Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Say You Have Received the Lamb

But Will You Recognize the Lion?

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." Deuteronomy 6:4

You might be surprised to realize how many Christians have splintered the image of God in their minds.  God the Father is considered to be the relentless tyrant, but Jesus Christ is seen as the merciful Savior.  

They do not realize that when we see Jesus, we are seeing a revelation of the Father.
"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Matthew 11:27    (Also Psalm 40:8; Luke 10:22; John 1:18, 14:7-9; I John 2:23)
Jesus does not perform His own will; He does the will of the Father alone.
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." John 6:38    (Also Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 5:19-30)
Neither did Jesus come to do a separate or different work than the Father; He came to complete the Father's work.
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John 4:24    (Also John 14:10, 17:4)
Jesus does not speak His own words, but only what the Father speaks.
"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." John 12:49-50    (Also John 8:28)
Jesus is the Creator of all things, but He will also be the Judge of all things.
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:...And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man." John 5:22, 27     (Also Matthew 25:31-46; Act 10:42; Act 17:31; Romans 2:16, 14:10; II Corinthians 5:10; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; II Timothy 4:1; I Peter 4:5; Psalm 9:7-8, 96:13; 98:9; Revelation 20:11-12)
We are reconciled to the Father by the Son, but it is the Father who gives us to the Son.
"As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him...I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word...Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17:2, 6, 24    (Also John 6:6-44, 10:29)

What is my point?  God's entire plan for man's salvation includes every dot and tittle in the Old Testament as well as the New.  It is the story and reflection of one mind and one will; not in the way which some surmise, stating that Jesus and the Father are one in person.  Rather, that Jesus - as the forerunner and example for us - always honors the Father by submitting to Him His own will as an obedient Son.

The heart of Jesus is also the heart of the Father. Similarly, the judgment of the Father is the judgment of Christ.  You cannot hide behind Jesus to escape the Father, nor should you desire to. Receiving the mercy vs. the judgment of God is not about having Jesus vs. the Father.  It is about being reconciled to the Father through Jesus or not.  The Father is not against you if you are in Christ.  You are accepted by the Father in the Beloved [who is Christ].

It is somehow easier for people to receive a Savior, a Brother, even a Bridegroom...but there is something about a "Father" which is hard to grasp and off-putting to those who are not used to the image of a father. He speaks with authority, doesn't cater to our feelings, and issues commands, rather than makes requests. Satan with one masterful stroke in the Garden of Eden was able to transform the role of a father into someone who is considered as weak and with no authority.  The Lord knows that this is the root of the problem with mankind and is why Christ was sent: to reconcile us to the Father.

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6

It is common to hear people cry out to Jesus or the Holy Spirit in prayer, and we should.  However, Jesus taught us, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (Matthew 6:9).

We are encouraged by Jesus to pray directly to the Father, but how many do?  How many shirk back from the Father with a preference for just dealing with Jesus alone?  I believe that such only happens when we have a skewed perception of Christ.  Jesus is not only the meek and lowly Lamb who died for us, He is the strong and mighty Lion who will judge all.

What does it mean for Jesus to be called a Lion?

"And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Revelation 5:5-6
Jesus is called the Lion, but appears as a Lamb; the title "Lion of the tribe of Judah" signifying that He has "prevailed".  He is victorious and has conquered all who stand against Him.  A lion is also referred to as the "king of the jungle", so the moniker also represents Jesus' royal heritage as a King and son of David.

"For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood." Hebrew 7:14

Jesus is a Jew; the word "Jew" refers to those belonging to the tribe of Judah.  He is the King of the Jews.
"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Genesis 49:8-10
Judah is described by Jacob as a "lion's whelp", and is said to be worthy of praise, reigning triumphant over all of his enemies. He is strong and courageous, a protector of His people and avenger against those who would do them harm.  He is fierce against those who would attempt to disturb Him.  
"God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee." Numbers 24:8-9
Israel is called a lion, and we see attributes of the Messiah in the description of His people. Israel is strong as a rhinoceros, and victorious in destroying his enemies (I John 3:8).  Those who blessed them received blessings while those who cursed them were likewise cursed.   
With a strong hand, God delivered Israel out of Egypt and brought them into a Promised Land He had prepared for them.  As a great lion, they have couched and laid down; none shall be able to move them. This is symbolic of the sovereignty of God.  Jesus opens, and no man can shut; He shuts, and no man can open.
Interestingly, it is often the Old Testament texts about how God defeated Israel's enemies in the Promised Land which contribute to these issues regarding how people see God.  How could the Lord command the extermination of so many men, women, and children?  Failure to understand this only adds to a warped perspective of God.  Yet, it is not simply the Father who was with Israel during this time, but also Christ (I Corinthians 10:4).  Again, there is one mind and one will at work in all of Scripture.    
"And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:" Revelation 6:16
Who has even heard of an angry lamb, and what would that look like?  Yet the word of God says that the wrath of the Lamb will be poured out in Revelation.  If the One who has been sent to be our propitiation has instead become our enemy, there is no place from which to hide.

"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Psalm 2:12   
Do not forget that Jesus can get angry.  What is the result of being the object of Jesus' anger? You can perish from the way.  
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" II Thessalonians 1:7-9
Here we see that the vengeance of the Lord depicted as that of a flaming fire which will not be quenched against those who do not obey Him.  Jesus is not sitting idly by while the Father hands out judgment; He shares His Father's wrath and is active in meting out punishment to transgressors; one mind and one will.
We should not be deceived in our understanding of who Jesus is.  Many like to look at just the "red letters" - and not even all of those.  They portray Him as "Sweet Baby Jesus", and are quick to say what Jesus would or would not do.  State biblical truths and it is not uncommon to hear, "That doesn't sound like Jesus!".  Why? Because they have received "another" Jesus (II Corinthians 11:4).

Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, 
copyright 1992. To order prints visit her 
"Revelation Illustrated" site.
The image of a lion may not be seem as approachable as the image of a lamb, but we had better realize that Jesus is both one and the same.

We cannot separate Jesus Christ from the attributes of His own character or even the Father to whom He submits.  The Father and the Son are one (John 10:30).  If we do not have a right perspective of Jesus, then we will not recognize Him upon His return.

"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." I Corinthians 15:24-28

Additional Resources:

Our Father's Love Letter to You

Come Back to the Father's Love

God Will Not Recognize a Bastard

Our Father

Prayer Through the Son

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. Alot people look at the lamb being passive when related to Jesus. I remember listening to David Pawson a while ago and he referred to Jesus as a ram. A lamb is a baby sheep of either sex, a ram is a mature sheep with his testicles still intact ( dictionary meaning ) INTERSTING... remember God provided a RAM in the thicket for sacrifice, instead of Issac. It's no coincidence that the Catholic Church portrays Jesus a baby all the time, in Mary's arms. I guess Mary did have a little lamb... Jesus wasn't passive as the Lamb and he's not going to be when he comes back as the Lion. Good post...


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