Jacob Prophesied concerning the Coming of the Messiah out of the Tribe of Judah
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be upon the back of thy brethren; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from a Sprig, my son, thou art come up. Lying down, he slept like a lion and like a whelp. Who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the leadership from his legs, until he comes who is to receive it, and he will be the expectation of nations. Tying his ass’s colt to a vine, he shall wash his outer garments in wine, and his underclothes in the blood of grapes; his eyes shall be more sparkling than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk” (Gen. 49: 8-12). With respect to the fulfilment of this prophecy read the following passages in the New Testament: Matt. 21:7-9; Luke 1:32, 2:30.
The above-quoted prophecy, which came out of the mouth of Jacob and foretold to his sons in Egypt what would happen to them in the last days, preannounced the birth of a man out of the tribe of Judah, a king out of this royal race and tribe who would reign over the nations that expected him. This king would have teeth whiter than milk, because he would not eat the meat of sin like old Adam. He would have eyes that would sparkle more radiantly than wine, because he would look with mercy and grace upon those who believed in him and would cheer their hearts more than wine. This Messiah would lie down and die upon the cross accused as King of the Jews and Son of God, but would arise again from the dead, and would hold his people in discipline and obedience, and purify with the wine of the vine, which is to say, with the mystic blood of the New Testament, with the mystery and sacrament of the Eucharist.
This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ the Messiah, with the exception of the phrase “who is to receive it.” What was Christ the Messiah to receive? His kingdom on earth over all the nations, which is drawing nigh to realization but has not come true completely. For with His coming the sceptre departed forever from Judah, and the Jews ceased thenceforth to have a ruler, in accordance with the prophecy: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the leadership from his legs until He comes who is to receive it,” that is to say, Christ the Messiah. The Jewish nation, having refused to obey its own king, was dispersed among the nations and lost all trace of its ancient mode of worship – which consisted in the sacrifice of animals and attendance at the temple in Jerusalem, where they worshiped God. But they suffered all these things as a matter of fact in justice, for when the Roman governor asked them, “Shall I crucify your king?” they shouted back, “We have no king but Caesar.” They thus declared subordination and submission to the tyrannical and robberlike authority of Caesar, after explicitly repudiating the king of justice and peace whorn God had sent them. On this account it was that God’s justice handed them over to Caesar to undergo hardships and suffer calamities until they should return and recognize the Savior who had come, and should believe and cry out from the bottom of their hearts: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!” precisely as Christ the Messiah himself told them:
“Behold your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall not see me, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:38-39).
God’s Angel Prophesying through Balaam the Soothsayer the Coming of the Messiah
“And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and saw Israel abiding in its tents according to its tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him . . . . He hath said, who heard the words of God, who saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance but having his eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! . . . . Lying down, he couched like a lion and like a whelp. Who shall raise him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. . . there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a man shall be raised up out of Israel, and he shall smite the leaders of Moab, and shall plunder all the children of Seth” (Num. 24: 2-17).
Balak, the king of the Moabites, called upon Balaam the soothsayer (magician, star-gazer, or false prophet) to provoke a curse upon the Jews, because he could not vanquish them in war and was imperiled by their numbers. In reality Balaam was willing to do so, but was prevented by God. But he was called upon for the second time, and accordingly he set out to meet Balak. On the way, however, he was halted by an angel of God and frightened so that he was not left free to proceed on his way until he had promised the angel that he would speak whatever· words the angel would put into his mouth. In reality, therefore, after going to see Balak, instead of invoking a curse upon the Israelites, Balaam blessed them and at the same time also prophesied, unwillingly albeit, concerning Christ the Messiah. Hence it may be said that the prophecy uttered by the mouth of Balaam was rather a prophecy of the angel’s than of Balaam’s. This all was contrived and brought about by the agency of God in order that this prophecy might be of use to succeeding generations for the purpose of their enlightenment and salvation as a result of the finding of Christ by the three Magi through this prophecy of the false prophet and soothsayer Balaam that “there shall come a star out of Jacob” etc., of which they had knowledge and in which they had faith.
The prophecy of Balaam resembles that of Jacob, “Lying down, he slept like a lion and like a whelp. Who shall rouse him up?” Both passages have the same meaning. The prophecy, “There shall come a star out of Jacob” etc., has reference to the birth of the extraordinary star, Christ the Messiah in the flesh, out of the tribe of Judah, as a consequence of which it is to be noted that He will crush all the impious and reign over the pious.
This prophecy was fulfilled to the letter by the three Chaldean astrologers of the East, who, guided by the extraordinary star which had appeared in the heavens, came to Jerusalem seeking to learn the answer to their question, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him” (Matt. 2:2). They came to Jerusalem because the star had been hidden from them in order that the birth of Christ the Messiah might be attested by two different witnesses, the star and the Bible, and in order to apprise the Jews and Herod concerning His birth. Having learned from the chief priests that He had been born in Bethlehem, the Magi “departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was” (Matt. 2:9). They thus found out that the new king had been born in Bethlehem, but how to find the house was the question; as to this, behold, the star guided them to it safely and unerringly.
The “chief priests and the scribes” upon being told that the “King of the Jews” had been born were not excited to learn the truth of matters. Apparently they did not believe that God would reveal such a truth through idolatrous magi, or soothsayers, because they supposed that they possessed the keys to knowledge of God and of divine truth. But even afterwards, did the scribes and the Pharisees, their own people, who condemned Christ the Messiah, make any effort as judges to learn the truth? Did they make any serious investigations or hold any judicial hearings to ascertain who were the real parents of Christ the Messiah,where He was born, where He was brought up, how He had escaped the sword of Herod, and to what were due His power to work miracles and His wisdom? Moreover, did they reflect logically whether He might be in reality the Son of God, since He Himself confessed to it and preferred to die rather than to deny it. But, again, did Pilate or Herod, who signed the executive decree of the council, give Him a legal hearing in accordance with the provisions of Roman Law? Only Herod, during the excitement aroused by the coming of the Magi to worship Christ the Messiah as an infant, showed any great interest or willingness to worship Him. But even that interest was due to a desire to kill Him, as was proved by the historical fact that Herod put 14,000 infants to death in Bethlehem in the vain hope that among them would be Christ the Messiah! All those persons were blind tools of Satan opposed to Christ the Messiah, the Nazarene who was crucified later but who rose from the dead, and at the same time involuntary instruments for the salvation of God’s people.
Moses’ Prophecy concerning the Messiah
“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, out of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken: according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken (to you). I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will take vengeance on him” (Deut. 18:15-19).
God the Father uttered this prophecy through the mouth of the intercessor Moses to the Jews and thereby categorically notified them that He would send them a prophet like Moses, meaning one who would act as a prophet and lawgiver and intercessor between God and men, with the difference that in the case of Moses God spoke to him through a cloud or through an angel; in fact, God wrote the ten commandments on two slabs of stone, because Moses had flung the first ones down and had broken them to pieces in rage on account of the fact that the people deified a golden calf; and God spoke to Moses only when there was need of it. But of the great prophet whom He was to send, God said: “And I will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” This means that he who was to come as a prophet, lawgiver, and intercessor would come indeed as a man but as one with divine attributes, that is to say, as one possessing the qualifications and faculties of God, because he would bear within him, in his mouth, God’s words – and therefore he would be both God and man. For the phrase, ”and I will put my words in his mouth”, indicates the human character of that prophet.
When the great Prophet came, however, who had been prophesied and who was none other than He who was born of Mary the Virgin, He Himself manifested to us His two natures, the human and the divine, by saying:
“Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11: 41-43).
Again, in another passage:
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26: 39).
Here, on the one hand, His human nature prays and begs God the Father, while, on the other hand, His divine nature is unaffected; such was His human nature. His divine nature is revealed in all that His tongue spoke; for example:
“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).
“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:28).
“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou (Philip), then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (John 14:9-10).
These words are proof that He was by nature and by descent divine, and therefore a God, and not a mere man.
After Moses the God-beholder, God sent many other prophets into the world before the Great Prophet came, and all those prophets prophesied concerning the latter and all of them prefaced their prophecies with the words “Thus saith the Lord,” or with others to that effect, and not one of them ever said “But I say unto you,” or words to this effect, not excepting even Moses. But when the Great Prophet, that is to say, Christ the Messiah, made His appearance in the world, He did not say “Thus saith the Lord,” but, in laying down laws, He would thunder forth, “In the law it is written … (this or that) … but I say unto you … ” etc., which He repeated six times. (Matt. 5: 21-44). It is therefore incumbent upon the rulers or leaders of the Jewish or Hebrew nation to revise the edition of their faith and not persist in the error committed by the Scribes and Pharisees, since the Great Prophet has already come so many centuries ago and is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified and rose again from the grave and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, in the glory He possessed before the world ever was. Repent, therefore, and be the first to return to Christ the Messiah, and then guide your whole nation to Him, if your wish is to live in peace and love with the Christian nations and thus gain a place in the Kingdom of God after your death. Otherwise it is a foregone conclusion that you shall never have peace in this world, and that the “lake of fire and brimstone,” punishment everlasting, awaits you in the next. (Rev. 20: 10-15).
Prophet-King David’s Prophecy concerning the Messiah
” … the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the nations as thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth as thy possession. Thou shalt pasture them with a rod of iron; thou shalt crush them like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:7-9).
In the foregoing quotation the words “the Lord hath said” have reference to God the Father. The words “this day” mean, with respect to God, the same thing as is signified by the word “forever” or “eternally.” For there is no such thing as tomorrow with God, since it is always today with Him. In other words, timeless eternity is “this day” in the mind of God, for what is meant is not a solar day or any other particular period of time, but endless eternity. God calls the Messiah His Son, whom He has begotten timelessly and eternally, and therefore the Son is thought of and spoken of as co-eternally existent with the Father. Nevertheless, this same Son was begotten of the Holy Virgin by the Father in time in human fashion. Consequently, the sentence “This day have I begotten thee” includes implicity the two begettings of one and the same Son – namely, the eternal begetting dependent on God alone, and the temporal begetting which resulted from God and the Virgin; since the Virgin conceived of the Holy Spirit and bore the eternal Son of God, who is otherwise known as Christ the Messiah. In this connection the reader is advised to study and compare the following passages in the New Testament: Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5, 5:5. Therein he will find confirmation of our statement that the above-quoted prophecy has already been fulfilled.
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that thou considerest him? Thou hast reduced him a bit from angels; with glory and honor thou hast crowned him, and thou hast set him over the works of thy hands: all things has thou put under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6).
In the question included in the above-quoted passage of the Bible, Adam is called “man” only, because he was formed originally of earth, and was not begotten by man; Christ the Messiah, on the other hand, is called the Son of Man, because he was born a man of man, that is to say, of a woman alone who had not known a man; whereas we others are called sons of men, because we have been begotten of two men – namely, a man and a woman. The fact however, that the English language has to express both senses of the word man by a single word, instead of having two different words to express two different meanings, renders it hard to make the explanation perfectly clear. Thus, one is a man, Adam; and one is another man, Christ the Messiah, who is also the son of man, whereas Adam was not the son of any man. Nevertheless, all other men are sons of men; they are not, however, sons of man, for none of them have been born of a single man (or of a single woman – for, in this case, “man” includes “woman”), since everyone is born of two, a man and a woman. Accordingly, God is mindful of man and takes care for his salvation; on the other hand, He considereth the Son, for the latter is a beloved Son and is inseparable from the Father. The Messiah was reduced a bit below angels on account of His undergoing death, but He was crowned with glory and honor as sinless and as having died for the salvation of all sinful men. After His resurrection He was set as king over Mount Zion and received all authority in heaven and on earth. See Heb. 2:6 for confirmation of the fulfilment of this prophecy.
“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool . . . Out of a womb before Lucifer have I begotten thee . . . The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:1-4).
When Christ asked the Pharisees whose Son was the Messiah, they answered by saying, “David’s.” But if, Christ told them, he be David’s son, how is it that David, in Psalm 110, speaking in spirit, calls Him his Lord, saying: “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” If David, then, calls him Lord, how can he be his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, according to Matt. 22:42-46. In addition, St. Peter the Apostle, while speaking on the day of Pentecost to the crowds of Jews and other nationalities in Jerusalem, in confirming the fulfilment of this prophecy by actual events, told them:
“For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself saith, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Messiah (or Christ)” (Acts 2: 34-36).
(to be continued)