The return of the King, part 2

Lion of Judah 1Jesus has a dual aspect to his character.  He’s the Lion of Judah and the Lamb Of God.  So far, the world has only met the Lamb.  Are we ready for the Lion? 

The Lion speaks of triumph and the Lamb speaks of sacrifice.

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.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.”
Revelation 5:5-6

His capital city is going to be Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Bible.  It is not mentioned in the Koran at all.

Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, whose emblem is a lion.  Jacob’s prophecy over his son Judah pointed to Jesus, the ruler over Judah and the nations.

You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness–who dares to rouse him?
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.  Genesis 49:9-10

The Gate

There is a gate in the old walls of Jerusalem that is known as the Lion Gate, also known as the Sheep Gate.  It is one of seven gates located in the Old City Walls of Jerusalem.

Five hundred years ago a Moslem ruler named Selim 1 captured Jerusalem and all of Israel.  He had plans to level the city of Jerusalem but changed his mind after dreaming of lions coming to devour him.  To be spared he promised to protect Jerusalem by building a wall around the city.

Lions gate

Lions gate / Sheep Gate, Jerusalem

Nehemiah chapter 3 which describes how the wall around Jerusalem rebuilt in 445B.C by the Jews who returned from Babylon begins and ends with the sheep gate. It was called the sheep gate because this was the gate which the sheep and lambs used in the sacrifice were bought through.

This gate points to the first coming of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world  (John 1:29).

He is the gate by which everyone must enter to be saved (John 10:7-9).

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God, Isaiah 61:1-2

Bozrah and the day of vengeance

Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”, but stopped at proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favour.  (Luke 4:16-20) The day of vengeance has not yet arrived.

Who is this coming from Edom,
    from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson?
Who is this, robed in splendor,
    striding forward in the greatness of his strength?

“It is I, proclaiming victory,
    mighty to save.”  Isaiah 63:1

Lion roaring, illustration for book about Aslan

Bozrah means “sheepfold”, and speaks of an end time deliverance of Israel.

“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
    I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
    like a flock in its pasture;
    the place will throng with people.
The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
    they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
    the Lord at their head.”  Micah 2:12-13

I have written of the sheepfolds here: The Sheepfolds

Zechariah 14 tells of the day of battle – when Jerusalem will be taken, divided, the houses ransacked, and the women raped.   On that day the Lord will go out and fight against those nations.  On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

So in the end Jesus will be the one dividing Jerusalem – not the nations.  The victorious King will govern the world from Jerusalem.

leo1

Leo

They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.
They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,” declares the LORD. Hosea 11:11

The sign of Leo

In the Mazzaroth, the constellation of Leo speaks of Jesus Christ.  The brightest of the 95 stars is called Regulus, which means treading underfoot.  The next star in the tip of the tail is named Denebola, the Judge or Lord who cometh. The star in the mane is called Al Giebha (Arabic), the exaltation. The star on the hinder (part of the back) is called Zosma, shining forth.  -Bullinger, The Witness of the stars.

Jesus said;
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”  Revelation 22:12

Regulus

A time for war

St Matthews Monastery Iraq

Mar Mattai (St Matthews) Monastery Iraq

This week a priest visited the churches in my small community, along with the elders of the Assyrian Church of NZ.  His name was Father Fadi.  He needed an interpreter as he did not speak English, he spoke Aramaic – the language of Jesus.  He was dressed in a black hassock with a black and silver skufia (soft cloth cap).  Why was he so far away from his homeland? 

Father Fadi was forced to leave Iraq.  His wife and children are still there.

I had never before seen a member of the persecuted church, and we all listened to him very carefully.  He carried the hurt of his people.

Realising we were in the presence of an ancient church, one that had been persecuted for centuries, a reverential hush came over us.

mahurangi2

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at Matakana coming home

It reminded me of the hush I witnessed when a church was moved on a barge from Snells Beach back to Matakana, it’s original community.  The waiting crowd had gone silent when the little church appeared around the final bend of the Matakana river.

This is also a church on the move, but there is no home for it.  Mosul (Ninevah) is a Christian area, always has been.  Father Fadi said things got progressively worse for them in Iraq after Sadam Hussein was deposed, especially since 2010.  He said that every day his heart had pain.

There were over 100,000 Christians living on the plains of Ninevah.  Isis forced the people out.  They had to leave their homes overnight and and have nowhere to go.  Some of them are sheltering under highway underpasses and the temperature has got up to 50 degrees C.

Father Fadi said that he wanted us to know that there was a church in Iraq.  St Matthews was his monastery.  It was founded in the 3rd century.  Its 20kms from Mosul, ancient Ninevah.  Now there are only two elderly monks left at St Matthews who did not want to abandon the monastery.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10916613/Iraqs-beleaguered-Christians-make-final-stand-on-the-Mosul-frontline.html

Please pray for them.  What does God think of their plight?  Why has He been silent in the face of the slander, abuse and murder of His people?

For the past two weeks, I’ve been getting a verse from Amos;

The lion has roared—who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken—who can but prophesy? Amos 3:8.

I’ve been praying for a context.  Today He told me the Lord is a God who avenges, and one of His names is “The avenger of blood.”

We’re not used to that concept.  All we know is a God who has taught us forgiveness 70 x 7.  We know the Lamb, not the Lion.

It’s time for the church to rise up and pray.  There is a time for peace, and a time for war.  The church couldn’t stand by and turn the other cheek while Hitler was rampaging through Europe and North Africa.  In that time, God raised up intercessors like Rees Howells.  We need to intercede like that again.

What can we pray?

It can be hard to pray about the enemy.  I mean, I’d love to ask God to slaughter the Jihadists and leave their dead bodies strewn across the desert.  It would be justice, but then I’d be praying for them to go to hell.  A better prayer would be for God to thwart them, or make Himself known to them in dreams.  If you don’t know what to pray, pray the word.  Psalms are good for this purpose.  God delights in us addressing Him using His word, and it never returns void.  The devil can’t stop prayer from the word.  I used this I used the world from Psalm 94 to pray for His persecuted people;

Assyrian Christian Fr Adda

Assyrian Christian Father Adda prays at St. Matthew monastery on Mount Maqloub, northeast of Mosul in Northern Iraq, Jan 12 2004

O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, Lord will the wicked, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words;
They crush your people,they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
The wicked band together against the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
Lord let the enemy know you do see,
Let the enemy see you are taking notice.
Let them see the futility of their arrogant words and empty boasts,
That they may come to fear you.
Lord protect the widow, the foreigner, the fatherless.
Become the fortress of your persecuted people,
the rock in whom they can take refuge.  Amen.

There’s a lot more to the Psalm than I’ve prayed here.  I recommend you read the whole Psalm.  I will write more about the Lion of God in the next post.

Links

Beleaguered Chritians make final stand on the Mosul frontline