King of Glory

Torah Portion: Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)
Gospel Reading: John 12:12-13; Matt. 28:18
Commentary by: Chris Knight

Often when we think of the person of Yeshua, things such as “Savior,” “Teacher,” and “Messiah” come to mind. We reflect on the greatness of His teachings and the way He explained the Torah in a way none before Him ever could. We sing songs of His great sacrifice and love for His people. Sometimes, however, I think we forget the awe-inspiring nature of His rule and return as the King of all Heaven and Earth!

It’s no surprise to me that in Parshat “Vayechi,” which means “He lived,” we have prophetic words of the Messiah Yeshua; known most famously for the fact that “He lives” in spite of being put to death and facing the grave for three days and nights. We rejoice most in Him with the thought that He conquered death; that HE LIVED!

So back to Kingship. In this week’s Torah Portion Jacob calls together all his sons so that he can bless them before he dies. However, Jacob’s blessings seem to be a lot more than just meets the eye when he starts off his blessing in Genesis 49:1 where it reads, “And Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days.” I think that it is safe to assume that Jacob is correct. I believe that Jacob knew that, just as his fathers before him, his blessing over his children would have a future prophetic impact on their lives.

One blessing stands out to me, as well as many other lovers of Messiah alike; the blessing over Judah. In Genesis 49:8-12, Jacob blesses his son Judah with these words, “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? 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. Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.’

Judah receives a very special blessing in that the authority and dominion of the nation of Israel would come from his lineage. This proves true with the Davidic dynasty in which David successfully united and ruled over all twelve tribes of Israel in a united kingdom. But… who is this “Shiloh” character who is described with such poetic beauty? Jacob seems to put some extra time in describing this specific individual who is the culmination and climax of Judah’s authority. An individual to whom the obedience, or “assemblage” in some translations, of peoples would be.

The prophet Daniel gives more insight into this intriguing character. He spares no expense in ascribing great glory and honor unto this mysterious one who seems to be the key figure of the entire Jewish people and nation of Israel as a whole. He says in Daniel 7:13-14, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

This is by no means any ordinary King or ruler. Rather, it is exceedingly clear that this is THE King of all Kings and nothing will compare to His reign. The Messiah, King, Lord, and Holy One of all Israel. We believe fully that this is our Messiah, our Master, our King, our Savior, and our Lord, the Messiah Yeshua. Anyone who ascribes authority and merit to the New Testament writings cannot escape the fact that Yeshua is King just as much as He is Savior and Deliverer. A handful of passages about His Kingship include, 

John 1:49
“Nathanael answered and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’”

John 12:12-13
“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Yeshua was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!’”

Matthew 28:18
“And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”

He was not only recognized as the promised King of Israel by His many followers but also confirmed it Himself by saying that ALL authority had been given to Him just as was prophesied in the book of Daniel. Yeshua is not just a great teacher, rabbi, and Messiah. He is the most awe-inspiring, glorified, majestic, and honored character in the entire canon. I think this is important to come to the realization of in relation to our service of Him, our view of His nature, and our awaiting of His Kingdom. Just as Yahweh had exalted Moses to a position that included ruler, redeemer, priest, judge, and king over the people, so much more He has done so with His only begotten son, Yeshua. Therefore, just as no one in the wilderness could usurp the authority of Moses without facing death or great judgment, so too we dare not try to usurp, bypass, or downplay the fact that Yeshua has been given all authority and He is and will forever be the only way to our heavenly Father! As we too often forget, He is coming with great power, glory, majesty, and judgment at His appearing just as was prophecied. Revelation 1:12-18 says, “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’

We see that this description of Yeshua beautifully echoes that which was written by Daniel, Jacob, and the other prophets. Let us remember then that our redeemer lives, that He is coming again, that He has been given Kingship by His Father over all of Heaven and Earth, and that we look forward to a Kingdom that cannot and will not be shaken!