I Am the Lion and the Lamb
“One of the most interesting contrasts of names in Revelation occurs in chapter five, where in the same context I am called both ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ and ‘a Lamb’ (5:5-6). If this combination sounds paradoxical in English, it is even more so in Greek. The word used here for ‘lamb’ is a diminutive and a term of endearment. It is the sort of word a child might use to describe a cute and cuddly baby lamb. And yet, this title is used here in the context of the regal majesty of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the ruling tribe of Israel.
“John here brings together two titles with different emphases to give his readers a fuller understanding of who I am. As the Lion, I am everything the Jews expected in their Messiah. I was the son of David who would rule over Caesar. I was the One coming to establish the kingdom of God on earth. But I was also the Messiah who came to give My life a ransom for many. As such, I am the sacrificial yearling lamb. But I am a lamb with a difference: this lamb had seven horns. A horn was a symbol of power in the Old Testament, and seven was a number of completeness in Scripture. This is the lamb with the fullness of the strength and power of the lion.
“When Samson sought to give the Philistines a riddle they could not resolve on their own, he said, ‘Out of the strong came forth sweetness’ (Judges 14:14). Even today, it is uncommon to find strength and sweetness in the same thing. But I manifested both strength and beauty. As you survey My many names and titles, you note some which emphasize My strength at the same time that others tend to emphasize My gentleness. This is evident in Revelation which emphasizes the fact that God still sits on the throne and will ultimately triumph over the world system: yet, twenty-six times you learn that I am the Lamb. My predominant name in Revelation is ‘the Lamb.’”
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