Theme: Restitution (Part 3)
(Key Verses: Gen 47:27-31; Gen 48:1-20)
In the final section of the book of Genesis we see that Jacob is brought back into focus as he and his whole family were provided for by Joseph during the seven year famine which was on the whole world (Gen 41:54-57). Joseph’s whole family was drawn nearer to him to come and lived in the country of Goshen in Egypt:
Gen 47:27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.
Gen 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.
Jacob was under Joseph’s care in Egypt for seventeen years before his death and this period of seventeen years corresponds with the time when Joseph was under Jacob’s care in Canaan, being his favourite son:
Gen 37:1 And Jacob lived in the land of the travels of his father, in the land of Canaan.
Gen 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph, a son of seventeen years, came tending the flock with his brothers. And he was a youth with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought to his father an evil report of them.
Gen 37:3 And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his old age…
This favour on Joseph caused much hatred in the hearts of his ten brothers who eventually sold him into slavery which took him through thirteen years of trials and tribulation in Egypt before he was appointed ruler over Egypt by the Pharaoh at the age of thirty (Gen 41:46). But all of Joseph’s trials were eventually for the benefit of not only his family but for the whole earth, typifying the salvation process which God is bringing to fruition in Jesus Christ (1Cor 15:22-28; 1Tim 2:1-6):
Psa 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:
Psa 105:18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:
Psa 105:19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.
Psa 105:20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.
Psa 105:21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:
Psa 105:22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
Psa 105:23 Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
Joseph was Jacob’s “son of his old age” and “the time drew nigh that Israel must die” makes Jacob, in this sense, a type of our old man, the first Adam. God has given the first Adam a specific time period to rule us before the new man Christ, typified by Joseph, takes us through our years of trials and tribulation before we are given final dominion over our flesh through Christ’s rulership in our hearts and minds (Rom 6:1-18):
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
These are the two ages (Greek: aiōn = eon) we must live through – the earthly or the age of the first man Adam and the spiritual age of “the Lord from heaven”, before God will be “all in all” in spirit:
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
It is the time of Jacob’s final years on earth when Joseph started ruling over Egypt, even as the dying of our old man brings an end to the first age in us and Christ’s rulership is established in us (1Co 10:11; 2Co 5:1-2):
Gen 47:29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph….
This theme of the restitution of all things is central to the scriptures, and this truth is driving the life and purposes of the elect of God. Albeit in the form of spiritual promises and types, this last section of the book of Genesis highlights this theme of restitution in the life of the family of Joseph, as we also see the promise of a land and a huge offspring repeated in the final interactions between Joseph and Jacob:
Gen 47:29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, 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:
Gen 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.
“….thy hand under my thigh” is a way that was used in those days to make a promise. We also saw this between Abraham and his servant when the servant had to promise Abraham that he will find a wife for Isaac according to Abraham’s directions:
Gen 24:1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
Gen 24:2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
Gen 24:3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
Gen 24:4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
But it is indeed only those with the spirit of Christ in them that can make true and faithful promises. It is only in Christ that all God’s promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’:
2Co 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
2Co 1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
2Co 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
By the natural things we understand the spiritual things of God, as we also know that the thigh naturally transmits the idea of power and strength. The thigh is naturally the most powerful section of the human body which relates to action and movement (Rom 1:20; Gen 32:25; Eze 24:4; Rev 19:16). In the scriptures the thigh is also the place where a sword was attached (Psa 45:3; Son 3:8). No one else except those sealed with the earnest of the spirit of God in this age, armed with the sword of the spirit, are given this spirit of truthfulness to do His commandments and act faithfully to fulfill God’s promises in and through them (Psa 119:160; Mat 7:24-25; Joh 6:63; Eph 6:10-17):
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
1Jn 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
It is within this position of authority and power that every son of God operates to be an overcomer to fulfill every promise of God concerning His spiritual inheritance, as typified through Joshua and physical Israel:
Jos 21:43 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.
Jos 21:44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.
Jos 21:45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
We know that these words were written to be fully understood in its spiritual application as physical Israel has not as yet achieved this promise. It is all about the new spiritual “land” which is what the life of Christ introduces. Jacob asked Joseph to place his hand under Jacob’s thigh which emphasizes this powerful position of trust given to God’s elect to bring all in Adam into this “promised land”. In this physical eon it is only Christ’s elect who are given “the holy spirit of promise” until we are finally redeemed from this earthly body and this physical cosmos:
Eph 1:13 in whom also you, hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of our salvation, in whom also believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 who is the earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
This position of authority is what Joseph typifies, and he was the only one from all Jacob’s children that could be trusted with the request of Jacob:
Gen 47:31 And he [Jacob] said, Swear unto me. And he [Joseph] sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.
The fleshly old man will have to eventually bow and acknowledge the rulership of the spirit man. Joseph indeed physically fulfilled this promise to Jacob when Jacob died (Gen 50:12-13), but before his death Jacob needed to remind Joseph about a few important details concerning this inheritance:
Gen 48:1 And it happened after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick. And he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
Gen 48:2 And one spoke to Jacob, and said, Behold, your son Joseph comes to you. And Israel strengthened himself, and sat on the bed.
Gen 48:3 And Jacob said to Joseph, God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me.
Gen 48:4 And He said to me, Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you. And I will make of you a multitude of people, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.
One of the things which Jacob brought to Joseph’s attention was that Egypt, which typifies our flesh, is just a temporary provision and was never supposed to be a lasting dwelling or something in which we can put our trust. The spiritual promises of God are much more to be relied on than to trust in the best the flesh can present, despite the flesh’s very convincing presentation. The two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, although both were born in Egypt, will share in the future inheritance of the sons of Jacob:
Gen 48:5 And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who are born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you into Egypt, are mine; like Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
Gen 48:6 And your issue, which you father after them, shall be yours, and shall be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.
Gen 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died beside me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still but a little way to come to Ephrath. And I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; it is Bethlehem.
Here Jacob is introducing very important detail of the birthright through these two sons of Joseph which relates to the spiritual inheritance of the chosen elect. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh represented Joseph’s “double portion” in the inheritance of the sons of Jacob:
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.
This “double portion” bestowed on Joseph is the blessing that caused Joseph also to prevail above his progenitors, even his older fleshly brothers, as expressed by Jacob later (Deu 21:15-17):
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.
These blessings connected to the firstborn is only fulfilled in the elect of God who are the ones who are a “kind of firstfruits” of the firstborn in the spirit, namely Christ (1Co 15:23; Jas 1:18; Rev 14:4; Rev 3:14). These are the ones who are drawn to Christ by the Father to be “separate from [their] brethren” (Mat 10:36-39; Joh 6:44). They are indeed given rulership on the earth during the symbolic thousand-year reign, and as they will also be the rulers and judges in the lake of fire – the true double portion (1Co 6:1-2; Rev 20:4-15). These two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh have nothing to do with the rulership of physical nations, even powerful physical nations like Britain and the United States of America, as some claim in their spiritual blindness. God is indeed working a “spirit of slumber” for those who are persuaded by these strong and convincing delusions in our time (Rom 11:8; 2Th 2:11). Jesus even warned the physical Israelites that God’s election is on those few who will be born through the spirit of God, which is the true “remnant according to the election of grace” (Mat 20:1-16; Rom 11:5-11; Joh 6:63):
Mat 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Through God’s direction, Jacob will also apply this same principle with regard to the distinctions in the blessings of these two sons of Joseph. Jacob could not distinguish properly, in physical terms, because of his failing eyesight:
Gen 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?
Gen 48:9 And Joseph said to his father, They are my sons, whom God has given me in this place. And he said, Please bring them to me, and I will bless them.
Gen 48:10 And the eyes of Israel were dim for age; he could not see. And he brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them.
Because of Jacob’s problematic eyesight, there were therefore no physical prejudices involved which naturally interfere in decisions we make when our judgment is blurred by physical delusions. Carnal observations will always play their natural deceptive roles when we do not have spiritual insight. Jacob himself was the second born after his twin brother Esau, and he received the blessing of the firstborn from his father Isaac because of the deceitful acts of himself and Rebekah, but also because of Isaac’s physical dying condition and weak eyesight (Gen 27:1-46). We can only have spiritual insight when we find out that our physical senses are not to be trusted and that the flesh and its deceitful heart (with its lusts and pride) are our biggest obstacles to receive the spiritual inheritance of the Father:
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Pro 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Because Jacob could not trust his physical senses, he could only follow the spiritual patterns set out by God:
Gen 48:11 And Israel said to Joseph, I had not thought I would see your face, and, lo, God has showed me also your seed.
Gen 48:12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed his face to the earth.
Even in the life of God’s elect the flesh masks and blinds us not to see the obvious ways and works of God. Joseph, blinded by his fleshly preferences, could not properly perceive that the son whom he placed at his right hand would be the one on whom God’s favour rested:
Gen 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh in his left toward Israel’s right hand. And he brought them near to him.
Joseph placed Ephraim in his right hand, but was seemingly more concerned of Jacob’s right side. Joseph knew that the right hand was a very important position to take note of, but his own judgment was failing. From the scriptures we learn that the position on the right hand is that of spiritual favour, authority and power (Exo 15:6; Exo 29:20; Deu 33:2; Jdg 5:26; Psa 48:10; Psa 110:1). We must therefore take careful note who and what we place on our right hand because that determines our spiritual judgment on important matters:
Mat 26:64 Jesus saith unto him [Caiaphas, the high priest, the night before His crucifixion]: Thou hast said [that He, Jesus, was the Christ, the Son of God]: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Jacob honoured the “right hand” of Joseph and the son who stood on that side, which was Ephraim, the youngest or last born of Joseph:
Gen 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands. For Manasseh was the first-born.
Gen 48:15 And he blessed Joseph and said, May God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who fed me all my life to this day,
Gen 48:16 the Angel who 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 like the fishes into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
As with all of God’s elect it is a humbling and devastating experience to see how our natural spirit wants to dictate and go against God’s spiritual choices, as typified here by Joseph:
Gen 48:17 And Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, and it was evil in his eyes. And he held up his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.
Gen 48:18 And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father. For this is the first-born. Put your right hand on his head.
Gen 48:19 And his father refused and said, I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great, but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he is, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
Our natural preferences are not God’s choices, and this is one of the bitter pills to swallow if we are indeed able to stomach this truth (Rev 10:10):
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Joseph is humbled, but it is only in humility that we will be able to eat the book given to us which enables us to reach to the higher thoughts of God (Mat 4:4; Rev 10:10). This is when we can admit that we have not arrived in spiritual fullness in order for us to grow in maturity:
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 are come.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Jacob assured Joseph that this is how God ordained both of the sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to be blessed – by the younger or last born:
Gen 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh. And he put Ephraim before Manasseh.
The last born, Ephraim, is “the greater” as his name also means “double fruitfulness”:
Gen 41:52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Ephraim, in this sense, represents the firstborn of the spirit – the rivers of living water, even Jesus Christ, even His elected “firstfruits” who will come with weeping, but rule with joy:
Jer 31:9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Christ and His spiritual works in us are “the greater” works, and it is on those “greater works” in which those who believe in Christ concentrate:
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The greater works are the inward works in the heart of mankind, which is now only the privilege of the elect who are given the faith of Christ to believe and do the Word of the Father:
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.