April 23


"I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17, NKJV).

In Balaam's unwilling prophecy of blessing on Israel, the prophet in his mind's eye is transported into the distant future. He sees the coming Messiah and identifies Him by the titles of a "Star," and a "Scepter." In today's portrait, we will consider Christ as the Scepter that would "rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17, NKJV) and hold sway over all the earth.

In ancient times, the scepter was a short rod or staff usually decorated with carvings. It was handed down from generation to generation to denote authority. It identified the leader or ruler. Even today, a scepter may be a staff carried as a badge of sovereignty or a mace used in governmental circles as in a parliament or senate. In the story of Queen Esther, it was a golden scepter (see Esther 4:11). The scepter is a symbol of royal authority and of the right to rule.

Balaam's beautiful prophecy of a Scepter that would rise out of Israel was a prediction that the Messiah, whose right it is to rule, would eventually come. The prediction pointed to the time when Christ, the ultimate authority in the universe, would bring about final victory over the enemies of His redeemed people.

The Scepter that will rise out of Israel is Jesus Christ Himself who will reign over all the earth when "the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15, NKJV). Jesus Christ, the undisputed and indisputable ruler of all creation, will finally exercise His supreme, universal dominion. Then all humanity will bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.

Describing Christ's final dominion, Ellen G. White tells how Christ will "stand upon the Mount of Olives; and that dominion, once consigned to Adam over the creation, and forfeited by Him (Genesis 1:26; 3:17), shall be given to Jesus. He shall be King over all the earth."--The Great Controversy, p. 359.

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to be submissive to the authority of Your Scepter. Amen.