JACOB BLESSES HIS SONS --- THE GREAT MESSIANIC PROPHECIES

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    [Genesis:48:1-22]; [Genesis:49:1-33].

    Lesson No.: 
    40
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    "Let me die the death of the righteous,  and let my last end be like his!"  (Numbers 23:10).

    Notes: 

    “Kept the Faith"
    The long and turbulent life of Jacob was coming to a close. There had been times of deep despair for him through the years, some at least of which he could have avoided if he had not run ahead of the leading of God. But there had also been great spiritual victories, and he came to the end of his life with no fear of leaving this world and going to meet his Maker. His last years were his best, and he had a hope of eternal life.

    Blessings of Jacob
    Jacob had never forgotten that night at Bethel when in his dream he saw the angels of God ascending and descending upon a ladder that reached to Heaven. The Lord had stood above it, and had promised Jacob to be with him all the days of his life and to give him the land upon which he stood [Genesis:28:10-22]). Jacob realised he had met the Lord, and he consecrated his life and all he had, or ever would have, to Him; and there he was saved, and his nature changed.

    God expected Jacob to worship Him in return for all His blessings and He expects His children today to have grateful hearts and offer Him praise for His tender mercies and loving-kindness. When God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham for an everlasting possession, He added: "And I will be their God" (Genesis:17:8). He wanted His people to worship Him alone, which was the least they could do in appreciation for His favour. Later, when the Children of Israel were about to enter into the Promised Land where they could live in houses they had not built, could eat of the fruit of the vines they had not planted, God warned them that when they had eaten and were full they should not forget the Lord Who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

    Another high point in the life of Jacob was his victory over the "man" with whom he wrestled all night on the banks of the brook Jabbok. He made deeper consecrations during the struggle that night than he had ever made before, and when morning began to dawn he received his heart's desire, and was sanctified. The words the "man" spoke, "As a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed," must have burned into Jacob's heart so that he never forgot them. God also changed his name from Jacob to Israel; and thereafter the name "Children of Israel," or the "nation of Israel," referred to the descendants of Jacob.

    Trials of Jacob
    One of the greatest sorrows in the life of Jacob came upon him when his favourite son Joseph was taken from him and sold into Egypt. He thought Joseph was dead and that he would never see him again. How happy he was, about twenty years later, when his other sons went to Egypt to buy corn and learned that the brother whom they had despised had become the second ruler in the land! The whole family (Jacob, his sons, and grandchildren -- 66 people in all) moved to the land of Goshen in Egypt, where they lived comfortably for the rest of Jacob's life.

    Future Blessings Pronounced
    When Jacob was 147 years old he became very ill, and he called all his sons to him to bless them and tell them what would happen to them in the time to come. But first he blessed Joseph and Joseph's two sons. Joseph had always been his father's favourite because he lived to please his father and to please God; but through the great work he had done in preserving the lives of the whole population of Egypt, as well as his own family, he had won a greater right to his father's blessing. Instead of receiving an equal inheritance with his other brothers, he received a double share, one for each of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob adopted these two grandsons, making it legal for them to receive the same share as the other sons of Jacob. Hundreds of years later, when the Children of Israel went into Canaan to claim their inheritance, we do not hear of the tribe of Joseph, but rather of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. In fact, Ephraim became so strong that sometimes the entire Israelitish nation was spoken of as "Ephraim." Much of its distinction came from the fact that Joshua, Israel's leader who succeeded Moses, belonged to that tribe.

    Manasseh was older than Ephraim, but Ephraim received the greater blessing. Jacob said he knew what he was doing when he placed his right hand upon Ephraim's head to receive the first blessing. He said Manasseh would also become a great nation, but not as great as Ephraim. We know Jacob was inspired of God when he pronounced all the blessings upon his children, and we can see that the Lord does not judge us as man does. We are given blessings from God according to the desire we have in our hearts to please Him.

    Consecrations Required
    We see many instances in the Bible where the younger is preferred before the elder. Everyone has the same opportunity to find favour in the sight of God, but not everyone is willing to make the deep consecrations that will bring the blessings. When Cain resented God's preference for Abel, his younger brother, God said, "Why art thou wrath? . . . If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Genesis:4:6, 7).

    Reuben was the eldest son of Jacob, and should have received the birthright, which included being the civil ruler over his family, as a king; performing the religious rites, as a priest; and getting a double share of his father's property. But Reuben had sinned and displeased his father, so he lost all these special privileges. We have already seen that Joseph, through his two sons, obtained the double share of real estate.

    A Redeemer Promised
    To Judah went the kingship: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." Jacob could not look into the future, but the Spirit of God spoke through him, and prophesied that through Judah Jesus would come, "and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."

    You remember God had promised Abraham, "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis:12:3); then He repeated the promise to his son, Isaac, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis:26:4); and then to Jacob, Abraham's grandson, He said, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis:28:14). All the earth was going to be blessed through Jesus Who would be of the posterity of these patriarchs. God's Word is sure, and He kept repeating that wonderful promise of a Redeemer to each succeeding generation. Now Jacob passes it on to his son, Judah. We know that King David came from the tribe of Judah, and Jesus is often referred to as the Son of David. In [Revelation:5:5], Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

    The role of priest went to Levi, and from that tribe came all the priests. When we read of the Levitical priesthood, that means priests of the tribe of Levi. Not everyone in the tribe could be a priest, but they performed other duties in the church, and were supported by the church and did not receive an inheritance when they came to Canaan. In Jacob's blessing, he said, "I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." That literally happened, because as ministers and priests they served the people throughout the land, and did not live together as a tribe. Some of the people we shall study about who belonged to this tribe are Moses, Aaron, and Samuel. We have already studied about Zacharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, who both belonged to this tribe. Zacharias ministered in the Temple as a priest.

    The Last Call
    All the sons of Jacob, the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel, received blessings from their father. When he had finished, he died and went to be with the Lord, and with Abraham, Isaac, and others of his people who had gone on before.

    There was great mourning in the land of Egypt for the father of Joseph. It was the custom of the Jews to mourn for 40 days, and the Egyptians mourned 70 days. Jacob had asked to be buried in Canaan, so at the end of the mourning period, a great procession wended its way back to his homeland. With Joseph went "all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house" (Genesis:50:7, 8).

    Joseph the Deliverer
    After they returned to Egypt, Joseph's brothers thought, now that their father was gone, Joseph might yet try to get revenge for their cruelty in selling him into slavery. We notice that once more thy bowed themselves before him, according to the dream he had when a boy. But Joseph was a real man of God, and had long ago forgiven and forgotten all the wrongs they had done to him. He had waited patiently for the Lord to work out His plans, and because of his faithfulness to God, he had become the deliverer of Jacob's household and all the inhabitants of the land of Egypt. What great things God can do with the man who is wholly conse-crated!

    Questions: 

    1. Can you recall upon what occasion Jacob was saved?
    2. Where was he sanctified?
    3. Did Joseph's eldest son receive the blessing, as was the usual custom?
    4. Name several means through which we may receive the blessings of the Lord upon our heart.
    5. Where had Jacob requested to be buried?