Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lion of Judah

artwork by Krista Hamrick

It is so energizing and exciting to participate in #Write31days, an online writing challenge where writers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in the month of October. Within the #Write31days category of Inspiration & Faith, I chose to focus on the topic of the Name Above All Names every day for 31 days. You can view each of my daily posts at this landing page.

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Name Above All Names Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 individual Names she has identified are so special, as Krista has intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows, each one with its Scripture reference. 

My heart has been drawn to do a word study for each of the names included in her art print. Krista and I felt led to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ available now on Amazon as a softcover book and as a Kindle book at this link.

I was inspired by Chris Tomlin’s anointed hymn, The RoarYou came to me, when I needed You, Lord, I heard the roar of the Lion of Judah...while studying Revelation 5:5 …

NASB:  and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

Amplified: Then one of the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] said to me, Stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root (Source) of David, has won (has overcome and conquered)! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals!

CEV:  Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying and look! The one who is called both the ‘Lion from the Tribe of Judah ’and ‘King David’s Great Descendant’ has won the victory. He will open the book and its seven seals.”

Expanded: But one of the elders said to me, “Do not cry! [Look; Behold] The Lion from the tribe of Judah [a messianic title; Gen. 49:9–10], David’s descendant [the root of David; a messianic title applied to Christ; Is. 11:10], has won the victory [overcome; conquered] so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

J. B. Phillips: one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has won the victory and is able to open the book and break its seven seals.”

NET:  Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Pastor Ray Stedman writes: "The Lion of the tribe of Judah" and "the Root of David" are both Jewish titles. They refer to prophecies from the Old Testament that predict there would be one from the tribe of Judah and from the family of David who would at last rule over the earth and solve its problems. These titles refer, then, to the King of the Jews -- the very title which Pilate inscribed on the Cross of Jesus. The King of the Jews! He is the One who triumphs by his death and is able to bring about God's kingdom on the earth. But, when John turns to see the conquering Lion of Judah, what he sees is the slain Redeemer of the world! He expected to see a Lion but what he saw was a Lamb, with the marks of death still upon him. Those marks of death are still upon the Lamb, and will be for all eternity. In these two symbols, the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain, John sees the uniting of two themes that run throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament alike. Lions are a symbol of majesty, power, rule and authority. Lions conquer; lambs submit! Lions roar; lambs die! There is introduced to us here the One who conquers by submitting. The symbols tie together the earthly promises of Israel and the heavenly calling of the church. This uniting of the Lion and the Lamb is the basis for C. S. Lewis' novels called "The Narnia Chronicles." A great Lion, Aslan, rules in majesty and roars in triumph, but he does so because he submits to being put to death by the evil characters controlled by the White Witch, but at last the kingdom of Narnia is freed from its bondage to winter and the springtime of the world arrives. It is a beautiful use of these symbols. As the Lion of Judah, Jesus will rule the world with a rod of iron. As the Lion of Judah our Lord reigns, but if anyone is weak and faltering, helpless or hopeless, he or she will find a compassionate Savior—because this Lion is also a Lamb! As the Lamb of God he is filled with mercy and grace, but if any should presume upon that grace and begin to live a rebellious or defiant life, let him beware—because this Lamb is also a Lion!"

Author C. S. Lewis was a Christian, and followers of the faith widely believe he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series as a Christian allegory. An unpublished letter written by the author of the books himself has provided decisive evidence of the Christian message deeply imbedded in the Narnia books. A letter sent by C. S. Lewis to a child fan in 1961 reveals that Lewis was referring to Jesus Christ as he portrayed the mystical land and its savior—the Lion Aslan. The letter tells the child: “The whole Narnian story is about Christ.” The clear letter has been made public by Walter Hooper, who is a literary advisor to the Lewis estate. In his newly publicized letter, Lewis states, “Supposing there really was a world like Narnia…and supposing Christ wanted to go into that world and save it (as He did ours) what might have happened?” Lewis concluded, “The stories are my answer. Since Narnia is a world of talking beasts, I thought he would become a talking beast there as he became a man here. I pictured him becoming a Lion there because the Lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; Christ is called ‘the Lion of Judah’ in the Bible.”

Pastor Walter Scott writes: “And I wept much because no one had been found worthy to open the book nor to regard it. And one of the elders says to me, Do not weep. Behold, the Lion which (is) of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome (so as) to open the book and its seven seals." The grief of the Seer is emphasized by the use of the pronoun "I," which is emphatic in the Greek. "I wept much." John is here regarded as the representative of the prophetic feeling at "the time of the end," or "the last days." His soul is stirred within him as his eye rests on the sealed scroll lying on the open hand of the Sitter on the throne, with no one in the vast creation of God competent to disclose its contents and carry them into execution. The tears of John have been termed "the weakness of the creature," but if "wept much" is sometimes the expression of weakness, it is equally the expression of a right and godly feeling. It has been remarked, "Without tears the Revelation was not written, neither without tears can it be understood." But the book was to be opened. And since worship of the highest order and an intimate knowledge of the mind of God are characteristics of the crowned and glorified elders or representatives of the redeemed, it is one of these elders who consoles the weeping Seer by directing his attention to One in every respect qualified to unfold the divine counsels and carry them to a triumphant issue. Who is He? The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. What has He done? He has overcome every spiritual power by His death on the cross. Thus He has an unchallenged right in Himself, and because, too, of what He has done, to advance to the right hand of the Eternal, take the book, and effectuate the counsels of God."

Sometimes it seems as if the forces of evil are winning and godless rulers and superpowers are dominating our world. This scripture about the Lion of Judah reminds us of who is really in charge and calling the shots: the Lord Almighty. The same God who created the world with a word can shatter the plans of the nations and thwart all their schemes. No matter how out of control things may appear, God’s plan remains in place. He is running the show and knows the end from the beginning. No one is higher or mightier than our Lord Jesus Christ—the Lion of Judah! He governs our world, His kingdom will come, and His sovereign will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven! God’s intentions can never be shaken, and his plans stand firm forever. His amazing power is at work in the world, and He will carry out his eternal purpose to the last detail.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the assurance Your Word gives me that Y
ou reign over heaven and earth and that no one can thwart Your plans for my life—and for the whole world. I put my trust in You today. Only You understand everything—even those things that are mysteries to me. Because You have all authority on earth and in heaven, I can rest in You. You are my shield and my eternal protector. When I am in danger or distress, help me trust in You. Lift my gaze and my heart from everything on this earth to You, who reign over all. Thank You for answering me from heaven and acting on my behalf when I cry out to You. May You be glorified in my life. In Your mighty Name Above All Names—Lion of Judah, we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Revelation 5:5 Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on 
Revelation 5:5 pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 
Revelation 5:5 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

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