As with all things, there is the true and the false. You cannot have one without the other. Thus, we have an Isaac and Ishmael manifestation in everything that God brings forth.
Over the last few decades great emphasis has been placed upon the prophetic ministry. There are entire movements calling themselves “prophetic.” Apostles and prophets have become household terms in some circles. The false always precedes the true just as Ishmael preceded Isaac. Everything true that comes forth in God is related to one thing: The Lordship of Jesus Christ.
8 ¶ “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.
9 “Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?
10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
The above passages give us the key to Christ’s prophetic voice in the earth. Let’s move forward almost 500 years from when this prophecy about Judah was spoken. Israel was led out of Egypt by Moses after 430 years of dwelling in Egypt. Because of Israel’s reluctance to take the land due to the giants that inhabited it, God judged Israel and vowed that all of those who came out of Egypt would die in the wilderness. Thus, they wandered for 40 years. Under Joshua, Israel began to possess its inheritance.
14 ¶ Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the LORD has thus far blessed?”
15 Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up to the forest and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.”
16 The sons of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have chariots of iron, both those who are in Beth-shean and its towns and those who are in the valley of Jezreel.”
17 Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying, “You are a numerous people and have great power; you shall not have one lot only,
18 but the hill country shall be yours. For though it is a forest, you shall clear it, and to its farthest borders it shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, even though they have chariots of iron and though they are strong.”
1 ¶ Then the whole congregation of the sons of Israel assembled themselves at Shiloh, and set up the tent of meeting there; and the land was subdued before them.
Shiloh was in the midst of Ephraim. The tent of meeting was where God would meet with Moses, and later, Joshua. It was where God’s presence dwelt. It’s significant that when the tent of meeting was set up in Shiloh, the land was then subdued before them. It was establishing the presence of the Lord in Caanan that led to its subjection. We will come back to this.
In Gen. 48 Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph. The following is the account.
11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.”
12 Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground.
13 Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him.
14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the firstborn.
15 He blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
16 The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.”
19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
20 He blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will pronounce blessing, saying, ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!’” Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
From the above passages we see that Ephraim was to hold a special place in the nation of Israel. As we have already read, the tent of meeting was set up in Shiloh, which was in Ephraim. For several centuries Ephraim held a preeminent place as Israel’s spiritual and political center. It was in Shiloh that the prophet Samuel was first called and established (1st Sam. 1-2). Samuel represented a new order in Israel. He was both prophet and judge over Israel. He wielded authority as well as a prophetic word. Samuel established the sons of the prophets during the years of his leadership. Companies, or schools of prophets, were founded and functioned throughout the cities of Israel during the days of Samuel and endured into the days of Elijah and Elisha. This prophetic voice has its roots in Ephraim. Samuel was born in Ramah, and was an Ephraimite. It was from Ramah that Samuel judged Israel.
Judah also had significant prophecies over him. Throughout Israel’s history, there was strife and jealousy between the tribes of Judah and Ephraim. Part of the prophecy over Judah was “Your father’s sons shall bow down to you (Gen.48:8).” Keep in mind that the rest of the prophecy concerning the ruling scepter and Shiloh is fulfilled in the spiritual realm, not the earthly one. There is to be a spiritual joining together of these two tribes.
10 ¶ Then in that day The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.
11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea.
12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
13 Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab, And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.
16 “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’
17 “Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.
18 “When the sons of your people speak to you saying, ‘Will you not declare to us what you mean by these?’
19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’
12 ¶ Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.
13 For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim. And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece; And I will make you like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the LORD will appear over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning; And the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And will march in the storm winds of the south.
15 The LORD of hosts will defend them. And they will devour and trample on the sling stones; And they will drink and be boisterous as with wine; And they will be filled like a sacrificial basin, Drenched like the corners of the altar.
16 And the LORD their God will save them in that day As the flock of His people; For they are as the stones of a crown, Sparkling in His land.
The above passages reveal God’s instrument in establishing His kingdom. Mystically, Judah is the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephraim is the prophetic company that comes forth under the Lord’s scepter. Hosea speaks prophetically of Ephraim in chapter nine: “Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet…” Thus, we have a mystical fulfillment of “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Shiloh is coming. “Shiloh” is sons coming forth with a living word in their mouths. The obedience of the people is given to the Lord Jesus Christ indwelling a prophetic company. This message began by emphasizing the true and the false. The true “Shiloh” functions under the scepter and ruling staff of “Judah,” i.e., the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The false will feign obedience to His Lordship, but in reality they are a law unto themselves.
8 ¶ “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me!
9 “Let there be no strange god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
10 “I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
11 “But My people did not listen to My voice, And Israel did not obey Me.
12 “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices.
13 “Oh that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways!
14 “I would quickly subdue their enemies And turn My hand against their adversaries.
15 “Those who hate the LORD would pretend obedience to Him, And their time of punishment would be forever.
16 “But I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, And with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
When verse 15 says those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience, it must be interpreted as those who reject the work of the cross, and thus Christ’s Lordship over them. Thus, we have the Ishmael manifestation of Shiloh, the prophetic voice of Christ in the earth.
The sons of the prophets come forth in this hour. They come forth functioning under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.