Theme: The last days (Part 3)
(Key Verses: Gen 49:8-12)
Nearing His death in Egypt, Jacob called his twelve sons to him to inform them “which shall befall [them] in the last days”:
Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Gen 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
The theme of the “last days” is an important aspect of the revelation of Christ, and although there is an outward application of the “last days” (also called “the end of the world”), this applies inwardly to the lives of the elect of God when their old physical temple is being “thrown down” with the coming of the Lord:
Mat 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
Mat 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
What Jacob said to his sons,and what happened in the lives of these sons of Israel, are all “ensamples” or types of the lives of God’s elect. We indeed live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mat 4:4):
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [Greek: aiōn = age] are come.
We already touched on the lives of Jacob’s first three sons, Reuben, Simeon and Levi in previous discussions. In this discussion we will take a look at what we can learn of our own lives from the words of Jacob and through the life of Judah, as written down (Mat 4:4).
Judah was Jacob’s fourth son from his less loved wife, Leah, and the name “Judah” means “praise”:
Gen 29:35 And she [Leah] conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise [Hebrew: yâdâh] the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah [Hebrew: yehûdâh = praise]; and left bearing.
We know from scripture that the number four spiritually points to the whole of a thing under discussion (Isa 11:12; Mat 24:31; Joh 4:35; Act 10:11; Rev 4:6). In Jacob’s words to Judah we also see how Judah’s function within the commonwealth of Israel affected the whole of Israel:
Gen 49:8 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.
Gen 49:9 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?
Gen 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.
Gen 49:11 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:
Gen 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
Let us break this up to help us to see what these words of Jacob mean to us “upon whom the ends of the world are come”.
“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…”
The word “Judah” is translated from the Hebrew word “yehûdâh” from which the Hebrew word “yehûdı̂y” comes which means “Jew” in English. We know that the whole nation of Israel is called “Jews” (“yehûdı̂y”) in the scriptures, especially from the time of the trouble with Assyria and their period of exile in Babylon (2Ki 16:6; 2Ki 18:26; Ezr 4:12; Neh 1:2; Est 2:5; Isa 36:11; Jer 32:12; Dan 3:8). This naming of the Jews and the link with the name of Judah again highlights the effect this fourth son of Jacob had on the whole of Israel, especially in terms of authority. Judah’s authority among his father’s children typifies the spiritual authority of Jesus Christ and His name within His elect (Joh 14:6; Act 9:4-5; 1Co 2:16; 2Jn 1:8-9). This connects with knowing who the Father and His Son are in terms of their mind and their teaching which all bring spirit life to us:
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Joh 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
The natural Jews serve only as a shadow of the real spiritual Jews, who are the true “Israel of God” (Eph 3:4; Gal 6:15-16; Col 2:2; Col 4:3; Rev 10:7). The true spiritual Jew has indeed obtained advantage in “much every way” and profits through the new creation in Christ “chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God”:
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Rom 3:1 What advantage then hath the [spiritual] Jew? or what profit is there of [spiritual] circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them [that is the spiritual Jew] were committed the oracles [the Word] of God.
Inward circumcision points to this Word of God establishing the new heart and mind which God gives to His church in this age whom He has given authority above all other powers as their “hand shall be in the neck of [their] enemies” (Mat 28:18; Luk 10:19-20; Joh 4:24; Php 3:3). This spiritual authority is revealed in having knowledge, understanding and wisdom of the application of God’s will and judgement (Rom 13:1-2; Eph 2:6-10; Eph 3:7-11; Rev 20:4-15):
1Co 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
“…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…”
Judah is a lion’s whelp…a lion…and an old lion – three stages of spiritual growth and progression. Here in the words of Jacob to Judah we see the first time in the scriptures that this symbol of a lion is connected to any person. The lion is one of the images associated with the beasts, the elect of God, who are “in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne” of God:
Rev 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Rev 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
The lion is the symbol which spiritually indicates rulership, whether in the negative or the positive application. In the negative application, this lion is roaring and feasting on flesh having the spirit of the world with all its pride and lusts (1Jn 2:16):
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
This symbolic lion is also a wicked deceitful beast in us who deludes us in our spiritual immaturity as he also thinks he is the ruler of his own destiny with his fabled free will (Pro 28:15; 2Th 2:3-4; Rev 13):
Psa 10:9 He [the wicked] lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
Psa 10:10 He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
Psa 10:11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.
But after we have lived under the influence of these wicked and evil authorities in our own time, we can appreciate the revelation of the true Lion, Jesus Christ, who is the true spiritual authority and the sovereign Ruler over all that happens in our lives and in this creation from start to finish:
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
The spiritual tribe of Judah follows Jesus in the spirit “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” to serve God and others in humility (Pro 28:1; Pro 30:29-31; 2Co 7:4; Eph 3:12; Php 1:20; 2Ti 1:7). A true leader does not rule over others with a domineering spirit, as it was Judah who persuaded his brothers not to kill Joseph (Mat 20:25-28; 2Co 1:24):
Gen 37:26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?
Gen 37:27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother andour flesh. And his brethren were content.
Judah and his offspring are also blessed by Moses to be a help to others who needs to be freed from their enemies. True leaders are servants and the helpers of the joy of others (2Co 1:24; Col 1:28-29):
Deu 33:7 And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.
A true leader seeks to benefit others – to preserve life – and is concerned for the welfare of all. This spirit in Judah also helped him to convince his father Jacob to send Benjamin to Egypt to achieve these aims:
Gen 43:8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
Gen 43:9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever.
It was also Judah who negotiated for the release of Benjamin in Egypt after Joseph’s silver cup was found in Benjamin’s sack admitting their sin and submitting to authority – more signs of true leadership (Rom 13:1-10; Eph 5:21-33; Heb 13:17; 1Ti 3:1-13; 1Pe 3:1-6; 1Pe 5:1-6):
Gen 44:16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
Gen 44:18 Then Judah came near unto him [Joseph whom they could not recognised at this stage], and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
Judah’s intimate plea moved Joseph to finally reveal himself to the brothers as we are also given to see so much more of Christ when we can submit to His authority:
Gen 45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
This elevation of Judah is also witnessed in his tribe, as they were also first mentioned in connection to the positions of the tribes around the tabernacle in their time in the wilderness:
Num 2:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Num 2:2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard [no comparing among themselves allowed – 2Co 10:12], with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
Num 2:3 And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah.
“…the east side toward the rising of the sun” emphasizes this leadership role of the tribe of Judah as it was also from this position this tribe was appointed by God to give direction in battle:
Jdg 1:1 Now after the death of Joshua it came to pass, that the children of Israel asked the LORD, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
Jdg 1:2 And the LORD said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand.
As with the tribe of Judah, it is indeed from this spiritually elevated position “at the east” that the elect in Christ, symbolised in scripture by the Cherubims which is the four beasts “in the midst…and round about the throne” of God, can do battle in the spirit with the sword of the spirit as they keep His way and do His commandments (Eze 46:1-3; Eph 2:6-10; Eph 6:17; Rev 4:6-8):
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Eze 10:19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.
It is from the east gate of the temple that the waters of life issued according to Ezekiel, typifying the words of life coming from the Christ and His elect that will reach everyone in Adam (1Co 15:2).
Eze 47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
John confirms this position of those who can see their spiritual inheritance through this tribe of Judah, as this tribe is also mentioned first of those who are spiritually sealed in the book of Revelation:
Rev 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 7:5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand.
True leadership also admits mistakes as Judah also acknowledged his sin of fornication and self-righteousness to his daughter-in-law, Tamar, with whom he unknowingly slept and conceived twins with her:
Gen 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them [his signet, bracelets, and staff], and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.
Through the twins born from Tamar we see how the two generational lines of Judah typify the two generational lines of Christ. Through Pharez or Phares (meaning “breach”) we see the physical or earthly linage of Christ “after the flesh”, and through his twin brother, Zarah or Zerah (means “rising” or “east”), we see the spiritual linage of the heavenly Christ (Gen 38:27-30; Mat 1:3):
2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
The linage through Zarah is obscured in the scriptures, which in itself makes such a powerful spiritual statement of how God indeed reserved His spiritual remnant throughout the church age:
Rom 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him [Elijah, who thought he was the only true prophet left]? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Rom 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
When the kingdom of Israel divided after the death of Solomon, the tribe of Judah played the dominant role in the southern kingdom with their headquarters in Jerusalem. With the destruction of the temple and the death of the last physical king in Judah, Zedekiah and his sons, after seventy years God caused a small remnant to return to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem – again under the leadership of the tribe of Judah. We move from the temporary rule of the flesh, which was typified by the physical kingly linage through the firstborn Pharez, to the leadership of the spirit, typified by Zarah. This is what the prophet Ezekiel saw when he wrote down these words:
Eze 21:25 And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel [the kingly linage of the flesh, even in Judah], whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,
Eze 21:26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high [the rule of the last Adam, Jesus Christ].
Eze 21:27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose [birth] right it is; and I will give it him [King Christ and His elect].
It is also interesting to note that one of Judah’s offspring through the linage of Zarah, whose name was Pethahiah, is specifically mentioned in the scripture as being in a position of power with the Persian king, and he was placed “in all matters concerning the people” when the remnant returned to the promised land (Isa 10:22; Isa 37:32-31; Jer 29:10-15; Ezr 1:1-4):
Neh 11:24 And Pethahiah [meaning “God has opened/set free” or “at the gate”] the son of Meshezabeel, of the children of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king’s hand [Hebrew: yâd = position of power] in all matters concerning the people [of Israel returning to Jerusalem].
It was indeed under the leadership of Zerubbabel that this remnant returned from exile to live in the promised land where the walls of the city of Jerusalem and the temple was rebuilt (Ezr 2:1-2; Ezr 3:8; Ezr 5:2; Hag 1:1-2; Hag 1:14; Mat 1:12). Zerubbabel, also known under his Persian name “Sheshbazzar” in the scriptures, was from the tribe of Judah and was appointed governor over Israel by the Persian king (Ezr 1:11; Ezr 5:14; Ezr 5:16; Zec 4:9):
Ezr 1:8 Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar [meaning “worshipper of fire”/“joy in tribulation”], the prince of Judah.
“…the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver [Hebrew: châqaq = engrave/enact] from between his feet, until Shiloh [Hebrew: shı̂ylôh = tranquil/peaceful/secure/successful] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be…”
The sceptre indeed shall not depart from Judah as we can see how these sons of Judah and their rulership applies to us. Leadership is necessary to affect the gathering of people. As we know Judah and his offspring typify God’s elect and their spiritual development in terms of leadership. This leadership is all the result of the work of Jesus Christ in us to eventually gather all in Adam in Him (1Co 15:22-28; Eph 2:8-10). Christ, who is the foundation and rock of His church, is first gathering His elect from the four corners of the earth, and through all these centuries He has been focussing on this task at hand without fail:
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Jesus Christ and His body becomes this completed “Shiloh”, Mount Zion, to whom the task is given by the Father to gather the rest:
Eph 1:9 having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 in regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth–in him; (YLT)
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Oba 1:21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.
“…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”
The rulership of Christ was typified in the lineage of Judah, the kingly tribe of Israel who was also known as the vine of God in the scriptures, albeit an “empty vine…[which] bringeth forth fruit unto himself” (Mat 1:1-16; Eze 15:6; Hos 10:1; Zec 7:6). But it is through the death of this Christ “after the flesh” that the new spiritual linage of the “Choice Wine” is made available through His resurrection life (Joh 11:25; 1Jn 5:11-12):
Mat 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Mat 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mat 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
It is also by dying daily to the old man in us, and getting the new spirit life through Christ’s righteous mind, that we are born into the spiritual lineage of Christ (Joh 6:63; Joh 15:1-8; 1Co 15:31; Gal 2:20). It is indeed Christ’s body and His blood that is given to all as we all come from physical Edom and in our time of flesh we hate the truth and kill God’s elect. But we must die with Christ to this fleshly Edom to receive His glorious righteousness and life:
Isa 63:1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
The blood is the spirit and life of Christ which produces the white raiment we all need to be in God’s spiritual kingdom as we all will be spiritually translated from the kingdom of darkness into His glorious light:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
Those who are sitting on these thrones are indeed clothed with white raiment because they overcome this earthly corruption and attachments in this life. They are the ones who indeed follow Jesus and take their own cross moving forward in His strength and righteousness (Mat 10:38-39):
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
It is the elect of God who are that white throne through which He brings judgment to all when their book will be opened:
Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.