24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

Day 4 – Until Shiloh Comes

The Procession in the Streets of Jerusalem – James Tissot

Genesis 49:10

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. – Genesis 49:10 NKJV

The name Shiloh comes from the same root word for Shalom, meaning peace. This blessing that Jacob spoke to his son Judah in Genesis 49 was a prophetic word regarding the coming Messiah, the Prince of Peace.

The term “scepter” refers to the ability of the Jewish people to maintain their tribal identity and to enforce Mosaic laws and adjudicate capital offenses. Even during the Babylonian captivity the tribes maintained their identity and had judges. (Reference: Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict)

During the time of Jesus, and definitely with the overthrow of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans, the authority for the Jewish leaders to punish capital offenses was removed. The scepter, the ruling authority over the nation, had departed from Israel. And thus the prophecy is fulfilled. The scepter did not depart from Judah until Shiloh, The Messiah, had come.

It is also interesting to note that the phrase “and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” has also been translated “the gathering of the people” (e.g., KJV). Recall that when Jesus was lamenting over Jerusalem he said:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” – Matthew 23:37-39 NKJV

Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

The words of this hymn “Veni, veni Emanuel” were gathered from various “antiphons” by an unknown author in the 12th century. In 1856 Thomas Helmore set the words to the tune of a 15th Cen­tu­ry pro­cess­ion­al of French Fran­cis­can nuns.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things mightily
To us the path of knowledge show
And teach us in her ways to go

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory over the grave

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of Peace

Day 3 – The Gate of Heaven

Jacob’s Dream – Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

Genesis 28:17

Children are often taught the story of Jacob’s Ladder; the vision that Jacob saw when he was sleeping in the place he named Bethel. I wonder if anyone ever teaches that this is a Messianic prophecy?

Here’s the passage:

Genesis 28:10-17

Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

We see that Jacob, like his father and grandfather, received a promise from God for his descendants. But what about the part about the ladder with the angels going up and down. Did you know that the Messiah IS Jacob’s Ladder? Not one of the angels but THE LADDER. What??? Find out from his own words, first when he met Nathaniel and told him that he would see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

John 1:43-51 NKJV

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”

Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

In John chapter 10 Jesus said that he was the door, or gate, for the sheep.

John 10:7-10 NKJV

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

The way, the entrance to heaven is through the Son of God, Jesus Christ and that is the meaning of the prophetic vision given to Jacob that through his seed, the Messiah, all nations would be blessed. He is The Gate of Heaven and all who believe are welcome to enter in.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. – John 14:6 NKJV

Hymn: Joy to the Word

Yesterday we read about the curse in Genesis 3:15. But as one of the verses written by Isaac Watts in 1719 says, “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.” Yes!

Joy to the world ! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as, the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Please enjoy the following, very unique rendition of Joy to the World (with a little Three Dog Night inserted in there at one point)

Day 2 – The Epic Battle of History

Landscape with Temptation of Christ – Joos de Momper

Genesis 3:15

This verse from the third chapter of Genesis is the first Messianic prophecy in the scriptures. After Adam and Eve sinned in the garden they and all of their future offspring were cursed. But the tempter, the serpent Satan, received a very interesting pronouncement that sealed his future doom.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. – Genesis 3:15 NKJV

Her “Seed” here refers to one of Eve’s future descendants, specifically the Messiah, who would battle Satan. The painting above is a depiction of Satan’s Temptation of Christ. After fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, Jesus was tempted and he resisted the enemy. As a human, He defeated Satan! This should give us hope that we too can resist temptation if we rely on the truth of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

This painting shows the cross which is where Satan received his death blow to the head and Christ received his “bruise on the heel” predicting that he would prevail in the battle. Satan tempted the Lord by promising that he could avoid the suffering and shame of the cross and gain the world if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. But Christ knew that it was only through his perfect sacrifice on Calvary that he would win our salvation. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Also in this prophesy, Messiah is referred to as the Seed of Eve, a woman. Biologically, we would say that the seed comes from the man so why wasn’t Messiah prophesied to be Adam’s seed? What we find here is a foretelling that the promised one would be the God-man, born of a virgin.

We read in the Gospel of Luke where this prophesy was fulfilled.

Luke 1:26-38

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.


A Mighty Fortress is Our God

The Protestant reformer Martin Luther wrote both the words and music to this hymn in 1529. It is not traditionally sung at Christmas but it puts things in perspective regarding “Lord Sabaoth” who “must win the battle”!

Robert J. Morgan writes in “Then Sings My Soul”: The original version is written in German, “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” and this is a difficult hymn to translate because the original German is so vivid. At least 80 English versions are available. The most popular in America was done by Frederic Henry Hodge.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.