The Lion of Judah

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Genesis 49

Jacob lay dying. He called for his sons in order to prophecy what would happen to them in days to come. They were a nation displaced from their land. Now the last of Israel’s three great patriarchs would speak to the future!

One by one the sons came to be blessed by their father, Israel. Israel was the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with the angel (Genesis 32:28); it became the corporate name of Jacob’s descendants. Beginning with his firstborn Reuben, Jacob did not hesitate to call those out who had sinned against him. Only two were singled out for significant blessing. Joseph, his long-time favourite, born of his beloved Rachel, used of God to save his family through a raging famine of seven years, Israel recognized had been blessed and used by God Almighty (Genesis 49:24-25). Jacob called Joseph a Prince among his brothers. Given their turbulent family history that must have hurt the others.

But then there was Judah. Fourth son of Leah, Judah meant “praise” and as Jacob predicted, would become a leader among the tribes formed later by each son (:10). We might feel impatient with God’s timing on occasion, but imagine that this prediction did not come true until the time of King David, 640 years later. In actual fact it was not completely fulfilled until the time of Christ.

Jacob predicts Judah, like a lion (:9), will be praised by his brothers. How far reaching was that? Could Jacob possibly have known he was predicting millennial prosperity in verses 11-12? – a time when all nations would fall down in worship before the Lion of Judah! (Revelation 5:5). How thrilling it is to see consistency from beginning to end within the scriptures! It is Jesus to whom John refers when he wrote in Revelation: 

“And one of the elders said unto 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’ ” (5:5).

“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). The title proclaimed at the end of time, indicates one with absolute power over all His realm. When Jesus is proclaimed “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” it will signify the fulfilment of prophecy, the end of all other rulers and the final acknowledgement of His supremacy.

He, Jesus is the Lion of Judah!

In these days of Lent, preparing our hearts for the events of crucifixion, death, and resurrection, let us not forget it is this Lion of Judah whom we worship as the One who rose victorious over the grave to bring us into eternal life! Halleluah!


Do you feel any emotional response when you hear the title “Lion of Judah”? Why or why not?

How would you describe the Lion of Judah using Bible references and then in your own words?

What promise excites you most about the Lion of Judah?

by Marilyn Daniels (

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