And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. ( Revelation 5:6-8)
In our previous Article, John saw a book, in the hand of the Glorious One, seated on the throne. The book is held out for any person who is “worthy to take the book and open the seals therof”. Evidently the book, “written within and on the outside“, is the plan of God to reverse the curse of Sin and all of it’s effects, and to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.
There is no room on it for any more writing, for it is it is a complete and sufficient plan, no man can add to it, it is the plan of God himself. The plan anticipates a full salvation for sinners and a regeneration of the world, as well as terrible judgments on all that is evil, the overturning of the “kingdoms of this world”, and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth.
But there is one problem, it can only be inaugurated by a man, a human being. Who is qualified to do this? He must be a man perfectly pleasing to God in every respect, a man who has lived life as the Holy God intended our life to be lived, loving God supremely, and his fellow as much as himself.
Since it was a man, Adam, who by his disobedience plunged the whole race into condemnation,sin,and misery, God has required that a man, undo the damage. The book lies in the hand of the One on the throne unclaimed, for in all of human history, not one righteous, and worthy man could be found. John wept inconsolably because of this.
But there is no need for inconsolable weeping , for there has been found a man who is worthy, a man who has lived an entire life without sin. He is a man who has never broken faith with God, and whose every thought and action has been to please God .
He is called “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.
Centuries earlier, the Patriarch Jacob prophesied over each of his twelve sons, his inspired words over each of them reaching all the way to the last days. Of Judah he predicted,
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:8-10)
Judah was to be the Royal tribe, the true Kings of Israel were to come from it. Jacob saw these kings as being like lions, zealous to execute the policies of God through the Holy Nation. He saw King David, and David’s greater Son, King Jesus! The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes. The Word Shiloh means, “He to whom it belongs” and was long understood by the sages to pertain to the Messiah.
When the Romans removed the right of capital punishment from the Jews in 6-7 AD, the Rabbis mourned thinking the prophecy of Jacob had failed, for the sceptre had indeed departed from Judah, where is Shiloh? Little did they know , Shiloh was at that time a Carpenter in training, out in Nazareth!
When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them: they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us for the sceptre has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come‘” (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin, 24)
This is why Jesus had to be crucified and not stoned , as the Jews would normally have executed one whom they regarded as a blasphemer.
Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: (John 18:31)
This is the man, who could walk up to the very throne of God and take the book out of his hand. He alone is worthy to open the seals, and to commence the final plan to free us from the curse. He knows, having lived as a human being, tempted and pressed like all of us, tested in everything but never having sinned.
This is the Lion out of Judah that Jacob saw, Shiloh, to whom the privilege belongs.