Before the Book of Genesis ends, God is once more going to narrow the options for identifying the God-Man Messiah. On his death bed, Jacob gave his blessings to each of his sons. Honor and a double portion should have gone to the first born – Rueben. But instead, the double portion went not to the first born but to the next to last or 11th son – Joseph – and split between his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.

But leadership honors went to Judah – the forth son of Jacob.

NAU Genesis 49:10 “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.

NIV Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs {10 Or until Shiloh comes; or until he comes to whom tribute belongs} and the obedience of the nations is his.

KJV Genesis 49:10 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.

The term Shiloh is an important term and means ‘until He comes to whom it belongs’. The NIV has the most literal translation of the Hebrew. The rabbi’s early interpreted Shiloh as one of the names for Messiah. Judah will not lose the honor and right to rule over the other tribes until the One (Messiah) comes who has the full rights to the scepter. Messiah’s identity is now limited to being a descendant of Judah.

Later (after 70 A.D.), the rabbis would use this verse to show that the Messiah was not divine because sheloh (Shiloh) is similar to shilyah – the word describing the amniotic sac in which a fetus is formed. To these later leaders, this was an indication that Messiah was merely human. However, before the appearance of Jesus, this was not the thinking.

Implied in this identity of Judah as the descendant of Abraham through whom Messiah will appear is that Judah will lose this identity once Messiah has come. Interestingly, the Jews were meticulous keepers of genealogy for the all the tribes (but especially Judah and Levi) until the destruction of the Temple in 70A.D. Immediately after 70 A.D. the rabbi’s passed laws to preserve the identity of the Levitical Tribe (for that time in the future when the Temple will once again be restored). So with the loss of identity of all tribes but Levi after 70 A.D., we can assert that Messiah (based on the prophecies in Genesis) must appear before 70 A.D.

And interestingly He did – when Jesus was born of Mary, matured into adulthood and demonstrated Himself to be the Divine-Man Messiah.

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