In the Bible, what does a lion represent?

By Mai Huong Vu on Jan 19, 2022

Lions are one of the most feared animals in the animal kingdom. They are known for their strength, agility, and ferociousness. They can also be quite beautiful with their thick fur and powerful manes. But what does the lion represent in biblical stories? What is its symbolism? Let's explore this question together.

Satan as a lion

"Be sober-minded; be careful," Peter cautioned the Christians of his day. The devil, your adversary, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat" (1 Pet 5:8). We already know that Satan roams the earth because Job stated in the Book of Job, "The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" "From traveling across the earth, walking back and forth on it," Satan said to the LORD (Job 1:7). "Some people are like seed along the route, where the word is sown," Jesus remarked in the Parable of the Sower, "some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown." Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them as soon as they hear it" (Mark 4:15). In 2 Timothy 4:17, Paul depicts his rescue as coming from the mouth of the lion. "But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that the word could be completely proclaimed through me and heard by all the Gentiles." And I was delivered from the lion's mouth," implying that Satan, like a lion, wants to devour all believers, and that he saw Paul in particular as a threat to his dominion of darkness because the gospel message was being carried through the Roman Empire.

The God of this world

Paul also warns us about the god of this world, saying, "that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs" (2nd Cor 2:11), because "the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2nd Cor 4:4) So Satan is sometimes pictured as a lion in the sense that he hunts down stragglers and weak and injured prey, which for Christians may signify individuals who are hurting and have wandered away from the sheepfold of which Jesus is the Great Shepherd as the Head of the Church. Despite the fact that Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, "May the king live forever!" Daniel replied. My God sent his angel, and the lions' mouths were shut. They haven't done anything to me because he found me to be innocent in his eyes. I've never done anything wrong in front of you, Your Majesty." (Dan 6:21-22), implying that, despite the fact that the lion is violent and capable of killing, maiming, or injuring people, God can close the lion's jaws because He is sovereign over Satan and enables the "lion" (as Satan) to do no more harm than He desires (Job 1:12).

Jesus as a Lion

As we read in Revelation 5:5, Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah: "Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep!" The Lion of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, as you can see. When Jacob blessed his sons, the sons of Israel (Jacob's name was changed to Israel), he included a particular blessing for the tribe of Judah, stating, "Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the necks of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you." Judah, you are a lion's cub; you have returned from the hunt, my son. He crouches and lies down like a lion, and no one dares to rouse him" (Gen 49:8-9). No one dared to attack David or his country during his reign since his kingdom was the most powerful on earth at the time.

The Lion's Return: Jesus' Coming Reign

"The scepter will not leave from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come, and the nations shall be his" is a prophesy about the tribe of Judah and speaks of Jesus Christ and His coming reign over all the planet (Gen 49:10). Because Israel never did this as a country, this blessing/prophecy refers to the scepter as the ruler of Judah and that it will "reign over all the earth." This clearly refers to Jesus Christ, and this reign came at a high price for Him because it was prophesied that "he would tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch, he will wash his clothing in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes" (Gen 49:11). This verse appears to be a prophecy about Jesus, pointing to the shed blood that would be shed for all who would trust in Him in the supreme sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, as well as His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a colt that had never been ridden before, which was fulfilled in Mark 11:1-11 on Palm Sunday. "Go ahead of you to the village, and just as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden," Jesus told the disciples, according to Mark. Bring it here when you've untied it. 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly,' say to everyone who asks why you're doing this.' (Matthew 11:2–3) "They stepped outdoors and spotted a colt chained at a doorway in the street," says the narrator. "What are you doing, untying that colt?" some passers-by inquired as they unfastened it. They responded as Jesus had instructed, and the crowds let them go" (Mark 11:4-6). "Blessed is the approaching kingdom of our father David!" came next. Hosanna in the highest heaven” (Mark 11:10).

Conclusion

Context is king whenever we read about a lion. It can either relate to Jesus Christ as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah or to Satan, who prowls the earth as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. One is a destructor, while the other is a Savior. You are either under one or the other, and if you have not yet done so, I highly advise you to repent today and put your trust in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, or your destruction will come suddenly someday (Rev 20:12-15).

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