Monday, 20 July 2015

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The Lion of Judah is the symbol of the Jewish tribe of Judah. According to the Torah, the tribe consists of the descendants of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. The association between Judah and the lion, most likely the Asiatic lion, can first be found in the blessing given by Jacob to Judah in the Book of Genesis. The Lion of Judah is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation, as a term representing Jesus, according to Christian tradition. The lion of Judah was also one of the titles of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and was depicted on the flag of Ethiopia from 1897-1974. Due to its association with Selassie, it continues to be an important symbol among members of the Rastafari movement.

In speaking of the tribe of Judah, Jacob said, “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you. 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? 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” (Genesis 49:8-10).

Lionheart: Famous Lions

Jesus , of course, is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah as designated in Revelation 5:5. He went out as the sacrificial Lamb, but soon will return as the Lion of Judah to Judge the world.

During the time of Moses, the tribe of Judah became the stronger tribe and “prevailed over his brothers.” The census in Numbers 1 shows that Judah was the leading tribe in population and in men who could go to war (Numbers 1:2-3, 27).

In looking at the life of Judah and his character, it is hard to see why the tribe of Judah should become so prominent among the tribes of Israel. On the one hand, Joseph lived a righteous life and was blessed with the birthright in place of Reuben, the firstborn. The name of “Israel” was passed on to his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Yet God also chose Judah and his descendants for a special place in His plan through the ages. The prophecy God gave to Jacob at the end of his life concerning his sons’ descendants “in the latter days” reveals a special blessing for the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:1, 8-10).

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.”

After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, some of the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, but they didn’t fully return to the status of a sovereign nation until the 20th century. Jesus—the Messiah, the Savior of mankind—would come through the tribe of Judah, but He would be rejected by His own people. The Church Jesus established initially sprang out of the tribe of Judah. But since the middle of the first century, the Church of God has become largely non-Jewish in membership.

The first thing to notice about the Gospels is that they are skillfully designed; each one is tailored to suit its specific perspective. Matthew was a Jew, a Levite; he presents Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel"the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. This first book of the New Testament plunges right in to establish Jesus as the Meshiach Nagid, the Messiah the King.

Selassie would prove to be one of Ethiopia's most noble leaders. He pushed education for his people. He made a valiant effort to drag Ethiopia out of its stagnant state of unpaved roads, minimal schools, very little education and no say in international affairs. He looked and carried himself like a king. The Ethiopian Emperor traditionally took the title King of Kings, Lion of the tribe of Judah as a title.

The history of the tribe of Judah, which eventually became a nation, begins in the book of Genesis. Judah was the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob by his first wife, Leah (Genesis 29:35). He grew up with his brothers, working in the family business tending cattle and sheep.

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