Scepter of the Lord

The Question

What does the Lord's scepter represent?

B. From Pennsylvania


The Answer
Part 1: Authority extended with grace

Authority extended with grace

To determine symbolic meaning in scripture we need to seek understanding of how a term is used within its scriptural context. Looking at its first occurrence places the heaviest weight on its meaning. The word “scepter” is introduced to us in Genesis 49:10. “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.”

First of all, what is a scepter? It’s a staff or rod carried by a king or high official. It was used as a token of the sovereignty and authority of the king. That fits right in with the scepter talked about in Genesis. Jacob (or Israel) was prophesying here over each of his twelve sons and he places the scepter in Judah’s hands. Whether he understood it fully himself at the time or not, Israel was speaking of the linage from which the Messiah would come. The Christ would have kingly authority and be born of the tribe of Judah.

God’s sovereign authority would reside in the Anointed One – the Messiah of Israel and ultimately the Savior of the Gentile world as well. While earthly kings might rule sometimes wisely and sometimes unwisely, this King would rule perfectly rightly. “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.” (Psalm 45:6)

This passage from Psalms is quoted by the New Testament writer of Hebrews in describing Jesus to the readers as “His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:2) That makes things pretty clear. Who holds God’s scepter? Who holds preeminent authority over all of creation? Jesus Christ.

There is still one more scepter reference in scripture that I think adds beauty to its meaning and it is found in the book of Esther. The relationship between the Persian king and Esther is often likened to Christ the bridegroom and his bride, the Church. When Esther seeks audience with the king “she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand.” (Esther 5:2) Now that’s GRACE.

We may approach his throne. Even though he has all authority we need not fear. We find favor with him and his scepter is extended to us. I like that meaning best of all!

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