Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 114

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Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 114

(Key verses: Genesis 49:22-26)

God declares the end from the beginning, and as such, He also works all things in between according to a perfect plan and purpose which nothing and no creature can alter. Everything works 100% according to His counsel and pleasure:

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

The theme of the last days brings these truths to light, even as it is in our last days when God’s work from the beginning is unveiled to us through His judgment (Ecc 3:1-11). This is when the revelation of Jesus is given to us through the process of spiritual conversion (Joe 2:28-31; Mat 13:30; Mat 24:1-51; Act 2:14-21; Rom 2:5; 1Pe 1:13; Rev 1:1-18):

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

It is indeed fitting that it is also in the final section of the book of Genesis that we see how this theme of the last days is brought to us through the words of Jacob before he died, after living in Egypt for the last seventeen years of his life. It was the time to tell his sons “which shall befall [them] in the last days”:

Gen 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.
Gen 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.

These sons of Jacob are all spiritual types of “the Israel of God”, His elected few, who are being judged in this age (Gal 6:16):

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [Greek: aiōn = age] are come.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

In previous discussions we already touched on Jacob’s words to Reuben (meaning “behold a son”), Simeon (“to hear”), Levi (“joined”), Judah (“praise”), Zebulun (“habitation”), Issachar (“reward”), Dan (“judge”), Gad (“a troop”), Asher (“blessed”) and Naphtali (“wrestlings”). In this discussion we want to look at a few aspects in the lives of Joseph and his offspring. Of all Jacob’s sons, Joseph’s story is the best known as he was the firstborn son from Jacob’s favourite wife, Rachel. Rachel had to endure the pain and humiliation of seeing how the other women in Jacob’s life bore him ten sons altogether. Joseph and his brother Benjamin were the last two sons born to Jacob via Rachel. What a lesson it is for us to be like the husbandman to wait for the precious fruit of the earth:

Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

This is also what the meaning in the name of Joseph wants to emphasize. Joseph’s name means “the Lord will add” or “increase”. Here are the final words of Jacob to Joseph:

Gen 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
Gen 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
Gen 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:)
Gen 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:
Gen 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.

Joseph’s life presents one of the clearest pictures in the scriptures of what the elect of God are enduring in this life to learn how we indeed will possess our souls through longsuffering and patience (Luk 21:19). Let us take each of these verses which contain these words of Jacob and briefly discuss how they apply to us.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough [Hebrew: “bên” = son], even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches [Hebrew: “bath” = daughter] run over the wall…”

The Hebrew word “bên” (translated “bough” in that verse) means “son”, and the Hebrew word “bath” (translated “branches”) means “daughter”. These two words have the same root in the Hebrew, namely “bânâh” which relates to the building of an offspring – whether sons or daughters:

Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Psa 127:4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Psa 127:5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

We know that Joseph is a type of Christ, as his whole life pictures the favour and work of God in Jesus Christ whom God established as His Son and through whom a huge spiritual offspring will be brought forth (Psa 2:7; Mic 5:2; Mat 3:17; Joh 1:14; Joh 5:26; Joh 14:13; Act 13:33; 1Co 15:22-28; Col 1:15; Heb 1:5). In this sense, Jesus was also given the role which the wife plays into a relationship. The reference to this female role through the Hebrew word “bath” also relates to the few whom Father has ordained to be set apart in this age to bear much fruit for Him through Jesus (Joh 6:44):

Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

The apostle Paul also gives this spiritual relationship between the Father and the Son, which reflects in the relationships between Christ and the church, and the husband and wife in earthly terms, for our understanding (Rom 1:20):

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Eph 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

It is the church, the branches of the vine, who “run[s] over the wall” to be used by God to bring in the rest of humanity through His judgment in the lake of fire (Neh 9:27; Oba 1:21; Luk 22:29; Col 1:28; Rev 20:14-15):

Act 1:7 And he [Jesus] said unto them [His disciples], It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Joh 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Of all the sons of Jacob, Joseph was indeed the most fruitful and blessed, although he was taken through the most difficult journey of all Jacob’s sons. This confirms such an important spiritual lesson in the lives of God’s elect that it is indeed through much tribulation that God’s elect will be qualified to be in the blessed and holy first resurrection and to be the saviours of the world (Rev 20:4-15):

Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The fruits of the spirit cannot be achieved by a wishy-washy name-it-and-claim-it attitude which so many are caused to believe. To find the fiery trials of God something to complain and murmur about is indeed strange to those who are called to suffer with Christ, as they know that is how God’s elect will be brought to rulership (Php 1:29):

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

This is what Joseph’s life teaches us. It is Christ in us who supplies everything we need to be fruitful to the glory of the Father (Php 4:13; Col 1:24-29):

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

“…The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him…”

These words spoken by Jacob to Joseph indeed were fulfilled throughout His life. As it happened to Joseph, we ourselves can testify how the calling of God can be seen from a very early age in our lives. Joseph did not ask for the coat of many colours, but his father gave it to him, which caused Joseph to be the target for his envious brothers:

Gen 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
Gen 37:4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.

We know that all things we have were given to us by God, and as such, He is the One who sets us up to experience the things which will form us. It is within our “last days” that we are enabled to “read”, “hear” and see how we live and “keep” the testimony of Jesus in our lives (Mat 4:4; Rev 1:1-3). It is indeed through words and actions that the condition of one’s heart is expressed and revealed (Psa 11:2):

Psa 64:3 Who [the wicked/the enemy] whet [Hebrew: “shânan” – point/pierce/teach] their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words.

Jer 9:3 And they [treacherous men] bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.

Arrows, in this sense, equal words, and in spiritual terms, this is what archers do – we speak and act according to what the heart determines, whether for good or evil. The elect of God knows the words of truth through the Archer, Jesus Christ (Isa 49:1-3; Joh 1:1-5):

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him [Thomas], I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou [Philip] not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The elect also know that they indeed “in times past” were the target of the arrows of evil, including the false teachings and deceptive words coming from the mouth of false prophets (1Jn 4:1-6; 2Pe 2:1-3):

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

When we say we know the truth, as Jesus said His true church would know, we are indeed wearing our coat with many colours, and we become the target of the hatred and vileness from those who deny the true Jesus. Because Caleb and Joshua were given a different spirit to see the heavenly perspective of the promised land, their report was rejected by the moaning and complaining majority who rather accepted the reports of the other ten spies who only saw the difficulties in the promised land. These ten spies are representatives of our flesh who only focus on the perspectives of the natural mind (1Co 2:14):

Num 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:
Num 14:7 And they spoke to all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.
Num 14:8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which flows with milk and honey.
Num 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

The fear of the Lord negates the fear for men. Caleb and Joshua feared God and spoke the words of truth, and they became the target of hatred and belittling. In our time of being belittled and being cast down by men, God’s glory appears:

Num 14:10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

As it happened in the hearts of Caleb and Joshua, we know that God sees the intent of the heart where the archers shoot their arrows (1Sa 16:7; Jer 17:10; 2Co 10:7). This also needs patience as our intentions will only become clear at the appointed time:

1Ti 5:24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
1Ti 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

This is also revealed for us in the life of king Amaziah of Judah. Amaziah did the right things initially, even “that which is right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart” which was only revealed much later in his reign of 29 years in Judah (2Ki 14:1-4):

2Ch 25:1 Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
2Ch 25:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

After Amaziah and the army of Judah conquered the Edomites, he fell in love with the idols in Edom’s temples and built his own sanctuaries filled with these idols. This caused him not to be able to listen to wise counsel, and he followed his own understanding of things which led to his death. Naturally we do not know the depths of the deceit of our own hearts, and therefore the truth of God’s multitude of counsellors is such a vital aspect to help us being faithful until the end (Mat 18:15-17; Rev 17:14):

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Pro 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

The life of Joseph also proves that the motives of our hearts will be challenged until the end. After living with Joseph in Egypt for seventeen years with their father, the brothers of Joseph could still not accept that Joseph’s heart and his motives were totally different from theirs. This came out after Jacob’s death:

Gen 50:15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
Gen 50:16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
Gen 50:17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
Gen 50:18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
Gen 50:19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

“…[Joseph’s] 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)…”

Nevertheless, through all of Joseph’s trials and the false accusations from his family and those who opposed him in Egypt, Joseph always kept strong and committed to the truth. Joseph’s heart was taught to serve and do good to them who hated him, and God’s hands strengthened his hands in all of this. It is when we are emptied of our strongholds and high thoughts of self, that God’s mind becomes our strong tower and powerful mountain:

Psa 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

Pro 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

When we are given the servant’s heart to understand it is more blessed to give than to receive, we shoot powerful arrows of truth and love, and we do not miss the mark of being a true shepherd in God’s flock (Jdg 20:16; Mat 20:25-28; Joh 10:1-18). It is then when we witness how the Lord fights for us we can then see how our enemies, even the spiritual wolves, turn on themselves, and the fear of God will come on them (Mat 7:15-20):

Psa 64:7 But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.
Psa 64:8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
Psa 64:9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
Psa 64:10 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

God’s arrows are His words which are the “demonstration of the spirit and of power” of God (1Co 2:4). It is His word which destroys all arguments against the truth as we progressively learn how to use His powerful arrows within our spiritual warfare (Isa 5:28):

Psa 120:1 A Song of degrees. In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.
Psa 120:2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
Psa 120:3 What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?
Psa 120:4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.

“…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…”

Joseph was given “one portion above [his] brethren” by Jacob when Joseph brought his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh to Jacob for his blessing:

Gen 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.
Gen 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.

In physical terms Joseph was given this double portion of the firstborn through his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, as both of them became independent tribes with a full inheritance according to all the sons of Jacob:

Gen 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.

1Ch 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.

“…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.”

This is what Moses had to say about the offspring of Joseph through the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh also indicating the fulfillment of the double portion of rulership over the earth and the heaven for God’s elect:

Deu 33:13 And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
Deu 33:14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,
Deu 33:15 And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills,
Deu 33:16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
Deu 33:17 His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

We know Manasseh was the firstborn of Joseph, which represents the fleshly man, while Ephraim was the second born, representing the spirit man, Jesus Christ (1Co 15:45-49). Ephraim was blessed above Manasseh by Jacob, as also confirmed in Moses’ blessing (Gen 48:5-21). Ephraim’s name means “God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen 41:52). The sons of Ephraim indeed were “mighty men of valor, famous throughout the house of their fathers” (1Ch 12:30). However, one of the prominent judges of Israel, namely Gideon, came from the tribe of Manasseh. This double portion indeed relates to the “blessings of the deep that lies under” and the “blessings of heaven above” respectively. This blessing of Joseph is the type of the blessing of God’s elect in rulership over the physical eon (even during the so-called “thousand-year reign” on earth) and their ultimate rulership in the spiritual eon, even the lake of fire (Rev 20:4-15):

1Co 6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

Detailed studies and emails relating to these foundational themes in Scripture are available on the website, including these topics and links:

Till The Seven Plagues Are Fulfilled
The Scapegoat
The Teaching of Rain and Archers
Who Knows The Truth?
Rev 17:12-18

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