By Henry Law
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." Genesis 49:10
Shiloh is a word first uttered in a dying chamber, and by dying lips. Reader! how soon may your eyes be closing to the speck of earth, and opening on the expanse of boundless being! Accept the humble hope, that in such hour Shiloh, who is Christ, may be your solid support; and that the light of His presence may make the dark valley bright.
Shiloh introduces us to a solemn scene, in which death and joy stand hand in hand. The aged patriarch had known the perils and tossings of a stormy voyage. But the longed-for haven now opens to receive him. Our billows, too, may rage and swell. But let us struggle on in hope. They waft the believer by rapid tide to the calm water of eternal rest. Shiloh is almost the last testimony of the expiring parent. Happy is it thus to leave a legacy of cheering blessings to those who watch around us! Happy to direct the mourner's thought to Him, who has abolished death, and who will gather all His children into one home of blessed union--where union is eternity.
Shiloh. It is a sweet and mighty name. Sweet, for it is His, whose name is as ointment poured forth. Mighty, for it is His, whose name is above every name. In it He comes near to hold enlightening converse with our minds. His love delights to reveal the riches of His goodness, and of His glory, to His people. Thus while the highest angels veil their faces while they worship at His throne, He draws the poor sinner to His side, and bids him read, line upon line, the records of His grace. He passes before us in a long train of titles: each giving fresh knowledge and awakening fresh rapture. But while other names shine each as one ray of attribute, Shiloh is a very wreath of light. Others are as separate jewels. This is a fully-set diadem. It has many tongues. May each, by the Spirit's power, speak much to us!
Shiloh is the Sent. "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent." Here then Jesus spreads, as it were, His credentials before us. He bids us mark, that He comes not without authority; that He is commissioned by some court. Yes, truly, He brings a message from a far-off kingdom. He speaks an absent Sovereign's will. By whom is He thus sent? Hear one of the many voices, with which Scripture scatters the reply throughout its pages. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us; because God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." The eternal Father sends the eternal Son. We adore the love of Jesus, in visiting this earth. We adore the love of the Spirit, in aiding us to see His work and hear His voice. Let us adore, with every power of adoration, the love of the Father, in opening the door by which He came. The praise of every breath can never reach the glorious Giver's glorious gift. The fountain of redemption lies deep in the Father's heart. The first link of salvation's golden chain is in the Father's hand. The thought, "Let us send a Savior," sprang into being in His mind. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." "God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Let us strive to measure the greatness of the love in the greatness of the Sent One. The Father's Shiloh is the Father's Son. In the fullness of time "God sent forth His Son." If He had emptied heaven of all its shining hosts, and despatched them in glorious array, it would indeed have been a brilliant embassage. But all would have been as dross, compared with Jesus. He as much transcends all multitudes of angels, as the Creator can transcend the thing which He has made. He had lived a whole eternity, while they were wrapped in nothingness. How much more precious He than they! Could then no other Shiloh execute the errand? Impossible! The work to be accomplished is the sinner's redemption. Infinite righteousness must be spread over the unrighteous. For this Jesus is needed. For this Jesus is sent. Expiation must be made for sins, infinite in number, and each infinite in guilt, and therefore Jesus comes. Jesus alone is able to atone.
Believer, read then in your Shiloh the tender graces of the Father's heart. He sends so much to save you, that He could send no more. Read the boundless worth of your soul. Shiloh's merits are its only price. Read the unutterable anguish of the lost. Shiloh alone had strength to bear it for you. Read the inconceivable glories of the redeemed. That heaven must be bright indeed, which is the purchase of a divine Shiloh's blood.
Shiloh! The next expression of the word is--He for whom it is reserved: He to whom the kingdom appertains: He, who is the heir of all things. Thus Jesus is revealed, as seated on the throne of redemption's glories. We catch the sound of the proclamation, "There was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed." Here is that sure purpose, and that sure promise, which is faith's high tower of undoubting confidence. Here is the foreshadow of the onward coming of victories, which must be.
What though the world is foolish, in mad rebellion against Shiloh? What though iniquity may seem a mighty potentate? What though the pure truths of Jesus are trodden as the mire beneath ungodly feet? The name of Shiloh laughs all foes to scorn. It is a banner of triumph, on which is inscribed, "His is the kingdom, and the scepter, and the sway." "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion." "Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool." Yet a little while, and Jesus will take to Himself His great power and reign, "and the wicked shall be silent in darkness."
Believer, cease then to be downcast, because you see not yet all things put under Him. Your Shiloh must prevail. Look back and see what wonders have followed the preaching of His name. Look around and see what numbers are flying to the cross, as doves to their windows. Look onward, and delight yourself in the view of fields ripening for the harvest. In following Him, you follow a mighty Conqueror to mighty victories. In His service you march to blessed triumphs. How soon, and every foe shall lick the dust! How soon, and every cry of opposition shall have died away! How soon, and His chariot-wheels shall drive gloriously, and Satan, and the grave, and hell, and all the legion of sin's slaves, shall writhe in captive chains! The kingdom is reserved for Shiloh. It may be you have often prayed, "Your kingdom come." It is at hand. The answer tarries not. How will it find you? Does faith bear witness, that you are called to inherit the kingdom? Or does conscience tremble, lest His glory should be your everlasting shame. Prepare to meet Him. Shiloh's reign is at the door.
Shiloh brings another message. It means--His Son. Do you ask, whose Son? Faith takes the largest view. It answers, the Son of God--for Jacob's mind is fixed on God. The Son of Man--for Jacob speaks of Judah. Deity and humanity are here claimed for Christ, and both are His.
He is Jehovah's Son. This is the keystone of salvation's arch. This is the light of salvation's skies. He is one with the Father. One in nature--one in essence--one in every perfection. In every sense He is His co-eternal and co-equal fellow. From everlasting to everlasting He is the Mighty God. Before all worlds, and world without end, He is God over all. They know no hope, who know not Christ, as God. It is mockery to say, "Look unto Me and be saved," unless the speaker be divine. If He were less, He could not remove one speck of iniquity from a sin-soiled soul. It cannot be too firmly maintained, that each sin is an infinite evil, and therefore requires the expiation of infinite merit! But you have all infinitudes in Shiloh. He is omnipotent to bear away the countless sins of the whole multitude of the redeemed. He is sufficient to clothe them with righteousness fit for heaven. He is irresistible to subdue every foe. He is all-glorious to present them all-glorious before the throne of God--and to encircle them with all glories forever. This He can do, because He is Shiloh, the Son of God.
But Shiloh--His Son--may mean the Son of Judah. Here then we have another sign of the Woman's Seed. Jesus shall be the Lion of Judah's tribe. He shall put on the rags of our poor flesh, as the offspring of one of Judah's daughters--cradled in Judah's city. This is the wonder of heaven, of earth, of hell, of all eternity. Does it fill your heart with raptures of adoring praise? Do you find in it precious token of His boundless love, and sure proof that He is qualified to redeem?
Ponder well the fact. If Christ is not truly man, there is no atoning death--no expiating blood--no justifying righteousness--no kindred sympathy--no open way to God--no center of union. God is infinitely far from man. And man is immeasurably below God. But Shiloh comes to make them one, with every property and faculty of man, and every power of God. Faith is satisfied, and cries, "My kinsman, my Lord, my God, my full, my complete Salvation!"
But there is yet another chord from Shiloh's harp. It sounds the sound of Peacemaker. What sweet music to a poor trembling sinner! He knows that sin makes tremendous enmity. It turns the heart of God to wrath. It fills His lips with threats, and His hands with destroying weapons. It builds the walls of hell, and kindles the fire, and hurries its victims to the never-dying worm. But Shiloh flies to earth, and wrath departs, and love resumes the throne, and peace puts on the crown. He takes away the provoking cause. He buries sin in the fathomless ocean of His blood. God looks on the believer wrapped up in Jesus, and loves him with immeasurable love, and blesses him with countless blessings, and honors him with heaven's honors, and glorifies him with heaven's glories! Shiloh is our peace with God.
But He is more. He causes the waters of perfect peace to flow in sweetest tides over the troubled surface of an awakened soul. When the Spirit-taught conscience feels what we really are, and what we really merit, what agonies come over him! There can be no ease, no hope, until Shiloh bears us to His cross, and opens to us His wrath-appeasing wounds. But when we see all our punishment descending upon Him, each fear is lulled to rest. The storm of anguish becomes the calm of heaven's own joy. The trial of life, the apprehensions of trouble, the threats of poverty and of pain, the frowns of the ungodly, no more can harass. He, who has Shiloh in his heart, has no room for anything but peace. He hears no voice, but that of the Prince of Peace, always whispering, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." Such is the Shiloh promised by the dying patriarch. He has come. He has fulfilled all.
Reader! Do not put aside this feeble testimony, until you can say, I know Him--I love Him--I cling to Him in all the offices, which the large terms reveal.