Courageous like the Lion Among Nations
NOT without good reason is the lion frequently used as a symbol in the Scriptures. He is a most powerful animal, well termed the king of beasts by reason of his regal demeanor. Among the things various authorities have related about him are these: He has no enemies (and so has none to fear), is friendly and sociable, moving in prides rather than by two’s or in herds; he kills only for food and not for pleasure, one or two kills a month usually satisfying him; he is not inclined to fight over spoils with fellow lions, and at times will even lie back to back with antelopes or other like creatures.
Jacob, in prophesying about his fourth son Judah, likened him to a lion. (Gen. 49:9) Jesus Christ, the most illustrious of Judah’s descendants, is referred to as “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah.” (Rev. 5:5) The righteous are said to be “like a young lion that is confident.” (Prov. 28:1) Most fittingly, therefore, Jehovah’s people on earth are repeatedly likened to the lion in one respect or another.
In both the prophecies of Joel and Revelation God’s people are represented as locusts that have the teeth of lions. (Joel 1:6; Rev. 9:8) Of particular interest to God’s ministers at this time is the prophecy at Micah 5:8,a on which their service theme for the month of March is based: “The remaining ones of Jacob [Israel] must become among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of a forest, like a maned young lion among droves of sheep, which, when it actually passes through, certainly both tramples down and tears in pieces; and there is no deliverer.”
In view of the lion’s fearlessness and courage he is indeed a fitting symbol of God’s servants. Their king, Jesus Christ, certainly had courage while on earth. Nor is there any question about the fact that since 1919 the remaining ones of Christ’s anointed followers have been like a lion among nations. They have fearlessly obeyed Jehovah’s command through Christ to preach this good news of his established kingdom in all the earth as a witness to all nations.
Divine prophecy indicates that this group of anointed Christians, together with their companions, the great crowd of “other sheep,” will continue to display courage like the lion among the nations. But what about each individual reading these lines? Will you manifest like courage? The nations are opposed to God’s kingdom and to all those who preach it. It takes courage to stand for one’s convictions, especially when they are as unpopular as are those of Jehovah’s servants.
To have this courage you will need to study God’s Word and take its admonition to heart. More than that, you will need to associate at the congregational meetings with others who are striving to cultivate this same degree of courage. That of itself takes courage—to associate openly with a group of people that are often contemptuously referred to as a sect, a cult or a “bunch of fanatics.” But your very associating with them will strengthen your faith and courage. Then it will take still more courage to share in making known to others the things you have learned. Of course, help will be extended to you, but you will have to put forth the effort to learn and to grow in courage.
Throughout the world opposition to Jehovah God and his kingdom is increasing as nationalism gets ever stronger. As foretold, in the near future Gog of Magog will make an all-out attack upon those who serve Jehovah and announce his kingdom. (Ezek. 38:1–39:4) To face this ferocious foe with all his many maneuvers and his great numbers and to do so fearlessly, God’s people will need courage as they never needed it before. No fainthearted ones will survive then; only those who are courageous will. What great need there is to grow strong in courage now so that one will be able to stand then!
Shortly God’s people will enter into the great day of Jehovah known as Armageddon. It will prove to be a fear-inspiring day, because Jehovah’s judgments will be directed against his foes. But all those on Jehovah’s side at that time ‘will be lifting their hand high above their adversaries, and all their enemies will be cut off.’—Mic. 5:9.
Victory awaits and beckons God’s people onward in the preaching of his kingdom under the leadership of the courageous “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” Sharing that victory will mean for them everlasting life in God’s new world, a reward for their having been courageous like the lion among nations.
a For details see The Watchtower, January 15, 1962.