And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.                    Genesis   38:28

One of the subtle testimonies to the veracity of the Bible is seen in the stark honesty and detail which is often recorded concerning the weakness, sin, and failure of those who frequently are in the center of its narrative.   There is no attempt to gloss over their faults or to try to present them in a more “righteous” light than they are by nature.   One could say that the Bible records its history and the lives of its “heroes”; “warts and all”.

Judah was the fourth son of Jacob, yet it was to him that the mantle of the “first-born” fell since his eldest brother, Reuben, fell out of his father’s favor by an incestuous relationship with Bilhah, one of his father’s concubines. (see Gen.35:22; 49:1-4).   The next two sons (also the elders of Judah), Simeon and Levi, were rejected by Jacob because of their cruelty in dealing with Shechem and the household of Hamor in the matter concerning their sister Dinah.  (see Gen.34; 49:5-7)  

If one doubts the Divine predestination of all things, he must hide his head in the sand when he reads of these events.   For it is from Judah’s loins that the LORD JESUS was prophesied to come as pertaining to the flesh.  It was of necessity that all of these events occur in the fashion which they did, and we can see that fact, further played out before us in the subsequent wicked acts of Judah and the product of his incestuous fornication with Tamar, his own daughter-in-law.

Tamar gives birth to the sons of Judah, as twins are born to her.   The detail of this birth must not be overlooked for in it is illustrated the first man Adam, who is of the flesh, and the SECOND MAN ADAM who is the FIRST BORN among many brethren.  (see I Cor.15:45-47)  Those two sons were Zarah, which literally means “to return”, and Pharez which literally means “the BREAKER.”   Both Zarah and Pharez have the same father (Judah) but one is ordained to “return” to the dust from whence it came and the OTHER is ordained to conquer death.

Zarah is by all accounts of those who witnessed this birth, (in the flesh) the first born, since he stuck out his hand and they placed a scarlet thread around it. “the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first.” (Gen 38:28)  And so it is that Adam is the father of all flesh and indeed in the purpose of GOD that which is of the flesh must precede that which is of the SPIRIT as we read in I Cor.15:45-47.  This is also demonstrated as the LORD declared to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7)

Yet Pharez, who is representative of CHRIST, is that one whose birth signaled the triumphant entry of the “LION of the tribe of Judah” which could in no wise be superceded or prevented by flesh and blood.   Though HE was born in the flesh, HE was in no sense less than the GOD of heaven and earth, that ONE whose hand cannot be stayed, nor HIS purpose questioned.

We read of HIM in the prophecy of Micah, as HE is referred to by the very name given to Pharez, “I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them. “  (Mic 2:12-13)   And then this same ONE is spoken of by Isaiah,  “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. “ (Isa 63:1)

HE is the BREAKER and who can stand before HIM?   HE has triumphed gloriously, the horse and the rider hath HE thrown into the sea.   HE is indeed mighty to save as HE has trod the winepress of GOD’s wrath alone, no man did stand with HIM nor did any one offer HIM any aid.  “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.” (Isa 63:5)

HE has “broken” the power of the law to condemn those who were by nature the children of wrath even as others, who were yet those loved by HIM from before the foundation of the world.  “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb 9:12)  “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Col 2:14)

HE has “broken” the ability of the “accuser of the brethren” to bring any charge against HIS elect in whom HE delights.  “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:15)  “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. “ (Heb 2:14)

HE has “broken” the power of death, removed the source of its fear, and brought life and immortality to light.  “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:15)  “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor 15:55-57)  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1Pet 1:3)

HE has broken the chains of “slavery to sin”.  “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:9-11)  “For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Col 3:6-10) “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God.” (Rom 7:25)  

Just as Pharez is representative of the LORD JESUS CHRIST as the mighty and conquering SAVIOR who cannot be deterred from HIS appointed purpose, so too we see Zarah as representative of those sons of Adam upon which the grace of CHRIST has been bestowed.  They are HIS brethren since HE did not take on HIMSELF the nature of angels (see Heb.2:16) rather, both partook of the same flesh and blood. HE is their BROTHER by divine appointment and familial ties.  This is manifested in time by the power of HIS quickening SPIRIT which gives them LIFE.   They are marked by the scarlet thread of HIS redeeming blood before they were ever born and manifest their sonship by the operation of the gift of faith.


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