"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."
"The lion shall lie down with the lamb."
Which of the above sayings is from the Bible? The second one? Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure?
Truth is, neither one is in the Bible, although the second saying comes close. Actually, the Bible says, "The wolf will live with the lamb" (Isaiah 11:6). Surprised? Now what are you going to do with that painting of the lion and the lamb that you have in the family room?
Seriously, a painting of a lion lying down with a lamb is not a big issue. However, there IS a lion and a lamb in the Bible that we should be concerned about. And yes, IS is correct, because the Lion and Lamb are one Person.
March is said to come in like a lion because of the stormy weather that signals the end of winter. It goes out like a lamb, with a warmer, gentler atmosphere. Conversely, the King of the weather came in like a lamb, and will return as a lion.
In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices to atone for the people's sins. The most common sacrificial animal was the harmless, innocent lamb. The penitent sinner's offering was slain, and its blood was sprinkled on the altar to cover the worshiper's sins. This could not be just any lambit had to be the best, without any blemishes or imperfections. The best known of the sacrificial lambs was the Passover lamb, which Moses commanded for the protection of the Israelites when the death angel passed through Egypt to take the firstborn of each household. The blood was splashed around the door so the death angel would see it and pass over the house.
After the Jews spent hundreds of years of offering thousands of lambs, One Who was the Lamb of God came on the scene. When Jesus Christ began his ministry, John the Baptist proclaimed, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Jesus came to be the sacrifice for the sins of the penitent sinner, just as in the Old Testament. The difference is that he died once to take away our sins! "Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day . . . He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself" (Hebrews 7:27). But it didn't end there.
Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He will return bodily, but not as a lamb. He came in like a lamb, but will return like a lion.
Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). The lion is the king of beasts, feared by man and beast alike. Proverbs warns: "A king's wrath is like the roar of a lion; he who angers him forfeits his life" (20:2). But there is also comfort: "A king's rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass" (19:12).
When Christ returns, it will not be to forgive sin, but to judge those who forfeited their chance to accept the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on their behalf. The warm, gentle forbearance of God will end, and stormy wrath is forecast for the sinner. For the believer, his coming will be salvation: "(S)o Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:28). For the lost, there will be punishment:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory . . . (a)ll the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25:31-33, 46).
In nature, the lion devours the sheep. In Christ, the Lion delivers the sheep. Kneel before the Lamb of God today, and you won't have to cower before the Lion of the tribe of Judah tomorrow!
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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