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Friday, November 16 2012
A Biography Of Jacob: Blessings And Prophecies
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).
"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].
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said, Who are these?
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.
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.
Jacob then gave a specific prophecy about Joseph's resting place.
"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)
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.
Note carefully how most of what Jacob said about his sons was fulfilled in the time of their descendants.
"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.
Fact Finder: Which of the sons of Noah was the forefather of the Canaanites and Egyptians?
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?).
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.