The Separation of the Birthright and the Scepter

The covertent with Abraham

GENESIS{12:1-3} Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2{12:2} And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 1{12:3} And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis{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 strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. {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.

Birthright to Joseph’ s sons

And now the time came to pass on the birthright to another generation. Let us re-create the dramatic scene.

It occurred in Egypt, after Joseph had succeeded in having his father brought there, as well as all his brothers. Joseph, remember, was prime minister of the nation.

It was reported to Joseph that Jacob, his father, was ill. He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, sons of an Egyptian mother, and hastened to the dying patriarch’s bedside. “[A]nd Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 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” (Genesis 48:2-4). Notice carefully these promises!

The birthright is about to be passed on to another generation. Notice that nothing whatsoever is said about all the families of the Earth being blessed in his seed—the one seed. Nothing is said about kings. Nothing is said about spiritual blessings what- ever. These promises are those of the birthright. These promises are of multiple seed—a multitude of people—and possession of the Promised Land. Now let us continue. “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” (verse 5).

Thus did Jacob adopt Joseph’s two sons, making them, legally, his own sons. This, no doubt, was done because they were half-blooded Egyptians. Israel made them his own adopted sons, so the birthright could be passed on to them. Notice, too, that in the first verse of this 48th chapter of Genesis, Manasseh’s name is mentioned first, because Manasseh was the elder. But old Jacob now mentioned the name of Ephraim first. Here we see supernatural guidance!

Jacob said to Joseph: “… Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see” (verses 9-10). The birthright, remember, belongs legally to the firstborn, unless altered by divine intervention. The inheritor of the birth- right, in receiving the blessing conferred upon him, should

have had Jacob’s right hand resting upon his head. That is why “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” (verse 13).

2Birthright: noun the presidency of this firm is my birthright: patrimony, inheritance, heritage; right, due, prerogative, privilege; primogeniture.

I Chronicles{5:2} 2For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him [came] the chief ruler;1 but the birthright [was] Joseph’s.

Genesis{35:11} And God said unto him, I [am] God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; {35:12} And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. {35:13} And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. {35:14} And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, [even] a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. {35:15} And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

1Blessing:: Genesis{49:10} The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh ( Christ) come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people be.

Prophecy for Turkey

The sparse records of history, with other proofs, show that many of the descendants of Esau became known as Turks. Therefore we must remember that prophecies pertaining to the latter days referring to Edom, or Esau, refer generally to the Turkish nation. In Isaac’s dying prophecy, he foretold that Esau’s descendants would come to a time when they should have dominion, and then break the yoke of the Israelites from off their necks. That has happened. The children of Israel, through sin, were driven out of the Promised Land that belonged with the birthright. The Turks came to power and dominion and for many centuries possessed that land. Those descendants, the Turkish people, occupied Palestine 400 years before Britain took it in 1917. Esau’s descendants always have lusted for that land, central promise of the birthright! The Turks have truly lived by the sword!

(Genesis 32:24-29)—after confessing his name as “supplanter”—God bestowed His blessing upon Jacob, took away his reproachful name, and gave him a new, untainted name, Israel—which means “prevailer,” or “overcomer with God.” And thus we see that through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the promises were handed down to one man at a time. There was no branching out toward national growth until the days of Jacob. For three generations it had been a “one-man nation.” But Jacob had 12 sons, and through them the future great nation and company of nations were started on their way.

Reuben Lost the Birth right

The next legal inheritor of the birthright was Reuben, firstborn son of Israel, by his first wife, Leah. But Reuben, like Esau, lost it. And Joseph, 11th-born of Jacob, but firstborn of Rachel, his second and truly loved wife, received it. The birthright belonged, legally, to Reuben, not Joseph. It is related in 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 how it fell to Joseph: “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 [or, rsv, “so that he [Reuben] is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright”]. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s).” So at this point the two divisions of the Abrahamic promises— the birthright, involving material and national promises, and the scepter, including the kingly and spiritual promises— were separated. It is of first importance to keep in mind that the birthright, including the Promised Land now called Palestine, the assurance of multitudinous population, material and national prosperity, dominance over other nations, was now given to Joseph and his sons. Mark that well! This birthright was not to be inherited by all the tribes of Israel! It was not given to the Jews! Only a part of the Israelites—the descendants of Joseph—was to inherit these tremendous national promises! These material promises for this life, then, belonged to an altogether different tribe among the children of Israel than the scepter promise of the kingly line culminating in Jesus Christ, which spiritual promise belonged in the tribe of Judah! These national promises of the multitudinous seed then became the possession of an altogether different tribe than the promise of the one seed, Christ, who sprang from Judah! This fact of the two sets of promises, stressed in the preceding chapter, ought to be plain and clear to every reader by now. Fix it permanently in mind. It is one of the vital keys to Bible understanding! At the time of Jacob’s death, he and his sons were living in Egypt. We assume, of course, that you are familiar with the story of how Joseph was sold by his brothers into Egypt; of how he there became food administrator and prime minister, next under the king and in actual rule of the nation; of the seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine, in which food had been stored only in Egypt under Joseph’s supervision; of the visit of Joseph’s brothers to Egypt in quest of food, and how Joseph induced them to bring their father and brother Benjamin down to Egypt; and finally, of the dramatic revelation of Joseph’s identity to his brethren, amid weeping and rejoicing. And how prophetic that was! As we shall see, Joseph, in his descendants, shall soon once again have his true identity revealed to his brothers—and to the world. And how hidden from the world is that identity now!

Birth right to Joseph’ s Sons

And now the time came to pass on the birthright to another generation. Let us re-create the dramatic scene. It occurred in Egypt, after Joseph had succeeded in having his father brought there, as well as all his brothers. Joseph, remember, was prime minister of the nation. It was reported to Joseph that Jacob, his father, was ill. He took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, sons of an Egyptian mother, and hastened to the dying patriarch’s bedside. “[A]nd Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, 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” (Genesis 48:2-4). Notice carefully these promises! The birthright is about to be passed on to another generation. Notice that nothing whatsoever is said about all the families of the Earth being blessed in his seed—the one seed. Nothing is said about kings. Nothing is said about spiritual blessings whatever. These promises are those of the birthright. These promises are of multiple seed—a multitude of people—and possession of the Promised Land. Now let us continue. “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” (verse 5 Thus did Jacob adopt Joseph’s two sons, making them, legally, his own sons. This, no doubt, was done because they were half-blooded Egyptians. Israel made them his own adopted sons, so the birthright could be passed on to them. Notice, too, that in the first verse of this 48th chapter of Genesis, Manasseh’s name is mentioned first, because Manasseh was the elder. But old Jacob now mentioned the name of Ephraim first. Here we see supernatural guidance! Jacob said to Joseph: “… Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see” (verses 9-10). The birthright, remember, belongs legally to the firstborn, unless altered by divine intervention. The inheritor of the birthright, in receiving the blessing conferred upon him, should have had Jacob’s right hand resting upon his head. That is why “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” (verse 13).

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