1. Shiloh

R.J. Rushdoony • Mar, 18 2024

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  • Series: Aspects of Systematic Theology
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Our Scripture this morning is from Genesis 49:8-10, and our subject: ‘Shiloh.’

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, my son, thou art gone up:

He stooped down, he couched as a lion,

And as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

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. 1

All the prophecies of the birth of our Lord are particularly exciting portions of Scripture. They ring with the triumph of Christ and of the new humanity, with dominion, with joy, and with the assurance that God is victorious. One of the most haunting of these prophecies is the death bed prophecy of Jacob, in which he predicts that through Judah, the Messiah, Shiloh, would come.

First of all what Jacob here prophecies is the preeminence of Judah in Israel. The promised seed of the woman, the Messiah, the new Adam, would come through the line of Judah. At Hebron when David was made king by the assembled tribes of Israel, they declared:

“Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.”

These words of 2 Samuel 5:1 reflect Adam's words concerning Eve in Genesis 2:23, when he speaks of Eve as “...bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh…” 2The kingdom of Israel there declared to David that they were the bride of God’s appointed king, and this imagery of the bride of course is carried on in the church, the church as the bride of Christ.

Then second, Jacob refers to Judah as a Lion, bold and fearless, so powerful that even when he was at rest none would dare rouse him for fear of his power and wrath. Judah’s power is preparatory to the Messiah’s, and Judah is the appointed line through whom the crown will be manifested; the crown of dominion over all the earth, through God’s appointed Adam.

Third, the royal line of David has and had as its purpose the passing on of the scepter, the symbol of world rule, power, dominion and authority, to the world ruler. So, God calls out Judah to be a royal family, to set forth the dominion that is to be Christ’s when He comes. Abraham first of all reveals the chosen line; now the line is narrowed to the tribe of Judah, and then in the fullness of time, Shiloh shall come, ‘to whom it is,’ this is the meaning of Shiloh. He who is the rightful possessor of all rule and authority, in Him shall the creation mandate, given to Adam in Genesis 1:26-28, be fulfilled. The first Adam proved faithless to the calling to exercise dominion, and to act as God’s vicegerent or king over all the earth. But the creation mandate of Genesis 1, the declaration of Psalm 8: “Thou hast put all things under his feet…” is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, He is the royal man, the second and last Adam, the head of the new humanity.

And unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 3

All people without exception, all peoples, tribes, tongues and nations, shall be gathered to Him, to His obedience, to His rule, to be under His word, His law, the rest are dispossessed. Our Lord says in Matthew 21:43 “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Jesus is the head of a new nation or kingdom. As we saw last week, in the Bible the idea of a nation or kingdom is totally religious. The Bible cannot speak, because it is the Word of God, of a state being something that is neutral; every state, every institution with exception, is religious. All things are at heart religious; the only question about anything is: “What religion?” So that when Shiloh is spoken of as the world ruler, as head of the world nation, what Scripture is talking about is the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God shall be taken from Israel, the old Israel, given to a nation or kingdom bringing forth the fruits thereof; and all are gathered under a common faith, the kingship of their God. When we look at nationalism or internationalism; both forms of humanism, the religion behind them is man as the God. Authority is always a religious matter, and the gathering or obedience of all to Shiloh is a religious obedience; no other kind of obedience was known in Jacobs' day. The peoples of the world thus are to be gathered to Messiah as the world-ruler.

Judah is the chosen line, but even as it is the chosen line, the genealogy of our Lord in Luke and Matthew make clear that in that chosen line the peoples of the world are represented; such figures, gentiles, such as Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba. There is a reference by Ezekiel to Shiloh, because Shiloh is not only a name but a declaration of ‘He whose right it is’. In Ezekiel 21:25-27, we read:

“And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, 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. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” 4

What God here declares is that the whole of the Old Testament era would see an overturning of the nations until Shiloh came, and all the Old Testament empires and nations were swept aside, and Shiloh came. And we are told in Hebrews that just as the things which were were shaken, beginning with the giving of the law at Sinai, which came as a judgment on all the nations, now that the king had come, that shaking would be intensified.

“Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” 5

And so we live in a time of shaking, and we should rejoice. God’s hand is on the nations of the world in judgment, shattering them in their pride, in their humanism, in their sin, so that Shiloh’s rule and authority and power alone prevail, “...and unto Him shall the gathering of the peoples be.”

There is no standing before the Lord outside of faith. He alone has the right to rule, to authority; He has a property right in all the nations which He claims. Nations as well as men manifest original sin. Genesis 3:5 “Ye shall be as God, knowing, (determining for yourself) what constitutes good and evil” was the Tempter's program. It was bought by men and it manifests itself in all the institutions of men. In the nations, in their schools, and their various institutions they seek to be as God, their own source of law and authority. They claim sovereignty or Lordship. Indeed, the assertion of the state of California against the churches with respect to the form 199B case is that it is the state that has sovereignty; unrestricted sovereignty.

All who so claim are members of the fallen Adam, and in rebellion. The coming of Shiloh says Jacob, the coming of Shiloh says Ezekiel, the coming of Shiloh says Paul in Hebrews, is the shaking of the nations. He comes as the rightful king to declare war on all usurpers. And the book of Revelation shows us the warfare of Shiloh from his first coming to his second coming, the shaking of the nations and His triumph. Our Lord is Shiloh, “He whose right it is.” He destroys all enemies as readily as a lion destroys its prey.

All men and nations, all churches not faithful to Shiloh, shall be cast aside. Whatever their line, whatever their inheritance; “We be Abraham’s seed…” 6 or the heirs by the blood of the Pilgrims or Puritans, their past is of no account. It is where they themselves stand today in relationship to Shiloh, Jesus Christ.

Thus, as we survey the world in this blessed season, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we need indeed to sing:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.

Let earth receive her King.

It is not Christ, but the nations who are in trouble; and therefore the psalmist sings out as he looks down the ages, as he celebrates the coming of our Lord:

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;

Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:

Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

Serve the LORD with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,

And ye perish from the way,

When his wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. 7

In this blessed season, whatever the problems of the world, God’s Word is true; blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.

Let us pray.

* * *

Almighty God our heavenly Father we rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, thy Son our Savior, our Adam, our life and our hope. Teach us to walk day by day, in the confidence that Jesus Christ is Shiloh, that He has come and is at war against the nations, and that to live in a time of judgment is therefore to live in a time of hope an rejoicing, because the powers that be are being shaken and shattered, that Christ may prevail, and His kingdom rule. O Lord our God we praise thee. In Jesus' name, amen.

* * *

Are there any questions now, first of all with respect to our lesson? Yes?

[Audience Member] Could you comment on the revelations in the book The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court?8

[Rushdoony] One of the points which the book you refer to with regard to the Supreme Court, The Brethren, manifests is that apparently, at least it is so reported, that the Chief Justice at one time said: “We can do as we please.” That is, they did not need to cite any evidence from the Constitution to render a judgment.

I don’t know why people are surprised by the statements of the book, and I don’t know why the authors feel surprised. They are humanists, and humanists believe that every man’s good is equal to any other man’s idea of good. And since there is no absolute law every man’s act is equal to every other man’s act; all things are equal. What we have been busily affirming in one form or another is the equality of all things, of all men, of all ideas, of all acts; why not? If homosexuals are as good as anybody else, what law is there, and why should the Supreme Court issue a decision except in terms of an arbitrary will? I think it is the sheerest kind of hypocrisy for people to feel disillusioned and disgusted at the Supreme Court because of that book. And why should they have been disillusioned at the disclosures with regard to Watergate or with regard to Carter, or Kennedy, or anyone else? They are simply logical humanists.

Well, what is happening now is that people are getting their noses rubbed into their own humanistic dirt, and they don’t like it. But if I have the right to do as I please and there is no law other than myself, which is the essence of humanism, existentialism, and of original sin, how do I without hypocrisy deny that right to the Supreme Court, or to Congress, or to my neighbor who chooses to slug me or mug me? He has got an equal right. The principle of authority has thus been broken.

One of the keys to our time is that people cannot agree as to what is right and wrong. Everybody has their own idea. Well, as long as you have that situation, you have a very critical problem; you cannot even get the churches today to agree on what is right and wrong, why? Because having denied the authority of God’s word, the authority of God’s law, what do they say is binding? Why, a lot of them say it is the ‘ethics of love.’ That can mean whatever you choose to make it mean.

One prominent theologian, a very brilliant and able man, says that we are now in an ‘interim ethics.’ 9 Well, again that can mean whatever you choose to make it mean. You can say: “Well, the Spirit of Christ says that this interim ethics or this ethics of love is thus and so.” And another can say: “I believe it means thus and so.” As a result, you have men who claim to be Bible-believing, who profess to believe the Bible from cover to cover, giving a defense of homosexuality or of abortion, and of a good deal else. Why not? Why not!?

To me the surprising thing in the world situation today is, first, that our situation is not a lot worse than it is, that we are not in total anarchy. I think it is partly because people have been so long accustomed for so many generations to a Christian morality, to a biblical faith, that they simply out of habit act in traditional patterns- even though they don’t really put much stock in it. And second, I think it is the mercy of God that things are not as bad as they logically should be. Which means that we have all the greater imperative for us to say to the world: “Hear ye the Word of the Lord. Kiss the Son lest He be angry, and ye perish from your way.”

Any other questions? Yes?

[Audience Member] What does the book The Brethren say about homosexuality in particular?

[Rushdoony] Well, the rationale is that it is just as good as any other behavior. In the second of The Institutes of Biblical Law, there is a long appendix by a professor of law, Herbert Titus. In it he deals specifically with this situation of legalizing homosexuality, and it says it destroys all law. It points to legal anarchy, because there is now no ground for really legislating against anything but pure fiat, which quickly breaks down.

Any other questions? Yes?

[Audience Member] Why is not the beginning of A.D., the Christian era, dated exactly from Christ’s birth rather than the first of January?

[Rushdoony] Yes, a good question. Well, of course New Year has been a holiday in many cultures for a variety of religious reasons, and so the origins of new years day are somewhat different. However, by the year is dated ostensibly from Christ’s birth, although Christ was perhaps born perhaps 4 or 6 B.C. So all we can say is that they didn’t do things very systematically, but nonetheless the fact is that our time dates from His birth, that is the intention.

In the church calendar, New Year has been observed through the centuries, it is always in term of Anno Domini, the Year of our Lord. So that we are always to see the meaning of time in terms of Jesus Christ.

Any other questions? Yes?

[Audience Member] Is it possible not to do business with non-believers whose morals are so low?

[Rushdoony] Yes, when we do business, the people who go and come, we cannot say: “We will not do business with you unless you are a Christian.” As Paul said, “for then must ye needs go out of the world.” 10 That is an impossibility, but where personal relationships, where marriage, where fellowship is concerned, this is a different matter. We are not to be in covenant with the ungodly, and a business transaction is purely a monetary transaction and it would be impossible to limit our business that way, nor does the Bible in any respect require it.

Are there any other questions? Let us bow our heads for the benediction.

* * *

And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, amen.

1 Ge 49:8–10.

2 Ge 2:23.

3 Ge 49:10.

4 Eze 21:25–27.

5 Heb 12:27.

6 John 8:33.

7 Ps 2:9–12.

8 Woodward, Bob, and Scott Armstrong. The Brethren: Inside the Supreme Court. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979.

9 See; “Part 2.3 Interim Ethics.” In Biblical Interpretation And Christian Ethics. New Studies in Christian Ethics. Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

10 1 Co 5:10.

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