He springs
The Apostle John has been given the from the spiritual roots of Abraham.
vision of a scroll (we would say today Isaac, Jacob, and David.
a book) which contains God’s
revelation concerning His end-time 1. He is the Revelator. Jesus’
judgments. We could widen this as identity is linked with Jacob’s
including the meaning of all things, prophecy (Genesis 49:10), actually
past, present and future, the mystery with all Bible prophecies. According to
of God and the mystery of our own human nature Jesus belongs to the
nature; including the way to salvation Jewish people and everything it
from all the problems that we suffer represents.
in this world or we are threatened to
suffer in the next. Humanity has tried “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,
many times to open this book, but in called to be an apostle, set apart for
vain. Prophets of all kinds, fortune- the gospel of God, which he
tellers, scientific investigations etc. promised beforehand through his
have proved deceitful and useless, in prophets in the holy Scriptures,
spite of their claims. concerning his Son, who was
This is really a desperate and descended from David according to
frustrating attempt! the flesh and was declared to be
the Son of God in power according
The apostle John, nevertheless, was to the Spirit of holiness by his
comforted and encouraged that what resurrection from the dead, Jesus
is impossible to people is possible in Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-4).
Christ. The only one whom God
entrusted with revelation is the Lord Jesus is the link between God and
Jesus Christ- man. He who bears the office of
Mediator between God and man, is
Jesus is here referred to as “The Lion fit and worthy to open and
of the Tribe of Judah”, a meaningful execute all the counsels of God
title for those who know the Bible, towards men.

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shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:1-
2. He is the Creator and upholds all 4).
things in His hands. He has designed
everything for a purpose. “The LORD 4. Lamb & Lion. Jesus will return,
has made everything for its purpose, not as the Lamb that was slain, but
even the wicked for the day of as a Lion that will roar from Jerusalem
trouble” (Proverbs 16:4). for His judgment. Jesus has the
right to open the book, to loose its
“But who are you, O man, to answer seven seals deliver out all the
back to God? Will what is molded prophecies in it, and fulfil them. He
say to its molder, "Why have you has merited them by shedding his
made me like this?" Has the potter blood, and in consequence of his
no right over the clay, to make out sufferings and death. For this reason,
of the same lump one vessel for in the next verse, he is represented
honorable use and another for also as a lamb as it had been slain.
dishonorable use? What if God, “And he commanded us to preach to
desiring to show his wrath and to the people and to testify that he is
make known his power, has the one appointed by God to be
endured with much patience judge of the living and the dead”
vessels of wrath prepared for (Revelation 10:29). “they will give
destruction, in order to make account to him who is ready to judge
known the riches of his glory for the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).
vessels of mercy, which he has
prepared beforehand for glory--
even us whom he has called, not
from the Jews only but also from the
Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24).

The King has legal rights to


determine people’s ultimate destiny:
salvation or damnation. His right is
not tyrannical, but good and just. This
thought comforts His people and
make them rejoice.

3. Jesus is a valiant warrior


against sin. “…looking to Jesus, the
founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before
him endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is seated at the right
hand of the throne of God. Consider
him who endured from sinners such
hostility against himself, so that you
may not grow weary or fainthearted.
In your struggle against sin you have
not yet resisted to the point of

RESPONSE

1. The end-time judgments against evil are sealed in God's hands and can
be set into motion only because of Christ's victory over darkness through
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His death and resurrection. In what ways might the reality that God's
judgments are sure, offer comfort to you in your daily life?

2. Jesus is a Lion, a warrior who faces for us every skirmish against sin, for
He has already won the war and desires to daily empower us with greater
freedom in His kingdom. As we look at each new day we consider all its
parts in light of this truth. We thank Him for each situation in which He
will demonstrate His power for victories already won.

3. Jesus, in dying on the cross engaged in a bloody battle for the territory of
our heart. Through His resurrection, He has secured the victory, placing
the banner for His name in the depths of your soul. Do we live with the
wonder and joy of this reality? Why or why not?

A Prayer

O glorious King – even now I see you pacing back and forth, ready to roar at
every move the evil one makes upon the territory of my heart. You have won it
and I am yours, I belong to You. There is safety in the truth that You carry a
victory banner, always before me in triumph. The reality that You are the Lion
from the tribe of Judah comforts me and gives me courage. In You I hide, in You
I rest, in You I find refuge for You have won it. Amen.