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Friday, November 16 2012

A Biography Of Jacob: Blessings And Prophecies

Studies in this complete series of A Biography Of Jacob:
1. The Second Twin 2. The Birthright 3. The Blessing 4. Stairway To Heaven
5. The Jacobites Of Syria 6. Speckled And Spotted 7. The Flight To Canaan 8. When Jacob Became Israel
9. Peace With Esau 10. The Return To Canaan 11. A Coat Of Many Colors 12. Israel In Egypt
13. Blessings And Prophecies 14. Homeward Bound


By the time that Jacob moved to Egypt, he had lived a long and prosperous life (see The Birthright, The Blessing, Stairway To Heaven, The Jacobites Of Syria, Speckled And Spotted, When Jacob Became Israel and Peace With Esau). He went to Egypt knowing that he would die there ("Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes"), but that, as also promised by the LORD, "I will also surely bring thee up again" - a dual prophecy in which, as we will cover in the next and last study in this series, Jacob would both be buried in the land of Canaan after his death in Egypt (see the Fact Finder question below to understand how Canaan and Egypt had a common ancestry) and be raised to eternal life in the future Kingdom of God ("11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV).

Egypt

"46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba [see also The Wells Of Beersheba], and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac [A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac].

46:2 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.

And he said, Here am I.

46:3 And he said, I am God, the God of thy father [see Who Is The LORD?]: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: 46:4 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 46:1-4 KJV)

Although in failing health, Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. During one episode in which he thought that he was going to die, he instructed his son Joseph to bury him in Hebron, in the same tomb as his grandfather Abraham and father Isaac. Joseph promised that he would do so, just as he later had promised for himself (of all of the Israelite patriarchs, including Judah, only Joseph is recorded has having been buried in what became the land of Israel).

"47:28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

47:29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph [see A Biography Of Jacob: A Coat Of Many Colors], and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: 47:30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their buryingplace.

And he said, I will do as thou hast said.

47:31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head." (Genesis 47:28-31 KJV)

Later, at another time when Jacob thought that he was going to die soon (which he did), Jacob called for his family so that he could proclaim his last will and testament to them, along with prophecies about them. The first matter dealt with the adoption of Joseph's two Egyptian-born sons (of an Egyptian mother), Ephraim and Manasseh, as sons - in effect promoting them from grandsons to sons.

Joseph and Pharaoh

"48:1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 48:2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel [see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel] strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed." (Genesis 48:1-2 KJV)

Although Jacob's body was failing him, his memory and his tactical and strategic intelligence were as sharp as ever.

"48:3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 48:4 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.

48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. 48:6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance. 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel [see The Rachel Prophecies] died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem." (Genesis 48:3-7 KJV)

The "blessing" adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob has been frequently depicted in art through the centuries, but rarely have any of them been Biblically accurate. Typically, Jacob and his family are portrayed as northern Europeans (as were most of the artists themselves), but Jacob and Joseph would have had a typical Middle Eastern appearance, and Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph, also had an Egyptian mother (Egyptians of that time were typically black; see the Fact Finder question below) - a fact that is almost always overlooked or ignored by adherents of the "Anglo-Israelism" theory.

As well, while artwork usually portrays Ephraim and Manasseh as little boys at the time of the blessing / adoption, according to the Scriptures, they were born a few years before Jacob arrived in Egypt, and the blessing / adoption of them occurred when Jacob had been in Egypt for seventeen years - Ephraim and Manasseh were approximately twenty years old at the time of the incident recorded here.

Ephraim and Manasseh

"48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?

48:9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place.

And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

48:10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.

48:11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath showed me also thy seed." (Genesis 48:8-11 KJV)

Joseph's blessing was given to his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, not as a matter of inheritance that only one of them (the firstborn) would have acquired, but together because of their adoption as sons. It made "Joseph," as Ephraim and Manasseh, twice as powerful as any other tribe of Israel.

"48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth. 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him. 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

48:15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 48:16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (Genesis 48:12-16 KJV)

There was nevertheless a firstborn blessing, that Jacob gave to the second born son (just as Jacob had acquired over his firstborn brother Esau). Joseph objected when he saw it happen, but the blessing was about a future time, not about then.

"48:17 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. 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

48:19 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.

48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh." (Genesis 48:17-20 KJV)

Jacob then gave a specific prophecy about Joseph's resting place.

Egypt

"48:21 And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. 48:22 Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow." (Genesis 48:21-22 KJV)

Although Joseph would die and be buried in Egypt, Moses would take Joseph's bones out of Egypt, about four centuries later, in fulfillment of "Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." Joseph was then buried in the tribal territory of Ephraim in the time of Joshua.

"50:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. 50:26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." (Genesis 50:25-26 KJV)

"13:18 But God led the people about [see Who Is The LORD? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Exodus], through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you." (Exodus 13:18-19 KJV)

"24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Joshua]. 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel. 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph." (Joshua 24:29-32 KJV)

Although many regard the adoption and blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh to be an isolated event, Jacob then called all of his sons at that same time for their blessing, or admonishment, from their father for the last time.

"49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.

49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father." (Genesis 49:1-2 KJV)

Note carefully how most of what Jacob said about his sons was fulfilled in the time of their descendants.

Egypt

"49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.

49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man [see Dinah Of Israel], and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

49:8 Judah [see Who Were The First Jews?], thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 49:9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 49:10 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. 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.

49:14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 49:15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.

49:16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.

49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

49:20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.

49:21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.

49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 49:26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria]: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them." (Genesis 49:3-28 KJV)

Fact Finder: Which of the sons of Noah was the forefather of the Canaanites and Egyptians?
See The Family Of Ham


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This Day In History, November 16

42 BC: Tiberius was born. He was the Roman Emperor at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). The predecessor of Tiberius, Augustus, was the Emperor at the time of the Messiah's birth, as recorded in the Bible (see Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate?).

Tiberius 1272: King Henry III of England, who had ruled since 1216, died and was succeeded by his son Edward I.

1621: The Pope proclaimed January 1st to be the beginning of the Roman calendar year. Before that time, March was the first month - the reason why a number of today's Roman calendar month names are misnomers e.g. September ("sept" is a prefix meaning "seven") went from being the seventh month to the ninth (see Pope Gregory's Calendar and The Blasphemy Calendar; listen also to our Sermon Do We Use The 'Hebrew' Calendar?).

1686: Britain and France signed the Treaty of Neutrality regarding their colonies in North America in the event of war in Europe. France later supported the revolution of the New England colonies against Britain, not for any purpose of "freedom" (at the very same time that the France-supported revolution in New England happened, France hypocritically had its own colonies in Louisiana and elsewhere in North America - in which France tolerated no independence), but with the intention of conquering New England for France after the colonies became independent of British military support. Later costly wars in Europe, started by the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, diverted French military forces from North America.

1797: Frederick William II, king of Prussia from 1786, died and was succeeded by his son, Frederick William III.

1885: Louis Riel, the rebel leader of the "Riel Rebellion" in Canada, was executed.

1894: Over 6,000 Armenians were reported massacred by Turks in Kurdistan.

1918: With the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the First World War (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars), Hungary was proclaimed an independent republic.

1938: The hallucinogenic drug LSD was first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.

1945: At the end of the Second World War, many prominent Nazi scientists who worked for Adolf Hitler's war and holocaust regime (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) were admitted into the U.S. The "reformed" Nazis (many people, at the time and ever since, nevertheless regarded them as war criminals who escaped justice, including Jewish concentration camp survivors who were victims of some of their "experiments") later worked for various government and military agencies, including NASA and nuclear missile programs.

1960: Riots occurred in New Orleans after two all-white schools began allowing blacks to attend classes.

1965: The Soviet Union launched its Venus III spacecraft. Its arrival on Venus in March, 1966 made it the first spacecraft to land on another planet.

1988: Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan; she was assassinated in 2007.





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