A Messianic Prophecy
“The sceptre 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.” (Genesis 49:10)
All the way through the Old Testament we see references to the Lord Jesus the Messiah. This passage of scripture is seen in a Messianic context by both Christian and Jewish theologians. Of course the Orthodox rabbis would interpret it differently than the Christian theologians in that the Jews are still waiting for their Messiah to come, having already rejected the Lord Jesu as their Messiah who has already come. This text has two applications.
1. This prophecy about the Lord Jesus’ the Messiah and His relationship with His people applies to Israel
In His first coming the Lord Jesus called the people of Israel to come back to God because the nation as a whole and turned away from the LORD and was spiritually bankrupt. There were a few who were ready for His first coming but by enlarge they were not ready for Him. They had a kingdom dominion mentality. They saw their Messiah as a conquering king who would come back to get rid of the Romans. He would be one in the character of King David. The problem was that in the Old Testament the Messiah was revealed not only as a conquering King in the character of King David but also a suffering servant in the character of Joseph.
Israel missed it
Today in Israel the thinking of the Orthodox Jewish rabbis is to see the Messiah as coming to deliver them from their enemies as King David had done centuries ago. What they have missed today, as they did in the time of the Lord Jesus, is that the real reason the Lord Jesus the Messiah came the first time was to save His people from their sins and to bring about their obedience to God through accepting Him as their Lord and Saviour and Messiah and not to save them from the Roman occupation. In these last days it is going to take the Time of Jacob’s Trouble to bring Israel as a nation back to the suffering servant who bled and died as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of Israel and for the whole world. Until they have a revelation of the suffering servant and embrace Him as such they cannot be spiritually prepared for His Second Coming in which He will deliver them from all of their enemies and from the hands of all who hate them.
All Israel will be saved
According to the prophet Isaiah and the apostle Paul there will be a remnant saved in the end that will have the obedience to God and Torah that comes through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. In that day the obedience of the people will be to Him as their Saviour, Lord, Messiah and Law-Giver. In that day His sceptre will be waved over His people Israel as a sign of their acceptance. (Isaiah 10:22) (Romans 9:27) In that day Israel will be the head and not the tail and the Mountain of the LORD’s House lifted higher above all of the other mountains (kingdoms) (Isaiah 2:1-3) in that day “All Israel will be saved! Then we have the second application…
2. This prophecy about the Lord Jesus the Messiah and His relationahip with His people applies to the Church
In the New Testament as in the Old Testament the word for “faith” not only means belief but also means obedience. It is “the Obedience of faith” or “the faith that results in obedience.” (Romans 1:5; 16:26) The apostle James put it this way; “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26) If you look at the full text (James 2:14-26) you will see that he mentions two people. He mentions Abraham and Rahab who had a faith that resulted in obedience. They not only were hearers of the Word but obeyed what they heard. They were doers of the Word, not hearers only. (James 1:22) This is the kind of faith that saves the ‘sinner’ and sanctifies the saint. Any other kind of faith will not save the soul or sanctify it. In our text in Genesis we read where it says; “And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples .” The Lord Jesus Himself said; “He who believes (who is believing) in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey (is not obeying) the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36 NASB) In this text in the Greek language believing and obeying are in the present continuous sense.
Will He find faithfulness on His return?
In these last days the Lord Jesus is looking for a people who will be obedient and doers of the Word of God, not pew sitters and church attenders. When the Lord Jesus came the first time many attended the synagogues and participated in worship services but were not ready for His first Coming. Only a remnant was ready. It will be the same again just before the Lord Jesus comes back. Many will be pew sitting and Church attending but not ready or prepared for His Second Coming. It was after He had related the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge the Lord Jesus said; “When the Son of Man comes back will He find faith (faithfulness) on earth.” The reason He told this parable was that “men ought to pray and not faint or give up.” His emphasis was on faithfulness and persistence.
“As a light shining in a dark place”
I am fully persuaded that we are living in the very last days and that what the Lord Jesus is looking for in those who profess His name is a faith that obeys His Word first and foremost before anything else. Added to this He wants His people to have a basic understanding of the times in which they are living today. As the apostle Peter writes that “prophecy of scripture is as a light shining in a dark place.” The world is a dark place, and getting progressively darker by the hour, and only those who have a basic understanding of Biblical prophecy will not be overwhelmed by the encroaching spiritual darkness. Understanding the times will give them the desire to seek the LORD and to obey His Word. The Lord Jesus is gathering to Himself a faithful remnant, who are clinging to Him and seeking to serve and obey Him. As the Law Giver He is holding out the golden sceptre of His love and acceptance to those who are walking in obedience to Him and to His Word.
He is the Living Word of God
The Bible is the Lord Jesus published in print form. He always has been and still is the Living Word of God who was made flesh and tabernacled among us. (John 1:1-2, 14) It is all about Him and it is His Word to men, all of it from cover to cover! If we claim to believe in Him then we will be obeying his Word. As He Himself said; “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” The day is rapidly approaching when a division is coming within Christendom (Institutionalised denominationalism) between those who accept and obey the Word of God and those who don’t and compromise on it. This division will also be over the nation of Israel. Ministers and theologians are not called to change or alter the Word of God or to preach only what makes people feel good or what is convenient but to preach the whole counsel of God. The apostle Paul said; “We must not go beyond what is written.” One glaring trademark of most of the Mega Churches today is that they rarely if not at all teach on Biblical eschatology. It’s all kingdom Now, hype, covetousness and having it good in this world if the truth be known.
The weightier matters
Sadly, many so called evangelical churches are going in for seeker friendly theology and ignoring the weightier matters of the law such as holiness, judgement, the last days and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus to judge the living and the dead. Today there is less interest in the Second Coming of the Messiah than there was 30-40 years ago and His coming is much closer now than it was back then. May all of us seek more earnestly and diligently to be doers of the Word and not hearers only and to anticipate and be ready for His Second Coming. In His Millennial Kingdom His obedient people, all the faithful saints from all the ages, will co-reign with Him from Jerusalem. Only when we trust and obey Him in the power of the Holy Spirit will we be found among those of whom it is written; “And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples”