Can you prove that Shiloh in Genesis 49 is Christ?   Can you prove that this prophesy was fulfilled in Jesus?     A Jewish website claims that it wasn’t fulfilled. What’s your comment?


We cannot “prove” that the Shiloh in Genesis 49 is the Messiah and that it applies to Jesus Christ.  Such things do not lend themselves to proof as in a mathematical or logical proof.  The best we can do with any prophecy is to ask three questions: 1. Is this in fact a historical prophecy–a prediction of the future?  2. What is the most reasonable meaning of the prophecy and  3. What is the most reasonable application/fulfillment of the prophecy.  In the context, what is written in Genesis 49 is clearly intended to be a prophecy of the fates of the different children of Jacob and the tribes which came from them.  Both Christian and Jewish scholars will agree that this is intended as a prophecy, which is only natural if you read Genesis 49.  Now we have to look at the big picture to see what the most likely interpretation is.

So, I do not think you can prove this is about Jesus, and my faith in Jesus as the Messiah is not based on this passage alone.  Yet, I ask if the application to Jesus makes sense.  The article you mention above has some good points, but the alternative application proposed by this author makes less sense than applying it to Jesus.  For example, this person notes that the direct line of kings who came from Judah ended in 586 BC when Jerusalem was destroyed.  Technically, then, the scepter of Israel departed from Judah long before Jesus came.  This is true, but in God’s eyes, this scepter had not departed.  God planned all along, he predestined and he foreknew that Jesus would be directly descended from David and that he would come to rule as king over the Jews. God made a covenant with David: “You will never fail to have a descendant on my throne” (1 Kings 9:5, a promise actually made to Solomon).  In Jesus, this prophecy is true.  Clearly this is not a physical rule over a physical kingdom.  Jesus holds the scepter, but not of a physical kingdom.

There are plenty of indications in the Old Testament that Messiah would not be a physical king of a physical kingdom.  There are dozens of prophecies that the Messiah would rule over all nations and that his kingdom would include Gentiles. Daniel 9, Jonah, Ezekiel 36 and so many more tell us that this scepter of Judah would not be a traditional kingship in Jerusalem.  There are also prophecies that if the Jews rebelled, they would be taken into captivity and their kingdom lost (Deuteronomy 28 and 29 for example).  One passage cannot disprove another.  The Jews lost their physical kingdom, but God sustained it as a spiritual one.   How can all of these prophecies be seen to make sense together?  How can they all make sense?  The answer is that they come together and they make sense in the personal ministry of Jesus.  Jesus is the most reasonable answer to the question, “Who is Genesis 48:8-11 about?”

Look at the other aspects of the prophecy in Genesis 49:8-11.  It includes a reference to a donkey, which relates to Zechariah 9:9, which Jesus clearly fulfilled.  It also mentions a vine and the “blood of grapes.”   This is fairly obviously related to the ministry of Jesus, to the Lord’s supper and to his blood.  It also connects to the Messiah of Isaiah 53 who was pierced.  Genesis 49:8-11 also talks about his brothers bowing to him.  Many of the Jews accepted Jesus as king and many do today as well.  If we take all of Genesis 49:8-11 into account, with Jesus as a King of the Jews, and as a descendant of Judah, with the donkey and with the wine/blood reference, I believe that it is perfectly reasonable to see this as applied to the Messiah and to Jesus, despite the objections of this person.  Is there anyone else who can claim to fulfill all aspects of this prophecy?  None that I know of, and certainly not the fulfillment proposed by the author at this Jewish web site.  Are there legitimate objections?  I suppose there are.  But we need to ask what is the most reasonable application.  To whom else might it apply?  Is there another reasonable candidate? I say that the most reasonable (but not “proved” ) application is to Jesus.

John Oakes

Comments are closed.