5:5-7 THE LION, THE ROOT AND THE LAMB
“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.’ And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne” (Revelation 5:5-7). Here is introduced the real hero of the story. Jesus is depicted with three different symbols, each of which emphasizes a different aspect of His identity.
Jesus is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah.” This phrase refers to Genesis 49, where Jacob blessed Judah and his brothers, the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. “Judah is a lion’s whelp…he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:9,10). Here the fearless strength of the Lion, which conquers every foe, is used to symbolize the tribe God chose to rule His people—“The scepter shall not depart from Judah.” This verse also foretells the coming of “Shiloh” (Christ), who was of the tribe of Judah. He is the one to whom “shall be the obedience of the people.” The day will come when every person who has ever lived will “stand before the judgment seat of Christ” and even His enemies will acknowledge His right to rule—“Every knee shall bow to Me and every Tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:10,11). As the mighty victor who conquers all His enemies Jesus is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and this gives Him the right to open the sealed Book of Life.
He also has the authority to open the book because He is “the Root of David.” The Jews, in expectation of the Messiah, repeatedly called Jesus “the Son of David.” Jesus is the Son of David according to His human genealogy (Matthew 1:1) but He is much more; in Revelation 22:16 Jesus says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David.” As the Root of David, Jesus is the very foundation of the throne that David sat on. David’s right to rule was not because of his tribe or family, but rather “the Lord has sought for a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people” (1 Samuel 13:14). Jesus was the true man after God’s own heart. He fully took upon himself human nature, identifying with the human race—“In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest.” “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same” (Hebrews 2:17,14). Jesus did not come with the nature of an angel or as some kind of superhuman who could neither provide us an example nor be our substitute. He came as the “Root of David,” the man after God’s own heart, with our very nature but without sin. As the "New Adam," the perfect man, Jesus has the right to open the Book of Life.
But if He was only a lion, with infinite power, it would not be enough. Power alone cannot answer the accusations of Satan against those whose names are written in the Book of Life. If He was only the Root of David, the perfect man after God’s own heart, it would not be enough. Perfect identity with humanity only goes so far—He can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because He has experienced our nature, but He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15) and here is where the identity ends. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and as sinners we are all subject to “the wages of sin…death” (Romans 6:23). Because all of humanity is condemned to die, when Jesus actually takes the scroll, it is as “a Lamb that was slain.”
 The Hebrew word Shiloh means peace, but in this passage it is used as a name (the peaceful one) which correlates well with Christ’s title, “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9: 6).