25 Names of Christ: Lion of the Tribe of Judah

Fans of C.S. Lewis’ classic story of ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ will be used to the idea of having Jesus Christ represented in the form of a Lion. The symbolism, however, didn’t start with Lewis, who explained “I pictured Him [Christ] becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called “The Lion of Judah” in the Bible”.

Shortly before his death, Jacob gathered his sons and gave each of them a blessing. In blessing his son Judah, he compares him and his descendants to a lion (Genesis 49:9). Jacob goes on to bless Judah as follows:

“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah… until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

The ‘sceptre’ is a symbol of leadership and authority and in accordance with the blessing, Judah’s descendants became the royal line, from King David, through Solomon and all the way to Zedekiah. More importantly, Jesus Christ was born into the Davidic line and as such, descends from the tribe of Judah. ‘Shiloh’ is another name for the Messiah, so the meaning of Jacob’s blessing becomes clear; Judah’s posterity would not only include royalty, but the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, unto whom, the gathering of the people would take place.

From Genesis, we jump right through to the book of Revelation, where we read again of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In John’s vision, he weeps because “no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon”. From a revelation to Joseph Smith, recorded in D&C 77:6, we discover that this book contained “the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God”. In vision, John was told to “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda… hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof”.

Through this rich symbolism, we learn that Christ was the only one worthy and able to unlock the ‘will’ and the ‘works of God’. The Atonement section of ‘Gospel Topics’, teaches us why Christ alone was able to bring about the Great Plan of Redemption:

“Only He had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. From His mortal mother, Mary, He inherited the ability to die. From His immortal Father, He inherited the power to overcome death. He declared, “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself”. (John 5:26)

“Only He could redeem us from our sins… The Savior was able to receive this power and carry out the Atonement because He kept Himself free from sin: “He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them” (D&C 20:22). Having lived a perfect, sinless life, He was free from the demands of justice. Because He had the power of redemption and because He had no debt to justice, he could pay the debt for those who repent.”


Gospel Topics: Atonement


New Testament Manual, Chapter 54: Revelation 4-11




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