Sonship, part 15: Usurping the name of Israel
In our last installment, we began to examine a passage which I stated is a critical key to accurately comprehending current events and that not one pulpit in a 10,000 will reveal this to American Christians. It concerns the right to use the name “Israel.”
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.
2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.
3 And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
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.
This is where Jacob-Israel, now nearing his death, states his intention to give the birthright blessings to the tribe of Joseph, the firstborn son of his most beloved wife, Rachel. He makes it clear that he is disinheriting Reuben and Simeon, who were chronologically the oldest and second oldest sons. And he continues speaking to Joseph…
6 And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
In other words, any other sons that Joseph might have will be treated as, and will inherit as though they were sons of their brothers Ephraim and Manasseh! This is key. Do you see that? Because Jacob is claiming Ephraim and Manasseh as his sons, but not any other sons of Joseph.
Therefore, any other sons of Joseph will have to look to Ephraim and Manasseh as though Ephraim and Manasseh are brothers of Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Benjamin, etc. Joseph’s first two sons have been upgraded. Legally, they now belong to the generation of their father, Joseph. But their upgrade did not merely raise them to stand on the same level as their uncles, Levi, Gad, Asher, etc.; no, Ephraim and Manasseh have been designated as the leaders—over their uncles! This is borne out by what follows.
7 And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath: and I buried her there in the way of Ephrath; the same is Bethlehem.
And now, I would suspect that some time has passed between what we just read and the following verses, because now old blind Israel says:
8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who are these?
Did you catch that? Israel is blind, just as his father Isaac was in his old age. The apostle Paul says in his epistle to the Romans that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the nations be come in….” and Paul applies it in a prophetic context, which we shall not explicate at this time. We have done so elsewhere.
9 And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.
10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
11 And Israel said unto Joseph, I had not thought to see thy face: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed.
Now here follows the actual adoption ceremony, where Israel claims these two boys as his own firstborn sons.
12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
13 And 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.
14 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.
15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;
And now here comes that most critically important part of the adoption and blessing, which is almost never taught from the pulpits of American churches. Israel has his hands on the heads of the boys and he declares… and let my name be named on them…
In other words, with divine sanction this old patriarch is proclaiming that wherever the descendants of these two tribes go, that is where his name goes. His name is Israel. Of course, the name means much more than just the letters that make up the word “Israel.” The “name” refers to all the privileges and authority that is vested in that name by way of the birthright blessing. Obviously, the privilege to bear the name of the father, Israel, is primary. And any people who attempt to usurp the name is in grave danger of divine retribution.
Therefore, observing that there is a nation in the Middle East today that claims that its people are descended from Judah, the Bible is clear that even if that were so, they have no right to call themselves Israel. That name belongs to the descendants of the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. To say the least, that nation over there which is called “Israel” is illegitimate on its face; in its name; and much more, but that’s for another time. (To be continued.)