Genesis 49:22 (KJV) 22 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.
What separated Joseph from his brethren? What made Joshua unique among his generation when the Lord refused to camp with the people any longer? What made one cleansed leper return to give thanks when nine others went on their merry way?
To investigate the blessing upon Joseph, quoted above, reveals a prophetic picture of one to come. One who would similarly be rejected of his own household, but abide faithfully in the hope of his calling, which hope promised elevation above and beyond the understandings and circumstances of his nation and people, into a place, a calling and household far higher. A calling that did not, despite superficial appearances, contradict the hopes delivered before to his former house, but rather fulfilled them.
Jacob’s house was a patriarchal structure. Promises were made in their father Abraham, that were passed along by reason of birth. The concept of the firstborn son being heir was held and passed along. But this concept, if thought of only in terms of flesh and blood, met with challenges from the very start. Isaac was not Abraham’s first born, Jacob was not isaac’s firstborn. Neither was Joseph the firstborn of Jacob. So, when Joseph would receive an understanding from God, revealed in signs through dreams, Jacob was upset at the notion of the “stars” and “sheafs” of eleven sons bowing to those of one of the youngest. After all, Jacob himself was in a similar state, having supplanted his older brother Esau, and subtly taken from Esau, both birthright and blessing. But would both sun and moon bow to Joseph’s star? would Jacob and Rachel, his father and mother, indeed serve their son? How can this be?
The ONLY way this can be worked out, is if their son somehow embodied the promises made to the fathers; embodied that thing which being made an heir, the heir was abiding in, in hope of inheriting. Jacob was deeply troubled by Joseph’s vision, and angered…but did not dismiss it out of hand. Rather, he hid them in his heart. He chewed on them for a life time, most time of which was spent in the belief that his son Joseph was long dead. This belief was the result of a deception perpetrated upon Jacob by his own eleven sons. ( in studying scripture, you will find that names have meanings. The meanings teach you something. Jacob was alternately called “Jacob” and “Israel”…”Deceiver” and “prince/ heir with God”. Jacob’s life was surrounded with intrigues and deceptions, which nature also surfaced in his natural offspring. But another nature, a princely nature, was also found in him, like a treasure hid in an earthen vessel. The thing which separated Joseph from his brethren were his dreams and visions, and his faith in them. He was given them and he believed them. He did not fabricate them, he did not supplant any of his household for them. He received them and told them.
The thing which Joseph’s former house would eventually bow to was his vision, not himself. His sheaf is his WORD. His star the RESURRECTION. It was not Joseph who would be venerated, but the things that were found to be in him:
Revelation 19:9 (KJV) 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The passages from Revelation above reveal to you, that there is a brotherhood, bound by the same Father, and in whom resides and abides the testimony of Christ. Not a static, traditional parroted creed or doctrine about Christ. A far more sure word of testimony. The same Spirit which raised Christ from the dead, dwelling within, making them, by faith, partakers of Christ in His resurrection. This is the gospel and the message we preach. Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Yes, when Joseph was cast into a pit to die, and was raised out of the pit to go before into Egypt to preserve life, he, in a figure, died. The star of Joseph’s dreams is the resurrection. His sheaf, the word of God revealed in him. It is this vision that every knee will bow to, and every tongue will confess. The vision is of Christ. So complete are the significations of these things worked out in Joseph, that he took a wife in Egypt, and she bore him two sons. Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh (forgetfulness) for, “God [he said] has made me to forget all my toil , and all my father’s house”. And Ephraim (doubly fruitful) for “God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction”.
In the course of time, Joseph would be reunited with his old household. And Jacob, blessing his sons in passing, would say something very remarkable, signifying an understanding and complete acceptance of Joseph’s dreams and visions. If you read carefully the blessing, quoted in the first paragraph of this writing, you will find Jacob speaking as Israel. And you will find him declaring that in a figure, the God of Jacob and his fathers, was Joseph’s Father.
I write these things to all, but primarily to them who, like Joseph, because of their faith in the things Christ has revealed in them, find themselves outcasts among the various sects of “Christianity”. When Joseph told his dreams, it says his brethren hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. They called him a “dreamer”, and conspired against him, even to murder him. It did not help that he was the favorite son. And David wrote of Joseph, that until the word of the Lord came to him, the word of the Lord tried him:
“…He sent a man before them, [even] Joseph, [who] was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him…”
The next time you feel that everything is against you, put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. For thirteen years from the time the Lord came to him by revelation, nothing in Joseph’s life remotely resembled the things he was shown, nor did his downwardly spiraling circumstances indicate any hope of seeing them become effectual in himself. Thirteen is a number depicting confusion. But in his life time, everything Joseph saw and told, indeed happened. And more than that, the very revelation of Christ came to him. Such was the man Joseph, that Pharaoh gave him a name: ZAPHNATHPAANEAH. It means “THE TREASURY OF THE GOLDEN REST”.
I would like to follow a particular branch on the “tree” that is the story of Joseph, a branch that culminates in the last chapters of the scripture, where a people are described. They are a people who have no need of light of sun and moon, no need of candlestick. The light of this people is the Lord Himself and the Lamb. And the light is in them. This branch begins at the point where Jacob sends his remaining sons into Egypt during a time of severe famine, to buy grain from Pharaoh. Unwittingly, it was not Pharaoh whom they would encounter, but their own brother Joseph. And the second time Jacob sent them, he sent a present to Pharaoh with them, some almonds. It was Joseph who received these gifts from Jacob, and the story of the almond is very rich.
The lesson has it’s origins in a place called Luz, where Jacob experienced the dream and vision of the ladder, before he ever had his children. He was fleeing from Esau, his brother, and had his dreams in this place. Upon waking, Jacob anoints the stones he had laid his head upon (and upon which the messengers ascended and descended), calling it the house of God, the gate of heaven. Thereafter the place is referred to as “Luz which is BethEl”. Luz means “Place of an Almond”. It was an almond grove. The name comes from a root word meaning to “awake”. Almonds are early risers, among the first of trees to sense the arrival of Spring, and to bud and blossom. The almond in scripture, is a figure of resurrection. Hence: Luz which is BethEl… “Resurrection which is the house of God”. Jacob’s vision was of the resurrection.
Jacob eventually sends a gift of almonds unwittingly to his own son, whom he thought dead. In the course of time, a branch from an almond tree becomes a walking stick, a staff, in the hands of Aaron. The staff figures prominently in the Exodus from bondage. Also, during a dispute about leadership, the rod of Aaron is raised again to life and brought into the holiest place in the tabernacle as a testimony. It is raised to life, rootless, leafed, flowered and bearing a generation of seed. As it passes into the holiest place, it passes between the man made lamp stand (made to imitate a fruiting almond tree that gives light), and the man made show bread, to take it’s place with the hidden manna in the holiest place. The message is clear. Of all the sons of Jacob to go into Egypt, only a branch of one of them would be cut off in order to facilitate Exodus, be raised again to life with a generation born in it’s resurrection, and that resurrection becomes the only one to come from Jacob that enters into the holiest place. So it is not the children of flesh who are heirs, but of resurrection. And these are not reckoned in Jacob, but in Christ. In them that believe Him, Jesus said, “I go to my Father and your Father, to my God and Your God”.
In the lesson of the tabernacle, there are three forms of illumination, each in it’s place. To light the outer courts are sun, moon and stars. These give rise to day and night, and ritualistic, calendar and astronomy based observances of things to come. In the holy place is the man made lamp stand fueled with olive oil. It is always to be lit, but requires effort and diligence, lest it’s light go out. It resembles a fruiting almond, but is not a fruiting almond. It at no time ever enters the holiest place, and so, abiding in it’s light will perpetually tell you about the eternal, but will never deliver you to it. It is placed in the South of the holy place, against the camp of Gad, which means “Troop/Assembly”. It forever teaches, but never becomes what it teaches. Finally, in the holiest place, there is no natural external form of illumination, and there is no made made source either. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the light of it, and they are within. In reading the book of Revelation, you will come to a people, a company of individuals in the Lord. They have no need of daily, weekly, monthly and yearly ritualistic reenactment of things. They have no need of the efforts and labor of religious professionals to guide them. They are begotten to God in Christ, raised with Him, and by faith, partakers of His resurrection. Just as Joseph saw and foretold, the Lord will come to be glorified in all His saints, and admired in them that believe, as Jude writes. The nations (distinctions and divisions) of them that are saved will see this. They will see the people who had courage and faith to follow Christ, even though it often meant being envied, despised, misunderstood, and even hated of their own generation (as was Jesus). Jesus’ journey did not end at the cross. And neither does ours. He said “Follow me”. And so, you read in Revelation of a people who “Follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth”… These were not content to sit at the base of a cross and lament and wring their hands. Seeing and knowing that Christ is raised, and being commanded to follow, they follow in faith.
The Vine becomes the Almond…many sons are delivered into the Glory of the Father. The branches become sons. The Resurrection changes everything.
In the book of Revelation, the name “Ephraim” does not reckon in the final description of the Christ. It is a finished generation. There is none to follow. Jesus said to religious authorities, that they greatly erred, not knowing the scripture, nor the power of God, that, in that life (in Resurrection), they shall be as the angels of God, and not marry. The prophets declared that a seed would serve the Lord, and be accounted to Him for a generation. The gospel of Matthew speaks of the generation of Jesus Christ. Fourteen (two weeks) is a number of passover, which means “skip over”. Jesus is our passover. From Abraham to David are fourteen generations (skip over). From David to the captivity are fourteen generations (skip over). From the captivity until Christ (who is our passover) are fourteen generations. If you count the names given in Matthew 1, when you get to the man Jesus, you are on the thirteenth from the captivity. Is this an error? No! The fourteenth and final generation are as that generation raised with Aaron’s almond staff. They are the children of the resurrection, having passed (skipped over) from death and flesh, to life. From the time the Lord was raised, unto this moment, and until the Father decides to sum it up, the fourteenth and final generation are them begotten to God in Christ. This is not a generation of flesh. It is a Spiritual house.
Jesus, to this day, stands at the door and knocks. The invitation to be a joint heir together with Him in all the fullness of God, still stands. But when once He begins to shut the door, nothing will ever again open it.
“He that overcomes will inherit all things. He will be my son, and I will be his God”. REV 21:7
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things IN THE CHURCHES. I am the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star [the star of Joseph’s vision, the resurrection]. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And let him that heareth say, Come”. REV 22
The fruitful vine (Ephraim) will become the Almond (Resurrection Which Is The House Of God). This is the finished fruit. In Christ, every word of scripture is “Yes and amen”. Every promise is fulfilled. Christ in you, means that in you resides everything in the scriptures that was ever delivered by promise. Holding to Him in faith will separate you from all other distinctions.