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The Blessing of Judah: The Promise Of Christ (1)

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Gen 49:8-12 (KJV)
8) Judah, thou [art he] whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand [shall be] in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
9) Judah [is] a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
10) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].
11) Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
12) His eyes [shall be] red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

As we can see in our text, Judah received the preeminent blessing of the family bestowed upon him by his father Jacob.  Normally, the distinguished blessing was reserved for the first born son of each family, however, just as with His ancestors Isaac (2nd born) and Jacob (2nd born), Judah (4th born) was given the privilege of the receipt of the dominate blessing among his other siblings. This was done under the total control of the Lord, who as Sovereign, is able to choose to whom He desires blessings to flow without any earthly limitations of traditions or of desires of the human will. (Rom 9:7-17)

In this blessing we find a prophecy of the events and status of the descendants of Judah, but more importantly, we find a wonderful prophecy of the coming Messiah, who is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Let’s take a look at this blessing and what it teaches us about our Lord.

THE SCRIPTURES: 

Genesis 49:8-12

THE STUDY:

Judah,
The title Judah means “praise” or “honor” .  In Genesis 29:35 we are told that this title was given in an effort to praise Jehovah for allowing Leah to conceive.

thou [art he] whom thy brethren shall praise: 
As a part of God’s sovereign plan, his name would have another meaning as well.  He was given the title of “praise” because his brothers and their descendants would praise him for a variety of reasons. What follows is a listing of all the many reasons why Judah and his descendants would be praised throughout the ages:

1. The great victories of war had by Judah and his descendants are one reason why Judah would be praised far above all other of his brethren….

thy hand [shall be] in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Throughout history Judah was known for its many military victories.  This is pictured by the conquering warrior finding absolute control in his defeated foe’s neck.  The victor would place his hand on the neck of the conquered foe, making him defenseless and entirely under his control.  Normally this was done in public, symbolically declaring to all who could see that the foe was totally defeated.  The victories wrought within the nation of Judah are many….

1.  It begins with Judah, the man himself, and his personal victories over his enemies (Judges 1: & 3).
2.  But even more so with his descendant, King David, who had victory over Israel’s enemies.  This resulted in a time of peace for King Solomon allowing him to build the temple of God in Jerusalem (1 Chron 28:3, 1 Chron 22:9).  This secured for the Jews a permanent place of worship for Jehovah.
3.  These victories continued sporadically throughout the Southern Kingdom’s history under the reign of several Godly kings.
4. But the most important “victor” to come from Judah’s line was the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who has given us the victory over sin and death. (1 Cor 15:55-57)

2. The gradual increase of Judah’s strength, boldness, wisdom and victories is the second reason why they would be praised above all others….

Judah [is] a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Here we find Judah’s beginnings pictured as a lion’s whelp and gradually increasing in power, cunningness, and ability just as a lion matures to adulthood. This adult lion is so strong and dangerous no one is willing to awaken him.

The tribe of Judah displayed an amazing increase of strength and boldness from the days of the original blessing to the times of David and then finally Christ.  Through the Lord’s intervention, the strength of their tribe increased, as well as the boldness, as they led the Jews and fought many victorious battles against far more powerful enemies.

Of course, the ultimate supreme display of power, ability, wisdom and boldness was given by Christ who secured the eternal victory for all of His people through His shed blood on the cross.  As He defeated Satan Himself and all the powers of darkness.

3. The third reason Judah would be praised among all their brethren would be the line of kings that would descend from this tribe… 

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
The scepter was a rod that a king held symbolizing his authority over his nation.  When we see a lawgiver spoken of here, it is clearly referring to a king.  From the forming of Israel into a nation, they only had two different types of political rulers… judges and kings.  The main difference between a judge and a king was that a judge only had authority to upohold the laws that God had given to the nation.  A King had authority to uphold God’s laws AND WRITE LAWS OF THEIR OWN.  Hence the title for a king was “a lawgiver”.

(Please note: This explains why the Lord was so displeased with Israel when they were dissatisfied with the rule of the judges and demanded that the Lord place a king over them (1 Sam 8:4-8).  What they were saying was…. “Lord, your laws are not good enough for us.  We want a King who can write other laws on our behalf”.  What a sad situation when we reject the commands for the Lord and substitute them with the commands of men.)

There were 22 Kings that reigned for 400+ years that came from the line of Judah extending from King David (1000 BC) to Zedekiah (586 BC).   The next longest dynasty of any nation in this same time frame was a 250 year dynasty in Egypt (18th dynasty which included King Tut).  Clearly the 400 year Judah dynasty brought them a tremendous amount of praise and honor.

However, the coming of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was certainly a much greater event and deserving of far more praise than their previous record-length dynasty.  In the coming of Christ we have the coming of our Creator, the Sovereign of the Universe, humbling himself in submission to His Father’s commands, motivated by love for His people.  He came, He suffered and He died on the cross so that He might pay the price of the sins of His people and live together with Him for all eternity.  (Phils 2:1-14)

In this first part of our study we have seen three reasons why Judah would be the recipient of praise from his brethren and all nations throughout history….

1. The great victories had by Judah and his descendants are one reason why Judah would be praised far above all other of his brethren….
2. The gradual increase of Judah’s strength, boldness, wisdom and victories is the second reason why they would be praised above all others….
3. The third reason Judah would be praised among all their brethren would be the line of kings that would descend from this tribe… 

Please note that all three of these reasons are a combination of accomplishments of Judah both before, and including, Christ and His work on our behalf.  In the last part of this 2 part series we will be looking at the concluding portion of Judah’s blessing which will involve an exclusive look at Christ and His many accomplishments on our behalf….

until Shiloh come;
and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].
Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine;
he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
His eyes [shall be] red with wine,
 and his teeth white with milk

PRACTICAL  APPLICATION:

As we study the history of the tribe of Judah let’s always remember that Judah was a very special tribe, because through it, came the Messiah; the One who has gotten us the victory over sin and death; the One who gained a spiritual eternal victory that far transcends any earthly human victory; the One who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One to whom we owe our total allegiance.

If you have any questions about salvation, I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you continue to have questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvation with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

Please visit…
Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
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Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com
May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”


6 Comments

  1. Debbie says:

    I really appreciate these deeper looks into scripture that helps me understand and gain further insight into His greatness! God bless you, Pastor Rob, as you study His Word and share it with us!

  2. Thanks for the in-depth look at the tribe of Judah, through which came our Saviour. I’m looking forward to more.

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