The Staff that Protects and DefendsApril 24, 2022 - 12:00 am
The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!” — Psalm 110:2
In honour of my father, Fellowship Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms.
Many objects that once belonged to the Jewish people have disappeared since biblical times. The Holy Ark and the menorah that were once in the Holy Temple are perhaps among the most well-known examples. One lesser-known item is a simple, yet special staff.
Jewish tradition teaches that the staff Moses used when he parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could leave Egypt originally belonged to Jacob. It was kept in the hands of Israel’s rulers all the way to the time of King David, through his dynasty and descendants until the destruction of the First Temple. According to tradition, the staff will once again reappear in the End Times.
The Jewish sages teach that this is more than just an interesting sidebar about Jewish history; it also tells the story of Jewish history. A staff is a sign of authority. So in essence, while the staff was in the hands of the Jewish people, they experienced the kind of autonomy and independence that Jacob enjoyed while he lived in Egypt, that Moses had as he broke the yoke of slavery, and that the Davidic dynasty maintained until the end of the First Temple period.
It’s no mistake that the staff has been lost ever since. Until recently, the Jewish people had never really enjoyed that kind of freedom again. Instead, they are the survivors of endless oppression and persecution.
The Staff That Protects and Defends
Here we stand at a juncture in history when all that is changing. Indeed, this time is hinted at in Psalm 110 when it says: “The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’” The psalmist foresaw that the staff, or scepter, would return to Israel once again.
Today, we are blessed to have the state of Israel with a mighty army. We have pledged as a people to protect ourselves and never again be at the mercy of cruel enemies. There are two kinds of staffs in history — one that harms and one that protects. Israel has once again taken up the kind of staff that protects and defends.