“Now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh,…are mine.” Ch.48: 5
Jacob before his death blesses Joseph and adopts his two sons as his own. Jacob who had cheated Esau out of his birth right and now he has rightfully come as the heir of promise. God’s promise to Abraham shall pass through his hand. The material part has been provided for. He gives Joseph the extra portion above his brethren. It is rightfully his since he ‘took it out of the hand of the Amorite with the hand of the my sword and my bow (48:22) .’
The Spirit uses this solemn occasion to establish two important facets of divine Will. God is seeking fellowship with man. He shall be his priest as well the king. In Jesus Christ these two emblems merge as one. Through him every believer who is the elect shall be a saint. Of the Church we have the testimony of Jesus Christ designating them as kings and priests unto God and his Father. (Re.1:6)
When Jacob blesses the younger son over the elder the Spirit informs how the gentiles were blessed over the older. The first shall be last and the last first.For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birth right was Joseph’s (1 Chron.5:2)
Thus the birth right skipped Reuben the first born and others. Judah was designated as the chief ruler but the birth right went to Joseph. Ancestry of David is traced to Judah by Pharez (Ruth.4:18-22). Genealogy of Jesus similarly connects (Mt.1:3,6).
Birth right was not always conceded to the eldest. “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 (Ge.48:14).”
As discussed earlier Esau had sold it to Jacob for a trifle and he could never regain it. Reuben forfeited it for defiling his father’s bed. Omission and commission on those who are called the elect do not guarantee, as some sects falsely claim preservation of elect.
Predestination of God is often brought to more clarity by use of symbols so the Promise of God to Abraham all families are represented simultaneously. How does one do it but in terms of Time as designated by triune God? The Holy Spirit inspires us with symbols that connect truthfully personages across time and space. Here we are focussing on Joseph and Jesus. So Egypt, Galilee, Haran are all places through which His Will would work. Of Jesus we read that he was the Word made flesh in due time. Jesus the Son of man was in fact God the Son. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Ep.1:5).” Here we are told that Joseph inherited the birth right. How it passes on to his two sons carries a great mystery, of Salvation. Here his symbolic role as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek comes into focus. Pre-eminence of Judah signified King of Judah kingship of Jesus Christ. In the risen Christ we have Priest-King, whose ancestry traces back to Melchizedek, King of Salem and high priest of the most High God.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph (Ez.47:13-NIV). Jacob adopts Manasseh and Ephraim as his own “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;(Ge.48:5).”
We have been similarly adopted by God through our belief in the Son. And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty(2 Co.6:18-NIV).”And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence (Col.1:18). We have the expression Firstborn from the dead again in the testimony of Jesus Christ.(Re.1:5)