Trinity Nine, Sunday August 18, 2019 — Revelation 5:1-7 — The Lion who is the Lamb
Sermon for Trinity Nine – August 18, 2019
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Revelation 5:1–7 (NKJV)
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Blood –
It is an animal that is not found in the wild in our country. We do call its smaller cousin by the same name, but until recently it hasn’t been seen in the UP. If you wish to see this animal in its natural habitat, then you may have to cross the ocean to Africa. If it is found in our country at all, it’s captive in a Zoo. It is a powerful and stately animal. It is a ferocious and deadly animal. It is considered a kingly animal, the King of the Jungle.
It is the Lion. It’s an animal that is mentioned more than 100 times in Holy Scripture. In many cases the Lion is referenced for its qualities. In some other memorable cases, actual lions are referenced as interacting with human beings…not always with positive results.
We would all agree that when a Lion and a human being are pitted one against the other without weapons…the advantage goes to the Lion.
Yet when Samson the judge came without a weapon against a lion, the lion was the long-shot and the outcome was truly memorable for we are told (Judges 14:5-6):
5 So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand.
Well, that’s not something you see every day!
Likewise, when shepherding his father’s flock, David is said to have killed both bear and lion. Unlike Samson, David probably didn’t defeat these ferocious animals in hand to paw combat. He probably used a weapon of some kind. But, it is of note that it was the fact that the LORD was with him that made David unafraid to go up against the ferocious giant, Goliath. He said to King Saul (1 Samuel 17:36-37):
36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Moreover, who can forget the amazing account of Daniel in the Lion’s Den? King Darius regretted his decree forbidding prayer that had caught Daniel and could hardly sleep through the night after Daniel was dropped into a den with hungry lions. The Bible tells us how King Darius hurried down to the Lion’s Den the next morning, crying out with a lamenting voice into the darkened den hoping against hope to hear a reply and he did (Daniel 6:20-22):
“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”
These are familiar accounts involving Lions and perhaps you can think of others as well. The Lion is a truly fearsome animal. It is no coincidence that our chief enemy Satan is compared to this fearsome animal. The Apostle Peter, who had plenty of experience doing battle with the temptations of this ferocious enemy, wrote by inspiration (1 Peter 5:8):
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Satan is certainly an enemy that we should not want to face one on one. He is more than our match if we are alone. There is good reason why the Devil is called the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, and 16:11). He is like a mangy old lion that is always lying in wait ready to pounce if we are not vigilant and watchful. We ought to live our days in dread of him and his lying ways.
However, that old lion is no match for the one who is here in the Revelation called: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is far more fearsome than any lion -- should you be His foe. We need not fear this Lion, for He is our protector, our King, the author and finisher of our faith.
The Lion is an animal that serves well to remind us of the power and authority of our King and Savior – Jesus Christ.
May God the Holy Spirit use these words to comfort our hearts and strengthen our faith in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah…who is also the Lamb of God. Amen.
It’s the very first time that a lion is mentioned in the Bible. There are none mentioned as having prowled the trees of the Garden of Eden, though they surely existed then. We are not specifically told that Noah collected two Lions to be delivered from the flood waters, but we know that they too were surely present there or there would be none today.
The very first time that a lion is mentioned in the Bible it is in connection with a blessing and prophecy. The patriarch Jacob was about to die and each of his twelve sons were brought before him to receive a blessing from God and a prophecy of his future. The words of blessing that Jacob spoke to Judah are recorded in Genesis 49:8-12.
The first-born Reuben was unstable and the second-born Simeon was violent, so the LORD determined that Judah’s family would take a role of leadership. It was the LORD God that foretold and promised that Judah would be praised by his brothers and victorious over his enemies. The family of Judah would take a leadership role and his brothers and their families would bow down before him.
So, it happened that the family of David, from the tribe of Judah, came to be a tribe of kings and rulers. The LORD granted victory to Israel over all her enemies under the reigns of King David and King Solomon, who were of the Tribe of Judah.
In the Prophecy that concerned Judah his descendants were compared to a ferocious young lion of might and bravery that no one wants to disturb (Genesis 49:9):
Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?
But God did more than promise that Judah’s family would rule. He promised that that leadership and rule would not depart from Judah’s family until and even forever through one called Shiloh, the Peace-giver.
One day the Peace-giver, the Messiah, would arise from the family of Judah and to Him all the peoples would bow (cf. also Luke 1:32-33 and Philippians 2:9-10).
The Spirit of God gave Jacob these beautiful words of promise:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
God promised that Israel’s Kings would come from Judah’s family until Shiloh came, the one to whom the scepter and kingdom truly belonged. In fact, even the unbelieving sorcerer Baalam foretold the rising of a Victorious King in Israel, when he spoke these words given him by God (Numbers 24:17):
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.”
It was still later in history that God sent one of His own Messengers, an Angel named Gabriel (which means strong one) with these words for a young woman of the tribe of Judah. These words of promise concerned the child that was to be miraculously born of her (Luke 1:32-33):
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
The young girl who received this promise was named Mary and her miraculous son would be called Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. How could Jesus be the one whose kingdom would never end? Did he not suffer and die? Was he not buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea? How then could He be the one foretold by these words?
Furthermore, how could He possibly be the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?
It’s true that like every other King of Judah’s line before Him, He died. He didn’t just die; He died in what was considered the most shameful of ways – like a common criminal! He was nailed to a cross nearly naked alongside a busy road. People made fun of his claim to be a King. He was mocked by his enemies and died with them looking on …unlike any other King of Judah.
Can He be the one foretold the one upon whom we rest our hope?
Yes. He laid down his life willingly but only after having defeated his enemy, completely and utterly. It is His Heavenly coronation that we see through the vision given to the Apostle John in the Revelation.
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
The Apostle John was enabled to glimpse, by means of a vision, the throne room in Heaven. He saw the one sitting on the throne, but does not here describe Him. Instead He describes the scroll or book that was in His right hand.
There are two things we should notice about this scroll or book –
It is a comprehensive volume. It is written on within and on its back.
It is a completed volume. It has been sealed because it is finished. There is nothing more to be added. It has been sealed with seven seals, seven being the number of completeness.
This is the book of Salvation…and it is God’s will that it be opened. It is God’s will that the contents of God’s Salvation be revealed…but only the one who has completed the work can open it.
So, when the Strong Angel (Gabriel) asks who is worthy to open the book and break its seals and reveal its contents…no man in heaven or earth is fit, there is none found worthy. This book contains the future destiny of God’s people. No man can open it, none can execute His counsels. I know that people believe that they can repay God for their sins. Satan has deceived many into thinking that they can earn God’s Salvation.
That’s NOT God’s plan of salvation, but wishful thinking. It appeared to John that there was none in heaven or on earth worthy to reveal God’s plan of Salvation and his future plans for the Church.
There was nothing for John to do but cry…until one of the host of heaven bid him to cry no longer.
5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
This is heaven; there is no crying in heaven. There is no reason to cry, because there is one who is worthy to break the seals and open the book. He is the one who completed the volume. He has prevailed in the fight. He has defeated Satan. He has prevailed to open the book and will reveal its contents.
He is called: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah…The Root of David. He is the King long promised. The shoot that sprang up from the stump of David’s family…Jesus our Savior.
6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Victorious King of Kings…and He is also the Lamb who was slain. He is God’s chosen sacrifice, whose blood was sufficient to atone for every human sin, including yours and mine.
He is the King who crushed our every enemy and sent his Spirit into all the earth, to grant faith to receive His benefits through His Word.
He is the only one who can take the book from the Father and open it and reveal its contents. He is the one who has completed the Work of Salvation and delivered us from sin, the grave and from death. He is the one who holds our future in His trustworthy hands.
He is the one who says to us (Revelation 1:17-18):
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades (the grave) and of Death.
We thank and praise Him that He has written our names in His Book of Life. We worship Him because though He was the eternal Son of God, yet he chose to be born of a virgin and to live among men and to die to redeem them. He is the just judge of all, who chose to justify us, to declare us not guilty, by offering himself as the sacrifice for our sin.
He is the Lamb of God who died and was raised again.
He is the one that dying Jacob saw from afar…the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Now you know who Matthew Bridges was talking about when he wrote:
Crown Him the Virgin’s Son, The God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won Which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.
Crown Him the Lord of Life Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring and lives that death may die.