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The Lion of Judah

“Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up? “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:9-10)

We are now in the month of Christmas. That time of year that children look so much forward to with much anticipation. It is an exciting time when families gather together in the bonds of love and joy. It is a time of much memory making that carries on until the children begin to spoil their own grandkids. Without settling upon the secular or the dogma of religious perspective I simply muse that we are betwixt and between the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. Though this season we celebrate the birth of our Savior the Lamb of God, we ever look for that day of His return as the Lion of Judah.

In our reading today we hear the Prophecy of Jacob to his sons and in particular Judah. Judah was not his first born and neither was he the favorite and this prophecy may have caused Jacob pause but none the less Jacob was speaking what the Lord God had given him to say. Jacob spoke to Judah and said that he was to be a lion’s whelp.

A lion is known to us as the king of beast. An animal that is feared when it roars, when on the hunt as it seizes its prey, none can resist his attack, and none dares to pursue and seek revenge. Judah is to be as a lion’s whelp, a young lion, and shall become formidable in his pursuits. It was foretold that the tribe of Judah would not only gain great victories but would enjoy peace with their spoils. By the Word of God Moses placed the tribe of Judah first in the order of march through the wilderness. (Numbers 10:14)

Jacob goes on to say that the scepter will remain with Judah until Shiloh comes. This was fulfilled what David took the throne over the Israelite kingdom and there it shall remain until Shiloh comes. It also means that when Shiloh comes, the Messiah, it will be of the tribe of Judah. From the tribe of Judah the nations of the earth shall be blessed. The Messiah who would be the King of the Church and who is the great High Priest. The scepter remained with the tribe of Judah even as all Judea became a province of the Roman Empire which was at the time of the Saviors birth.

It was at the time that Judea was taxed by Caesar Augustus. “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.” (Luke 2:1) This taxation caused Joseph and Mary to leave their home in Nazareth to travel to Bethlehem for the census. A time when Mary was with child and near birth with the Son of God, Jesus. This fulfilled the Prophecy of Micah. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2) The taxation ordered by Caesar Augustus forced the prophecy of Micah to become fulfilled that their King should be born in Bethlehem. Yet He was crucified with His people claiming that they had no king but Caesar. “So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15)

Jesus was born as the Lamb of God who would lay down His life that all may live. “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Jesus came to save His people from their lost state deep in the depths of sin. Jesus who lived in the perfect will of the Father and was the perfect sacrifice to pay man’s wage for sin. Jesus who came out of His love for all people. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Today Jesus is the ruler of all His Father’s children and the conqueror of all His Father’s enemies. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Today Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and spoils the principalities and powers as He is the conqueror who crouches that none can stir Him.

Today Jesus holds the scepter as He is the law giver and the people shall gather unto Him as He is the desire of all the nations. “I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7) Jesus is now lifted up from the earth and will draw all men unto Him. Jesus shall draw all of the Children of God that are scattered across the earth and they shall come to Him as the center of their unity. “And not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:52)

In Jesus we find all that is nourishing to the soul as through Him we have purity of spirit. Though He was rich He became poor that we may become rich and without cost we will receive the wealth of the tribe of Judah. “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1)

As we now prepare to celebrate the birth of our King of kings and Lord of lords the Savior who by His grace has saved us from the wrath to come by our justification through faith in Him, let us give praise, glory and honor to His holy name Immanuel. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) May we be watchful in prayer that we long for His return, as He is the just and the justifier and will bring order once again when He establishes His throne for evermore. “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

He came as the Lamb of God and purchased us with His blood and shall soon return as the Lion of Judah to conqueror the enemies of God. “And one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5) As we celebrate Him this season as the greatest gift ever given to man, let us take heart and have good cheer that soon he will come for His own. Then there will be no more trial, no more tribulation, and every tear shall be wiped away and we will live in the peace of complete Joy. “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:16-17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 2, 2015

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