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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

The verification of these things will easily be recognized in the history of the tribe of Levi at the era of the crucifixion.

It was the priests who sought and at last accomplished the death of Jesus, to whom Jacob refers; and to mark his sense of their conduct, he said, "I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel".

This was fulfilled in giving Levi no cantonal inheritance in the land, and in including Simeon's portion within the limits of the canton of Judah.

From this arrangement Levi, Simeon, and Judah became the tribes principally concerned in the transactions of the last days.

Having spoken of the death of Christ by Levi and Simeon, he then proceeded to speak of things connected with Judah alone.

Of this tribe he affirmed: That Judah should be the praise of all the tribes; That it should subdue its enemies; That it should rule over all Israel; That its sovereignty should be monarchical; That Shiloh should arise out of it as a lawgiver; That the gathering of the people should be to him; That he should ride an ass accompanied by its foal; That his garments should be dyed with the blood of his enemies; and, That the fountains and rocks of the country should exuberate with grapes and pasture.

Such are the points into which the members of Jacob's beautiful prophecy concerning the things of the Kingdom, in connection with Judah as the royal tribe, are resolvable when converted into literal, or unfigurative speech.

But it is very clear from the past history of the tribe that the prophecy is only partially accomplished.

Judah is now "stooping down, and couching as an old lion"; and in view of his present prostration, Jacob inquired, "Who shall rouse him up?

" Yes: who shall do it?

Who shall start him to his feet again, that he may rend and tread down, and devour the enemies of Jerusalem?

Who but the Shiloh, whose goodly horse in the battle Judah is appointed to be?

Two appearances of the Shiloh are indicated by Jacob; first after the departure of the sceptre from Judah; and secondly, at the attainment of the tribe to the dignity of giving laws to the gathered people.

The sceptre had departed from Judah before the appearing of Jesus; but neither Jesus, nor the tribe, have promulgated a code of laws to Israel or the Gentiles.

Moses was a lawgiver, not of Judah, but of Levi; but when Shiloh comes as the lawgiver of Judah, then "the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem".

The blessing on Judah contains in it the hope of Israel.

It shows what views Jacob had of the promises made to him and his fathers.

His faith was of things substantial and definable.

He looked for a kingdom and an empire, whose royal domain should be the land of Canaan, and especially that part of it allotted to Judah; and whose imperial ruler should be the Giver of Peace, descended from his loins in the line of Judah.

The Spirit of God in Jacob marked him out to wield the sceptre and to give laws to the world, possessing the gate of his enemies, and blessing all the nations of the earth.

It is generally supposed that Jacob saw the sceptre depart from Judah.

This is implied by the English version, "Not depart until Shiloh come," which is as much as to say, when Christ appears it shall depart: which is not in accordance with the facts of the case.

Having blessed Judah in the terms recorded in scripture, he passed over Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, with a brief notice, and then dwelt with emphasis upon Joseph.