4th study in the series on the ‘Names of Christ’ adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 17 Aug 2007

9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk” (Genesis 49:9-12)

The name ‘Shiloh’ has become very popular and is set to become even more popular because it is the name of the illegitimate baby daughter of the pop stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And this baby has become the first infant ever to have a wax replica at the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

How the world has turned upside down! A baby born out of wedlock is idolised by the world. And that her name is ‘Shiloh’ makes it even more poignant.

For Shiloh is a biblical name of Christ!

This name appears in Jacob’s blessing of Judah before he returns to the Lord:

10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [hOlyv] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

What is the meaning of ‘Shiloh’? What is that to us? These are the two questions we again answer.

1. What is the Meaning of ‘Shiloh’?

The word ‘shiloh’ occurs only once in the Old Testament. So there is no way of determining its meaning by comparing Scripture with Scripture.

But most Hebrew scholars believe that it means “He to whom it belongs” or more specifically “He to whom the sceptre belongs.”

This meaning fits into the context. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah… until Shiloh [or he to whom it belongs] come” says Jacob.

Judah was chosen by the LORD to be the tribe from whom the Messiah should descend. So Judah was to be the kingly tribe, for Messiah would be a king.

Remarkably, according to the prophetic blessing of Jacob, the first and last king of the people of God in the Old Covenant would come from Judah. A kingly line would be preserved until the ultimate king, who is in effect, He to whom the sceptre belongs.

A sceptre is essentially a symbol of authority. It is usually a staff of some sort that is bedecked with jewels.

We do not know if the kings of Judah actually used a sceptre, but we know that King Artexerxes used a sceptre because we are told how he extended the golden sceptre to queen Esther when she approached him without an appointment (cf. Est 4:11).

But whether or not there was a literal sceptre in Judah, one thing is clear from the prophecy of Jacob: All who hold the sceptre or the authority to rule in Judah would hold only in trust for Him to whom it belongs.

They were, as it were, passing the baton until the fullness of time when it would be passed to the Messiah.

David recognised that though he is anointed king he is not Shiloh. He writes in Psalm 45:6—

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

David is referring to the Messiah by the address, ‘O God.’ This is clear from the New Testament quotation of this verse in Hebrews 1:8—

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

The Messiah, Christ, the God-Man, is He to whom the sceptre belongs. His sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness, for He is the King of Righteousness.

He alone possesses the righteousness acceptable to God.

And while we are yet enemies of God, He won us over by His righteousness.

The apostle Paul puts it clearly when he says:

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:17).

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21).

Christ rules by righteousness. He won us over from the power and prince of darkness by righteousness. “Unto him shall the gathering of the people be” prophesied Jacob.

How does He gather us? He gathers us by first living a life of righteousness for us and then dying to pay for our unrighteousness.

Then He gives us His Spirit to wash us of our works of unrighteousness and to renew us unto faith and righteous works (Tit 3:5).

Then He rules us in perfect righteousness for His laws are laws of righteousness. To walk according to His laws is to walk in righteousness.

So Paul adds:

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom 6:18).

Christ is Shiloh. Christ is He to whom the sceptre belongs. Christ is our king. He rules with perfect righteousness.

2. What is that to Us?

Let me suggest 6 short applications using the acronym ‘SHILOH.’

S — If Christ is our Shiloh, we must Submit to Him. Let us learn His Laws and let us live by them, for His way is the way of righteousness.

There are many false reasoning and philosophies in the world—secularism, humanism, evolutionism, hedonism, practicalism. We must never allow ourselves to think that these are just alternate ways of thinking. No, no, there is only one right way—the way of righteousness. If Christ is Shiloh whose sceptre is a right sceptre, let us walk by the right way and lead our children in the right way.

H—If Christ is our Shiloh, let us Hope in Him. This world that we live in is full of sorrows and pains. There is crime, terrorism, wars and natural disasters in the world scene. There is declension in morality, breakdown of families, and a slow but steady destruction of core values amongst our children and youth—including those from Christian families.

The situation seems quite hopeless. But is it hopeless? If Christ is our Shiloh, then we must hope in Him. There is Hope in Him for the world, for our nation, for our families and our children. Let us look to Him.

I—If Christ is our Shiloh, let us Imitate Him for He is not only a king who rules from a distance behind the battle-line. He took on our nature. He went into battle as the captain of our salvation. He was tempted at all points like as we are and yet without sin. In this way, He not only procured righteousness for us, but set for us an example to follow in His footsteps.

Let us therefore look unto Him for strength and for guidance. See how He suffered meekly, and learn to suffer meekly. See how He was forgiving and learn to be forgiving. See how He prayed and learn to pray.

L—If Christ is our Shiloh, let us Love Him. This is the greatest honour we can give to Him as our king. It is one thing to submit to a king merely because he is a king. It is quite another thing to submit to him because we love him.

Christ our Lord deserves our love because of His great love for us. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). And our Lord would have us love and not merely obey Him. Indeed, He says: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). Let us beloved brethren and children, serve the Lord, constrained by His love.

O—If Christ is our Shiloh, let us Order our lives according to the pattern that He has laid down in the Scripture. For He must not only be our king when we gather for worship, He must be our king every day. As our worship must be orderly in reflection of the Kingship of Christ, so let us lead orderly live.

Let us learn first of all to lay aside one day in seven to serve Him who is Lord of the Sabbath. He has given us six days to order according to our wisdom, but one day must be ordered according to His prescription so that whatever is not sanctioned is forbidden. Let us observe His Day for it is the Lord’s Day.

But let us not forget to order our day to day lives with Him in the centre too. Let us seek to worship Him privately and in our families at set times, for if Christ is our Shiloh, we cannot live as if He is not our Lord.

H—If Christ is our Shiloh let us Honour Him with our lips and our lives. Let us witness for Him wherever He places us. Let us be living epistles for Him so that others may know how great and glorious our King is. Let us pray that we may be His instrument for the gathering of the people unto Him.


Christ is the Shiloh. He it is to whom the sceptre belongs. He it is who is worthy “to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev 5:12). May the Lord help us to bow down in adoration to Him in our worship and life. Amen.

—JJ Lim