CH 10 A MISUNDERSTANDING

In A Misunderstanding God renews Jacob’s mind  at the altar Abraham built.  Jacob learns that his mother misunderstood the things God told her before he was born and accepts the bitter reality that he was never the younger that his elders would serve. Instead, his family would become the elder insolent son who serves the younger son – Jesus the Messiah. When Jacob, the elder, humbles himself before Joseph, a younger believer, God exalts Jacob to a greater status than Pharaoh.

So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.  They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them.  Genesis 45:25-26, NIV

 The same sons who brought Jacob a bloody coat, returned from Egypt with wagonloads of treasure and the good news that Joseph was alive and well. After twenty years of sorrow over the loss of Joseph, Jacob’s life suddenly made an unexpected turn for the better. Joseph had not died as Jacob believed. Seeing Joseph again would be like receiving his son back from the dead.

Joseph had also sent Jacob a message that renewed Jacob’s hope and faith in the God of Abraham.

 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me–you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.  I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.  Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen… Genesis 45:9-13, NIV

 Joseph was more than alive. He was living the fulfillment of God’s promise that their family would possess the cities of their enemies. All of Egypt honored Joseph. Even Pharaoh looked to Joseph as a father.

Joseph’s brothers had already bowed before little brother, and now all eyes were upon Jacob. Would Jacob go to Egypt and humble himself before Joseoph or stay in Canaan and become destitute? Initially, Jacob did not believe his sons but after examining the treasures that Joseph sent and listening to everything Joseph told his brothers to say, Jacob was convinced. He packed his possessions for a trip to Egypt.

BEERSHEBA

 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.  Genesis 46:1, NIV

 Beersheba echoed family history and sacred memories.  Jacob’s grandfather Abraham established a place of worship at Beersheba after he entered into a covenant to deal honestly with the Philistines.  Abraham dwelled at Beersheba when God sent him to Moriah to test his faith.  He fully intended to obey God’s command, but God intervened by exchanging Isaac for a ram.  Then God swore an oath to bless their family.  Not only would Abraham’s family become as numerous as the stars in heaven and as the sand on the seashore, they were destined to possess the cities of their enemies and become a blessing to all nations.  After Abraham’s faith proved genuine, he returned to Beersheba, where he worshiped God and taught Isaac and Jacob the promises of God until the day he died.

God appeared to Jacob’s father, Isaac, at Beersheba and confirmed his promise to multiply their family into a great nation.  God also told Isaac why he would keep the promises that were made to Abraham and his seed.  The promises were not contingent on the good or bad behavior of Abraham’s children, but on the fact that Abraham obeyed God and his faith proved genuine.[1] 

When God swore an oath at Moriah, he swore by himself because there is no one greater to swear by.  The oath guaranteed that everything God said to Abraham would be fulfilled because God cannot lie.  A person’s bad behavior might exclude that person from citizenship in the promised kingdom, but a person’s behavior can never stop God’s eternal kingdom from coming to earth.

Jacob was no stranger to the altar Abraham built at Beersheba or the things God said to his father and grandfather.  Isaac and his sons were living at Beersheba when their relationships became so strained Jacob was forced to leave.  Jacob returned home to find Isaac relocated to Hebron.  Beersheba had become a place of bitter memories for Isaac.  The story of how God would bless their family never came to pass. Isaac thought he would become a strong and prosperous nation.  All he became was a family racked with jealously and hatred.   

After Jacob fulfilled his vow at Bethel, he settled at Hebron with his father.[2] Beersheba did not appeal to Jacob either.  He didn’t understand why the God who spoke to his family at Beersheba had allowed so much tragedy and suffering to come upon him.  If Jacob entertained any thoughts of living and worshipping at Beersheba again, they were extinguished when his sons brought home Joseph’s blood stained coat of many colors.

On his way to Egypt, Beersheba tugged at Jacob’s heart.  He thought God had lied to his family, but now he knew that God had not lied.  Jacob’s “old man” stilled controlled his thoughts.  Thoughts that may have went something like this: “At last, someone in the family has been exalted to prominence.  My son, Joseph, is Lord of all Egypt.  There is one problem.  God did not promise us land in Egypt.  Of course, that problem could be easily rectified.  After the famine, Joseph could lead the armies of Egypt to Canaan and easily dispossess a people weakened by malnutrition.  Then I, Jacob, the younger that God told my mama the elders would serve, will be king and everyone will bow before me.”  Jacob could not go to Egypt without stopping at Beersheba to give thanks, and God could not let him go to Egypt until he renewed Jacob’s mind.

 JACOB’S EPIPHANY

And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.  And he said, Here am I.  And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:  I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.  Genesis 46:2-4, KJV

 God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel but he hadn’t done it yet. Israel was still offering sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac, and God was still calling him Jacob.  Jacob needed to understand that Abraham, not Isaac, is the father of his faith before God can honor Jacob with the promised new name of Israel.  For there is only one way to receive the blessing of Abraham – by grace through faith, but even our faith is a gift from God.[3]  He gave us the gift of faith when he taught Abraham how to have faith in his God.  The faith Abraham exhibited at Moriah pleased God, Isaac’s faith didn’t.

There is no partiality with God, everyone receives the blessing promised to Abraham the same way Abraham will.  Abraham’s obedience and faith only guaranteed that Abraham would be raised from the dead to inherit the Promised Land.  Abraham hoped against hope and believed when there was no reason to believe because Jesus had not been born yet.  God made his promises to two men, Abraham (the flesh, born through the carnal act of a man and woman) and Jesus (the Spirit, born through the power of the Holy Spirit).  The promises God made to Abraham could not be fulfilled without Jesus because Jesus is the only seed of Abraham that could pay for the sins committed against God by men and women of flesh.[4]

God shook Jacob out of his stupor when he promised to make Jacob a “great nation” while his family lived in Egypt.  An examination of the Hebrew words for “great” and “nation” used in Genesis Chapter 46 unveils that God’s love is vastly different from Isaac’s love.  Isaac loved with partiality.  God loves with equality.  The Hebrew word that is translated “great” means older and insolent. [5]  The Hebrew word that is translated “nation” means a foreign or Gentile nation.[6] 

In sum, God told Jacob that his family would become the elder insolent brother that serves the younger.  That is exactly what Jacob’s children became.  To this day, Jacob’s children refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is the younger seed, the Messiah, God spoke to Abraham about.  The nation of Israel that consists of Abraham’s flesh children through Isaac and Jacob are equal to all the other nations on earth in God’s eyes.  The Apostle Paul said it this way, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”[7] 

Now that God had Jacob’s shocked attention, he dealt another blow to Jacob’s ego with an echo from the past.  When Jacob had fled from Esau, God appeared to Jacob in a dream and said, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.[8]  God kept his promise to bring Jacob safely home again.  Now God made the exact same promise, this time to go with Jacob to Egypt and once again bring Jacob safely home again.

The last time Jacob left the Promised Land, he was obeying his mother’s plan.  She had planned for Jacob to visit his Uncle Laban until Esau’s anger subsided.  Then she would send word that it was safe to come home.  Things failed to work out the way she planned.  When she sent word for Jacob to return, he couldn’t because he had become an indentured servant to his Uncle. There is evidence in Jewish legend that Rebekah never saw her son again.[9]  Rebekah’s plan failed but God’s would not fail.  This time God was sending Jacob away to fulfill the things he had revealed to Abraham.[10] 

In all of Jacob’s wanderings and failures, he learned that God loves sinners.[11]  Jacob often sinned against God’s will, but he never tasted the wrath of God.  Every time Jacob reaped what he sowed, God helped Jacob find his way out of the mess disobedience created.  God was never partial to Jacob.  He revealed himself to Jacob for a purpose, that Jacob might know God and teach his children what he knew.  Jacob learned by experience that he could leave the Promised Land, and God would be faithful to bring him home again.  Jacob needed to teach his children this truth about God’s faithfulness with the passion experience imparts, because God intended to bring a nation out of Egypt. 

When God said Joseph would put his hands on Jacob’s eyes, Jacob had a much needed and long overdue epiphany.  The eldest son closed the eyes of the dead.[12]  Joseph was one of four eldest sons through Jacob’s wife, Rachel.  If it was Jacob’s fate to die in Egypt he would never be the “the younger” that the elders would bow to. God had not promised his family any land in Egypt. God brought Jacob face to face with a bitter reality.  Jacob would not receive the blessing of Abraham in his lifetime.  Like Abraham and Isaac before him, Jacob would receive the blessing by dying in faith that God would raise him from the dead to inherit the Promised Land.

 VANITY OF THE MIND

Understanding how Jesus is the only way to receive the blessing of Abraham took Jacob most of his lifetime to learn.  When Jacob departed for Haran to flee his brother’s wrath, he did not understand the gospel.  A simple misunderstanding corrupted the faith Rebekah imparted to Jacob.  The corrupt faith that Jacob embraced as “gospel” brought corruption into his life that confused him and made him think God was against him.  The patriarchs and their wives were good people who loved God, but they were also human people who made mistakes. 

There is no shame in erring.  The shame is when we err and refuse to correct it because we will become like the men and women the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans Chapter 1. People who serve God but they don’t know and love God. They suppress the truth God made plain to them even as they worship God.  They are foolish religious leaders who refuse to humble themselves because they love their doctrines more than God’s doctrines.  People who think they are wiser than God will taste the full measure of God’s wrath.

 Jacob’s family knew that one of Abraham’s descendants would be the Messiah from which the promises of God would be inherited.  When Isaac failed to be the Messiah, every son thereafter became a candidate for this honor.  Before Jacob was born, God told Rebekah twin nations were struggling in her womb and the younger would serve the elder.  Rebekah didn’t hear nations; she heard sons. Rebekah did not understand God’s ways, therefore, she did not understand what God told her about her children.  She believed that God had identified the younger of her twin sons as the promised Messiah.  Rebekah’s manipulation of her family to guarantee that her younger son would receive the blessing of a firstborn reveals that she thought her husband was on the verge of making a big mistake. Jacob wasn’t the Messiah and it really didn’t matter who Isaac blessed. 

Rebekah taught Jacob that he was the one God would use to bless the world because that is what she truly believed.  Undoing Rebekah’s influence upon Jacob took God many years and cost Jacob many tears.  Jacob had reason to believe that he was the younger who the elders would serve.  His life as an individual had followed the pattern of everything God told Abraham.  Jacob left Canaan, was treated like a slave by Uncle Laban, God rebuked Laban when he pursued Jacob to retrieve his idols, and then God brought Jacob safely home again with great substance.  These events only confirmed and reinforced the vanity in Jacob’s thoughts.

God privileged Jacob to be in the lineage of Christ, but God did not see one man when he looked in Rebekah’s womb.  Jacob did not live a sinless life; therefore, he could not be the hope of many generations.  While Jacob’s life followed the pattern of the plan God revealed to Abraham, his elder brother Esau never bowed to him.  Jacob never understood why.  Then Joseph dreamed that not only his brothers but also his father would bow to him.  Jacob wanted the blessing as long as he was the younger that the elders bowed to.  He was willing to do anything to obtain the blessing, even lie to his father and betray his brother.  Therefore, when someone younger than Jacob, even someone Jacob loved, dreamed that Jacob wasn’t the younger the elders would bow before, Jacob rebuked him.

Jacob’s thoughts were vain because he failed to understand God’s timing.  His life had followed the pattern of everything God told Abraham except for the timing.  God told Abraham his family would return to the Promised Land in the fourth generation.  Jacob was the third generation; Joseph the fourth.  His family was leaving the Promised Land during Joseph’s lifetime, not returning to the Promised Land, which proved that Joseph wasn’t the Messiah either. 

Before God brought Abraham’s family to the place they would be afflicted, he taught them through the life Jacob lived that he is able to keep them and bring them safely home again.  Jacob’s life also taught them the fallacy of dealing with God by vows that placed requirements upon both parties.  Jacob’s life is a living panorama of God’s ability to preserve a person who complicates his relationship with God by a legal agreement.  If the children of Jacob who stood at the foot of Sinai had remembered the sorrow a vow brought into their father’s life, they would have said “NO” to a covenant of law.

The covenant of grace God established with Abraham was the only covenant they needed.  The burden of grace is light and easy to bear because God alone is responsible for its fulfillment.  The burden of law is so heavy the nation of Israel has barely survived.  The Bible declares that Israel corrupted worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.  There is only one reason the nation did not meet the same fate.  God swore by himself that the promises made to Abraham and his seed (Jesus) would be fulfilled.

Humanity has one creator who is Lord of all.  He is not the God of Israel alone.  He is also God of the Gentiles. Therefore, Jacob and his children are saved the same way the Gentiles are saved and the same way Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were saved.[13] Anyone who desires to be saved must confess that God’s youngest firstborn son (Jesus) is Lord and believe in their heart that God will raise or has raised (depending on whether you lived before or after Jesus’ resurrection) his younger son (Jesus) from the dead.[14] Jesus is the younger son who possesses the rights of a firstborn son to distribute his father’s inheritance.  God created Adam first but, Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and he alone possesses immortality.[15]

The Apostle Paul compared the nation of Israel to a good olive tree.  God broke some of the branches off the tree he planted to be his special treasure because they did not believe in him.  When individuals from other nations believe in God, he grafts them onto his tree by giving them a down payment that they will have the rights of not only citizens but also children when Jesus returns.[16]  Whether you are an original branch or one grafted onto the good olive tree, if you stop believing in God, he will not spare you.  The only thing that keeps anyone attached to God’s tree is his or her faith in God.  If God removes anyone from his tree for unbelief God is able to graft him or her on again.  All they have to do is repent of their unbelief. [17]

TURN NOT ASIDE

Our sins may hinder us and cause us much misery, but our sins are not greater than the God of Abraham is.  If a nation or individual will simply continue seeking God and strive to obey him, God can save them and bring them safely home.  Just like God did for Jacob and just like he is presently doing for the nation Jacob’s children became.  Israel is a nation today, but they are not home yet, because they do not accept Jesus as their king.

Many years after Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, the nation committed a great evil by demanding a King.  The request for a king grieved Samuel, but God assured Samuel that the people did not reject him. They rejected their God. When the people realized their error, Samuel encouraged them to continue seeking their God.

“Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart; And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.  For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people……Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.  But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed… 1 Samuel 12:20-22, 24-25, KJV

 Jacob turned aside from following the Lord more than one time, but he always did one thing right.  When he stumbled, he stood up, dusted himself off and continued following God. God disciplined Jacob, but he never forsook him.  To the contrary, God faithfully worked for Jacob’s good by intervening at crucial times in his life until Jacob understood the faith that pleases God.

Jacob and his son, Joseph, were both prophets who God spoke to in dreams.  They both had a part to play in God’s plan.  One person’s part is not more important than another’s is; every part is necessary. 

Jacob did not understand his faith until he learned how to bow before another believer.  He arrived in Egypt with a renewed mind and bowed before Joseph with the knowledge that Joseph wasn’t the Messiah, he was just another believer doing his part. When Jacob humbled himself before another believer, God gave him the best of everything Egypt had to offer. God also exalted Jacob to greater status than Joseph and Pharaoh. 

Joseph presented five of his brothers to Pharaoh, and then brought his father into the presence of Pharaoh.

 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh.  After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”  And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.”  Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.  Genesis 47:7-10, NIV

 Twice Jacob called himself a pilgrim, one who belongs to another time and place, just passing though this world hoping for something better.  Twice we are told that Jacob blessed Pharaoh. The Bible also tells us, “without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater.”[18]  God’s people are not like the kings of this world who lord it over others. The great among us are like the youngest among us and the one who rules like one who serves.  It is not our time to usurp the power which belongs to the authorities in this world.  We bless and serve them because we belong to another time and place.

 JACOB’S FAITH

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.  Hebrews 11:21, KJV

 Jacob’s great act of faith that is recorded in Hebrew’s Chapter 11 is puzzling when compared to much of the faith taught today.  Indeed, if we would stop and seriously consider the great acts of faith listed in Hebrews Chapter 11, I doubt anyone would have accepted the teaching that Jesus died so we can be healthy, wealthy and obtain what ever we desire in this life.  All of the patriarchs were wealthy, but Isaac and Jacob died blind.  The Bible commends the faith of Isaac and Jacob, so why didn’t they use their faith to obtain healing for their dim eyesight? The people of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11 used their faith to dream with God.  They longed for a better nation than the one they lived in and God was not ashamed to be called their God.[19] 

Some Christians want everything except the city God is preparing for us.  They want to be healed, to be married, to have family problems resolved, to find a better job, deliverance from an addiction, a better life, a ministry, a bigger ministry, a radio and TV ministry, a revival, etc.  Christians desire good things, but so did Jacob. His desire for good things never prevented tragedy because he was vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. In plain English, Jacob did not understand the faith of Abraham and it made him an exceedingly arrogant man. 

Desiring good things does not give us a relationship with the God of Abraham.  The hope God gave to Abraham gives us a relationship with God, because hope is the only basis we have for fellowship with God.  If we would stop seeking the good things we desire, God would add good things to our lives. God does not withhold good things from people who love him.  Jesus admonished us to, “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.[20]  Why should we seek things when seeking the kingdom automatically adds the things?  If we seek God, we will eventually have both.  If we seek the things, we will have the things but we might not have God.

It is easy to understand how Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son required great faith.  How blessing grandsons is an act of great faith worthy of mention in Hebrews Chapter 11 is not so easy to understand, unless we understand what God said to Jacob and how Jacob responded.  Jacob knew from his mother that it was the will of God for the elder son to serve the younger son.[21] He stumbled and struggled in his walk with God because he attributed the promise to “me” instead of to “us.”  When Jacob stopped at Beersheba, God washed boasting out of his mouth with the bitter truth.  God knows how to shut the mouth of anyone who would boast in his presence, including his chosen people.  

 …God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, KJV

 Jacob spent most of his life glorying in himself instead of glorying in the Lord.  Jacob’s vanity thrived on the belief that he was God’s wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. A man who struggled most of his life just to pay the tithe he promised God at Bethel did not have the character to do the unselfish things required of the Messiah.  How could Jacob be the “Lamb of God,”[22] when he couldn’t find the strength to give God a lamb from his flock? 

We become the younger firstborn nation that every other nation on earth will bow before when they accept and confess that Jesus is Lord.  Only those who believe in Jesus have the right to become God’s children. His children are born of the Spirit, not through the carnal act of a man and woman.[23]  Jesus is the Messiah, not Jacob.

 ADOPTED

No matter how many errors we have made in this life, it’s not over until it’s over, and it wasn’t over for Jacob yet.  Six years after Jacob settled in Egypt, Joseph heard his father was sick.  He summoned his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim for a trip to Grandpa’s house. 

The revelation God gave Jacob at Beersheba prompted him to do a lot of reevaluating.  Jacob finally understood who he really is and his thoughts about the plan of God had finally fallen into the proper joint.  Jacob knew he would never see Esau again because God told Jacob he would die in Egypt.  Esau never bowed to Jacob and never would.  Yet God clearly said the elder would serve the younger.  Since Jacob had four wives and a firstborn son from each, the entire family bowed before the youngest of the firstborn sons. Jacob understood that he was the elder who would serve the younger.  Jacob’s vain thoughts about who he really was produced most of the suffering in his life. 

Accepting who we really are is very difficult, especially when we have foolishly exalted ourselves to a place God never intended for us.  The rough road Jacob traveled gave him a humility that his father Isaac lacked.

 As soon as Joseph walked in the room with his sons, Jacob began preaching the gospel. 

And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.  Genesis 48:3-4, KJV

 Luz is the ancient name of Bethel.  God appeared to Jacob at Luz (Bethel) twice.  God’s most recent appearance to Jacob was at Beersheba.  You would think God’s most recent appearance would be the first thing that came to Jacob’s mind but it wasn’t.  Both times God appeared to Jacob at Bethel, God said he would give the land to Jacob and his seed.  Jacob understood “seed” to mean all of his flesh descendants, but God renewed his mind at Beersheba.  Jacob no longer had himself on his mind because he only spoke to Joseph about one seed, the one seed (Jesus) that would make it possible for Jacob to inherit the land and blessings of God.  The same seed Abraham saw afar off that would make it possible for anyone from any nation to inherit the blessing of God – the rights of children in God’s eternal kingdom. 

Jacob finally understood why Abraham believed God could raise the dead.  The end of Jacob’s life was drawing near and no one had ever bowed to him, but his entire family bowed to his the youngest firstborn son who sat at the right hand of a king.  When Jacob understood Abraham’s faith, he finally understood why Jesus was the only way and learned to love him. 

Jacob did more than bless Ephraim and Manasseh.  He adopted two men that were half Hebrew and half Gentile for Joseph had married an Egyptian.[24]  Ephraim and Manasseh eventually replaced Joseph and Levi when the land promised in a covenant of law was distributed to the twelve sons of Jacob.  Joseph’s sons became dominant tribes in Israel.  Ephraim’s name eventually became synonymous with the name Israel because the tribe of Ephraim became the seat of power for the northern kingdom when the nation split.  If Joseph had any other sons, they would be included in the inheritance of Ephraim or Manasseh. 

Jacob blessed two sons under similar circumstances as his father Isaac.  Both Jacob and Isaac had lost their eyesight due to old age.[25]  However, the discipline Jacob endured taught him humility and gave him discernment that Isaac lacked.  Jacob would not make the same mistake his father did – bless sons with an impure heart.  Even though Jacob was blind like his father was, he knew exactly what he was doing.  Jacob gave the blessing of the firstborn to the younger son Ephraim. 

 And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.  And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.  And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.  Genesis 48:17-19, KJV

 Esau could not persuade Isaac to change his mind and Joseph could not persuade Jacob.  Once Isaac and Jacob understood and accepted God’s way, no one could change their mind. 

Jacob was still preaching the gospel to Joseph and his sons, but Jesus did not come from the tribe of Ephraim.  Jesus arose from the tribe of Judah, which leaves us with an interesting question.  Why did Jacob say the seed of Ephraim would become a multitude of nations?  Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, gave us the answer.

 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  Ephesians 1:5-6, KJV

 Jacob had come a long way in his relationship with God and his understanding of the covenant God made with his father Abraham.  Ephraim was the first to be adopted into the rights of a child, but he wouldn’t be the last. God never intended to bless and exalt one person, one family, or one nation above another.  Jacob foresaw the day that Jesus would make it possible for God to adopt a multitude of children from every nation on earth and give each one the equal rights of children in his kingdom. A truth Jacob stumbled in and struggled with until he became a humble man! 


[1] Genesis 26:24

[2] Genesis 35:27

[3] Ephesians 2:8

[4] Galatians 3:16

[5] OT:1419 gadowl (gaw-dole’); or (shortened) gadol (gaw-dole’); from OT:1431; great (in any sense); hence, older; also insolent: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.  Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

[6] OT:1471 gowy (go’-ee); rarely (shortened) goy (go’-ee); apparently from the same root as OT:1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence, a Gentile;  (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.  Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

[7] Romans 3:23

[8] Genesis 28:15

[9] According to Jewish legend, Jacob learned his mother was dead when Deborah (the faithful nurse that followed Rebekah when she left her fathers house to marry Isaac) met him at Bethel.  (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

[10] Genesis 15:12-16

[11] Romans 5:8-10

[12] Freeman, James M., Manners and Customs of the Bible (Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, 1972), 55.

[13] Romans 3:29-30

[14] Romans 10:9

[15] 1 Timothy 6:14-16; Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6

[16] Ephesians 1:13-14

[17] Romans 11:11-24

[18] Hebrews 7:7, NIV

[19] Hebrews 11:16

[20] Matthew 6:33, KJV

[21] Genesis 25:23

[22] John 1:29, 36

[23] John 1:12-13

[24] Before Jacob died, he adopted Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and thus raised them to the level of his own sons. Therefore, when the promised land was allotted to the tribes many years later, Joseph was represented by two full shares. (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

[25] Compare Genesis 27:1 and Genesis 48:10

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of the Westbank Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
This entry was posted in Epiphanies of Patriarchs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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