Revelation 5:5—Will Jesus come again as a lion or a lamb?

Problem: In this prophecy, Jesus is depicted as a Lion, the king of beasts. This fits with the fact that He will come as King to reign over all the earth (Rev. 19–20). However, the main symbol of Christ in the Book of Revelation is the Lamb, mentioned some 27 times.

Solution: It is clear that both figures of speech are appropriate to Christ’s second coming. John even speaks of the “wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16). While at His first coming Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), nonetheless, He will return as a wrathful Lamb. Why? Because He who died for the sins of the world has the right to execute judgment on those who reject His death for their sins. The only safe place to flee in the judgment is where God’s judgment already fell—on the Cross. Those who do not take refuge in the Lamb who took the wrath of God for them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21) will experience the wrath of the Lamb on them. The figure of a lamb, then, is an appropriate symbol of the love of a just God who is executing His judgment on those who reject Him.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.