|Judah's Septere and Joseph's Birthright
Chapter 6 - The Sceptre or the Promise of a Perpetuated House, Throne and Kingdom to David
The Prince of the Scarlet Thread While we leave our little royal "remnant" to make their escape, let us look about and out into the fields of revelation and history, to see if we can find some royal prince to whom shall be wedded one of these princesses who are fleeing into that "unknown land," where the Lord has promised that those who compose this remnant shall again take root and grow.
While we are making this search it will be well to remember that "God gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever," (2Chronicles 13:5) and that "Israel" is not the name of the Jewish nation, but that it is the name of the ten-tribed kingdom, which had been driven into "an unknown land" about one hundred and thirty-nine years prior to the flight of this remnant.
Let us also remember that the Sceptre, with all that belongs to it, was promised distinctively to the Judeo-Davidic family, and not to the kingdom which bore the name of Judah, a name which, together with its corrupted form, Jews, is the Biblical historic name of the Jewish nation.
Judah, as we will remember, was the representative name of that nation which was composed of the smaller portion of Israel's seed, because it was to Judah's blessing and standard that the people gathered who afterward became separated from the rest of Israel, and were known as the Jews. They are the descendants of these people who are still known as Jews.
On the other hand, according to a prophecy which shall be cited in due time, the descendants of the ten-tribed kingdom, which had been cast out into an unknown land, were to be called by another name.
The fact that they were not to be known by the name of Israel cannot annul the prophecy which was uttered by Abijah, as he stood upon a certain mount in Ephraim and said:
"Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt?" (2Chronicles 13:5)
Do you ask, "Is it possible that this little royal remnant shall have gone to that same unknown land to which they of the ten tribes had previously gone? Was it among that people that this remnant was planted, and over whom the preserved sceptre held its sway?" Let us examine the Scriptural evidence.
Ezekiel is believed to have lived contemporaneously with Jeremiah. By taking the testimony of chronology, together with the concurrence of many historic events, all may know that this is true.
Jeremiah states historic events and utters prophecies which relate chiefly to Judah, but gives only a little of that which pertains to Israel; while Ezekiel does the reverse of this, saying much that concerns Israel and but little that pertains to Judah.
Still, what he does say concerning the destroyed commonwealth of Judah, the plucked-up Sceptre and the overturned throne of that royal family whose history we are studying, does most undoubtedly furnish evidence which connects the remnant seed and their monarchical belongings with the exiled house of Israel, which has taken root, and whose people are gathering strength in a country the location and geographical character of which are described by the prophets, and which, at a time prior to the prophecies, was an unknown and an uninhabited wilderness.
Jeremiah tells us that:
"Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem." (Jeremiah 52:1)
At a period which synchronizes with the time when Zedekiah had reigned for six years, Ezekiel declares that the word of the Lord came to him saying that he should prophesy against Judah and Jerusalem, concerning the King of Babylon, who would come up against them with the sword, and that at that time he should set battering rams against the gates of the city, cast up a mount and build a fort. The result of this would be that the city would be taken.
At the same time the message from the Lord, which was delivered by the prophet Ezekiel to Zedekiah, was:
"And thou, profane, wicked Prince of Israel, whose day is come, when [your] iniquity shall have an end, thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be [upon] the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more [overturned] until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him," (Ezekiel 21:22-27)
We have no disposition to make an attempt to give words a meaning which they will not bear, nor to attach any signification to them which the context does not clearly indicate; but these words do most certainly give us to understand that there is a person, a male heir of the royal line, who is to be the immediate successor of Zedekiah to the Davidic throne. Also, these words teach that the crown is to be taken from off the head of Zedekiah, upon whom it rested at the time when this prophecy was given, and placed upon the head of this person whom the Scriptures designate as "him that is low."
These words further teach that when the royal diadem, the emblem of kingly power and exaltation, is taken from the one and placed upon the head of that other person, that then the one who was previously high is abased and brought low, but that the one who hitherto was low is then exalted and made high. This is essentially so, because the two men shall have then exchanged places.
Furthermore, the expression, "This shall not be the same," taken together with the prophecy concerning the overturns, leads us to expect a change of dynasty, at least on the side of the male line, and also a change in the territorial or geographical situation. This is still more apparent when we note that there are to be three overturns, and that after the third overturn shall have been accomplished, there are to be no more until another certain person comes. Also, after the diadem has been removed from the head of the prince who wore it at the time of the first overturn and placed upon the head of "him that is low," it is to be noted that then either this man, who is the person understood as the antecedent of the personal pronoun, "Him," or his lineage, is to be dethroned by the Lord in favor of that other person, who is designated as "he whose right it is," to whom it shall then be given.
The next question for us to settle is, Who is this legally possible person, that is to be the successor to Zedekiah, who is spoken of as "him that is low"? for he is spoken of as "low" only in the sense of non-ruling.
By consulting the thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis we will find a record of the conception and birth of twin boys, whose conception and birth were both accompanied by such extraordinary circumstances that the question of their parentage is forever settled; for Tamar, the mother, did willingly stoop in order that she might conquer Judah, the father, and compel him to do justice by her.
The never-to-be-forgotten manner in which Judah was forced to acknowledge that those children were his offspring and that their mother was more righteous than he, does most certainly place the fact of their royal lineage beyond the possibility of cavil.
When the mother was in travail and after the midwife had been summoned, there was the presentation of a hand. Then, for some reason either human or Divine, the midwife knew that twins were in the womb. So, in order that she might know and be able to testify which was born first, she fastened a scarlet thread on the outstretched hand. Since Judah's was the royal family in Israel, and the law of primogeniture prevailed among them, it was essential that this distinction should be made so that at the proper time the first born or eldest son might ascend the throne.
After the scarlet thread had been made secure on the little hand it was drawn back and the brother was born first. Upon seeing this the midwife exclaimed: "How hast thou broken forth?" (Genesis 38:29). Then, seemingly, she was filled with the spirit of prophecy and said: "This breach be upon thee," (v. 29) and because of this prophetic utterance he was given the name of Pharez, i.e., "A Breach." Afterward his brother, who had the scarlet thread upon his hand, was born, and his name was called Zarah, i.e., "The seed."
The very fact that Pharez was really born first would exalt him, and it eventually did exalt his heirs, to the throne of Israel, for King David was a son of Judah through the line of Pharez. But just so surely as this son of Judah and father of David, who was the first one of the line to sit upon that throne, was given the name of Pharez, just so surely must we expect — with that little hand of the scarlet thread waving prophetically before them — that a breach should occur somewhere along that family line.
That breach did occur. We are now considering its history and are well into its transition period, which began when the Lord God sanctified Jeremiah, sent him into the world, and gave him his commission to pull down and pluck up the exalted Pharez line, and afterward to build and plant anew the sceptre, throne and kingdom; while at about the same time the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel and moved him to predict the removal of the crown from the head of the one who is high, a proceeding which not only involves the transfer of the royal diadem to another head, but also an overturning; and when both the transfer and the overturning shall have been accomplished, then the one who was low will have been exalted and the exalted one will have been brought low.
The immediate posterity of this "Prince of the Scarlet Thread" is given as follows:
"And the sons of Zarah; Zimri and Ethan and Heman and Calcol and Dara, five of them in all," (I Chron. 2:6).
Thus the direct posterity of Zarah was five, while that of Pharez was only two.
For the reason that our Lord sprang out of Judah, through the line of Pharez, the unbroken genealogy of that family is given in the sacred records; but the genealogy of the Zarah family is given only intermittently. One thing is made quite clear in the Bible concerning the sons of Zarah, and that is, that they were famous for their intelligence and wisdom, for it was only the great God-given wisdom of Solomon which is declared to have risen above theirs, as is seen by the following:
"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding ... and Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East, for he was wiser than all men — than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara," (1Kings 4:29, 31).
Furthermore, we find that two of them, Ethan and Heman, were also noted singers, as we find by consulting the fifteenth chapter of First Kings and the nineteenth verse. By noting the titles of the eighty-eighth and eighty-ninth Psalms we also see that one of them was composed by "Heman the Ezrahite," and that the other was the song of "Ethan the Ezrahite."
It is not at all unlikely and would be but natural that the Zimri who overthrew Baasha, the third King of Israel (not Judah), belonged to the posterity of Zimri, the first-born son of Zarah, son of Judah and twin brother of Pharez. For, as we have shown, the seed of Jacob were at that time divided into two kingdoms, with the posterity of Pharez on the throne ruling over the kingdom of Judah. How natural it would be for the then living members of that family to think, and to say: "This is the long foretold breach for which we have been taught to look. This is the time to assert our royal prerogatives, take the throne, and rule over this the house of Israel."
It would be but natural for another reason, namely, there has always been an attempt to fulfill, in the natural, every promise that the Lord God has made to his chosen people. He promised Abraham and Sarah that they should have a son. In order that they might accomplish this end Sarah gave and Abraham took, Hagar her handmaid, and the result was Ishmael.
Before Jacob and Esau were born the Birthright was promised to the younger. Jacob, the younger, undertook to accomplish this in the natural by taking unjust advantage of his brother and deceiving his father.
So with Joseph: after God had promised the Birthright to him he undertook in the natural to take advantage of the blindness of Jacob.
Nevertheless, God in his own good time gave Sarah strength to conceive; settled with repentant, wrestling Jacob, and outwitted maneuvering Joseph.
So now, in his own good time, he has also made the predicted breach, which shall result in the bringing down of the line of Pharez, "the high," and which shall exalt the prosperity of Zarah, "the low."