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Why is Jesus “the Lion of Judah"?

by Stephen Davey

Barbara from Florida asked, In Rev. 5:5, why is Jesus called “the Lion of Judah”?


To answer your question we need to go back to the Old Testament. We read this in the book of Genesis:

[8] “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. [9] Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? [10] The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. [11] Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. [12] His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk (Genesis 49:8–12 ESV).

In that passage, Jacob was giving a prophetic address to each of his sons. When he came to Judah, he said that one would come from that tribe and would reign forever. Jacob used the imagery of a lion to refer to this ruler. Lions are strong and powerful and greatly feared. Hardly anyone would dare to mess with them.

So, when Jesus is called “the Lion of Judah” it is because He's the fulfillment of that prophecy. He's the promised one who reigns forever, strong and powerful like a lion. 

Thanks for your question, 


Go Deeper: 

Jesus the Lion of Judah


In the realm of biblical language and symbolism, Jesus Christ is depicted through various figures, metaphors, and titles. One such title that stands out is the "Lion of Judah," evoking imagery of majesty, power, and authority. This article delves into the question of whether Jesus is indeed the Lion of Judah, exploring the topic from a conservative biblical perspective while aiming to rank in SEO for the keyword "Jesus lion of Judah."

What are some prophetic truths revealed in Genesis 49 that point directly to Jesus as the Lion of Judah?

What does the prophecy suggest about the nature and character of Jesus' reign?  

The prophecy suggests that Jesus’ reign will be characterized by absolute power, justice, and victory over enemies, as indicated by the lion imagery. His rule will bring about obedience from the nations, highlighting His global impact and authority. The luxurious symbols like wine and milk suggest a reign marked by abundance, prosperity, and righteousness, reflecting the transformative impact of His leadership on the world.

What are the implications of the prophecy for the lineage of Judah and its fulfillment in Jesus?  

The prophecy implies that the leadership role within Judah’s lineage will continue uninterrupted until Jesus, the ultimate heir, comes. It suggests that Jesus' coming was predestined to fulfill the promises made to Judah, thus establishing an eternal kingdom through His lineage, which underscores the historical and spiritual significance of Jesus' birth and life.

How do these symbols connect directly to Jesus?  

These symbols illustrate aspects of Jesus' character and mission. The lion represents His royal authority and strength as the King. The scepter and staff symbolize His eternal governance and rightful rule over the nations. The imagery of the donkey and the vine indicates His peaceful reign and fulfillment of Messianic prophecies. The garments washed in wine and teeth whiter than milk highlight His purity, sacrificial death (blood), and victorious nature.

What specific symbols are used in the prophecy about Judah in Genesis 49?  

The prophecy uses symbols such as the lion and lioness to depict strength and dominion, a scepter and ruler’s staff to signify leadership and authority, a donkey tied to a vine and a colt to the choicest branch to symbolize peace and abundance, garments washed in wine to denote victory and richness, and teeth whiter than milk to represent purity and health.

Jesus and the Tribe of Judah

The roots of the title "Lion of Judah" can be traced back to the book of Genesis, where Jacob blesses his twelve sons, who later became the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel. In this blessing, Jacob describes his fourth son, Judah, as a "lion's cub" (Genesis 49:9). Notably, the tribe of Judah, from which King David and ultimately Jesus Christ descend according to Matthew's genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16), is associated with the lion—a symbol of strength and leadership.

Jesus as the Lion of Judah in Revelation

The New Testament's final book, Revelation, directly associates Jesus Christ with the title "Lion of Judah." In Revelation 5:5, the apostle John writes, "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.'"

This passage unmistakably identifies Jesus Christ as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah," forging a connection between the Old Testament blessing of Judah and the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Lion of Judah is depicted as triumphant, alluding to Christ's victorious act of redemption through His death and resurrection.

The Theological Significance of the Title

From a conservative biblical standpoint, the title "Lion of Judah" holds profound theological significance. Portraying Jesus as a lion highlights His power, majesty, and ultimate authority over all creation. It emphasizes His role as the King and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming Messiah from the lineage of David, who hailed from the tribe of Judah.

Furthermore, the title "Lion of Judah" serves as a poignant reminder of the victorious nature of Christ's mission. By overcoming sin and death, Jesus opens the path to humanity's salvation. He is not merely a gentle lamb sacrificed for our sins but also a conquering lion who triumphs over evil, representing the dual aspects of His redemptive mission.

How does understanding Jesus as the lamb who was slain impact our understanding of him as the Lion of Judah?

To fully appreciate Jesus as the Lion of Judah, one must first grasp His role as the sacrificial Lamb. The concept of Jesus as a lamb who was slain is pivotal because it embodies His humility, sacrifice, and the ultimate purpose of redemption. This sacrificial aspect highlights His willingness to submit to earthly pain and death for the greater good of humanity's salvation. It is through this act of sacrifice and obedience that Jesus's true power and authority as the Lion of Judah are revealed. The Lion, in biblical symbolism, represents sovereignty, strength, and dominance. By first being the Lamb, Jesus fulfills the prophetic requirements necessary to redeem and lead His people, thereby establishing His rightful place and strength as the Lion. Thus, understanding Jesus as the Lamb provides essential context for His authority and power as the Lion, demonstrating how His gentle submission leads to His glorious reign.


In conclusion, from a conservative biblical perspective, Jesus Christ is unequivocally referred to as the Lion of Judah in scripture. This title underscores His authority, kingship, and triumphant fulfillment of His redemptive work. Recognizing Jesus as the Lion of Judah inspires awe and provides comfort to believers, as they acknowledge their Savior as a triumphant king—powerful, sovereign, and victorious over the world. By exploring the symbolism and significance of Jesus as the Lion of Judah, believers can deepen their understanding and appreciation of His role in Christian faith and worship.

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Add a Comment


Lynne Kelley says:
How comforting and fulfilling to have the Lion of Judah title confirmed as found in Scripture. Have seen many depictions of the lion and lamb, representing both of His titles. But, your information was what I needed to read. Thank you.
Leslie Marquez says:
I was looking for the word loin and the word Lion came up . I know it was God send,I needed to know more, at this time , thank you very much. God bless you all……
Aryeh says:
How comforting that Yeshua Is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah And the lamb of God
Annie Brown says:
I was reading Daniel chapter 6 and as I read about Daniel being in the lions den and no harm came to him I thought about who was their creator and the title “lion of the tribe of Judah came to my mind. I know in the scripture Daniel says my God has sent His angels and shut the lions mouth. I was just wondering about if there was any connection to that title and the lions in the lions den