Foundational Themes in Genesis – Study 116

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Foundational themes in Genesis – Study 116

(Key verses: Genesis 49:28-33)
[Updated June 5, 2023]

The book of Genesis opens with the record of the creation narrative, and in a sense, it reveals a birth process which took six days (Gen 1:1-31; Exo 20:11). The beginning of physical life is also seen in two individuals, namely Adam and Eve. Genesis, on the other hand, closes with the record of the end of two lives, that of Jacob and Joseph. For the natural mind, any book that concludes with death is indeed not a good ending for a book. However, the theme of death is one of the most powerful themes in the book of Genesis and the entire scriptures. If we have been given eyes to see the plan of God with the first Adam, we will also see that death is but a temporary creation of God through which He will bring forth a glorious new creation (Gen 2:7; Gen 3:19; Job 7:7; Psa 90:5-6; Psa 144:4; Jas 4:14; 1Co 15:22-28). For those who can receive this truth, it is clear that God has created death as a means by which the first Adam must live first, before God is bringing His splendid spiritual creation for all in Adam, for everyone in his own order:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down [Hebrew: katargeō – to render something entirely useless] all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed [Hebrew: katargeō] is death.

God is indeed in the process of “creating” humanity in His spiritual image:

Gen 1:27 (CLV) And creating is the Elohim humanity in His image. In the image of the Elohim He creates it. Male and female He creates them.

For us to be ending our discussions on foundational themes in Genesis with this theme of death is therefore a very appropriate ending for the following reasons, as so eloquently expressed by the wisdom of God through Solomon:

Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
Ecc 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

The “house of mourning” is another way of seeing what this fleshly life is, and how few can accept this truth when they follow the strong and convincing delusions of flesh. It is only through the wisdom of God that we can have true joy within this earthly house when we know why we are here and what the purposes of death and all its facets are:

Ecc 7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

All life in this creation is what death is about, although it is only visible at times for some when they experience the inevitable decay in themselves or when someone or something physically dies:

Psa 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

The answer to this question is, “No. No one can deliver himself from the hand of death as death is part and parcel of this earthy life.” Not seeing this in its entire application is the reason why the old serpent could get his initial lie to Adam and Eve, which is still engraved in the natural mind:

Gen 3:4 (LITV) And the serpent said to the woman, Dying you shall not die.

Death is indeed devastation, and that is why flesh has no way to handle even the thought of the death, especially the death of self and that of a loved one. We learn throughout the scriptures that we cannot put our trust in temporary things as they are contaminated with death (Isa 2:22; Rom 12:2; 2Co 4:18; Tit 2:12; 1Jn 2:15-17):

Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Psa 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
Psa 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

We need to have our spiritual foundations firmly in place in our trust in God because it is only when we believe and do His Word that His spiritual power will give us the true life which enables us to overcome this flesh:

Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

God wants us to have His truths settled in our heavens and not have our foundations in the folly of mankind (1Ch 29:15; Psa 103:15-18):

Job 4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
Job 4:18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

1Pe 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
1Pe 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Jacob’s times with death

Jacob has come to the final days of his life when he was living in Egypt, and he indeed experienced the death of those he loved a few times. One occasion where Jacob had to deal with death (or the idea of death) was when he deduced from the torn and blood stained coat of Joseph, which his deceitful sons brought to him, that Joseph was dead. Although Joseph was still alive, we see in the following verses of scripture how this affected Jacob in a very intense way, as he was convinced that Joseph was dead:

Gen 37:31 And they [the ten brothers] took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
Gen 37:32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
Gen 37:33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
Gen 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
Gen 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.

Jacob also had to bury his two wives in his lifetime. First, it was Rachel, his favourite wife:

Gen 35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
Gen 35:17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
Gen 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul [her life] was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
Gen 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
Gen 35:20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.

Jacob also buried his other wife, Leah:

Gen 49:31 There [“in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre” – Gen 49:30] they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I [Jacob] buried Leah.

These all formed Jacob’s life and developed his concepts of death. It was the return of Joseph from the dead, so to speak, which enabled Jacob to live his last days in Egypt, at which time he could make provision for his own death as he also gave specific instructions to his twelve sons:

Gen 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.
Gen 49:29 And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
Gen 49:30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
Gen 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
Gen 49:32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

Jacob wanted to be buried in Canaan (“the land of promise”), and in this request we see a continuation of this desire in these patriarchs, which the book of Hebrews beautifully expresses:

Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place which he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went.
Heb 11:9 By faith he lived in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of the same promise with him.
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Heb 11:16 But now they stretch forth to a better fatherland, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

This is the desire of all mankind, knowingly or unknowingly – the desire for that spiritual city of God, and this is what we see in Jacob’s request to his sons. The physical “land of promise” was only a type of the true spiritual or “better fatherland” – the “heavenly one”, which is the spirit life of God in us. From his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham, Jacob also learned that God was able to raise people from the dead:

Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Heb 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Heb 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

The resurrection from the dead was already known to these patriarchs, and with this in mind, they also received faith, even as Jacob expressed in his request to his twelve sons. A few aspects about this request of Jacob need our attention. The first aspect we need to address here is found in the following words:

“I am to be gathered unto my people…”

These words of Jacob have been twisted into a false doctrine which declares that Jacob saw the dead as being alive, and in that sense he wanted to be united with his family. That is not to be found in those words of Jacob at all – one must add that according to the false idol of our heart which wants us to believe that dead people are actually alive (Eze 14:1-9). The scriptures are quite clear, and they agree from Genesis to Revelation, that all dead people have no breath or life in them, and they cannot even know anything or give thanks to God (Psa 119:160; Psa 13:3; Isa 38:18-19; Joh 11:11-14; Jas 2:26; Ecc 12:7):

Psa 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee [God]: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

Psa 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Jacob is to be gathered to his people in death where everything perishes. Even those in Christ sleep in death and “are perished” as they are still ‘waiting’ for the resurrection from the dead:

1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

God knows us even while we are dead, although we do not know Him then, and we cannot even praise Him there. He will bring the dead back from death through a resurrection at a later stage:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end [the rest of humanity in Adam]….

The “order” starts with Jesus who came to live this earthly life before He was crucified at the age of thirty three years. He was dead and in the grave until He was resurrected by the Father and was indeed “the firstfruit” from the dead in terms of being the first to be given immortality or deathlessness up until this point:

1Ti 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Besides Jesus, not one person ever ascended to heaven, and that includes Enoch, Moses, Elijah, etc. The two resurrections which follow in the “order” are reserved for all in Adam, and both those resurrections are yet future. It is also a false doctrine which declares that the first resurrection of believers “is past already” as all who died in Christ are still “asleep” and “are perished” (1Co 15:17-18):

2Ti 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
2Ti 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Another aspect in Jacob’s words concerns the specific place of his burial:

“….bury me with my fathers in the cave….”

The cave in “the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan” is where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are sleeping until today, and their souls did not ‘pass on’ as some believe happens to dead souls. Even king David was still dead and in his grave when the apostle Peter expressed these words on the day of Pentecost:

Act 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

God is spirit and is not limited to physical time-space. God has full knowledge of all dead souls He created in Adam, and He will bring them to full salvation in Christ at the appointed time (1Ti 2:4-6). There is also a belief that God will use our old bones, or some dust particles of this old man, to recreate us again into a new creation. However, scriptures declare that a resurrected body is a spiritual body, which is 100% different from the earthy body. The new creation is indeed new!

1Co 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what
body do they come?
1Co 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
1Co 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be,
but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

“….that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be…” gives a clear direction how totally different the two bodies are. Unbelief in God’s resurrection powers cause people to believe in a false immortal soul doctrine which says the soul ‘passes on’ and will be reunited with their old earthy bodies:

1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is
raised in incorruption:
1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is
raised in power:
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body.

The reason why it is written for us that the Old Testament patriarchs had so many specific directives on the burial of their bones has nothing to do with the false doctrine that these dead people are yet alive. Jesus spoke these words in reference to the resurrection:

Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

It is also clear from the scriptures that for anyone “to be present with the Lord” he or she has to wait for the resurrection first:

2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Some put an “is” in the place of the conjunction “and” to confuse the clear indication that two separate thoughts are under discussion. In the following verse, the same “and” is performing the same function to show two separate occasions:

Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

When we “depart” from this earthly life, we can only be “with Christ” through the coming resurrection. There is no instant transition, although it will seem like that from the point of view of those who died. The sleep in death is indeed a non-conscious time and will seem like a split second when indeed thousands of years may have passed for those still on the earth as these verses make it so abundantly clear:

Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Death is an enemy, but even this enemy will be “put…under [our] feet”:

1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Putting all enemies under our feet

We know that nobody in this first Adam will leave this world with spiritual perfection already achieved in fullness, in the way Babylon is promoting themselves as already saved in this life through the falsities of the ‘fullness now’ doctrine. As we can see through the scriptures, death is not just the end of earthly life, but the whole experience of the earthy life and that which is “under the heavens” (Gen 1:9; Ecc 1:13; Ecc 2:3; Ecc 3:1):

Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

“To be spiritually minded is life”, and this is what these words of Jesus mean:

Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…

When we have God’s spirit life through His word, spiritual death has left, although we still live in an earthy “body of this death” which will die and will perish (Joh 6:63; Rom 7:24-25; Rom 8:1-2)! Adam and Eve, and all in them, were made in flesh, and as such we all first experience evil and death “under the heavens”:

Ecc 1:13 (CLV) I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.

To deny the reality of death in all physical things from their creation is to also deny God’s plan for all mankind. Death is the one event we all must endure first within this evil experience of flesh before we can ever think of life in the spirit:

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
Ecc 9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

Through Christ we learn how to accept and understand this experience and how to bring all in subjection under our feet, even death on a daily basis (Rom 13:1; 1Co 9:27; 1Ti 3:4; Heb 2:8):

1Co 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

To follow Jesus requires us to die daily and bury our own dead, which is our old man of sin who rules in our lives for a limited time period until the glory of the Lord shines to destroy this darkness in us (2Th 2:3-8):

Luk 9:60 (ESV) And Jesus said to him [one of His own disciples], “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Mat 10:38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

As in the case of Jacob, we must make specific arrangements within this time when we are brought to our “last days”:

Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Like Jacob, this is how the elect is “gather[ing] up [their] feet into the bed” and give up the breath of our old man:

Gen 49:33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

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

Gathered Unto His People
Is The Flesh Being Sown Our Physical Death?
Is Our Moment of Death Our Resurrection?
The Meaning of The Power of Death
What Is The Fate of The Dead?
Ecc 7:1-9 “The Day of Death…”
Did Enoch and Elijah See Death?

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