“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. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. (Genesis 49:8-12 ESV)
The last two days, we explored the promise given to Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation that would bless the entire world. In this passage, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, prophetically foresees some of those descendants – those coming to his son Judah’s family. Judah was one of twelve brothers who made some very poor choices in his lifetime (see Genesis 38), but was still chosen by God to be one held in a position of prominence and power. His descendants would be the rulers of the nation coming from Abraham, the alpha-lion that would rule Abraham’s tribe. Judah’s family would be truly blessed, despite their ancestor’s sin.
David was one of the well-known kings from the tribe of Judah who is still beloved and held in high esteem among the Jewish people. But another Lion from the tribe of Judah is portrayed in Revelation. In chapter 5 of John’s visionary book, we meet a Lion ruling and reigning Who alone is worthy and able to open a scroll which begins the process of God’s kingdom coming fully into our world. But when John sees the Lion, He is a Lamb, slain for sacrifice. How can the ruling Lion be a sacrificed Lamb?
Of course, this descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and who will rule and reign in His Glorious Kingdom for all eternity! How does the Lion bring this kingdom of blessing into the world of sinful men? By being the Lamb, slain to pay for the sins of those sinful men, so their hearts can be changed and so they can then enter God’s holy Kingdom. Unless our King became the Lamb, there would be no way for us to be part of His rule and reign.