The Lion of Judah: When Christ Returns

Learn about the Bible’s symbolic imagery of the Messiah returning as the conquering lion with Dr. David R. Reagan on the show Christ in Prophecy.

Last aired on January 2, 2011.


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Dr. Reagan: Jesus is often portrayed in Scripture as the Lion of Judah. Did you know that this symbolism refers to His Second Coming? He came the first time as a suffering lamb, He is returning as a conquering lion. But do you know what is going to happen when He returns? Is the earth going to cease to exist or will Jesus return to this earth to live and reign bringing peace righteousness and justice to this war-weary world. For the answers to these questions, stay tuned.

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Part 1

Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus our blessed hope and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Last week I introduced the first of two sermons I presented recently at the Rose Heights Church of God in Tyler, Texas. I was asked by the church’s Pastor Doug Anderson to make two presentations about Jesus as the Lamb and Lion of God. In Last week’s presentation I explained the symbolic meaning of this imagery. In the process I explained that the first time Jesus came to this world, He came to die for our sins, to make it possible for us to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. In this role as Savior He is portrayed in the Scriptures as a suffering lamb. But when He returns He is coming as a conquering lion who will roar from the heavens to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected God’s grace and love.

But what will happen after He has dealt with the enemies of God? What is going to happen to believers both the living and the dead? Will life on this earth end with the Second Coming? Or does God have a special program of redemption for this earth? In just a moment we’re going to present the sermon I delivered at Rose Heights that deals with these questions, but first, I need to explain something to you. When we switch to Rose Heights you’re going to see a white lion cub on the stage behind me. The church’s pastor Doug Anderson is a very imaginative fellow who decided that since I would be speaking at the second service about Jesus as the Lion of Judah, it might prove interesting to have a real lion on stage with me. We were supposed to have an 800 pound white lion brought in by a company in Dallas, Texas but when the lion was loaded in his traveling case that morning, its weight just crushed the case. So they brought instead one of its cubs, that weighed only 300 pounds. Well, needless to say, it was quite an experience for me to be preaching on stage with a real lion. And now, let’s go to the Rose Heights church of God in Tyler, Texas.

Well, your pastor asked me this morning if I would speak on the Lion of Judah, when Christ returns, the Lion of Judah when Christ returns. And so, let’s get into that subject. The Bible says that when Jesus returns to this earth that He will return as a roaring lion with the purpose of pouring out the wrath of God upon those who have rejected the grace mercy and love of God that has been expressed in Jesus Christ. Here’s how Jeremiah describes it, “The Lord will roar from on high and utter His voice from His holy habitation. He will roar mightily against His foe He will shout like those who tread the grapes against all the inhabitants of the earth.” Yes my friends, Jesus is returning in vengeance, but when He is finished with that necessary task, which is necessitated but the justice of God. He will establish His reign over all the earth and it’s going to be a glorious reign that will produce perfect peace, righteousness and justice for all the nations. And that is why I gave the book I wrote about revelation the title Wrath and Glory. Think about that title for a moment. He is returning in incredible wrath but His ultimate purpose is to manifest His glory by bringing peace to all the world. He is therefore returning both as the Lion King and as the Shepherd of the Lambs, both capacities. He comes as the King and He comes as the Shepherd for those who love Him and exalt Him. Wrath and glory, it is a persistent theme throughout the Old Testament.

Here is one of the examples: Isaiah 2:19, “Men will go into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the ground before the terror of the Lord and before the splendor of His majesty when He arises to make the earth tremble.” He’s coming as a conquering lion. Notice how this next passage in Isaiah 40 combines both images. “Behold, the Lord God will come with might, conquering lion, with His arm ruling for Him, behold His reward is with Him and is recompensed before Him.” Now the shepherd, like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm, He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom. He will gently lead the nursing ewes. In summary, when Jesus returns to earth at the end of the Tribulation He is going to appear to those on earth at that time as either their blessed hope, or their holy terror, one of the two.

Now a crucial question arises at this point. And the question is, “Why is Jesus returning to reign?” Have you ever thought about that? It’s one of the first things I thought about when I first began studying Bible prophecy because I grew up in a church that taught Jesus would never put His foot on this earth again. But the Bible says He’s coming back He’s coming back to reign for a thousand years. Most people can understand the idea of him coming back and pouring out the wrath of God upon those nations that have rebelled against him and gathering the saved and taking them back to Heaven, but what about His return to stay? Why not return to heaven? Why would He want to reign for a thousand years here on this earth, in short, why a millennium? That was one of the first questions that began to perplex me when I started studying Bible prophecy. Why would He want to have a millennium? And as I studied it, I began to understand why Jesus is going to come back here. The answer is, that a millennium is necessary in order for God to fulfill promises that He has made in His Word. There must be a millennium.

What are those promises? Well let’s take a look at them. The first one is one that I have already mentioned. The first promise is that God has promised that Jesus will receive one day what He deserves which is honor, and glory, and power. When Jesus came the first time, He was rejected by His hometown. He was rejected by His family. He was rejected by the Jewish people. He was persecuted by the religious leaders. He was betrayed by a friend, He was denied by another friend. He was deserted by His disciples. He was mocked by the masses. He had no place to lay His head. His only possession was a robe. He was born in a stable, He was raised in poverty, He was nailed to a tree, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. Today, men scoff at Him, they ridicule Him, they use His name as a curse word, and that is not what He deserves! It is going to be different when Jesus returns for God has promised that He will be vindicated in history just as He was humiliated in history, and oh how different it’s going to be.

The first time He came as a baby, He is returning as a warrior, the first time He came humbly but He is going to return in majesty. The first time He came as a suffering lamb but He is returning as the conquering lion. The first time He came He came in compassion but He is returning in wrath. The first time He came He came as a servant but He is returning as a King. The first time He came He came humbly on a donkey but He is returning on a white war charger, the symbol of a victorious general. The first time He came, He came to be judged but when He returns He is coming to judge all the nations of the world. The first time He came He came to die but He is returning to reign. He is coming back to reign over all the nations of the earth. My friends, He was debased and He was humiliated in history. He is going to be vindicated and He is going to be glorified in history. Here is how Isaiah puts it, “So it will happen in that day that the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, that Satan and all of his demonic hoards who infest the atmosphere of this planet. When Jesus returns He will punish them. The Lord will punish the host on high and He will punish the kings on the earth. Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and His glory will be before His elders.”

Every time I get fed up with the nonsense I see in this world, every time I get fed up with characters like Fidel Castro strutting across the scene with the medals that they’ve given to themselves and shaking their fist at God and cursing God. I realize a day is coming when God is going to deal with those individuals. He’s going to deal with them decisively and that day is going to be when Jesus breaks from the heavens as a conquering lion.

Well, that brings us to the second promise that God is going to fulfill during the millennial reign of Jesus and that promise is one that He has made to the creation. God has promised the creation that a day is coming when there will be regeneration, restoration and renewal. I don’t know if you ever thought about this or not but when God originally created the earth He created it in perfect beauty it was in perfection. Everything was perfect. There were no such things as tornadoes, there were no such things as earthquakes, there was no such thing as the natural calamities that we know today. There was no such thing as a meat-eating lion. There was no such thing as a poisonous snake. None of that existed. None of it existed because everything was perfect. The lion ate grass just like the cow and all lived together in perfect peace. But that creation has been corrupted by the sin of man. It was corrupted by the curse that God put upon the creation as a result of the sin of man. It has been corrupted by the evil works of Satan, But God has promised, He promised from the beginning, He promised that one day the whole of the creation would be redeemed and restored. That it would be returned to its original perfection.

In the Old Testament that promise is made in Isaiah chapter 11 beginning with verse 6. “The wolf will lie down with the lamb. The leopard will lie down with the kid. The calf and the young lion and the fatling together and a little boy will lead them.” There will be no concern about the lion eating someone. No concern whatsoever. The little boy will play with these animals because God is going to restore the creation to its original peace. There will be no meat eating animals there will be no poisonous animals, there will be no animals for man to fear. Man’s sin caused God to put a curse on the creation, some of the animals became meat-eaters some of them became poisonous the peaceable kingdom disappeared from the face of the earth. But one day that peaceable kingdom is coming back when Jesus Christ returns to reign over the earth for a thousand years. Look at Isaiah 11:7. “The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together and the lion will eat straw like an ox.” No longer will the bear and the lion spend their life times hunting for prey and killing other animals. There will be no violence in the animal kingdom when Jesus Christ comes back.

My wife loves to watch the animal channel and I can’t stand the animal channel because it seems like every time I walk through the room, there’s one animals eating another animal and I just can’t stand to see it. But it’s going to stop when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Look at Isaiah 11 verse 8, “The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra and the weaned child will put his hand in the viper’s den because the snakes will no longer be poisonous.” These glorious promises have produced a lot of artistic results. Some of them funny some of them very fine. Let’s look at a couple of the funny ones. “No, no, Leo, it’s with the lamb, not on it. You know, don’t sit on it, you’re supposed to lie down with it.

I love this one, the lamb and the lion relaxing next to eat other and the lamb reading a book called veggie recipes. It’s also been the source of much fine art. Here is the peaceable kingdom as imaged by the artist Edward Hicks in 1834. Notice, this is the millennial reign of Jesus the way he pictures it. Little children playing with wild animals in the foreground, and in the back ground you can hardly see it he has the Puritans living in peace with the American Indians.

But to bring it up to date, my favorite is this one by Diana Bryer, a great southwestern artist. Diana painted the southwestern version of the peaceable kingdom and I love it. There’s a little boy right in the middle of the picture and he’s asleep on top of the wolf and the wolf is asleep next to the lamb and no one is afraid of anyone else because it’s all going to be returned to the original perfection in which God created. I tell you that I can hardly wait for that day to arrive. I can hardly wait.

I don’t know if you saw it or not, but if you haven’t you go to youtube and you type in the word lion. I go and every time I watch it I just sit there and cry. There’s a video on there about two Englishmen back in the ‘50s who bought a little lion cub at Herrod’s. They don’t sell them there anymore but they bought it and it shows that lion growing up. It has pictures and videos of it growing up until it finally got so big that they just couldn’t handle it anymore and they took it to Africa and released it. And then the video shows them going back a year later. And they find the lion and the two men are standing there and the lion comes down from the mountain and he walks right down and stops and looks at them. And you don’t know what he’s going to do, and they don’t know what he’s gonna do. And suddenly, that lion pounced and ran up to those men and put his arms around them and hugged both of them and hugged them and hugged them and hugged them. And then went back and got his wife and brought his down and introduced them to the wife. It’s incredible you have to see it to believe it. But that’s what it’s gonna be like when the Millennial Kingdom comes we won’t have to worry anymore.

Okay, there is a third promise that God wants to fulfill during the millennial reign of Christ and that third promise is that He’s going to give to the nations, peace righteousness and justice. That’s what God has promised. Mankind has been plagued by war since the beginning of recorded history and mankind has dreamed ever since that time of a time of peace. There’s been peace conference after peace conference after peace conference and always failed peace because the Bible says that peace will never come to this world until the Prince of Peace returns. Look at, Isaiah 9, “For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us, and a government will rest upon His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace.” Peace is going to produce the perfect atmosphere for true justice, justice for all people. No longer will justice depend upon the amount of money you have or the color of your skin or the connections that you have. There will be perfect justice during the reign of Jesus Christ. Listen to how Isaiah describes it. “With righteousness He will judge the poor and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth. Also, righteousness will be the belt around His loins and faithfulness the belt around His waist.” True peace and justice, I can hardly wait.

But there’s going to be another glorious feature of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and that is the earth is going to be flooded with righteousness and holiness. Look at this passage from Isaiah 11:9, “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Everything on planet earth we’re told during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ will be dedicated to the glory of the Lord, everything. Zechariah 14 says that the bells on the horse’s bridals and the pots in the kitchens will have inscribed upon them the words holy to the Lord, dedicated to the Lord. Oh what a world that’s going to be. Again, I can hardly wait.

That brings us to the fourth promise that God is going to fulfill during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and it has to do with Israel. During that reign God is going to fulfill a promise that one day the Jewish people will have the respect of the world and that they will be the prime nation in all of the world. What a glorious promise that is, a promise that God has never yet fulfilled. You see, at the end of the tribulation, we’re told that a great remnant of the Jews will come to the end of themselves and when they do, they will look upon Jesus Christ and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. Look at the promise of this in Zechariah 12 verse 10.” I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a first born.

It goes on to say on that day a fountain of salvation will be opened in the city of Jerusalem for that great remnant.” The great remnant to the ever lasting glory of God will come to put their faith in Yeshua as their Messiah and then we are told that all believing Jews will be gathered to Israel on that day that Jesus Christ touches back here on this earth. They will be gathered from all the nations of the world, this time in belief. They’ve been gathered in the 20th century in unbelief. These will be believing Jews from all over the world who will be gathered back to the nation and for the first time ever, they will receive the world’s respect. Look at what it says in Zechariah 8:23, it is hard to believe. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, in those days ten men from the nations, from the gentiles will grasp the garment of a Jew and say let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you.” Today the Jew is the object of scorn the object of ridicule the object of jokes the object of persecution. But a day is coming when God’s gonna turn that right upside down and everyone in world will give respect to the Jews and they will say to a Jew let me walk with you for we know that God is with you. Jesus is going to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords from Jerusalem and His blessings will flow through the Jewish people to all the nations of the world. We just sang that in that song, The Days of Elijah, “out of Zion’s hill, salvation comes.” That’s what that song refers to.

This brings us to the fifth and final promise that God is going to fulfill during the millennium. And that promise has to do with you and me. It’s the promises that He has made to the Church and oh what wonderful promises He has made. He is going to restore to us the dominion that was lost when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. You see, they were originally given something that Hitler lusted for, they were given something that Stalin dreamed of, they were given something that Napoleon wanted they were given something that Alexander the great almost achieved. They were given dominion over the entire earth. And then when they sinned against God Satan reached in and grabbed the dominion and he’s had it ever since that time. He is the prince of this world.

But a day is coming when Jesus Christ will return. Jesus won this back on the cross but He has not yet claimed it and He will not do so until He returns and when He returns He’s going to come back and claim that dominion for you and me. It’s going to be restored to us and the result of that is that we are going to reign with Jesus Christ in our glorified bodies over those who are in natural bodies. Those who are allowed to make the transition in natural bodies from Tribulation to the Millennium, we will be reigning over them, we will be scattered all over the earth. Some of you are going to be mayors, some of you are going to be governors, some of you are going to be kings or presidents, Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords reigning from Jerusalem and we will be reigning with him over all these people all over the world. The Bible says this over and over in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, that a day is coming when we the church age saints will reign with Jesus Christ. Look at Daniel 7, “And to him the Messiah was given dominion glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him and then that sovereignty the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms and the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the highest ones.” That’s you and me. We are going to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ and this is a promise that is repeated over and over in the New Testament, Second Timothy 2:12, “If we endure we will reign with him.” Or consider Revelation 2:26 “And he who overcomes and he who keeps my deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.”

I want to conclude by pointing out that there is one final reason for the Millennium. It’s not related to a promise, it is related instead to something that God wants to prove to mankind. And that is this, the religion of Satan has always been humanism. From the beginning of time to this moment the religion of Satan has been humanism. And the fundamental teaching of humanism is the goodness of man and the perfectibility of man. That man is good and perfectible. All humanists believe that. The Bible teaches the opposite. The Bible teaches that man is basically evil and incapable of perfection. Humanists say the problem with the world is society. If we could just change society we can change man. The Bible says the problem with the world is not society the problem is man. And that society’s in the condition it’s in because man is in the condition he’s in, two radically different viewpoints.

With the Millennium God is going to prove once and for all that humanism is totally false. He’s going to take all of mankind and put them in a perfect society where there is perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect righteousness. And they will live in that perfect society for 1,000 years. And yet at the end of that thousand year reign, a vast number of those in the flesh perhaps the majority will revolt against the Lord Jesus Christ and try to overthrow Him proving once and for all that you simply cannot transform people by putting them in a transformed society. The only way you can truly transform anyone is through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that comes through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so it is that history will end as it began. It goes in a circle. It began with two people living in a perfect society who rebelled against God. It’s going to end with all of mankind living in a perfect society, rebelling against God.

Let us praise our Creator for His incredible patience with us. Let us praise Him for loving this evil and rebellious world so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins so that we might be reconciled to our Father. Let us praise Him for His faithfulness in keeping all of His promises and let us praise Him for the glorious blessings He has promised in the future. Blessings so glorious that they prompted the apostle Paul to write these words, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is yet to be revealed to us.” Folks, that’s a mouthful. There are people suffering mightily from cancer, suffering from all kinds of diseases, suffering from broken relationships, suffering from depression, suffering with grief over the loss of loved ones, suffering from financial collapse. And he says, no matter what you suffer in this life, it is nothing compared to the glory that is yet to be revealed to us. What a mouthful that is. And then he puts it again in a different way. In First Corinthians chapter 2, “No eye has seen no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him but God has revealed those things to us through His Holy Spirit.”

Oh my, what glorious promises lie in the future that God is going to fulfill during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and that makes me want to cry out from the depths of my heart every morning, “Maranatha, Maranatha, Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!” Let’s pray. Father I come to you in the name of Jesus and I thank you that you are a loving God who has never given up on your creation. That you have pursued us and pursued us that you sent Your only begotten Son to die for our sins, we thank you. We thank you for these glorious promises of the future may we believe them with all our heart. May we walk in faith believing that you are a God who keeps all your promises and you’re gonna keep every one of these promises. And may that give us hope as we struggle with the things of this life and Lord as we look around this world and as we see it in chaos, may we truly believe that you are on the throne, that you are in control, and that you have the wisdom and the power to orchestrate all the evil of mankind to the triumph of your precious Son. Lord in an audience this size there must be someone here who has never accepted your Son as Lord and Savior. I pray this will be the day of their salvation. I pray this is the day that your Holy Spirit will move mightily on their hearts, that you will draw them to the cross. That they will confess of their sins and accept your Son as their Lord and Savior that they might be born again, receive the indwelling power of your Holy Spirit and have the hope of these glorious promises that we’ve just looked at. And Lord I pray for those who may be discouraged. For those who came here with a broken heart or a heavy soul. That what we’ve discussed this morning will lift their spirit, encourage them and give them hope. Thank you God for being a God of hope. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Welcome back to our studio here in the Dallas, Texas area. I hope the presentation you just viewed was a blessing to you. If you have questions concerning any aspect of it, I would urge you to contact us thru our website at the address you see on the screen. It is an interactive site where you can communicate with our full-time Web Minister, Nathan Jones, who is available to respond to your questions. Also, on the site you will find hundreds of articles about every aspect of Bible prophecy. Well that’s our program for this week. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our redemption is drawing near!”

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