4: Genesis 9:26
365 Prophecies: Prophecy 4
The Messiah shall come from the line of Shem.
Old Testament Prediction:
Genesis 9:26 And he said: “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem, And may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, And may he dwell in the tents of Shem; And may Canaan be his servant.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Luke 3:36 “(Jesus)…the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech…”
These two verses from Genesis 9:26 are little known and rarely taught in the Christian church today. Their importance is eternal, and the relevance of their fulfillment reaches down through time to every generation of men on the earth.
In Genesis chapter 9, Noah has fallen asleep after drinking too much wine. Laying naked in his tent, Ham, one of his three sons, commits a grave sin against his father. Shem and Japheth walk into their father’s tent backwards so as to not see his nakedness and cover their father with a blanket. As a result of Ham’s error, his son Canaan is spoken of by God, as being cursed and a servant of his brothers.
When Noah awakens, he pronounces a blessing on Shem that has profound Prophetic meaning. Shem is to be the focus of all God’s future blessing. To the Hebrew who was reading these two verses, the first thing that he would notice was that— this is the earliest place in the Old Testament, where God is referred to as a personal possessive. He is called The God of Shem. It was clearly understood by all of the Rabbis that this verse referred to the fact that from Shem, the Messiah would some day come.
The fulfillment for this fourth Old Testament prophecy is found in Luke chapter 3:36.
Luke’s account of Jesus’ genealogy is given, whereby His lineage is traced back through David, Abraham, and finally to Shem, the son of Noah.
Luke 3:36 “(Jesus) …the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech…”
By the mention and inclusion of this genealogy of Jesus in Luke Chapter 3, where Shem is mentioned, it is clear that the intention of the Holy Spirit is to link Jesus with the blessing pronounced by Noah, in Genesis Chapter 9.
…may he dwell in the tents of Shem…
In the story of Noah, who is found drunk in his tent, we see his three sons— Shem, Ham and Japheth.
Ham’s son Canaan is cursed for the sin that Ham committed against his father Noah, by not respecting the privacy of his nakedness. Noah foresaw the moral flaws of his grandson Canaan, prophesying that Canaan’s descendants would magnify Ham’s incorrect behavior and be morally depraved and corrupt, thereby inheriting the curse of God. The Canaanites in history, became the most morally corrupt people ever to have lived on the earth.
Japheth is spoken of as having his tents enlarged, a reference to the fact that Japheth will have many descendants.
Shem is said to be the one to whom others will dwell in his tent. This means that a future descendant of Shem will provide shelter for the descendant’s of Japheth.
Man divides other men into many categories: Black, White, Asian and so forth. God divides people into only two groups: those in a right relationship with Him and those who are not in a right relationship with Him.
Canaan is an Old Testament illustration of all those who are not in a correct relationship with God because of their sin. These enemies of God are in need of someone who can save them.
Japheth is an illustration of those who will tell all those who are not in a correct relationship with God, how to approach Him and enter into a correct relationship with God. How does a person come into a correct association with the Lord? According to this prophecy, it is by dwelling in the tent of Shem. David and Abraham came from Shem and their future descendant was Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Shem is an Old Testament picture of the coming Savior who will bring men into a right relationship with God, by the sacrifice of His life.
When Luke writes chapter 3 and describes Jesus as coming from Shem, it is the Holy Spirit who is pointing the way for us to understand that this 4th Prophecy in the Old Testament, given by Noah for his son Shem, is a prediction that a descendant of Shem will be the Savior promised by God.
A right relationship with the LORD is available to all the enemies of God, who are willing to allow the Messiah to pitch His tent with them and live inside their heart. One of the names given to Jesus is Immanuel, which means God dwelling with us.
In other words, Jesus came so that God could pitch His tent and live with us. Anyone, no matter who they are or what they have done, is welcome to come into the tent of Shem and partake of the blessings that his future descendant, Jesus the Messiah, has brought to all those who are willing to trust Him and make Him Lord and Savior of their life.