The Lion Roared for Christmas…
On a Saturday afternoon in December, Mari Anne and I bundled up to join our daughter Karin Marie, her husband Roger, and our grandson Bram Alexander for an early evening visit to Brookfield Zoo. They had their “Holiday Magic” going on at that time, the main feature being thousands upon thousands of lights covering almost every single tree and bush in the place. Add the Christmas songs, carols, and music to this setting with a somewhat cold evening, and you get the setting for the delightful sensations that “it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.”
As we where strolling from one exhibit to another enjoying the sights and sounds, our 21-month-old grandson, Bram Alexander, expressed his unending enthusiasm with facial expressions of joy and wonder and with words like “Lights, Lights, Lights!” and “Snowman! Snowman! Snowman!” It was just delightful to experience the freshness of Christmas again through our grandson’s eyes; he was really helping put the joy back into the holiday.
When we arrived at the lion showcase, both the male and female were positioned by the thick viewing glass, and people of all ages crowded as close to the large window as possible, to see the male lion pacing back and forth. This brought the audience literally face-to-face with the king of the jungle.
After a few minutes of viewing the big manned animal, he turned and walked away from the glass area, taking a few steps into the open exhibit area. As the lion moved, so we, and most of the crowd, also moved into the lion’s direct line of sight, in order to continue delighting ourselves with this magnificent animal. Bram was crying “Lion! Lion! Lion!” with a special gleam in his eye.
Then something most powerful and surprising happened… the male lion started to roar. It roared so loud and so strong it immediately silenced all the children’s pleas, and it stopped all adult conversations in the crowd.
The roar commanded the complete attention from everyone present. The first groupings of mighty pulsating roars had the effect of some sort of stun gun, which froze each of us in complete awe of its power. I had no idea before that night that a lion’s roar is not just something you hear, but it is something you feel in your whole body. The roar’s penetrating vibrations shake every cell in you, stunning you, stopping you in your tracks, instantaneously calling you to full attention. There is no choice involved; it is a totally automatic, physical and emotional response.
So when the lion took a very short break after its first roaring, there was complete silence —not a single soul was saying anything, only some faint Christmas music was playing in the background. The sound of the lion’s roar was not a sound that anyone of us was familiar with; this was not something we had either heard or felt before. None of us were sure what we were feeling or what we should be feeling.
When the second groupings of mighty, pulsating roars started, all the younger children displayed what they felt, as they all immediately, and in unison, started crying in terror and needing their parents to reassure them that they would be OK.
I guess this was exactly what each adult had done internally within himself or herself already — reassuring themselves that they where safe, that the lion could not get to them, and that no fight or flight reaction was needed.
After this roaring encounter, I overheard people talking about how awesome of an experience this was for them, how it had given some of them chills running down their spines, how some had their hair stand on end, and one young man said he would put it on his bucket list to experience a wild lion’s roar in Africa.
For me personally, it impacted me deeply. It opened up a greater understanding and appreciation for my 2014 Christmas celebration of the Incarnation and of Jesus as the Lion of Judah This experience also moved my spirit prophetically as it relates to 2015. So what follows here is what I see Scripture teaching and what I sense that the Holy Spirit is saying to us regarding this New Year, 2015.
What Is the Holy Spirit Wanting to Show Us for 2015?
In the Scriptures, the Lion symbolizes qualities like kingship, royalty, courage, boldness, bravery, fierceness, valiance, and violence. It may be used to characterize both good persons and evil persons. The Lion also expresses types like kings, princes, oppressors, wicked rulers, prophets, devourers, hunters, believers, and nations. The dangerous, prowling, hunter qualities of a lion are attributed to the Devil. Lastly, Jesus is named the Lion of Judah. Jesus is not just a type of a lion or attributed just with its qualities, but HE IS The Lion of Judah, with all its qualities and attributes. It is here that lions are the ones expressing or reflecting in some finite way qualities of their infinite Creator In the Scriptures, the Lion symbolizes qualities like kingship, royalty, courage, boldness, bravery, fierceness, valiance, and violence. It may be used to characterize both good persons and evil persons. The Lion also expresses types like kings, princes, oppressors, wicked rulers, prophets, devourers, hunters, believers, and nations. The dangerous, prowling, hunter qualities of a lion are attributed to the Devil. Lastly, Jesus is named the Lion of Judah. Jesus is not just a type of a lion or attributed just with its qualities, but HE IS The Lion of Judah, with all its qualities and attributes. It is here that lions are the ones expressing or reflecting in some finite way qualities of their infinite Creator.
When we then add the word ROAR to describe what lions sometimes do to show their power, a very strong descriptive dimension of how lions exercise their reign as kings of the jungle or bush is revealed. Like I wrote above in my own Christmas experience, “the roar commanded the complete attention from everyone present. The first groupings of mighty pulsating roars had the effect of some sort of stun gun, which froze each of us in complete awe of its power. I had no idea before that night that a lion’s roar is not just something you hear, but it is something you feel in your whole body. The roar’s penetrating vibrations shake every cell in you, stunning you, stopping you in your tracks, instantaneously calling you to full attention. There is no choice involved; it is a totally automatic, physical, and emotional response.”
In response to the sense that the Holy Spirit said to me that 2015 will be a year of Roaring Lions, I have asked Him to give me as much insight and understanding as possible into what this entails. As I have been reading about why lions roar, and studying how scripture uses lions and the expression of a lion’s roar, I have been requesting discernment and revelation as to know how it might be applied and responded to by me, and by you, should you discern that this is a word from God. Is this a word of encouragement? Is it a word of warning, affirmation, judgment or something else? Or does this word include some of everything?
TO LISTEN TO A LION’S ROAR ‐
The way I have decided to communicate what I believe The Holy Spirit is saying is by first answering the question, Why Do Lions Roar?, with nine unique answers. After each answer I am writing what I sense the Holy Spirit is saying as it relates to each answer. I then wrap it all up and add a concluding remark at the end.
Why Do Lions Roar?
1. A LION ROARS TO establish his presence.
A lion’s loud, strong roar declares a statement for all the bush inhabitants: “I am the King of the jungle, I am here! I am present, and I am aware of all that is going on, so be aware!” They most often roar at night; the sound, which can be heard from a distance of 5 miles by human ears, is used to advertise the animal’s presence and to ward off any potential intruders.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar to establish His presence. Our Lord Jesus Christ will be roaring this year to create a fresh awareness of His tangible and very real authority as the King of Kings in the Kingdom of Heaven that is present within each one of His followers. Since we are carriers and promoters of His advancing Kingdom, He is roaring over you. “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 14:17
2. A LION ROARS TO declare ownership of their territory.
Roars are used by lions to claim their territory. For example, the males may go off patrolling their territory by roaring and renewing their scent marks; they may be away from the females for days or even weeks. It is also surprising to know that lions roar only if they are in their own territory.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar to declare ownership of His territory. This year we will come face-to-face with the roaring Lion of Judah, as He is confronting each of us with some mighty frightening roars. These will not just be heard but its vibrations will be felt as it shakes all the things that can be shaken in our individual and corporate lives. Jesus said: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46 This year He is coming to claim ownership of his bride; He is coming to mark His territory and to claim all of us as His own.
3. A LION ROARS TO keep in touch with the pride.
A group of lions is called a pride. Lions will roar to stay in contact with each other, and to relocate each other when they want to meet up again. This is the way they communicate with one another, though they are away from one another by about twenty square miles or so; they locate each pride or reconnect with pride members by roaring.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar to stay in touch with His pride. The Lord’s Roars are to let you know that He is aware of everything everywhere, and that it is and always has been in His heart to stay in touch with you. Maybe you have felt that the Lord has roamed away from your immediate presence, but His roars are to let you know that He has not abandoned you. “He has said: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Heb. 13:5-6 “No one will be able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:29
“They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west.” – Hosea 11:10 Hosea 11:10
4. LIONS ROAR TO rally one another if they are under threat.
The roar of any lion in the pride can be a call to arms, for each one to come together to fight off an unwanted intruder or threat.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar to rally His troops. There will be times when the Lord’s roars will be a summons to engage in intersession and spiritual warfare this year. We are called to unity, to take care of each other, and to love each other as He has loved us, to cry with those who cry, to laugh with those who laugh, and to be our brother’s keeper. May we discern and then respond when His roars are to rally us together.
“”The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. – Joel 3:16
5. A LION ROARS TO give warnings.
They are very active at nighttime. When the lions want to advertise their presence to would-be intruders, “they roar with a sound that is frightening to people and prey because it has this rough and raw quality.” “Lions are deemed the kings of the beasts, partly because of their roars. Imagine if they sang beautiful tunes and they were very low-frequency tunes. Who’s going to be afraid of that?”
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar mostly at nighttime. There is a place for a healthy fear of God, and the true strong roars of the Lord will induce a beneficial fear of God in our hearts. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Prov. 2:5 and Eph. 5:21 says that we should “submit to one another in the fear of God.” C.S. Lewis writes about the Lion savior called Aslan in the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he (Aslan) isn’t safe. But he’s (Aslan) good. He’s (Aslan) the King, I tell you.”
Let us not get stuck in an attitude of complaisance where we become spiritually lazy, forgetting that even though we are saved by grace, all of us will, in fact, be held accountable for how we have lived our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. The New Testament teaches us to be sober about this truth and, therefore, cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor. 7:1 & 1 Cor. 3:10-15
6. EACH LION has its own distinctive roar.
Lions have the loudest roar of all the big cats. A lion’s roar can reach 114 decibels to someone standing a few feet away, which “is about 25 times as loud as a gas lawn mower.” And roars aren’t delivered one at a time; instead, lions roar about 50 times in 90-second bouts. A powerful roar can reach the human ear from up to 5 miles, and farther for lions, which have better hearing. And they can even distinguish between each other and whose roar they are listening to, just like we humans can distinguish each other’s unique voices.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar His own distinctive roar. Jesus said in John 10 that His sheep hear his voice, recognize His voice, and follow His voice. I believe that in the same way we need to be able to distinguish what roars are those from The Lion of Judah versus those that are from counterfeit voices.
7. A LION ROARS TO reassure the pride.
The roar of the lead male lions will drive away the fear of the group members, indicating that the king lion is protecting them in their own territory. The roar of the lead male lion also declares to the group members that they are safe from any intruders, as he is willing to fight for them.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar to reassure His “Pride.” The Lord’s roar is meant to reassure and comfort us this year: that He is the ultimate King; that He is in charge of our lives; that He is the Almighty Good God that loves us, cares for us, and protects us; and that He can be trusted. He was ready to fight to the death for us, withholding nothing good from us, and He is still on our side fighting for us.
8. A LION PRIDE often roars together.
The pride’s males will begin the roaring ‘song,’ but not in synchronism. It’s hard to describe this sound, but there is nothing else like it! All members of the pride will roar together to warn others that that particular territory is taken and occupied. If this warning is ignored by intruding males seeking to take over the pride, the resident males will roar as a token that they will fight to defend their patch if need be. Often, this is enough to send rivals packing, avoiding a fight that could leave all parties injured.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Lion of Judah will roar together with His Pride. Jesus as the Lion of Judah already did fight the good fight unto death for His “Pride” (Bride). Since He has won the victory, He is now calling each one of His disciples to roar together with Him in this roaring song of worship and praise, appropriating His finished work. This is also His teaching us to lay claim to our territory, to the “Promised Land” that He has given each of us to possess. This roaring together with our Lion King is also about us confessing and declaring out loud in agreement with Him the truth of His word and promises. I see this as a call to new boldness, for us to turn up the volume in our personal devotional confessions, and to declare the Gospel to others with new courage. Romans 10:9-10
9. LIONS DO NOT roar to frighten their prey.
To roar to frighten their prey would be counter-productive, because lions are ambush predators. That is, they hunt by creeping up on their prey and taking it by surprise. Roaring at it would merely serve to alert it to their presence and make a kill much less likely.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SAYING, in 2015 the Devil will roar like a lion.
Note that the Devil is NOT a lion but rather he is only LIKE a lion. He is a fraud pretending to be something he is not. The enemy of our souls is scheming and posturing to threaten us individually and corporately with his roars. He is roaring like a lion, to make his presence known in a territory, to intimidate and frighten those in his vicinity in an attempt to rule in areas where he has gained a foothold with his lies. He is roaring like a lion to stay in touch with his intimidated slaves to keep them in deception and captivity, seeking to devour them all. There will also be roars from his deceived followers in 2015, aiming to intimidate, confuse, and deceive the children of God, keeping them from boldly following the true Lion of Judah. The Devil is hoping to keep them from finding their own roar.
WRAP UP. We will all come face-to-face with roaring lions in 2015.
You will come face-to-face with the true Lion of Judah and His messengers, who will confront you in truth and love, to wake you up. He will contend with you to become more whole-hearted and return to your first love. The Lion from Heaven is alerting His “pride” (Bride) to move into a new, serious place of passionate intimacy with Him as the Bridegroom God. The vibrations from His roar will shake you up, make you nervous, and it will make you question yourself and your discernment, but let His Word hold you and His Holy Spirit enfold you, affirming who is who and what is what.
The Devil and his minions will also roar LIKE lions this year, and you will have to face him and his cohorts as well. They will come against you with their lies roaring as loudly and forcefully as they can, aiming to intimidate, confuse, and discourage you with shame. They want to fill you with fears that your needs will never be met, that you are worthless, and that you will never find your destiny or succeed to live it out. The Devil is the father of deception, so he will continue to sow seeds of doubts wherever he can, attempting to break your trust in a good God, make wrong seem right and discredit our God’s true character and matchless love. In the light of these intensifying challenges, you want to pay especial attention to 1 Peter 5:7-11 this year.
“Casting the whole of your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset ‐ rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the dominion (power, authority, rule) forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:7-11.
I hear this as a word of encouragement and affirmation for 2015, but it is also a word of warning, where the Holy Spirit in kindness is giving us a heads up, wanting to prepare us for what is coming.
Most of this word is a description of who Jesus Christ is as the Lion of Judah, His wonderful attributes and His dignity as our majestic King of King and Lord of Lords. That He is the soon coming deliverer who will return to set everything right.
“Then one of the elders said to me, Stop weeping! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won, He has overcome and conquered! He can open the scroll and break its seven seals!” – Revelations 5:5
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” – Revelations 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22
RESOURCES USED FOR MY STUDY ON LIONS: