Messianic Prophecy In The Pentateuch (Six)

It is written:

“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 49:10)

This prophecy was understood by the Rabbis to be Messianic in nature.

“Gen. xlix. 10 [The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him [shall be] the obedience of the peoples]. This well-known prediction (on which see the full and interesting discussion in Raym. Martini, Pugio Fidei) is in Yalkut, u. s., applied to the Messiah, with a quotation of Ps. ii. 9 [You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware]. This expression ‘Shiloh’ is also applied to the Messiah, with the curious addition, that in the latter days all nations would bring gifts to Him. Alike the Targum Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, and the Jerusalem Targum, as well as Sanh. 98 b, the Midrash on the passage, and that on Prov. xix. 21, and on Lam. i. 16, where it is rendered shelo, ‘whose it is,’ refer the expression ‘Shiloh,’ and, indeed, the whole passage, to the Messiah; the Midrash Ber. R. (99, ed. Warsh. p. 178 b) with special reference to Is. xi. 10.” (Alfred Edersheim-Edited by Robert C. Newman, Messianic Passages in the Old Testament as Cited in Rabbinic Literature, 210 (Kindle Edition); Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute www.ibri.org)

Notice three things in particular about this prophecy.

First, the prophecy is about “Shiloh,” which was a designation that literally meant “Peacemaker.” One of the titles of the Messiah is Peacemaker, and this makes perfect sense, because the primary mission of the Messiah is to make peace between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5), and between humans (Isaiah 2:1-4).

Second, we are specifically told that the Messiah would be descended from the tribe of Judah in this passage. Indeed, it is evident that our Lord sprang up from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning the priesthood (Hebrews 7:14).

Third, the passage teaches that the Messiah would come before the “scepter” departed from Judah. The word “scepter” had special reference to the right of a people to carry out the death penalty. During their various captivities, the Hebrews retrained the right of capital punishment-until the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans took the capital punishment of the Hebrews away in the first century A.D. Look at what we are told:

“In effect, Rome had taken away the authority of the Sanhedrin to issue or carry out a death sentence. All of this was important because the Sanhedrin no longer had the right of adjudication for capital crimes, and they interpreted losing this right as “the scepter departs.”  So the priests did something very interesting. The Babylonian Talmud records this: they put on sackcloth and ashes, officially mourned, and marched around the city saying, “Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come!”36 They actually believed that the Word of God had been broken, or failed, and they mourned that fact. They were unaware that while they were mourning, there was a young boy in a carpenter’s shop in Nazareth learning a trade from his earthly father, Joseph. That young man would present Himself as the Messiah the King on the very day that had been predicted by the Angel Gabriel five centuries earlier (Daniel 9:25ff). So Messiah had come.37″. (Dr. Chuck Missler, The Christmas Story: What Really Happened, 856-883 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia Institute)

The prophecy was fulfilled, just as God deemed.

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