By John LaVier
(Written December 1951)
In the seventh chapter of Daniel the Gentile world kingdoms are likened to wild ravenous beasts. They are bestial in character, and bite and devour one another. Even in our day the nations take for themselves as a symbol of their might some wild beast. Russia has the bear, Britain the lion, and our own United States the eagle, a bird of prey with cruel beak and claws. In contrast to these stands the symbol of God’s kingdom, a Lamb.
The Lamb is the subject of much of the Bible. Peter speaks of the Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifest in those last times for Israel. In the Old Testament the Lamb is typified and prophesied; in the Four Gospels the Lamb is identified and personified; while in the book of Revelation, where the Lamb is mentioned twenty-seven times, He is magnified and glorified.
In the slaying of the lamb and the applying of its blood to the doors on that memorable Passover night, is a clear picture of God’s Lamb, who would come to lay down His life and shed His blood for the deliverance of His people. Then the tens of thousands of animal sacrifices offered upon Jewish altars for the sins of the people also spoke of the Lamb who was to be wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquities. In the fulness of time He came, and John, whose mission was to make the Christ manifest to Israel, pointed Him out to that nation with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Finally, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. It was for this He came, born as the Lamb in the stable, to suffer and die on the tree for the sins of lost mankind.
Behold! a spotless Victim dies,
My Surety on the tree;
The Lamb of God, the Sacrifice,
He gave Himself for me!
Coincidental with the prophecies concerning the Lamb were those concerning the Lion. Two lines of prophecy run through the Old Testament; the crimson line which speaks of the Lamb and the tree, and the purple line which speaks of the Lion and the throne. These both relate to the same Person but to the two advents of that Person. The two lines sometimes seemed to merge, which at times perplexed the prophets themselves. Peter states of the prophets who prophesied of the salvation and grace that should come to Israel: “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Pet. 1:11). The Lamb relates to the sufferings of Christ, and the Lion relates to the glory that was to follow.
At His first coming Christ was the Lamb to suffer and die. But God raised Him from the dead and now He sits at the Father’s right hand, “from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:13). Thank God, He is coming back again! Then He will come as the Kingly One, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Then He will sit upon the throne of David, ruling and reigning in righteousness. The government will be upon His shoulder, and “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isa. 9:7). The zeal of Jehovah of hosts, not the zeal of the United Nations, will perform this.
We often are so interested in singing “O that will be glory for me” that we forget that there is coming a day of glory for Him. Praise His dear Name! Coronation Day is coming! He will return as the Lion, to be crowned, not with thorns, but with many diadems. Not then to be spit upon, and despised and rejected of men, but to have every knee bow in His presence and every tongue hail Him as King of kings.
Our Lord is now rejected,
And by the world disowned,
By the many still neglected,
And by the few enthroned;
But soon He’ll come in glory!
The hour is drawing nigh,
For the crowning day is coming
By and by.
Though all the above is blessedly true, it is certainly significant that the apostle of the Gentiles never once speaks of either the Lamb or the Lion, but almost three hundred times he uses the title Lord. Christ is the Lamb and the Lion in His association with Israel. As the Lamb He was taken out of the flock, and Israel was Jehovah’s flock and the sheep of His pasture. The Lamb’s wife, the bride, is Israelitish, as we see in Revelation 21:9-14, where we find the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lamb. As the Lion, Christ is of the kingly tribe of Judah, and heir to David’s throne. To us who are members of His Body, though, He is the Lord. He is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many believers are guilty of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Many call Him Lord but do not really own His Lordship over their lives. Of such, Christ asks, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). As Lord He is supreme in authority, which is what the word “kurios” means. Thus He is to be obeyed implicitly and without any reservations, for if He is not Lord of all, then He is not Lord at all.
One of the sevenfold unities of Ephesians 4 is “One Lord.” However, there are many Diotrephes even today, who love to have the preeminence, and who have set themselves up as being lords over God’s heritage, But “we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5). “To us there is but one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).
Our Lord Jesus Christ has now been raised up far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion. He is seated in the heavenlies at God’s right hand, and God “hath put all things under His feet, and given Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22). As Head of the Body, far above all, He is in a place of absolute authority. All that we do as members of His Body should be done in subservience to His divine will. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus … And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:17, 23, 24).
Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe,
And crown Him Lord of all.