Revelation 5:5 and the Lion and Root

(5)  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.

    One of the elders (the New Testament priests) tells John to not cry. The declaration of the “strong angel” (v.2) was not actually intended to find someone worthy to open the scroll, it only served to prove that there is no other name, no other authority, no other power than Christ Jesus the Lord of lords. Here he is described as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “Root of David,” both statements refer to Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ.

the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” This is a reference to the prophecy of Jacob, which he gives to his son Judah in Genesis 49:9. “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?” Judah is handed the promise of strength and greatness, but he first begins as a young lion, then to full growth as king of the pride. When he is full grown, he conquers and is to be feared, “who shall rouse him?” As this description is stated here, it is unmistakable that Jesus is the full grown lion of Judah, fierce and strong, protecting his people, and conquering his enemies.

“The Root of David.” It is made even clearer that Jesus is the root of David, and therefore the lamb of chapter five when, in 22:16, he testifies “I Jesus… am the root and offspring of Jesse” (22:16). This is expressed in the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:1, 10, where the Christ is described as new growth coming from the roots of Jesse, the father of King David.

While it is important to understand that the lamb had come in the flesh from the family lineage of Jesse and then King David of the tribe of Judah, it is critical to acknowledge that these scriptures in Revelation and Isaiah are looking far beyond that. If the lamb is the “root,” then he is before Jesse and David, he is the source. This is the conversation that Jesus had with the Pharisees when they asked him “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?” (Matthew 22:42-45).

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