Skip to main content

The Lion of Judah

"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."
(Genesis 49:10)


Lion of Judah

God declared that a seed would come and overcome the enmity of the curse of the fall. God chose Abraham and promised to make of him a great nation. God promised that the blessing upon Abraham would be a blessing upon all the families of earth. God miraculously provided Isaac to Abraham and Sarah to continue the lineage of promise.

Isaac grew up and took a wife at the age of forty. Isaac's wife Rebekah was barren. Isaac prayed for his wife, God opened her womb, and she conceived twins. The twins struggled together while in the womb and the LORD explained the struggle to Rebekah:
The LORD said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples will be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger."
(Genesis 25:23)
God sovereignly declared His choice saying the older will serve the younger. The younger twin, Jacob, would later come to be known as Israel. The tribes of the nation of Israel are named from the sons of Jacob.

The Promised Ruler of the Nations

Near the end of Jacob's life he blessed his sons. In blessing his sons, Jacob passed over his first three sons (Reuben, Simeon, and Levi) with the blessing to rule. That blessing would rest upon Judah.
"Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father's sons shall bow down to you." (Genesis 49:8)

Jacob prophesied that Judah's brothers would praise him and the descendants of Israel will bow down to him. Jacob continued,
"Judah is a lion's whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
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."
(Genesis 49:9-10)
Shadow of the King
The description of Judah's rule with the imagery of a young lion is vivid. Lions are majestic and powerful. This prophecy of Judah's rule is not temporary. Jacob prophesied that the scepter (the symbol of authority) would not depart from Judah. The next line is a euphemism relating to the coming descendants of Judah. The lineage of Judah is given authority over the nation of Israel and eventually all the nations.

The phrase, "Until Shiloh comes," is difficult to interpret. It is translated differently by many English versions. Although each of the four major interpretive options have merit, I believe it is best to take this phrase as rendered by the NET:
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs;
the nations will obey him. (Genesis 49:10, NET, underline added)
A promised seed has been declared from the beginning of Genesis. The blessing bestowed upon Judah is a blessing that will remain until he comes to whom it belongs and the nations will obey him. This is fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus. The fulfillment of this prophecy in the first book of the Bible is made explicit in the final book of Scripture.
and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals." (Revelation 5:5)

The Importance of the Virgin Birth

The promised King of the nations is Jesus of Nazareth. There are more prophecies of His reign to be fulfilled in the future at His return. While we wait for His second coming we should take note of how God perfectly fulfilled His promise through His Son. The genealogies recorded in Scripture firmly root these fulfilled promises in human history.

By paying attention to the promised lineage of the coming Seed we can be alerted to some important truths. First, God never intended for the first king of Israel, Saul, and his line to remain in authority. Saul descended from the line of Benjamin, not Judah. Saul's son, Ish-bosheth, reigned over Israel for two years after Saul's death (see 2 Sam 2:8-11). It was through David, the third king in Israel, that the lineage of promise would be fulfilled.

Crown and Book
It is from the descendants of David that the Messiah is to be expected. In 2 Samuel 7 we see a  promise to David, a descendant of Judah, that a ruler will sit on the throne from his house forever. This lineage is fulfilled through Solomon in the kings of Israel.

An apparent problem arises in history through Solomon's line, however. The prophet Jeremiah records a curse placed upon king Jeconiah (a.k.a. Coniah):
"Thus says the LORD,
'Write this man down childless,
A man who will not prosper in his days;
For no man of his descendants will prosper
Sitting on the throne of David
Or ruling again in Judah.'" (Jeremiah 22:30, underline added)
This curse seemingly disrupts the promised lineage. Matthew's Gospel records the genealogy of Joseph through the lineage of Judah, David, and Solomon. In the midst of this genealogy we read:
After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. (Matthew 1:12-16, underline added)
If Joseph was the biological father of Jesus, then Jesus could not be the promised Messiah. The curse upon Jeconiah makes it impossible that the Messiah could come from this line. However, since Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus this curse does not pass to him.

Luke's Gospel records Mary's lineage. She is likewise a descendant of Judah and David. However, the genealogies separate as Mary descends, not from the line of Solomon, but from Nathan (see Luke 3:31).

Jesus' legal lineage, from both Joseph and Mary, is through the line of Judah and the house of David. As the promised seed of the woman Jesus perfectly fulfills the promises made by God throughout Genesis.

Conclusion

Genealogies may not be your favorite part of Scripture. But they are included for a reason. God's promises are not made in a vacuum. They are made and fulfilled in human history. The genealogies have served for generations as a clue to God's fulfillment of His promises in Jesus of Nazareth, the Lion of Judah.

Family Tree
As the promised Messiah, Jesus is the appointed King of the nations. As the fulfillment of these promises we can fully understand how the Great Commission is to be carried out in Jesus' name. After rising from the dead Jesus explained that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in the name of the Christ to all nations. Since all authority in heaven and on earth have been given to Him as the fulfillment of these promises, He has the right to command obedience, offer salvation, and warn of retribution if His call to repentance is ignored.

When we declare that Jesus is Lord we are standing upon these promises.


Comments

Popular Posts

Prayer vs. Petition

Q: What's the difference between prayer and petition? Phil 4:6 for example.

A: An excellent word study question! When attempting to study words from the text it is necessary to analyze the word being studied in the original language (in this case Greek) as attempting to look up the words in English will often produce erroneous results.

For example, in English the word petition has within its range of meanings things that are certainly not within the scope of meanings for the Greek word (i.e. “a sheet that is signed to demonstrate agreement with some principle or desire for some social action to be taken” is part of the range of “petition” but not of the Greek deesis from which “petition” is translated).

The word most commonly translated as “prayer” in our English Bibles is proseuche, which appears 36 times in the New Testament (NT) in one form or another (for the purposes of this study, we are only examining the usage of these words as nouns – the verbal forms will not be included…

10 Things An Evangelist Is Not

You've probably heard the term Evangelist before. Most people have. The term most likely brings something to mind. Sometimes positive. Often negative.

Does your idea match what other people think of when they hear the term evangelist?

More importantly, do any of these ideas match what the Bible tells us an evangelist is?
The truth is that most of the popular ideas about what an evangelist is and does are based on the culture, not the Bible. This is a problem.

The cultural idea of an evangelist is so popular that it is beginning to be used by companies. If you go to popular job sites and put the term evangelist into the search bar you will find many non-church jobs looking for evangelists. Many of these positions include the duties of spreading knowledge about a particular company, product, service, or idea.
The Bible tells us that Jesus gave some Evangelists for His church.And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Growing up, I said the Our Father prayer a lot.

A lot. Multiple times a day.It was part of my religious tradition. Most of the time, I mumbled it as quickly as I could.

For what it's worth, my Dad tried to help me understand that mumbling the prayer without understanding what it really meant wasn't the goal. He wanted me to understand it. He wanted me to mean it.

I remember sitting with him in the car one afternoon while we went through every phrase. He did his best to explain to me what the terms meant. Why we would say these things. Why it mattered.

It didn't take.

Although I became better equipped to describe the meaning of the phrases, I still mumbled them as fast as I could so I could move on to the next part of my day.

Fast forward many years. After being born-again by the grace of God I started to read my Bible. I desired to know God and His Word. I remember when I stumbled upon Jesus teaching the disciples to pray the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6. I was both excit…

Christianity Isn't Moralism

Do this. Don't do that.

Shop here. Don't shop there.

This is acceptable. That is an abomination.

Don't get me wrong. Christianity does have a moral code. That's undeniable.

And that moral code is not popular. Not by a long shot. The Bible is clear that the moral code is contrary to the flesh. By definition it goes against the grain of fallen human nature.

But Christianity isn't moralism.

The moral code is not the end. It's only a diagnostic. The Bible calls for rebels against the King of heaven and earth to be reconciled to Him through His Son, Jesus the Christ. The Bible calls for people to turn from their rebellion and live for Him. This means that we stop pursuing the various lusts and impulses of our flesh. It means we start living in obedience to our King. We live for the glory of His name.

The diagnostic helps us to see that we are off track. But living according to some external sort of rules is not the end goal. That was the mistake the Pharisees made. Yo…

Christ Died For Our Sins

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures
(1 Corinthians 15:3)
The truth of the gospel includes this important phrase: Christ died for our sins.

You've probably heard it before. Many times.

Sometimes familiarity leads to a diminished sense of importance. The more you hear about something the more ordinary it may seem. Common. Ho-hum. Boring.

But this truth is anything but common.

Another difficulty arises with this truth. Beyond being common. It may happen in your ears without you even realizing it.

When the truth is declared that Christ died for our sins, you may think you hear the truth. But what you really hear is a diminished version. A partial truth.

Instead of hearing that Christ died for our sins you may hear a slightly different version of this truth. You might hear this: Jesus died for your sins.

Do you see the difference? You should.


These statements are similar. Both may very well be true…