Until Shiloh Come
July 19th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM
UNTIL SHILOH COME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7-19-89 7:30 p.m.
Our message tonight is out of the depths of one of the most remarkable of all of the evidences of the presence of God among His people and in His Holy Word to be found in human experience and in human literature. In our preaching through the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis, we have come to chapter ; and this is an outline of the course of history under the hand of God with His people for thousands of years in advance.
To show you how remarkable it is, if you can predict the future for two minutes I’ll tell you how to be a multi-billionaire and to do it in a very short time. All you need to do is to be able to prophesy – to foretell the future for just a matter of seconds – and you’ll be the richest man who ever lived in all the earth. It’s very simple. All you have to do is to know a few seconds before a stock that’s going up or a stock that’s going down, buy it on the Wall Street exchange, and in no time at all you’ll be a multi-billionaire. All you have to do is to know just for a few seconds the future, and you’ll be the incomparable rich of the earth.
You see, we don’t know the future. You don’t even know whether you’re going to live through the night or not. You may be dead before the morning, and it’s a sad commentary that there are those who might rejoice that you are not going to be alive when the sun shines. We are unable – absolutely and completely and positively, we’re unable to know what any day will bring forth; and that to me is the background of the wonder of this study into which we enter tonight in the forty-ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis.
This is the third visit that wonderfully gifted and dedicated son Joseph is making to his father Israel, his father Jacob. And this is the last one, and the concluding one, and has in it, I say, the most amazing of all of the prophecies that you’ll find in the Word of God. Genesis :
And Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days:
Gather yourselves together and hear, ye sons of Jacob, and hearken unto Israel, your father.
So he speaks to them just before he dies of what is to happen to them individually and to the race that they sire. So he begins with his firstborn, Reuben. "Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel" [Genesis :3-4].
Then he tells him why and reminds him of a dark, unthinkable compromise in the life of Reuben when he went to bed with one of the concubines of his father – an impossible breach of the son of a wonderful and godly man [Genesis 35:22, :4]. So when he says to him, "Thou shalt not excel," this first child of Jacob and Leah, there’s not anything ever that ever comes out of Reuben. Nothing at all. "Thou shalt not excel" [Genesis :4]. There’s no judge; there’s no prophet; there’s no prince; there’s no person of renown; nothing ever develops out of the tribe of Reuben. He chose for his settlement on the other side of the Jordan and vanished altogether [Joshua 13:13-23]. This is the firstborn. This is the one who should have inherited the blessing. This is the one who should have possessed the birthright. He possesses nothing at all. What a tragedy – Reuben.
Simeon and Levi:
Simeon and Levi . . . instruments of cruelty . . .
O my soul, come not into their secret . . .
Cursed be their anger, it was fierce . . .
I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.
An amazing prophecy: "I will divide them in Jacob" [Genesis :7]. Simeon’s allotment was down toward the south, toward the land and country of the Philistines [Joshua 19:1-9]; and because of that awesome thing that Simeon and Levi did in deceiving the Shechemites and slaughtering every male in their midst because of what they had done to their sister – "their fierce anger" Jacob calls it – they did an atrocious and unbelievable thing in shedding human blood [Genesis 34:1-31]. Their division out of Jacob, out of the sacred land of allotment, was final. "And as for Levi, I will scatter them in Israel" [Genesis :7]. Levi had no inheritance, and the Levites lived in all of the areas up and down in the holy and Promised Land [Joshua 18:6-7].
Now the next verse and the next boy, the fourth son, Judah:
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.
Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey . . . thou art gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion . . . who shall rouse him?
The scepter 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.
Can you imagine such a thing? The fourth son, he inherits the blessing. "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise" [Genesis :8]. "Judah" means praise, and he is a type of Christ. He is the one to whom his brethren shall give obeisance. The neck of his enemies he will make regnant, bring to pass. There shall bow down before him the dream of Joseph [Genesis 37:5-8] as fulfilled in Judah; bowing down, all of those sheaves make obeisance to Judah. And he is the lion of the tribe of Judah [Hebrews 7:14; Revelation 5:5]. Who shall rouse him up? Who shall stand in his presence? And this ultimate and unbelievable prophecy: "The scepter 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" [Genesis :10].
The scepter is a sign of authority. It’s an emblem of legislation and government; and the father, Israel, prophesies that Judah will be regnant, and established, and be in existence until Shiloh come. All of the rest of Israel was destroyed: the ten tribes went into captivity, and you do not know what became of any of them [2 Kings 17:6-41]; but the prophecy is that Judah will continue until Shiloh comes [Genesis :10].
And when Israel was carried into captivity into Babylon [2 Kings 24:1-25:30], Judah is the one that returned [2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 7:13; Isaiah 44:26-28]; and that’s where you gain the word "Jew." The part of Israel and the part of Jacob that continued through the centuries is Judah, the Jew. He came back; and he continued as a people and as a nation with a capital at Jerusalem until Shiloh came. And when Shiloh came, Judah was lost in rejection and unbelief, and now for these two thousand years since has been absorbed and unknown in the nations and families of the world.
The Jew: is he from Judah? The Jew: is he from Benjamin? The Jew: is he from one of the ten lost tribes? We don’t know nor do they; but Judah will be a kingdom and a government until Shiloh comes – a prophecy that came to pass for thousands of years [1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles]. And when Shiloh came, the government and the nation became one of oblivion [Hosea 3:4-5; Acts 1:6].
Now, I want us in just this moment that remains to look at that word "Shiloh." "The scepter 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" [Genesis :10]. That’s the only place in the Bible where He is named "Shiloh," and it is one of the most mysterious of all of the names for our Lord to be found in God’s holy Word. Shiloh: from the root shalom, shala; and the scholars for the centuries and the centuries have studied it and sought its ultimate and final meaning.
And I have here four or five of the scholarly suggestions made as to what Shiloh, in its root meaning, could refer to. First, there are some who see in the root the same background as found as in the name "Siloam" – "sent, the sent one." He’s the One who is the messenger from God’s heaven, and He represents the court of the great King in Glory. Shiloh: "the sent One."
Then there are some scholars who see in it the same root as in the Son – the Son of God. Shiloh represents the Lord God in heaven. The revelation of the Almighty Omnipotent is found in Him; then the Son also as He’s identified with us: bone of our bones, flesh of our flesh, the glory of humanity centered in Him. "Shiloam, Shilah": the Son of God and the Son of Man.
Then there are those who see in "Shilah" the root meaning of "to whom it belongs," and that is the meaning to be found in the Syriac and in the Septuagint: "for whom it is reserved." You find that word in Ezekiel 21:27: "Until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it unto Him." He is the One to whom all adoration, and love, and worship belong. He’s the great Creator. The scepter belongs to Him – to Shiloh. He has a right to reign and He only.
All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all.
["All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name," Edward Perronet, 1779]
Then one other: there are those who see in the root of Shiloh the word "peace," shalom, peace. He’s the peace-bearer. He’s the rest-giver. All the gold in the world and all the land in the continents never bring peace to the heart. If we find rest, we find it in Him. He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" [Matthew 11:28]. Shiloh: the one who brings us rest.
And a last: "And unto Him shall the gathering of the people be" [Genesis :10]. That comprehends all people, not just the Jew. It also includes the Gentile – not just white folks, but black folks, and yellow folks, and red folks. That doesn’t mean just the favored nations of the world; it means the third world nations also. "Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be" [Genesis :10]. And centered around the cross is the great gathering of God’s dear people.
That’s one of the most impressive of all of the feelings, remembrances, I have of these journeys I used to make for over thirty-five years around the world preaching through the nations of the world. It is a remarkable thing in the heart of Africa standing there with those half-naked people in a church house made mostly of mud with a thatched roof, waiting for my introduction to preach to the people jammed, standing in a church house that wouldn’t begin to hold the throngs that were present; and right back of the pulpit, a picture of our Lord and the caption above the likeness of our Savior: "Jesus is the answer to every human need." And standing there with those half-naked, darkened, benighted people – sickness, poverty, ignorance: Jesus is the answer.
Wherever the gospel has gone, there will you find healing, and schooling, and the uplifting of the human family and the human life, and the blessing of little children beside the glorious promise of a world that is beautiful and yet to come. "Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be" [Genesis :10]. Wherever in the earth the cross of Christ is lifted up, there flow blessings incomparably dear and precious. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we are included in that beautiful assembly of those who are gathered around the cross of our Lord?
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, be not afraid; Say unto the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
[Isaiah 40:9, 11]
That’s our Lord gathering His people together.
And one other observation: it must refer to the final asides and the final gathering of the people of God. There shall come some day a midnight cry, and the trumpets shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living shall be caught up to meet our Lord in the air [1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. And thus in the denouement time, in the denouement of history, all mankind and all humanity shall be gathered before the feet and the throne and the judgment seat of our blessed Lord. "Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." The saved shall stand before Him to be given the rewards of their service in His blessed name [2 Corinthians 5:10].
And finally, the great white throne judgment when the lost are brought before that same Lord Jesus and are consigned to everlasting perdition because they refused the overtures of God’s love and God’s grace [Revelation 20:11-15].
O Christ in heaven, what a heavy assignment God has given to us to make known the saving love and grace of our Lord Jesus! Some day, every one of us – saved or lost – some day, every one of us shall stand in the presence of that living Lord: we who are saved to rejoice in His love and mercy, and these who are lost, with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, to face an eternity in darkness and judgment. O God, save me, Lord! O God, save the lost, and help us to bring to them the message of hope and assurance.
And in this moment we’re going to sing us a hymn of appeal, and I’ll be standing here before the pulpit. And if there is someone in God’s presence tonight to whom the Holy Spirit makes appeal to look to Jesus who died for your sins that you might be saved – "and Lord, open my heart to receive the grace of our Lord Jesus; and openly, unashamedly, I’m accepting Him before men and angels" – you come and stand by me. If there is a family to come into the fellowship of the church, if there’s someone you to whom the Holy Spirit has made appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, come; and God bless you in the way while we stand and while we sing.
UNTIL SHILOH COME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Jacob’s blessing
1. Reuben, Simeon, Levi get no inheritance
2. Judah gets the inheritance on ruler-ship for Israel
3. Tribe of Judah will rule until Jesus comes
4. Prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was rejected, ended Israel
1. Sent One
2. Son of God
3. He who has the right to reign
4. Rest giver
5. Gatherer of all nations