Lion of Judah, the Root of David

“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals’” (Revelation 5:5, NIV).

By virtue of being of the house and lineage of David, Jesus has the right to be the King of the Jews and the Lord of the world. The first prophecy of the coming of Jesus as the Lion of Judah and His never-ending kingdom appears in Genesis 49:8–12, where we read of Jacob’s blessing his son Judah. He uses the image of a lion three times, with the climactic prediction, “The scepter will 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.” The word “Shiloh” means “he whose right it is to rule” or “the one to whom it belongs.” The descendant of Judah will be the Messiah who alone has the right to rule.

The connection between Judah and Jesus comes through the tribe of Judah and the family of David. The Davidic Covenant promised David to be the root from whom the Messiah would ultimately be born that first Christmas.

Revelation 5:5 declares Jesus to be the Lion of Judah, to whom the Father delegated all judgment. The title “Lion” depicts Christ as the embodiment of courage, authority, and power. The Old Testament frequently employs the lion as a symbol of power and the strength to defeat one’s enemies (Job 10:16; Psalm 10:9; Ezekiel 1:10; Daniel 7:1–4).

Revelation 5:6 goes on to say that Jesus is not just the triumphant Lion of royal power, but also as the Lamb, who through His death and resurrection became the redeeming provision for sin. The Lion who will judge the world is the Lamb who has already been judged for those He will judge.