Jacob’s speaking concerning Reuben, Simeon, and Levi was not so positive: they didn’t receive the blessing but were rather scattered and even judged because of their disposition and actions. Their history is a warning to us, and this poor beginning is similar to ours.
But, praise the Lord, after these three we have Judah, Zebulun, and Issachar, and in Jacob’s prophesying with blessing concerning them we see a marvelous revelation of the entire New Testament!
Jacob’s prophecy concerning Judah portrays Christ in the four Gospels (the contents of the gospel), his prophecy concerning Zebulun portrays the shipping out of the gospel in Acts (borne by the wind of the Holy Spirit), and his prophecy concerning Issachar portrays the practice of the church life in the Epistles and Revelation (for God’s building) (see Gen. 49:8-15).
The entire New Testament is comprised in Jacob’s prophesying with blessing concerning Judah, Zebulun, and Issachar.
I have to admit, by myself and according to my own understanding I would have never seen or realized this, but in the light shining through the ministry of the age, we all can see so many riches in Genesis 49!
Concerning Judah, Jacob said,
8 Judah, your brothers will praise you; Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons will bow down before you.
9 Judah is a young lion; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he stretches out like a lion, And like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washes his garment in wine, And his robe in the blood of grapes.
12 Dark are his eyes with wine, And white are his teeth with milk.
The prophecy concerning Judah portrays the good news of Christ – the victory of Christ (Gen. 49:8-9), the kingdom of Christ (v. 10), and the enjoyment and rest in Christ (vv. 11-12). These three truths cover the whole New Testament and show a clear revelation concerning Christ.
Today we want to see the first aspect of Jacob’s prophesying with blessing concerning Judah, that is, how Judah is a type of Christ as the ultimate overcomer.
Seeing how the Prophecy concerning Judah speaks of Christ in three main Aspects
Because Reuben defiled himself by indulging in the fleshly lust and Simeon and Levi acted in anger according to their disposition, they lost the birthright. Reuben’s birthright – as the firstborn – was passed on to Judah (the kingship), Levi (the priesthood), and Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim received a double portion of the land).
In Jacob’s prophecy with blessing concerning Judah we see so many details and rich expressions, and right in vv. 8-9 we read,
Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down before you. Judah is a young lion; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he stretches out like a lion, and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
You could say that Jacob realized how brave and ready-to-lead-in-battle Judah was, but actually there’s much more to it than this. In the New Testament there are three main truths concerning Christ, and all these truths are seen in type in Jacob’s prophesying with blessing concerning Judah:
1. The Victory of Christ – the New Testament shows us the victory of Christ. He is undefeated, overcoming, and victorious; He did everything that God told Him to do.
Christ took care of sin, solved the problem of the world, defeated Satan, abolished death, and eliminated everything negative thing through His death and resurrection.
Christ is the Victorious One, gaining full victory of the accomplishment of God’s purpose. The victory of Christ is typified and seen in a picture in Gen. 49:8-9; Judah is a type of Christ as the Victorious One.
2. The Kingdom of Christ – the New Testament reveals the authority of Christ, the kingdom of Christ. Because He has won the victory, God has made Him Lord of all.
Now Christ is the King over the kingdom of God, and all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him (Matt. 28:18). He has received the universal and eternal kingdom of His Father, and He rules over all in the universe.
The kingdom of Christ is typified in Gen. 49:10, where Christ is spoken of indirectly as the coming One to rule forever.
3. The Enjoyment and Rest in Christ – Since Christ has accomplished everything and received all authority, all we have to do today is enjoy Christ and find rest in Him. We can come to Him with all our problems, feelings, situations, and issues, and He will be our life, life supply, enjoyment, peace, and rest.
In Christ we find real enjoyment and true rest, and it is our privilege and responsibility to enjoy Him today. The enjoyment and rest in Christ is spoken of in Gen. 49:11-12, where we also have hints on eating the Lord, drinking Him, resting in Him, and expressing Him.
Judah – a Type of Christ as the Ultimate Overcomer
Judah is likened by his father in a poetical way to a young lion who goes down, gets the prey, and then goes up to his place; there, he couches and stretches out like a lion, and no one can rouse him up.
Christ Himself is the ultimate overcomer – He is the overcoming One as the lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). Christ has come down from the mountain through incarnation. He has captured His prey and, through his death and resurrection, He has gone up with His prey to His place.
Through His death Christ “seized His prey” – the whole world, all the sinners, and even Satan himself – and took them up to the Father in resurrection as captives. We were Satan’s prey, but Christ, the lion from the tribe of Judah, has defeated Satan and has taken captive those taken captive (Eph. 4:8).
Christ gained the victory, put His hand upon Satan’s neck, and took us up as captives into His place, into the third heavens! Hallelujah! This young lion, Christ, has overcome all His enemies, has defeated all the negative things, and He took us captives as His prey and brought us where He is, into the Triune God!
In this picture of the lion in Jacob’s prophesying with blessing concerning Judah we see a picture of the victory of Christ over all His enemies in His crucifixion (see Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14) and of His satisfaction and rest in His ascension as the issue of His victory (Eph. 4:8).
Christ is now in His place, couching and stretching out like a lion, and no one can rouse Him up. Through His resurrection and ascension Christ has subdued everything and everyone, and He is terrifying to all His enemies (see Matt. 28:18; Phil. 2:9; Eph. 1:21-23). Hallelujah for such a Christ!
Now His resurrecting power, ascending power, subjecting-of-all-things power, and heading up power is constantly being transmitted from Christ as the Head to the church, which is His Body (see Eph. 1:21-23).
Christ is “a lion” and He’s also “a lioness”, a producer of “little lions”; through regeneration all believers in Christ are His “lion cubs” (see Prov. 28:1; Rev. 22:5). We have Christ as the ultimate overcomer, the lion from the tribe of Judah, in our spirit, and we are lion cubs living in the church life as the lion country!
We now can boldly preach the gospel and proclaim Christ’s victory, and no one can stand against us because no one dares to rouse up Christ as the lion!
Toward men we are like lambs following the Lamb, but toward Satan we are like lion cubs one with the overcoming lion, Christ!
Praise You, Lord Jesus, for Your victory! You have overcome Satan, the world, sin, and death. Praise You for being the victorious One, the lion from the tribe of Judah. Through Your death You defeated Satan, You destroyed death, You removed sin, and You seized us as Your prey. Thank You Lord for regenerating us with Your divine life to make us Your “lion cubs” living in the church life as the “lion country”. Lord, we stand in Your victory. We receive Your fourfold power being constantly transmitted to us. We go out in Your name proclaiming Your victory over Satan! Hallelujah for Christ as the ultimate Overcomer in our spirit making us His overcomers with Him!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Ed Marks’ sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Genesis (msg. 100), as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Genesis (3), week 10 / msg 10, Jacob’s Prophesying with Blessing (1) (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Hymns on this topic:
# Praise Him! praise Him! Christ is Victor! / He has won the victory! / Sin is judged, old Adam finished, / Full redemption now we see! / Vanquished all the evil powers / Thru the Cross triumphantly! (Hymns #124)
# As victors, as victors / In Christ they took their stand. / In Him they’re overcomers / To bring forth His victory / O’er the land. (Song on Being Overcomers in Christ)
# So let us join their praises / To Him who loosed God’s plan; / We’ll lift with theirs our voices / To praise the Lion-Lamb! (Hymns #1092)
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