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The story of Judah and Joseph really begins in Genesis 37 when Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave to merchants going to Egypt. Most of the brothers wanted to kill him outright, but Reuben (the oldest) felt responsible and suggested they put him into a pit while deciding what to do. Then as merchants passed by, Judah suggested they sell him to the merchants as a slave (Gen. 37:26-18).
Thus, the original pattern was set for Judah's betrayal. This was the role of Judas in the days of Jesus, because Judas is the Greek form of Judah. His brothers also took his birthright robe and dipped it in blood (37:31). Thus, when Jesus is pictured returning on the white horse in Rev. 19:13, "He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood."
This pictures Jesus in His role as Joseph, and it reminds us that He has been betrayed by Judah, or Judas, not only in His first appearance, but also in His second.
Judah (Joseph's brother in Genesis) actually plays a dual role, good and bad. This is because he was the only actor available at the beginning. But as history unfolded, we see the nation divided into "good figs" and "evil figs" (Jer. 24:2). That is, there were good men of Judah, and there were evil men of Judah.
The good men were those like Daniel, who submitted to the yoke that God had imposed upon the nation for their sin. Daniel submitted to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon and went into captivity, where he served the king faithfully his entire life. Others, however, wanted to fight Nebuchadnezzar and accused Jeremiah of treason for suggesting that they submit to Babylon.
There are always good men and evil men in every nation, and the House of Judah was no different. But back in Joseph's time, there was only one patriarch named Judah, so he had to play both roles. Thus, he played the role of betrayer in suggesting that Joseph be sold as a slave into Egypt; but later he repented (Gen. 44:18-34) in the presence of Joseph.
Likewise, in the time of Absalom's revolt, King David was a man after God's own heart, not because he was perfect, but because he was a repenter. David was following Judah's example, for he was of the tribe of Judah. Absalom, on the other hand, being David's son, was also of the tribe of Judah, but he did not repent. Insofar as he was helped by Ahithophel, he was the one responsible for inducing David's friend to betray him.
In the New Testament, when all of this plays out once again in history, Jesus played the role of David, the "good fig" of Judah. The leaders of Judea played the role of Absalom, the "evil fig" of Judah. All those who continued to follow the religious leaders who usurped Jesus' throne played the role of Absalom's army and are identified with the evil figs of Judah.
These were the actors on the stage of the great drama of history. In the end, those who accepted Jesus Christ as King became the good figs, and those who rejected Him (or supported the rejection by remaining in Judaism) were the evil figs.
The evil figs broke the law of sacrifice (Lev. 17:1-9), because in the great Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, these people did not bring His blood to the door of the tabernacle (temple) to make it effective for them. Even as the Old Testament sacrifices were to be presented to God at the tabernacle or temple to make them effective for each person's sin, so also was Jesus' blood to be brought to the temple which is their body (1 Cor. 3:16).
This signified accepting Christ's death as a Sacrifice for sin, and not merely as the death of a man.
In refusing to do this, the evil figs then suffered the penalty of the law: "that man shall be cut off from among his people" (Lev. 17:4, 9). The evil figs, then, who rejected Jesus, were no longer considered to be of the tribe of Judah (or Levi, or Benjamin, or any other tribe).
Because of this legality, Paul could say in Romans 2:28, "For he is NOT a Jew [Judean] who is one outwardly" that is, "apparently." Paul was saying that those who were considered to be Jews in his day had been cut off from their people and were no longer Jews (members of the tribe of Judah) in the eyes of God.
Only those who continued to follow Jesus Christ, the King of Judah, could claim membership in the tribe of Judah. The criterion for membership depended upon which faction they supported. Did they support the faction that had usurped the throne of Judah--like Absalom had done a thousand years earlier? Or did they support the true and legitimate King of Judah in whom resided the headship for the tribe of Judah?
You see, it is a legal matter. The law trumps genealogy. One cannot claim to be of the tribe of Judah and still reject the legitimate King of Judah. The law will remove his citizenship in the Divine Court, regardless of the purity of his genealogy.
Conversely, those who accept Jesus as King, regardless of their genealogy, are enrolled as members of the tribe of Judah. Hence, Paul continues in Rom. 2:29,
29 He is a Judean who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Paul was not speaking genealogically, but legally. Thus, Paul was saying that the Church was the legitimate tribe of Judah, because they were the good figs who submitted to the rule of Rome instead of trying to overthrow the yoke of Rome.
This is NOT "Replacement Theology," which suggests that the Church "replaced" the Jews in some way. No, Judah was not replaced. If I may coin a new theological term, it is "Continuation Theology." In other words, the good figs of Judah did not replace the bad figs. The good figs, in association with the King of Judah, continued the divine calling of the tribe, which had been given the Dominion Mandate from the beginning.
However, calling of the true tribe of Judah (the Church) has been obscured by the fact that they were excommunicated from the temple in Jerusalem. The usurpers took all the assets of the religion, and so it appeared to men that they were the true Jews. They also formed the majority of the people, even as Absalom's supporters outnumbered David's band.
But God does not look upon appearances. The Divine Court recognizes only one legitimate King of Judah, the Inheritor of the Scepter. If any of the usurpers want to become members of the tribe of Judah, they will have to do so in the same manner as anyone else. They must accept Jesus Christ as King. Otherwise, they are not members of the tribe, nor are they citizens of the Kingdom of God.
This fact will not change, even though certain Christian leaders today pronounce unbelieving Jews to be in a covenant relationship with God based upon their genealogy or upon their adherence to Judaism. Such Christian leaders are playing the modern role of Ahithophel and Judas, for they are betraying Jesus Christ by supporting the usurpers of His throne.
This betrayal is the primary reason that God shook the dust off His feet on July 23, 2006. The decree has gone forth from the Divine Court that these modern Judases will be replaced by true apostles, even as Judas lost his office. In Acts 1:20, Peter speaks of Judas, quoting from Psalm 109:8, "his [apostolic] office let another man take."
I urge all of you who read this to take it seriously. Do not follow such modern Judases, lest you be found in Absalom's army. Stay loyal to David and to Jesus. Do not assist the usurpers in any way.