"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas to Your Family! Shiloh Has Come!

Christmas 2020, Main Street, Waukomis, OK
What makes your heart sing and your mind smile this Christmas? A Christmas bonus? Family coming home for Christmas? Days off from work? 

When I wish someone Merry Christmas, my mind generally thinks: "Merry Christmas: Shiloh Has Come!" (truthfully, that is what I think!)

Let me explain. The Old Testament is full of amazing prophecies foretelling the advent (coming) of the Messiah into the world. Those prophecies are fulfilled in minute detail in the Person of Jesus from Nazareth. 

That is why Jesus is called the Christ, for Christos in Greek means Messiah. Christ is not Jesus' last name; Christ is the title of Jesus.

Jesus is the Messiah. He is Jesus Christ. 

The Hebrews (Jews) had another title for the Messiah in their Scriptures. They used Shiloh as a synonym for Messiah.  Shiloh means "peace or rest." The Messiah would be the Prince of Peace, the King of the World, and Shiloh would usher into this world a Kingdom known for its righteousness, justice, and peace.

Jesus is Shiloh. 

Shiloh has come. 

One of my favorite prophecies about the coming of the Messiah is found in Genesis 49:10.

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.
For the longest time, I had little understanding of this prophetical utterance from Jacob, a prophecy of the Messiah that Jacob gave to his twelve sons as he lay dying. 

Throughout the Old Testament, Messianic prophecies are given hundreds and even thousands of years before their fulfillment in Jesus. That is why fulfilled Messianic prophecies of the Bible are a great source of encouragement to Christians. They confirm the God-inspired nature of Scripture, they impress on the reader the centrality of Jesus Christ and they give us a boldness to share the story of Jesus with those who think Christianity is just one of many other comparable religions. 

No other "religious" books but the Bible, including the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and any other religious book you can mention contain one prophecy of a future event that was fulfilled hundreds of years later. The Bible has hundreds. Don't make the mistake of ignoring biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled for an infatuation with a few biblical prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled. 

We are all familiar with other Old Testament Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus, such  as: 
1. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem --- (Micah 5:2).
2.  The Messiah would be born of a virgin --- (Isaiah 7:14). 
3. The Messiah would be existent before His birth --- (Micah 5:2). 
4. The Messiah would suffer and die for His people by crucifixion --- (Isaiah 53:12). 
5. The Messiah would become the righteousness of His people --- (Jeremiah 23:6).
But this Genesis 49:10 prophecy, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes" has become my favorite. 

Jacob foretold when Shiloh (the Messiah) would come. Let me try to help you understand this prophecy by focusing on four keywords or phrases: 
Shiloh --- is the Jewish idiom (or name) for "the Messiah," and was often used by ancient Jewish writers in place of "the Messiah." 
Judah --- is the name of one of Jacob's sons, but even more importantly, Judah became the name of the entire Southern Kingdom of Israel, the nation of Judah.
Sceptor --- is the tribal staff or the tribal identity of Judah. Its modern equivalent would be our "national flag" that would cease to exist if we were captured or conquered as a nation. 
A lawgiver from between his feet --- is the ability of Judah (or the Southern Kingdom of Israel) to apply and enforce the Mosaic laws by means of capital punishment (death) for disobedience. Throughout the history of ancient nations, kings sat on throne with the nation's laws "under his feet," symbolizing the king's power to punish lawbreakers. In essence, for Judah to have a "lawgiver between his feet" was an idiomatic expression that spoke of the nation of Judah's ability to adjudicate and administer capital punishment for violations of the Mosaic laws. 
Using the above definitions, a simple descriptive translation of Genesis 49:10 would be as follows:
"The national identity of Judah shall not depart from Judah, nor the ability to enforce Mosaic law, including the right to administer capital punishment shall leave Judah, until Shiloh comes." (Genesis 49:10).
Two questions must now be asked: 

(1). WHEN did JUDAH lose her national identity? 
(2). When did JUDAH lose the right to administer capital punishment? 

According to Genesis 49:10, if you can identify those two dates or occasions, you will know that Shiloh has come. 

In AD 70, the Roman army tore down the Temple of YHWH, destroyed the capital city of Judah (Jerusalem), and scattered the Jews all over the Roman empire (e.g. the diaspora). In AD 70, Judah ceased to exist as a nation. 

BUT Judah's national leaders lost their ability to administer capital punishment for violations of the Mosaic law about 40 years earlier (in  AD 30).  The Romans took the "lawgiver ability" away from Judah in 30 A.D., BUT they allowed Judah to retain her national identity. 

The loss of the right to administer capital punishment for law offenses is why Jewish leaders brought Jesus before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judah.
A little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentences was taken away from the Jews. The Talmudfolio 24
Even the Jews themselves understand the significance of this loss to administer capital punishment on their own:
Woe unto us for the scepter has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come.The Sanhedrin as recorded by the Babylonian Talmud, Ch. 4, folio 37.
But Shiloh already had come.

Just a few years before Judah lost her ability to adjudicate and administer capital punishment, God revealed His Son, our Messiah, at Jordan. The heavens opened and God declared, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16). 

It was then Jesus' public ministry began. Three years later, on the Mount of Transfiguration, God reiterated what He'd said of Jesus at Jordan and added this command to those who followed Jesus: "Hear Him!" The Greek words acoute auton, translated "Hear Him" literally mean "Listen to Jesus and do as He says." Don't just hear the King; do as the King commands.

Shiloh has come. 

Jacob, under the inspiration of the LORD, gave his Shiloh prophecy nearly two thousand years BEFORE YHWH split the heavens and sent His Son, Jesus the Messiah, to be born of a virgin in the little ancient town of Bethlehem. 

Jesus is Shiloh. Just like the prophecy predicted, Jesus arrived on earth prior to the loss of Judah's ability to administer capital punishment (30 AD) and prior to Judah's loss of national identity (70 AD). 

Our sins are forgiven because --- Shiloh has come. 

Our lives have meaning because --- Shiloh has come

Our Bible can be trusted because --- Shiloh has come.  

As C.S. Lewis so eloquently stated: 
"You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Merry Christmas! 

Shiloh has come. 

8 comments:

Christiane said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Wade.

" 6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

(Isaiah 9:6)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Another reason we celebrate today is because TRUTH came to the world. “Jesus said…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 7:31-32 (NLT)

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Rex!

Christiane and Rex and Sojourn - could all three of you send me your personal email addresses? I would like to thank you for your comments on my blog and send you a personal Christmas message from Rachelle and me, but I could not find your email!

My email is wwburleson@gmail.com

Merry Christmas to you all! I appreciate your support of Istoria!

Wade

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I sent my email. I hope it goes through since my server says it is having problems.

Wade Burleson said...

Got it, Rex!

Thank you!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

What happened to your 1-1-21 Post?

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I was sending people to my blog for the General McLain post (hundreds of people) via text (without the link) - just www.wadeburleson.org and they couldn't find it (because it wasn't at the top).

I'll put up the 1.1.2021 post later this week (again).

Thanks for asking.

Christiane said...

glad you're okay, Wade - after your recent alarming comment that went missing, was worried 'til I read your note to REX RAY