The Birthright and blessing of Jacob
The physical blessings that were passed down to Isaac, normally as the tradition of its age, would have been passed to the first born son of Isaac, thus Esau (Genesis 25: 21-26). However, Jacob, the younger of the twin brothers, persuaded Esau to sell his birthright [This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Israelites. He became the priest of the family.] to him for a simple meal of stew (Genesis 25: 29-34).
To attain the blessing of the birthright from his father, albeit falsely, Jacob resorted to tricking the blind and aged Isaac, into believing that he (Jacob) was indeed Esau the true heir (Genesis 27: 18-27). Unknown to Jacob at that time, this event was not needed. Yahweh had already revealed, even long before the births of Jacob and Esau, that it would be Jacob that would be the stronger of the two and that Esau would, in the end, be the subservient to Jacob (Genesis 25:23).
Yahweh allowed Jacob to receive the right-by-birth promise that he would be the family patriarch and he would receive the best of the family inheritance granted by his father without intervening to change the circumstances. All part of Yahweh’s plan. Yahweh would eventually teach Jacob to cease trusting in his own deceitful devices. All children must be taught this at some point.
The blessing that Isaac pronounced upon Jacob was; “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee” (Genesis 27: 28-29). These were certainly not idle words, as some would like to think. Isaac was officially transferring on to Jacob the awesome promises Yahweh had made unto Abraham.
Later, Yahweh via a dream, confirmed unto Jacob that he would receive the birthright promise. Yahweh also revealed to him that his descendants (seedline), numbering “as the dust of the earth”, would “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:12-14). In subsequent chapters we will see how this prophecy has been fulfilled in a truly amazing way.
Two National Identities of Joseph
Held within Genesis 35 we encounter yet another aspect of the birthright promise. Here we see that Yahweh had promised Jacob that “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;” (Genesis 35:11). Understanding key prophecies, starts with the knowledge of this aspect of Israel’s inheritance. The birthright promise would be granted by two separate national entities.
We read in Genesis 48, that Jacob transferred or passed on this part of Yahweh’s promise to Abraham and Isaac unto Joseph, and onto his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. During this same time Jacob placed upon these two grandsons his own name; “The Angel which 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 into a multitude in the midst of the earth” (Genesis 48:16). As an end result of this, many of the later references to “Jacob” or “Israel” in the prophetic books [There are sixteen prophetical books in the Old Testament. The prophets are people whom God raised up to speak His will to His people between about 760 B.C. and 460 B.C. All sixteen prophetical books can be fitted into that 300-year-period from 760 to 460.] of the Holy Scriptures refer primarily to these two branches of Jacob’s descendants (seedline).
Jacob’s blessings as we know also included land, or “national territory” that in turn his two grandsons’ descendants (seedline) would inherit “for an everlasting possession”, they would also grow into; “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 [seedline] after thee for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 45:4).
We can see the remarkable promise that Jacob’s descendants (seedline), more specifically those who would spring from Ephraim and Manasseh, would grow into “And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people [Ephraim], and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nation [Manasseh]” (Genesis 48:19) and a single great nation, respectively.
Joseph and his descendants, would not however, gain all of the aspects of the promise. One important spiritual aspect of the promise would go to Judah. Yahweh via Jacob gave the prophecy that “The sceptre (ruler’s staff) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10). This prophecy pointed both to the dynasty of Israel’s future king, that of David, and to the role of Yahshua, also of the house or tribe of Judah and a direct descendant of David, as the Messiah (Luke 1:32; Hebrew 7:14; Revelation 5:5). We who have the faith know that Yahshua the Messiah is destined to rule the earth as King of Kings (Revelation 11:15; 17:14; 19:16).
In stark contrast, the birthright promise of the physical, material and national greatness went not to Judah but to Joseph, bypassing the firstborn son, Reuben. Let’s take a moment and look at the circumstances that routed this great promise into Joseph’s hands:
“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. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)” (I Chronicles 5:1-2). With this birthright promise, Joseph’s descendants, which are Ephraim and Manasseh, were thusly to receive this blessing of wealth, power and national prominence.
Descendants of Joseph and their blessings
Undoubtedly the most revealing of the birthright promises held within the Holy Scriptures is in Genesis 49. As such we find within them that Jacob was blessing and prophesying about each of his sons’ descendants (seedline) “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days” (Genesis 49:1). Did you notice that the blessings that Jacob pronounces on the descendants of Joseph for the last days are monumental.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
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: 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” (Genesis 49:22-26).
Now, we see that these prophetic passages tell us that Joseph’s descendants (seedline) “in the last days” will live in a very productive, well-watered and very fruitful land. (Sound like someplace on earth other than Israel?) They will be a RACE or people who have greatly expanded their territory and influence, politically, militarily, economically and culturally, a RACE or people “whose branches run over the wall,” or in other words, beyond their natural borders. They will be a race that, on occasions, be attacked by other nations (races) but will be victorious. Their triumphs will be miraculous or providential, all because Yahweh is their helper and source of their blessings. (Sounds familiar doesn’t it?)
They will be a race who live in a favorable climate that easily supports their steadily expanding population. They will enjoy the blessings of good crops, vast herds of livestock and extensive natural resources such as fine stands of timber and valuable minerals mined from their soil. (Does this sound like the state of Israel? NO!)
In other words, we can expect them to possess the choice blessings and resources of this earth. All of these blessings are to be theirs “IN THE LAST DAYS” (in part Genesis 49:1).
Where can we find the descendants (seedline) of Joseph, the “lost tribes” of Ephraim and Manasseh? This list of blessings completely eliminates most of the nations of the world as forerunners of this blessing. To find these “lost two tribes” we must first ask; “Which nation possess these blessings in our world?” Yahweh promised all of these blessings to the descendants (seedline) of Joseph “in the last days”. Since Yahweh does not lie, we can trust in Him to keep those promises. What does the evidence tell us? As we will soon learn, the evidence is overwhelmingly in Yahweh’s favor. If we believe (and you should) the promises and Yahweh’s fulfillment of them, then our outlook toward the world will be quite different from the outlook of those who remain blind and ignorant of this TRUE Holy Scripture knowledge.
In the nearly 3,700 years since Yahweh granted these promises, few nations can lay any claim to blessings anywhere near these. Even fewer yet, can claim the kind of economic stature and national prominence, even “super-power” status, that were promised unto Jacob’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, “in the last days”.
Two, and only two candidates, however, PERFECTLY meet all of the exacting criteria of these prophecies: those two my friends are the United States of America, and what was at one time known as the British Commonwealth of nations. How well then, does this apparent fit mesh with the evidence we find? To answer that question, we will embark on a study of historical evidence of the tribes of Israel from their very beginning as a nation all the way down to our present time.