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I have been reading about the O.T. scriptures and how they point to Jesus. One such scripture is the blessing that Jacob gave to Judah which relates to Jesus being the Lion of Judah.

Genesis 49: 8-12

“Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him;[a] and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

There is a serious problem with imagery here with the hand of the neck of enemies and of course the point about tribute of obedience. This imagery seems counter to the entire Christian theology of freedom in Christ and the completion of the Law.

Moving on and reading the blessing of Joseph I see a 'prophecy of Emmanuel' which actually fits what we have come to know and believe.

Genesis 49: 22-26

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

Here we read about the blessing of the woman, how he is set a part from his brothers, how his Father is mighty beyond Jacob's parents, about an everlasting Hill (victory through death on a tree anyone?). There is also the imagery of the rock or stone and of a shepherd.

I know there is a lot of reading into O.T. scripture to draw out what we now believe to be true about Jesus. However, in this case I find it far fetched to read into the blessings Jacob gave Judah (specifically because of the blessing given to Joseph) as a sign of Jesus.

So, my question is, how can one interpret the blessings Jacob gave to Joseph if indeed there is foreshadowing and all those blessings DO NOT apply to Jesus because he is indeed the inheritor of the blessings of Judah - which don't seem to fit very well (round hole square peg it seems)?

Reference: http://www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html

  1. Gen. 49:10 The time of His coming Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4

  2. Gen. 49:10 The Seed of Judah Luke 3:33

  3. Gen. 49:10 Called Shiloh or One Sent John 17:3

  4. Gen. 49:10 Messiah to come before Judah lost identity John 11:47-52

  5. Gen. 49:10 Unto Him shall the obedience of the people be John 10:16

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  • Adam, I suggest you email info@AccordingtotheScriptures.org and ask them about their list. I don't know what their method of biblical ‘interpretation’ is called, but it's not based on biblical hermeneutics, the careful investigation of the original meaning of texts in their historical and literary contexts. Because the interpretive method implied in your question is almost exclusively based on personal opinion, it’s not a good question for this forum. This flowchart may be helpful: meta.hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/867/…
    – Schuh
    Jan 28 '16 at 7:34
  • Adam: I've sent an email to the folks at the "according to scripture" website you cited, asking them if they believe their method of biblical hermeneutics to be sound (and defensible). I await a response. My sneaking suspicion is that they do believe their method is sound and defensible, but we'll see. Don Jan 28 '16 at 19:38
  • Adam: I'm chagrined to the max! The website you provided a link to has nothing to do with the folks to whom I sent an email, requesting information. Here's what they (i.e., the folks at Modesto Chapel) said: "'According to the Scriptures' is the name of our radio program with Pastor Damian Kyle, but we have nothing to do with the website link you sent us [viz., the link in your question, Adam]. Since this title comes from a popular verse in the Bible, a lot of ministries probably use it in their materials." Guess I should've simply used your provided link. What a dummkopf I am. Don Jan 28 '16 at 21:11
  • Don: Oh man, that is pretty funny. Perhaps there is something to be gained by the connection though ;) I know that anytime the word chagrined can be used it is a fun day!
    – Adam Heeg
    Jan 28 '16 at 21:46
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Process

This question is about whether hermeneutical processes can be used to identify possible prophecies in the Old Testament texts. Genesis 49:22-26 is to be used as an example of how to apply any hermeneutical processes.

We like to find foreshadowing and prophecies in different Old Testament passages, and Burton Mack says, in Who Wrote the New Testament, page 299, this is actually quite easy. He says he sees this happening all the time, in the classrooms of the School of Theology at Claremont. At first the study of a text may not seem to support a traditional Christian conviction, or the answer one hopes to find in the Bible, but with a little ingenuity, one can set up the comparison again with other emphases and make the answer come out right.

Examples

This is so easy that AccordingtotheScriptures.org finds not one, but five quite different prophecies in Genesis 49:10. Perhaps these prophecies have some serious problems with imagery, but AccordingtotheScriptures.org will say that they are there nevertheless.

So, it will be possible to create at least one and possibly another five prophecies out of the blessings Jacob gave to Joseph. In hindsight, I can say that Genesis 49:23-26 is a prophecy of the crucifixion, with verse 26 even mentioning the crown of thorns. If I'm not happy with that as a prophecy, I can say that verse 25 is a reference to the birth of Jesus:

Genesis 49:25: Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: It's that easy.

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  • I didn't vote on your posting yet, Dick, so that -1 is not mine! I may vote later, after I check out the website the OP provided a link to. You're certainly right about one thing: not every approach to biblical hermeneutics is sound. Some folks go too far by seeing Jesus in every page of Scripture. That's one reason why I wish the COMPLETE dialogue between Jesus and Cleopas (and the other disciple who was not named) in Luke 24 had become part of the canon of Scripture. Alas, God found fit not to include it. A preacher once said facetiously, "That's the trouble with God: He thinks he's God!" Jan 28 '16 at 21:19
  • @rhetorician Thanks Don. Yes, I cited Mack (Professor of Theology) because I think he was making the same point as is made in comments to the question above. Some attempts to find hundreds of prophecies in the OT are either self-delusion or attempts to deceive readers. Surely Christianity does not need this! Once I have made my point, I will probably remove this answer. Jan 28 '16 at 23:14
  • I am always initially inclined to agree, what with my logical brain and all, but if I'm being honest I have to recognize that scripture has been interpreted like that much longer and much earlier than the current model that you, @rhetorician, and I am inclined to. The Jewish theologians were finding hundreds of prophecies for a coming messiah long before Jesus and Christians ever came along and afterward they continued and early Christian theologians did the same. At some point I have to wrestle with that. I can't say my way is definitely right without admitting to some arrogance.
    – Joshua
    Jan 31 '16 at 0:28
  • @JoshuaBigbee It's the fact that we all have different ways of looking at things that makes the world interesting. The Jewish 'prophecies' were, by and large, different to the Christian ones, but just as sincerely accepted. Some Muslims even posit a few prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible! Jan 31 '16 at 0:46
  • If I ever answer this (though probably on the C.SE version) that is precisely what I'd be focusing on. Except I don't think they really differ. Christians believe Jesus did or will do everything that the Jews predicted ben Joseph and ben David(Judah) to do before Jesus was ever born. Such an old and yet still relevant interpretation demands to be taken seriously, not dismissed as eisegesis and subjectivity, even though it was arrived at by methods we would label such today. I've honestly struggled with this and can't say I've really reached a conclusion. Just offering a perspective.
    – Joshua
    Jan 31 '16 at 1:02
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I find that even in the first two verses of the 49th chapter that Jacob seemed to foreshadow christ, like as unto Shiloh, in verse 10. My version says

"Until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the (gathering) of the people be"

Both Jacob and Shiloh were to gather. Jacob gathered the heads of the twelve tribes of Isreal, and Shiloh, was to gather the twelve tribes, as well as the Gentile world in obedience. Notice Jacob told them what would befall them in the last days. (Last Days Gathering)

Now, concerning Joseph; we know that his story and the things that happened to him, obvioulsy painted a picture of Christ. But, I noticed in the 24th verse, that in parenthesis, it says

"his hands were made strong, by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel)"

I'm seeing that 'the stone of Israel' actually came from God. Check it out. I've actually been studying the Shiloh subject lately, and its been very enlightening. God Bless.

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