ENOUGH Christian Warrior Porn: It’s Time to Take the Lamb Back

I am so weary of this long-time trend in Christian mythology, especially in regards to “the end times”, in which the imagery of Christ the Lamb (compassionate, peaceful, subversive pacifism) is constantly and nearly completely usurped by the imagery of the Lion (violence, coercion and war).

The main source of both of these images is the Book of Revelation. The Lion of Judah is introduced first, revealed to John (the writer) once he is called up to Heaven by the Voice of Jesus. Just before the Lion of Judah is shown to John he witnesses the horrible truth that no one on Earth or in Heaven is worthy to open God’s scroll of seven seals (seven, by the way, is the number of  perfection, so it’s a hint that God’s plan is perfect):

Revelation 5

1.      Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals;
2.      and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
3.      And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it.
4.      And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
5.      Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The Lion of Judah has conquered. He alone can open the scroll. How exciting, and what a regal and noble figure, too! Let’s watch him open it:

Revelation 5jesus_lamb

6.      Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7.      He (the lamb) went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne.

I’m sorry… who? Who was worthy to take the sealed scroll from the right hand of God? I thought the Lion of Judah was going to open it… a lamb? Where did the lamb come from?

That’s it. That’s the only passage that references a lion in relation to Christ. From this point on, the Lamb is referenced, but never the lion again. But if you are to base your belief off of all the popular Christian art out there (and even CS Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia), the collective imagination of modern Christianity affirms one apocalyptic vision: Christ the conquering Lion of Judah. These Christians seems unconcerned with John the Revelator’s insistence on the nature of Lion is The Lamb who was slain.

In addition, so much can be inferred from the Revelator’s seemingly nightmarish description of the lamb:

  • … as if it had been slaughtered,
  • … having seven horns
  • … and seven eyes
  • … which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

… and the result?

Ummmmm... no.

Ummmmm… no.

… Jeez, for the love of God… really? Once again the collective Christian imagination has opted for the violent and weirdly monstrous interpretation.

Let’s try to look at John’s description of the lamb in a much different way, one that doesn’t perpetuate this sick obsession with death and violence:

  • standing as if it had been slaughtered = This is symbolic of Christ’s compassionate sacrifice, his apparent death and real victory over it. The lamb is standing, not dead but risen.
  • … having seven horns = This is reminiscent of a crown, symbolic of Christ’s reign over the powers and authorities. The number seven is the number of perfection.
  • … and seven eyes = Eyes are symbolic of insight, omnipotence and God. Again the number seven.
  • ... which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. = This could be a reference to Isaiah 11:2 “”And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of 1) wisdom and 2)understanding, the spirit of 3) counsel and 4) might, the spirit of 5) knowledge and of the 6) fear of the LORD.”
  • Lamb possesses inherent qualities of perfection represented symbolically in sevens, which together are present in trinity (or 3) the numerological equivalent of the divine.
  • 3 x 7 is 21 = The lamb is the fullest incarnation of God’s perfect will, passion, and love.

To me, this is affirming, hope-filled, and inspiring imagery and symbolism. Why Christianity in general likes to ignore the Lamb of The Book of Revelation and focus more on the Lion, I have no idea. But I know it is symptomatic: it is an outward sign of the cynical and dangerous reality that exists within many branches of the American church.

Christianity has become a God sanctified warrior cult, convinced that holy wars are righteous wars, and that they are justified before God because of how they read The Book of Revelation. And this kind of crap, the obsession with the masculine War-Lion and the weird demonification of the Lamb, it has to stop. We are losing our way as Christians, and hands that should be holding others in need because of the love, gratitude and compassion in our hearts, have become bloody and violent because of the “holy-warrior-porn” that so many in the church give credence to.

I’ve given my case, now it’s your turn:

Why do you think this imagery of the Lamb is so overlooked? Or am I wrong and the Lion of Judah should be the focus of Jesus’ apocalyptic identity? Please leave a comment below.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. I believe I need to ENCOUNTER the Lamb that was slain for ME so I will truly be changed to see Him as He truly is. Then we will find the Lamb that is introduced as the Lion of Judah.

  2. First things first, it is the book of Revelation, not Revelations. Other than that I think you make some good points.

  3. I agree that the Lamb in Revelation is much more dominate a theme than the lion. In my circles I don’t really see the warrior Jesus being thrown around as much as you do. My church is definitely more focussed on Christ as our sacrifice rather than our warrior defeating our enemies. As Paul said, “Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:22-23).

    But in regard to Revelations, you can’t escape the first and most vividly described image of Jesus in Rev 1:13-18
    “…among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.'”

    That’s pretty awesome stuff!

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  1. […] In fact, I’ve been sick of it for a while: ENOUGH Christian Warrior Porn: It’s Time to Take the Lamb Back (Part 1). […]

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