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What's In A Name - 9b

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What’s In A Name – 9b

The Lion…and…The Lamb

     Last week we focused our attention on several names of God that are found in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation. In the opening chapters of this book John describes visions of heavenly worship. This worship centers on…and draws our attention to the holiness of God…the Eternalthe Creator…as choirs sing out: Holy, holy, holy…Lord God Almighty.

     Choirs sing…because God’s holiness will always lead those who know him to worship and praise him. Now…we turn our attention to Revelation 5…the text that speaks of The Lion…and…The Lamb.

    

Revelation 5: 1-7

The Scroll and the Lamb

5 Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; 2 and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. 4 And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 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 conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."

6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.

     In this text we are given 3 names for Jesus:

·        The Lion of the tribe of Judah,

·        The Root of David, and

·        The Lamb.

Each of these names tells us something about who he is. The first name…the Lion of Judah refers back to Genesis 49. This chapter records for us the last words of Jacob spoken to his sons. Jacob’s sons represent the 12 tribes of Israel…tribes that will get their name from his sons. So the instructions and blessing that Jacob gives each of his sons take on prophetic meaning for the future tribes of Israel. Listen to Jacob’s words to his son Judah:

    

Genesis 49: 8-10

8 Judah, your brothers shall praise you;

your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;

your father's sons shall bow down before you.

9 Judah is a lion's whelp; (A term for young, carnivorous, mammals)

from the prey, my son, you have gone up.

He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,

like a lioness — who dares rouse him up?

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,

until tribute comes to him;

and the obedience of the peoples is his.

     In this text Jacob gives to Judah a prophetic scepter…naming him as the tribe of kings. However, Israel’s first King…King Saul did not come from this tribe…he came from the tribe of Benjamin. You might remember from your OT studies that Saul’s leadership as a king didn’t work out so well for the nation of Israel. In fact…the truth is…that God used Saul as a form of discipline for Israel. God’s didn’t intend for Israel to have king at this time…but the people demanded a king so they could be like other nations. Later, God would provide the King he wanted them to have…King David…from the tribe of Judah.

     A few weeks ago, we as we studied Matthew 1 together, we saw that Jesus is a descendent of David’s family…which makes him a King…the ultimate King…from the tribe of Judah. This is the tribe that was referred to as a lion in the text we just read and that makes Jesus:

The Lion from the tribe of Judah…or simply…

The Lion of Judah.

 

     What is the nickname that we commonly use to describe lions today? The king of the beasts. When we think of lions we associate them with things like: dignity…sovereignty…courage…and victory. These are attributes of the king of the beasts.

     When we think of Jesus we associate him with things like: dignity…sovereignty…courage…and victory. These are attributes of a King. We call him the King of kings. And now, we can also think of him as The Lion of Judah.

     Although we aren’t really focusing on the second name we read in Revelation 5 was “The Root of David” …we should take a moment to mention it. This is also a name which connects Christ back to the throne of David. There is, however, more to this name than meets the eye. Jesus is not referred to as a “branch” from the line of David…he is called the “Root” of David.

     This is important. This is a name that speaks of both the deity and humanity and Christ. As far as his humanity is concerned…Jesus was a branch on David’s family tree…he had roots that trace back to David. But as far as his deity is concerned…Jesus is the Root of David. Remember what we talked about last week? Jesus is the Word…the Source…the eternal Origin of all things created. Jesus was…and is…the Root of David.

     Let’s move on. Jesus was introduced to John in our text as a Lion…but what John saw…was a Lamb.

6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

The name “Lamb” is used at least 28 times to describe Jesus in the book of Revelation. And remember what I said about the name Lamb a few minutes ago…it is a name that is used to describe that cute, cuddly, pet-lamb. That’s a nice image. But this pet lamb, we are told, looks like it was slaughtered. If an artist were to draw a picture of this Lamb…it would not be such a pretty picture.

     The shock of looking for Lion and seeing a bloody Lamb is intended. This Lamb still carries the marks of its execution…and when we look at this Lamb symbolically…it conveys great spiritual truth. Listen to the prophetic description of this Lamb from:

Isaiah 53:1-7

53 Who has believed what we have heard?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by others;

a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;

and as one from whom others hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him of no account.

4 Surely he has borne our infirmities

and carried our diseases;

yet we accounted him stricken,

struck down by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,

crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the punishment that made us whole,

and by his bruises we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have all turned to our own way,

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

     Maybe this image of an innocent, little pet lamb that appears as if it has been slaughtered is a little disturbing for you. Maybe it’s an image you would prefer not to see when you think of Jesus…but as Christians…it is an image we simply cannot escape from.

·         Rev 7:14 – Cleansing comes from the blood of the Lamb.

·         Rev 19: 7 – the Church is called the bride of the Lamb.

If we carry the name Christian…then we carry this Lamb with us too.

     The theme of “The Lamb” is an important theme throughout scripture. It is a symbolic theme that presents the person and the work of Christ…the Redeemer. This theme begins all the way back in Old Testament when Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son. As they are walking to make the sacrifice…Isaac asks his father… “Where is the lamb?” The ultimate answer that question is answered in the New Testament when John the Baptist cries out: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

     I want to look back at our text for this morning again. Remember that God is on the throne holding a scroll…and John is weeping…because there is no one in heaven or earth worthy to open the scroll. We begin reading now at verse 5:

Revelation 5: 5-14

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 conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."

6 Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.

     Now that the Lion of Judah…the Lamb…has been found worthy to open the scroll…worship again breaks out in heaven:

8 When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 They sing a new song:

"You are worthy to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God

saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;

10 you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,

and they will reign on earth."

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 singing with full voice,

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!"

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

"To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb

be blessing and honor and glory and might

forever and ever!"

14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the elders fell down and worshiped.

     The Lion…and The Lamb. These are 2 images that generally stand in sharp contrast to one another. In fact, we use them to describe the change in weather that often comes in March. You know the expression… “March comes in like a lion…and goes out like a lamb.

     The Lion…and The Lamb. Opposite metaphors being used to describe Jesus. How is that possible?

     Well…it’s actually quite simple. The first time Jesus came to earth…he came like a lamb. He came quietly and humbly. There was no reason to fear him. He was meek…mild. And he stood like a lamb waiting to be slaughtered at his trial.

     But Jesus is going to come again. And this time…he will come back as The Lion from the tribe of Judah. He will come roaring…conquering…and defeating. And this time there will be great reason to be afraid of him. This time he will not be standing silent at his trial…instead…he will be serving as the judge at our trial.

     As The Lamb…Christ died for the sins of the whole world.

     As The Lion…Christ conquers and reigns.

     The Lion…and The Lamb. Jesus is both. One day each of us will stand before him. Prior to that day we have a choice to make that will determine which side of him we will see.  If we have claimed him as our Savior…we will stand before The Lamb. But if we turn our back on him now…we will stand before The Lion.

The Lion…or…The Lamb.   (Photo’s)

The choice is yours to make.

I suggest you choose wisely.

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