|A "Bible Revelations"
Presentation - Created Feb 2003,
updated March 4, 2010|
The Scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes
The answer to this question will determine whether Messianic believers today, should follow the guidance and teachings of Rabbinic authority or not. This question is particularly pertinent also to Jews who are discovering and accepting 'the Messiah of Christianity' in growing numbers and then, mistakenly, tend to turn away from their Jewish heritage.
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Cautionary Note - Some readers may hastily conclude that this Web Study promotes the rejection of Messiah YAHU'SHUAH - far from it. The contents of this study, as also the general Proclamation of BIBLE REVELATIONS' Web Site throughout, confirm from Scripture that Messiah YAHU'SHUAH is indeed the One Eternal True God of Israel Himself.
The title of this study comes from a Scripture which is foundational to the concept of whether Messianism and Hebraic Roots Restoration should be subject to Rabbinical authority and Jewish Halacha (the traditional Rabbinic or 'Oral Law' interpretation) or not:
Genesis 49:10 "The Sceptre (Shevet) shall not pass from Judah nor a Lawgiver (Mecho'keck) from between his feet, until Shiloh (He to whom it belongs) comes, to Whom the nations shall render obedience."
This Scripture has increasingly come under the Search light by serious students, who find in its traditional interpretation an unveiling of serious implications. The highlighting of this Scripture has also been brought about by an universal awakening to the need for Messianic non-Jewish believers to reject the teachings of Christianity against the Torah and the so-called 'Rabbinic authority' with its 'Oral Law' interpretation, and to 'return to their Hebraic Roots', which makes Torah observance a necessity. Simultaneously their is an increasing acceptance amongst Jews to accept the 'Christian Messiah' - unfortunately causing many of them to also accept the Christian rejection of Torah and Rabbinic authority.
This makes our topic a red hot issue, in fulfillment of far-reaching Biblical Prophecies for the nearing End Time, and the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. Our Key text also forms part of such a Prophecy for 'the Last Days', given by Jacob as a Blessing over each of his 12 sons from whom the 12 Tribes of Israel would stem (Gen. 49:28).
It is important that we take clear note of the Hebrew words used in this text, as indicated in brackets behind three key words of this statement, i.e.
Shevet = Scepter, also Tribe. The word
Shevet is used 190 times in the Bible. Of these, 141 times it is
translated 'tribe' as when directly referring to the 12 Tribes of
Israel. In 10 instances only, it is translated 'Scepter' -
as is the common translation for our Key Text above. Accordingly,
it seems to refer to the 'ruling sceptre' (as of a king) of the Tribe of
Judah (the Jews), which shall not depart from (or be removed from) Judah
"until Shiloh comes to whom it belongs". If we apply the majority
translation of "tribe" to this word, then it would infer that the
Tribal Identity of Judah would not fall away or be removed from Judah
'until Shiloh comes' - to Whom the Lawgiver status belongs, as confirmed
in the following paragraph which reviews the 2nd identifying Hebrew word
in this important but intricate text. This latter concept seems a
more acceptable version which is in context with much of the rest of
Scripture, i.e. that Judah would retain its identity and lawgiving
status (as opposed to the 10 Tribes of Israel who would lose their
identity) until the 2 estranged Houses of Israel (the 10 Lost Tribes and
Judah) would be re-united in the 'latter Days'. Refer to:
Mecho'qeck = Lawgiver (pronounce 'ch' as in 'Bach'). This is a clear confirmation of the ruling 'Lawgiver' status that is awarded to the Tribe of Judah (the Jews) by Divine Decree, "until Shiloh comes, to Whom it belongs".
Psalm 60:6,7 "God has spoken in His Holiness ... 'Judah is My Lawgiver'." Also Psalm 108:8 - exactly the same Hebrew word Mecho'qeck is used in these amazing confirmations.
Shiloh = He to whom it belongs
As part of the renewed emphasis and
research into our Key Text, let us consider the following questions:
In our search for answers, let us also
rephrase this Text in the light of the true meaning of the Hebrew words
above, as follows:
No doubt, some readers will at this stage accuse us of 'adding' to the Scriptures, or reading strange concepts into the traditional and more popular renderings of this all important text. Experienced Bible students, through their studies though, would by now have come to the awakening discovery that traditional translations can not always be trusted. The golden rule is that the Scriptures should be closely considered in its proper context, thereby interpreting itself in unshakable Truth. You are therefore requested to impartially consider this content, withholding any hasty conclusions till the end of this page.
with His first Advent?
There is a Messianic school of thought which opposes and rejects "Rabbinic authority and legalism", maintaining that Messiah's advent 2000 years ago, fulfills the "Coming of Shiloh" in that “All authority / rule / power in heaven and on earth has (since) been given to Messiah” -according to YAHU'SHUAH Himself in Math. 28:18. Therefore, Judaism and Rabbinic leadership no longer holds 'the Scepter', or Lawgiver status (rule) - "Messiah now does", they maintain.
Let us investigate this claim which also ties up with the claim that, according to Prophetic Script, "David’s throne shall never go empty." (Jeremiah 33:17-26 and I Chronicles 17:12-14). So, seeing that there is no Davidic king in Israel today, these people claim that we have to conclude that Messiah YAHU'SHUAH does now in fact hold the Davidic Rule and Kingship, and that Rabbinic rule therefore is no longer valid or applicable. The extreme version of this teaching is, that we are no longer 'under the Law' but under Grace. We therefore have to forego any notion of authority or 'Scepter rule' which still resides in Judah (the Jews) the Scribes and Pharisees or any other than the resurrected Messiah Himself, it is claimed.
Does the Bible really teach that there is to be at all times a Davidic ruler sitting on the royal throne of Israel, without an interruption, as there seems to have been for the last 2000 years? How do the claims of Christianity and Messianic believers (including Jewish Messianics), that Messiah is now "sitting on David's Throne" as the Scepter Ruler, line up with the Biblical Declaration that "David’s throne shall never go empty?"
This Scepter rule can be divided into various dispensations. It must be emphasised, at the outset, that during all this time, while the Scepter was given to Judah by YHVH, He was King Himself.
Psalm 29:10 "... YHVH sits enthroned as King forever."
Some readers may immediately see a contradiction with regard to the 'Lawgiver' status of Judah as referred to in Psalm 60:7 quoted here above, which claims that . 'Judah is His Lawgiver'. The answer is of course, that YHVH, the only Lawgiver, has 'delegated' this status to His 'Chosen' vessel, Judah, as He has also delegated the direct rule over His nation Israel, to Moses, the Judges and the kings of Judah.
Important also - even after the split of the kingdom into Judah and the Northern 10 Israel tribes in the time of king Solomon, the kings of 10-Israel were subject to the rule of the kings of Judah - though Israel rejected it and slipped into paganism and idol worship. Judah continued its rule over mainly two Tribes only: Judah and Benjamin and those Israelites from the Northern Kingdom, who found it impossible to worship YHVH according to His Decrees under the pagan conditions ruling in Northern Israel and they therefore moved to Judah, the Southern Kingdom (2 Chronicles 11:13; 12:9).
Fit 2 Chron 13 -15 re Judah's authority
The various dispensations of the 'Scepter Rule - given to Judah', are as follows:
Please note, that these two dispensations spanned a period during which first, 'Israel' consisted of 12 tribes, and after the exile of Northern Israel (the 10 Tribes) in 721 BCE, only the Southern Kingdom of Judah remained.
Does the fact that both Israel and Judah lost their kingdoms, mean that YHVH reneged on His Promise of an unbroken kingdom line to king David? This Promise was conveyed in a special Divine revelation to David, as related in 2 Samuel 7, that YHVH would preserve and secure the sovereignty of David's offspring 'forever'? (verse 12, 13). This Divine Promise is also pronounced in a Declaration of YHVH Himself, through His prophet, in:
Jeremiah 33:17 "For YHVH says this: 'David shall never lack a male descendant to sit on the Throne of the House of Israel. And the Levitical priests will never lack a male descendant to stand in My Presence and offer holocaust, to burn the oblation and to sacrifice every day ... If you could break My Covenant with the Day and My Covenant with the Night, so that day and night not come at their due time, then My Covenant with David My servant might also be broken and he would have no son to reign on his throne and so might My Covenant with the Levitical Priests, who are My ministers
Certainly a very emphatic Divine Declaration. Those who claim that Messiah's Kingship now replaces the Sceptre Rule of Judah, will also use the Divine revelation to David in 2 Samuel 7, to confirm their position:
2 Samuel 7:12b,13, "I will preserve the offspring of your (David's) body after you and make His sovereignty secure It is He Who shall build a Temple for My Name and I will make His Royal Throne secure forever."
This is an obvious reference to the Messiah Who will sit on the Throne of Israel (all 12 Tribes) forever.
If these Scriptures indeed refer to such 'uninterrupted reign" on the throne of Israel, then the suggestion that Messiah's Advent took over the Scepter Rule from Judah, falls by the wayside, since history records that the 10 Tribes of Northern Israel already lost their Kingdom 8 centuries before Messiah appeared, followed by the destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, some 600 years before Messiah. Jewish anti-missionaries use this argument to invalidate the claims of YAHU'SHUAH as Messiah, and to destroy the faith of those Messianics who are Jewish, or pro-Jewish.
We have here a dilemma, that even if we can prove that Jeremiah's Prophecy indeed referred to an interrupted and not an uninterrupted reign, the Messianics who discard Rabbinic authority are still wrong - for we can also prove from Scripture that Messiah did not take over the Scepter from Judah 2000 years ago, at His 1st Advent, and that this taking over is yet future - when He Returns.
Therefore it follows, that there must be a different interpretation of "David shall never lack a male descendant to sit on the Throne of the House of Israel. nor will there ever be the lack a male descendant for the Levitical priests, to stand in His Prescence for the daily offerings ..."
The time placement and application to Messiah's Rule which has 'taken over the Sceptre Rule' from Judah since His Advent 2000 years ago, should also be re-considered.
Let us therefore investigate the Divine Declaration in the original Hebrew text, in context with other sections of Scripture which refer to this issue. Rather than deny or discard the claims that Messiah YAHU'SHUAH ever existed, as anti-Missionary Rabbis teach, let us simultaneously also bear in mind a question which underlies our topic and which may simply have a different Time setting:
When did / does / will the Kingship of Messiah really start, in order to end the Scepter rule of Judah?
The Kingdom Rule of Messiah
We will kick-off our research with a comparison of various translations of Jeremiah 33:17 and a closer consideration of the original Hebrew script.
Jeremiah 33:17 "For YHVH says this: 'David shall never lack a male descendant to sit on the Throne of the House of Israel. And the Levitical priests will never lack a male descendant to stand in My Presence and offer holocaust, to burn the oblation and to sacrifice every day."
Note the underlined words which have implanted the concept of 'uninterrupted Rule' in the minds of non-Hebrew Messianic interpreters.
The "Complete Jewish Bible" of
David Stern renders it as follows:
The answer to our search also revolves round the question: "Are we in the Kingdom era" right now?" Messiah taught Messianics to pray "... Let Thy Kingdom come..." Would we be praying thus, if we were already in the Kingdom? It would be entirely superfluous to repeat all the Scriptural statements here, which describe His Coming on the clouds, His Judgment and then only, afterwards, the setting up of His Kingdom. Many believers do not believe that His Kingdom will be established on earth - in Jerusalem - Scripture however is emphatic about an earthly Kingdom! All we then have to do, is ask ourselves: "Where is His Kingdom on earth today?"
Scripture is also emphatic that His Kingdom will be a Kingdom of Peace. "Where is this Peace to be found among the nations today?" This Kingdom will rule over all the nations. "Where is that happening?"
Clearly the Kingdom has not been established yet. It is in preparation, sure! Souls are being spiritually moulded and prepared to rule with Him in His Kingdom - they are not doing so yet.
Psalm 110:1 confirms: "Sit Thou at My Right Hand until I have made Thine enemies Thy footstool." He is not ruling over His enemies yet!
Then, there is the Marriage of the Lamb - the King taking His Bride - which will only happen at His Coming.
It is no less than an insult to His Integrity and Royal Stature, to insinuate that He is ruling today! We are clearly still in a dispensation of His delegating His authority. Question is: "To Who, if not to Judah?" - as Gen. 49:10 determines, "until Shiloh (the One to Whom the Sceptre Rule belongs) comes?"
Why did He, from way back, delegate His authority in the first instance? Because He is not to be found for consultation by mankind - even Moses had to be shielded to communicate with Him. Where is Messiah to be communicated today for resolving the queries and questions of His followers, if He is ruling, as Messianics claim He does? It again amounts to gross insult to His Integrity!
He has set up a 'System' from Mosaic Days, and it is still solidly and unbrokenly in place to this day. He has elected Judah as His "Marshal's baton" Ps. 60:7 (Jerusalem Bible), (alt. 'Scepter' (D. Stern), 'Lawgiver' (KJV) . He has kept Judah as "His Portion" Zech 2: 12 (or 16). He has set Judah up as caretakers of His Oracles (Rom. 3:2) until He will come as King to Rule in His Kingdom from Jerusalem in Israel. And He has instructed His followers to abide by the rulings and guidance of those from whom the Scepter has not yet departed - the 'Scribes and the Pharisees', i.e. Rabbinic authority of today, as we read in:
Math. 23:2 "YAHU'SHUAH said: 'The Scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say."
Messianics claim that they are no longer under the Sceptre of Judah but under the rule of Messiah. However, they differ from congregation to congregation on what the Kingdom Rules entail and overall, they differ with Judaism and its Rabbinic authority. Some have set up their own Beth Din (House of Law) but again, these differ from group to group, often vehemently so. Certainly not the unity one would expect from the Kingdom Rule. The accusation inherent in this way of reasoning, is that Messiah has turned against the Scepter Rule of Judah, overthrown it, and replaced it with this labyrinthine set of contradicting Messianic rules - a serious indictment if it were not founded!
Ps. 2:6, YHVH claiming "This is My King, installed by Me on Mt Zion, My Holy Mountain." If this applies to Messiah over the last 2000 yrs since His Advent "to take away the Scepter from Judah" - why is it that for most of these 2000 years Jerusalem and the Holy Mount was under non-Jewish, even non-Christian jurisdiction? How come that at this very moment, the Temple Mount where the Temple of YHVH, the King is supposed to stand, there is the "Dome of the Rock" - a Muslim place of worship, where Jews are not allowed at all, and Christians are not allowed to pray?
The very theory of 'forcing' a Kingly replacement (Messiah) onto the throne of Israel for the dispensations since His Advent 2000 yrs ago, to maintain a line of kingship in order to "fulfill the Prophetic directive that there shall never be a time without a King for Israel" (one of our main topics of discussion here), is disproved by the Scriptures itself in:
Hosea 3:4-5, ". . . for the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek YHVH their God and David their king. They shall fear YHVH and His goodness in the latter days."
This prophecy completely undermines the contention that Judaism is deficient because it lacks a Davidic king. The Jewish people are today without a king precisely as Hosea had foretold. Moreover, the Church’s claim to have such a King places an enormous strain on Christian and Messianic theology.
Missionaries and Messianics also use Genesis 49:10 to support their argument of unbroken Kingship Rule, by applying the Scepter Rule to the lacking presence of a king. They fail to realize that it refers in more particular to the religious Rule over His people - as was originally mandated to Moses, the Judges, later the Levitical priesthood, then the Pharisees and later and to this day, Rabbinic authority.
There is a great move in the world today, amongst serious Bible students, who are discovering their 'Jewish or Hebraic Roots'. This awareness is the cause of a great restoration movement amongst Christians to reject the pagan customs of Christianity and to 'return to' the tenets of the Original One True Faith as espoused in the Bible. In the process they are drifting closer to Judaism all the time. There remains one great obstacle though for them in the process of a total Return, and that is the rejection by Judaism of the 'Christian' Messiah and the authority of the 'legalistic' Rabbis.
Simultaneously there is a massive evangelistic onslaught on Jews to bring them to acceptance of the 'Christian' Messiah. In the process, those increasing numbers of Jews who accept the Messiah, then join up with the anti-Rabbinic Messianic movements thereby rejecting their Jewish heritage.
While Prophetic Script predicts a re-uniting of these two estranged factions into "one nation" (Ezek. 37:15) the question arises whether this current communal middle field of opposition against the Scepter of Judah complies with the Prophetic stipulation of 'one nation', or whether Satan has already, ahead of time, prepared a distraction for those who follow the ancient line of 'rebellion' against the Will and Decrees of YHVH - which was initiated even in the Garden of Eden shortly after Creation.
It is the contention of BIBLE REVELATIONS, that the 'Coming of Shiloh' will only have been fulfilled when He Returns to set up His Kingdom and to rule over the world, from Jerusalem in Israel. Until that happens, His followers have to follow Him according to the tenets of the Original True Bible Faith. The authority and guidance over this Faith has been Divinely vested in Judah (Gen. 49:10, Rom. 3:2, Matt. 23:2) and true believers have to subject themselves to this 'Scepter Rule' until He comes. In this way, and in this way only, the Prophetic forecast of the restored unification into 'one' nation can possibly take place. Any other attempt at restoring the Original True Faith will simply extend the animosity between the 2 estranged houses of Israel and eternalize the division. Opposers of this Divine Purpose will raise every possible argument against this unification, as does the topic of Shiloh and the Scepter Rule discussed above.
The correct interpretation of this issue of 'The Scepter Rule' and one's personal commitment thereto, is therefore a serious decision - one that could affect the inheritance of Eternal Life or not!
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