Genesis Chapter 48  Favored Second

            In this chapter we discover Jacob is in his last days and was sick and Joseph comes to visit his father and brings his two sons with him. 

            Jacob declares the blessings of God and tells Joseph that his two sons are Jacob’s and shall be named with the other sons of Jacob.  That is, Joseph would get a double portion with his seed.  Joseph as the more upright of the sons of Jacob was given a double portion. 

            Jacob proceeds to pronounce the blessings upon the sons of Joseph.  You will recall that Isaac had tried to grant the greater blessing upon Esau even though God had pronounced that the elder shall serve the younger.  However, the blessing of God was ultimately was given to Jacob.  There is a biblical principle in the scriptures of the favored second.  We find several examples where the blessings of God were given to the second rather than the first:

                        1.  Abel over Cain

                        2.  Isaac over Ishmael

                        3.  Jacob over Esau

                        4.  The second covenant over the first covenant

                        5.  The second or new birth over the first birth

                        6.  The second Adam (Christ) over the first Adam

                        7.  Elisha over Elijah (Elijah came first, then Elisha came second)

                        8.  King David over King Saul

            When Joseph brought his sons to Jacob for Jacob to bless, he brought Manasseh, the oldest, to Jacob’s right side and he brought Ephraim, the youngest to Jacob’s left side.  However, Jacob guided his hands wittingly and laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim and his left hand upon the head of Manasseh.  This displeased Joseph, yet Jacob refused to do otherwise.  No doubt Jacob remembered that his father Isaac had tried to give the blessing to Esau that was reserved for Jacob. 

            Jacob crossed his arms to place his hands upon the heads of Ephraim and Manasseh and bless them.  This points us to the cross of Calvary where Christ shed his blood to redeem his people from their sins.  All the elect family was blessed in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. 

            Jacob blessed both the sons of Joseph: v. 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 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.”  However, upon the younger was pronounced the greater blessing:  v. 17 “And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head. 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.” 

            Historically, we know that the tribe of Ephraim played a greater role in the history of Israel and become a greater people both numerically and influentially than did the tribe of Manasseh. 

            However, there appears to be an allegorical significance to the two sons of Joseph.  They point us to Christ and his statements concerning the Jews and the Gentiles: Matt. 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

            20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

            8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

            The gospel was first preached to the Jews and there were some Jews who received it and entered into God’s visible church kingdom on earth.  Next, the gospel went unto the Gentiles and many of the Gentiles responded and entered into God’s church kingdom on earth.  Thus, the Jews were first and the Gentiles were second as far as the dispensation of preaching and receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

            Many of the Jews became jealous of the Gentiles and adopted the false belief of Judaism as set forth in the book of Galatians and elsewhere.  Through this false teaching the vast majority of the Jews that were in the church departed from the true church.  While they were first to receive the gospel they became last in the kingdom.  The Gentiles who were last to have the gospel preached unto them continued in the gospel and the true gospel church is still with the Gentiles until this day.  The last became first. 

            Now, notice that it was said of Ephraim that his seed would become a multitude of nations.  The word, Gentiles, refers to the multitude of nations that are not Jews.