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Updated   July 12,  2013

 

Judah as the "Mechoqeck/Lawgiver of God"

(Part 2 of 5 on the Mechoqeck)

 

Author Anonymous

 

In our last teaching we began to explore the topic of “lawgiver.” Who is the lawgiver in Israel? We learned about the Mechoqeck, and we learned that this word Mechoqeck means the individual responsible for decreeing, and establishing, and setting, engraving laws for the nation, and thereby, the one who has the responsibility to govern.

 

We learned in Isaiah/Yesha’yahu 33:22, that Adonai is our lawgiver. He is our Mechoqeck. We also saw that in James/Ya’akov 4:12. What was interesting though was when we began to explore a little bit more fully how Adonai as our Mechoqeck in heaven, administers that office on earth.

 

And we learned by exploring a few verses in the Torah that Adonai appointed Moses to be His Mechoqeck, His lawgiver in the nation. And without a doubt, clearly Moshe is the Mechoqeck.

 

And then secondly we learned something even more deeply profound. He later appointed Judah/Yehudah to be His Mechoqeck. We saw that in Psalms 60 and Psalms 108.

 

Thus we arrived at a very profound conclusion. If we say that we wish to have our Father in heaven as our lawgiver, how do we show that allegiance? How do we show that support and that love? We have to learn to show that allegiance and support by acknowledging the legitimacy of those whom He appoints.

 

Judah, you see, is His appointed guardians of the Torah, the Tribe of Judah, the Jewish people, for all Israel ! And that is just the way it is! We don’t have to argue it. We don’t have to be upset about it. All we have to do is love it, and embrace it, and enjoy it, and to be fed by it, and to be nourished by it, and to be shepherded by it.

 

We are now going to explore a very critical verse in the Book of Genesis/Bereshit 49. Bereshit 49 is an outline of a number of blessings that Jacob/Ya’akov gave to his twelve sons before he died. We are going to look at the specific blessing given to Judah . And the specific verse we are going to focus on is verse 10. We will read some of the other verses as we go on down. Let’s read verse eight:

Judah , thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise…”

 

That’s interesting. How much, do we amongst the 12 tribes, praise Judah ? The world, you know, is filled with people who hate Judah, who criticize Judah, who throw rocks at Jewish houses of worship, who spray paint bad symbols and evil words upon Jewish buildings, who kill Jewish people just because they’re Jewish, who criticize Judah just because he’s different—specifically because he has had the responsibility to preserve the words of Elohim. And if you doubt that, please read Romans 3:1-2, because Sha’ul/Paul clearly says that the great advantage of the Jewish people is that they were committed the oracles of Elohim. And so how do we respond to that? Many of us throughout the past two thousand years plus has responded to that by hating Judah, by cursing Judah, by killing Judah . Well, the day will come, because these words that have come out of the Prophet Ya’akov’s mouth will not return void. They will be fulfilled.

 

The question I would like us to address now is this. Will these words be fulfilled in you and in me? “ Judah , you are he whom thy brothers shall praise.” This should be our prayer. Instead of persecuting Judah , we should be learning to praise him. Instead of criticizing him, we should be learning to praise him. So, this will happen. The only question is, who’s going to be the ones praising? I hope that it is you who is reading this teaching, and me, who is writing it!

 

Let’s go on.

“…thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.”

“…thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.” Father’s children—that’s brothers.  So, your brothers, that means the other tribes—like, the Ten—shall bow down before Judah . Wow! We’re going to explore that one in time. Maybe not in today’s teaching, but we’re going to come back to that one in a later one and address how that happens. But lest you begin thinking, “Oh well, you see, we believe in Yeshua, so that’s how it’s all going to happen…” Well, don’t be so hasty in your decision to eliminate Judah from the equation and replace him with Yeshua.

 

Let’s work our way through this.

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?”

 

This referring, of course, to the establishment of the Nation of Israel in our day, which of course, has been established by Judah—he’s an old lion, from 3000 years ago, and yet also is a lion’s whelp today. And Judah who has in his hand the neck of his enemies, again showing military strength.

 

Now we come to verse 10, which is the focus I would like us to study about today.

“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.”

 

In part this verse shouldn’t surprise us, because we have already learned from reading Psalms 60:7 and Psalms 108:8 that although Ephraim is the strength of Adonai’s head, Judah is His Mechoqeck.  I just refer us to those verses because we covered them last time, and they are very critical in understanding that what we read here shouldn’t surprise us.

 

Jacob, here in this blessing, says that Judah is, of course, the lawgiver—the Mechoqeck. That’s that same word…Mechoqeck. When we read in Psalms 60:7 and 108:8 that Judah is Adonai’s Mechoqeck, that’s great and fine and perfect because it is a fulfillment of this promise, this prophecy that Jacob bestowed upon his son Judah before Jacob died.  Fundamentally then, Adonai is Mechoqeck in heaven. How is He Mechoqeck on earth? Through His appointed delegates, His administrators, His guardians, the Jewish people, the Tribe of Judah.

 

If we read this a little bit more carefully we can learn lots of things.  Let’s read part of the phrase now in Hebrew, so that we can understand a little more carefully what the verse says.

It begins: Lo yasur, which means, “there shall not depart.” It can also mean, “there shall not turn aside, or turn away, or be removed.”  Lo yasur shevet miYehudah, means “a scepter from Judah.” The word shevet is also the same word that is used and translated as “tribe” in the Scriptures. So, this word shevet, although at times means “scepter,” other times, it means “tribe” or a “staff.”

 

Why is the same word used to refer to both nouns? Because, again, a “tribe” has its standard, has its flag, has its authority; and, of course, every tribe has a certain standard— has a certain staff, has a certain scepter. Now, there is a specific kind of scepter that Judah has, as this verse shows.

 

What is a scepter? The specific type of scepter, or staff, that Judah has is a ruling staff, is a ruling scepter. It is, in fact, a “lawgiver.”

 

The next three words say: uMechoqeck mibein raglav, “and a lawgiver (and a Mechoqeck) from between his feet.” Mibein means “from between;” raglav, “his feet, or his legs.” So we read here that to Judah would pertain the shevet, the tribe, the tribal standard, the scepter, the staff, and it is also equated with Mechoqeck, the lawgiver, and its within the context of “between his feet.” Now, what’s all that about?

 

If you stand up at attention, carrying your staff or your ruling scepter—your kingly scepter—you might stand there with both hands on it at chest level, and the scepter may go down to the floor, and it would hit the floor between your feet. So it’s a symbol. It’s an image of a royal individual— Judah with the scepter, the royal scepter acting as the lawgiver—the administrator of law within the nation, and as he stands there, he stands with that scepter in his hands and it lands on the ground between his feet. A very royal picture indeed!

 

But there is another angle to this as well, and this angle has to do with the way one “taught” and the way one “learned” in Israel. The idea of sitting between someone’s feet is an image very old in Israel, and it pictures a teacher sitting on the ground or on a low stool, and spread out before him, maybe in a semi-circle, are a number of his students, and they listen to his teachings, and he teaches them. And in a sense, they’re “between his feet”—not literally, but in a symbolic sense they are at his feet, between his feet—and as they learn from the lawgiver, from the Mechoqeck, from Judah, they are able then to continue, to pass on from one generation to the next the very laws and statutes and judgments, with their correct interpretations, hopefully, that has been from old, from the days of Mt. Sinai.

 

This picture is a beautiful picture. It’s a full picture, and it shows Judah acting as teacher, and acting as king. Essentially both are the same concept because a king should be a teacher here, in the context of law, and all laws need to be promulgated and need to be explained, and need to be taught.

 

Judah has this responsibility. Let’s just now look at that entire phrase.

Lo yasur shevet miYehudah uMechoqeck mibein raglav. There shall not depart, not fall away, not be eliminated, not be removed, a scepter, a royal scepter, a rod of authority from Judah, and a lawgiver, a Mechoqeck, from between his feet, until…ad ki yavo Shiloh. “Until Shiloh come” it says in the King James. Until Shiloh come. Right away we find a back door that we can run out of, don’t we? We do! Let’s be honest. We do! And what is that back door that we find that we can escape through? The backdoor, of course, is that Yeshua was from the Tribe of Judah, and he came already—once—so Shiloh already came! Since Shiloh already came, then apparently now the scepter and the lawgiver is no longer with Judah . It’s been transferred somewhere else. Maybe it’s been transferred to the apostles. Maybe it’s been transferred to you and me. Maybe it’s been transferred to the Notzrim, to the Messianic community. Others would get more radical, and would say something like, “Oh, it’s transferred to the Church,” etc. etc.

 

Let’s work with that, because those are the objections that we have in our heads. The fact of the matter is that the verse clearly says that Judah shall remain as Mechoqeck—that means the ruling legal authority to administrate law amongst the twelve tribes—until Shiloh comes. So the question is, if Mashiach is Shiloh, then has Yeshua replaced Judah as Mechoqeck?

First of all, let us remember what we read in our last teaching. Let’s go back there, Isaiah/Yesha’yahu 33:22, where we read: “Adonai is our judge, Adonai is our Mechoqeck, Adonai is our king; He will save us.”

 

Adonai is our Mechoqeck. Yeshua’s first coming does not replace this reality, does it? So, if Yeshua’s first coming doesn’t replace this reality, that “Adonai is our Mechoqeck,” then why should it replace this reality that “Judah is My Mechoqeck”? It’s a question and you need to think it through. And you need to think it through without a whole lot of bias going through your heads.

 

The plain, literal meaning is pretty clear. It doesn’t need to be explained a whole lot. The only problem is…Why do we need to explain it so much?  Because we have biases in our heads that work like this: We don’t want Judah to be the Mechoqeck. That’s just the bottom line of it all, isn’t it? Can we be that honest with ourselves? We just don’t want Judah to be Mechoqeck! We don’t want Judah to be the lawgiver!! So, we read the verse, and we try to find a way out!! “Ahhh, yeah…Yeshua…He’s got it. He came once, so Shiloh came, so that’s the end of it!” But, that’s clear bias. Can’t we see that that’s clear bias?

So, did Shiloh come? And, who is Shiloh?

 

First of all, we’ve already interpreted that the “ Shiloh” refers to Yeshua at his first coming. “Oh! But of course it does!” But, that was an interpretation, wasn’t it? Where in the verse does it say that Shiloh was Yeshua when he came 2000 years ago? It doesn’t say that, and you can’t find it there. That’s an interpretation that we imputed into the verse. Is it a valid interpretation? Clearly in one sense, as almost any commentator on this verse has expressed—whether they are Jewish or whether they are Christian—“Shiloh” is a reference to the Messiah.

 

But now we’re left with a very interesting question. Which Messiah? “What do you mean, ‘Which Messiah?’ There is only one Messiah!” Well, yes….but there are two roles of Messiah; and the Messiah comes twice. There are two Messiahs—Mashiach/Messiah ben Yosef, Messiah son of Joseph, and there is also Mashiach ben David, Messiah son of David.

These two are rolled up in the one individual, we believe. But they are separated in time! What is the distinction between these two? Yeshua came, two thousand years ago, as Mashiach son of Joseph…Mashiach ben Yosef. He did not come two thousand years ago as Mashiach ben David…as the Messiah son of David. In fact, many wanted him to be the Messiah son of David, and he refused to be the Messiah son of David two thousand years ago. Why?

 

Have you ever thought through that question? Why did Yeshua refuse to rule as king in Israel , two thousand years ago, and why did he refuse to accept the throne? Why did he refuse to sit as Mashiach ben David, son of David? Do you know the answer to that question? You know, most people don’t know the answer to that question, but it’s really not complicated at all. He couldn’t set up the kingdom until he had brought back the lost sheep of the House of Israel!

 

You see…everything in its order. Everything in its place, one step at a time. And you can’t skip steps! It’s like trying to understand chapter twenty in a calculus textbook without going through chapters one to nine, and learning them! I mean, it would be great to get to chapter twenty and know all that stuff, and take the final exam. But, you’ve got to go through the right steps!

 

Yeshua, being the emissary of his Father in heaven—being the apostle, the shaliach, the one sent, and being Mashiach, the Messiah — came not as Messiah son of David, but rather as Messiah son of Joseph. This phrase means the one who would come to be the suffering servant, even as Joseph of old suffered for years in prison and so forth. Why? For the salvation of his brothers, for the deliverance of his people. And so Mashiach was prophesied, for example, in Isaiah 53 to suffer for his people. And in Matthew 15:24, Yeshua specifically says why he came. He came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. This is the office of Mashiach ben Yosef. This is the office of Messiah son of Joseph. It is to bring back the lost sheep of the House of Israel, to reach out, to call out, and to bring back the Ten Tribes.

 

This was his mission. His mission at that time was not to establish the kingdom.  He can’t establish the kingdom over all Israel until the Ten Tribes return! And that’s why to us, Mashiach Yeshua should be so important! But again, to whom? It is to the Ten Tribes! Mashiach Yeshua, the son of Joseph came to re-gather the Ten Tribes to himself, to return them to the Nation of Israel so they could reunite with Judah, acknowledge Judah as the Mechoqeck, as the lawgiver in Israel, and then—you see, when that happens—then the kingdom can be established over all. Adonai lands on the Mt. of Olives with His two feet. There he is, Yeshua the Mashiach, the son of David. And now all will see. Judah will acknowledge, and everything will come to its proper place in history.

 

So, let’s go back to Genesis 49:10. It is true for we read….

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come…”

 

So, let’s be careful. Who is Shiloh?

 

If you look this word Shiloh up, you’ll find out that it has some interesting meanings in Hebrew. The Hebrew word Shiloh can mean “prosperity, tranquility, quietness, ease, peace, calm.” Now I ask you, did Shiloh come? Honestly. Without our biases, the reference here to Shiloh in this verse…Did Yeshua the Messiah bring prosperity, tranquility, quietness, and ease in Israel ? Far from it. There has been two thousand years worth of war between the Christians and the Jews, and Christians and Christians, and Christians and Moslems, and Moslems and Jews…not a lot of prosperity, tranquility and quietness and ease. Not like in the days of Solomon when there was that prosperity and tranquility and quietness and ease. Israel today is not living in prosperity, and in tranquility, and in quietness and ease. Today Israel is living with neighbors who are constantly bombing it with missiles, and with neighbors who have declared to the entire world that they wish to annihilate the Nation of Israel from the face of the map. That’s not prosperity, tranquility, quietness and ease.

 

So, has Shiloh come? No, Shiloh hasn’t come! We’ve wanted it to be Yeshua because of our biases against Judah being the Mechoqeck. It’s just that simple.

 

It’s amazing, you know. Biases can really direct our thinking—sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. But we have to understand our biases, and then work to overcome them.

 

Lest you misunderstand me, what am I saying? I am saying that Yeshua came two thousand years ago as the Messiah son of Joseph. This was not the office of Shiloh. When Shiloh comes there will be prosperity, tranquility, quietness and ease in Israel . This is the role of the Messiah son of David, the king who will rule in Jerusalem when the Torah will go forth from Zion, and the Temple will be rebuilt and so on.

 

Yeshua did not accomplish that. It wasn’t his purpose to accomplish that two thousand years ago. His purpose was to bring the Ten Tribes back into the nation, and to end the rebellion, and to atone for their transgressions of Torah, and to atone for their profaning of the name of Hashem! And this he has done, if we would simply see it, and grab it, and accept it, and embrace it, and unite with it, and die with it, and live in it.

 

So, even as Mashiach Yeshua will come a second time, there is, therefore, clearly a future time when Shiloh must come. It’s just that simple if we would grasp it. Listen to the verse…

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come…”

 

The “objector” will say, “But yes, Yeshua is Shiloh, and he’s already come!”

 

Then…let’s work with that objection. If you believe that Yeshua was Shiloh and he’s already come, then I ask you this question: Will Yeshua not come again? The answer will be, “Well, of course.” Therefore, if Yeshua will come again, then Shiloh will also come again, will he not? There will also be another coming of Shiloh, in your thinking, if that is how you think it through. Clearly then, if there is still another coming of Shiloh in your mind, therefore, verse 10 has not passed away—and, therefore, the office of Mechoqeck within Judah has not come to an end. So, Judah must still be Mechoqeck, even today! Even up to the time of Mashiach’s coming…and maybe even longer than that!

 

Because, it’s very interesting, the Hebrew word here says ad, “until.” It doesn’t necessarily mean up “until, and then coming to an end.” It just merely means “up until, even up until, as far as, even to that point.” Even in the expression that we say…ad olam…which means forever! It doesn’t mean up until a future time point and then comes to an end…ad olam. So there is a distinct possibility that even after Mashiach, son of David comes that Judah will still continue in the office of Mechoqeck.

 

Does that mean though that Adonai will not appoint other officers to also sit in the office of Mechoqeck? No, He may certainly do that!  But Judah will continue to be Mechoqeck because that is what the word of Hashem says.

 

Let’s just finish up the verse, because it says here:

“…and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

 

Unto who shall the gathering of the people be? The verse says: velo yikehat amim. V’lo means “and to him,” yikehat will be “the gathering of,” and the next word is amim which means “peoples.” It’s actually plural in the Hebrew. So, the last three words can be translated as, “and to him will be the gathering of the peoples.” This word “gathering” can also be translated as “obedience, or cleansing, or even purging”!

 

What “peoples” will be gathered unto Shiloh? It’s going to start with the peoples of Israel , and from there its going to go out to the nations. Does it really make sense that this refers to Yeshua’s first coming when clearly, Judah , as a people, has not gathered unto him?

 

Think about it. Have the Jewish people, as a whole, gathered unto Shiloh…gathered unto the one who we believe to be Shiloh…Yeshua? It’s pretty clear that they haven’t, as a whole, as “a people.” And many other peoples haven’t either, so, let’s not be judgmental here to one group over others, because many Christians haven’t really gathered to him either, not really. But that’s a separate topic too. But this verse says that “the peoples” will be gathered to him.

Is it okay to accept this verse, and say, “Well, the peoples, except Judah .” Again, that’s being arrogant and it’s being very rude. The “peoples” will gather to him when the “peoples” are supposed to gather to him, when all peoples will know him as who he is…and the mystery will be unveiled.

 

The gathering of the peoples. We look forward to this time. This is essentially what is prophesied to happen, that not only would the Ten Tribes gather to him, but also Judah would gather to him. And in him, in the Messiah, there would be “oneness” and there would be “peace,” and there would be a complete gathering. Not just spiritually, but also physically in the land, in Eretz Yisrael…in the Land of Israel …there needs to be a gathering of the peoples.

 

Interestingly, we have read about this in some previous teachings—where we spoke about the Book of Hosea or the Prophecies of Hoshea. And we read there the gathering of the peoples, and the return to the land.

 

I hope that you can begin to see past your assumptions, that this verse “until Shiloh come” is not a reference to the Messiah’s first coming. It is not a reference to the Messiah, son of Joseph. It is not a reference to the “suffering servant.” It’s not a reference to Yeshua who came two thousand years ago. Rather, it’s still a future prophecy. It’s about a Messiah, Shiloh, who when he comes will be the son of David, who when he comes there will be prosperity, and tranquility…that means peace from your enemies! There will be quietness. There will be ease. There will be unity. There will be oneness. Wars will cease. This hasn’t happened yet.

 

Clearly, the context of the words here in this verse point to the coming Messianic Age of the Son of David. Not to the time when the son of Joseph would sit at the right hand of the Father. Remember Psalm 110. Look it up sometime and study it. Study it with meaning. Study it to get past your own biases. But the Messiah would come twice. First, he would come to sit at the right hand of the Father, as a kohen, as a priest—doing what? Ministering unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And then, and only after that, would he come a second time, and only then would the Father’s enemies be made his footstool. And only then would he bring victory and peace. It is at that time, when he comes as Shiloh.

 

To summarize, what have we seen? We have seen that Judah sits in the office of lawgiver, of Mechoqeck—even as Moses once sat in that office. And we have also seen here in these prophecies that Jacob gave to Judah that the Ten Tribes would also one day bow down before Judah…we’ll explore that in another program. And we also learned that the scepter, the ruling staff of the lawgiver will not depart from Judah ...no, not even until the time that Mashiach comes as the son of David, the ruling king. That, again, has tremendous implications. We’re going to explore this topic in the next teaching.

 

Go on to Part 3.

 

Go back to Part 1