Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 18, 1971

"Until Shiloh Come"

James Sanders

The life of the patriarch Jacob was fast coming to a close. But before he died Jacob had something to say to his twelve sons. They were called to his side. Significant and noteworthy words were said to each child. To his son Judah, Jacob said: "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. 49:10). In these brief words was contained the promise of the coming Messiah. Jacob had predicted that Christ would come through the tribe of Judah and so He did. (Cp. Heb. 7:14).

The Jews have always understood Gen. 49:10 (`until Shiloh come') as prophetic of the Messiah. The scholarly International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says, "Thus in Gen. 49:10 there is no doubt in the mind of the Targumist that 'Shiloh' refers to the Messiah" (p. 2914). The Targum was essentially a commentary on the Old Testament written by Jewish rabbis. Henri, Israel through the centuries has regarded "Shiloh" and the Messiah as one and the same person. No Jew who believed the Old Testament has ever understood the prophetic words of Jacob in any other sense.

The Meaning Of Shiloh

Shiloh in the Old Testament was literally a city that commanded the respect of all Israel. Shiloh for over 400 years was the center of Old Testament worship for the Jew. It was the first Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of Shiloh as the place where the Lord first put His name: "But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name first" (7:12).

The house of God during the period of the Judges was located in Shiloh (Cp. Judg. 18:32). It was at Shiloh that Hannah dedicated her child Samuel unto the Lord. And it was at Shiloh that the sons of Eli, Phineas and Hophni, desecrated the office of a priest. God destroyed Shiloh because the Jews had defiled His worship. Shiloh contained some very vivid memories for the Jew. It was here for over 400 years that Israel came to worship. Shiloh was once the very center of Old Testament worship.

The Shiloh Of Today

Christ is called "Shiloh" for He is the center and core of not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well. Christ is Shiloh because He is the center of the Scriptures. He alone is the pivot point of God's scheme of redemption. It was the eternal purpose of the Lord to build His church (Cp. Eph. 3:10, 11). But without Shiloh the church could have never been built. Christ shed His blood to purchase this holy institution (Cp. Acts 20:28). Christ indeed is Shiloh. He is the center of the Scriptures. But is this same Shiloh the center of your life and mine?

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