Question: I am confused about what Genesis 49:10 actually means.
Answer: We shall quote the verse in question.
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." - Genesis 49:10
The Hebrew for "sceptre" is "shebet" and signifies a rod or staff. Each tribe of Israel had its own staff, or rod of identity. The literal reading would be, "The tribal identity shall not depart from Judah...until Shiloh come." "Shiloh" means the "bringer of peace." Remember, Judah was the tribe through which Christ was to come. In order to know that Christ was the true Messiah, the tribal identity of Judah had to be in existence. These records were kept in the Temple at Jerusalem.
This Scripture passage, a prophecy, states that these records identifying Judah and his descendents would be in existence until Shiloh (Christ) came. About 37 years after Christ, in 70 A.D., Titus, the Roman general, destroyed the Temple and all records therein, and scattered the Jews worldwide.
No Jew, today, knows what tribe he is from, only Jesus Christ. His genealogy is preserved forever in Matthew and Luke. Matthew, Chapter 1, traces the priestly line from Abraham to Christ and Luke, Chapter 3, traces His blood line clear back to Adam. This prophecy is proof that...
"He (Christ) came unto his own (Israel), and his own received him not. (11) But as many as received him (Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:11,12)