The Seed in Israel
Chapters 39 to 50 of Genesis deal primarily with the ascent and eventual exaltation of Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and his dramatic encounter with and subsequent exposure to his brothers as their lost and presumed dead brother Joseph and final reunification with his father Jacob. Joseph goes through very difficult years which gave him an opportunity to learn about suffering and a rise to power and prominence not based on arrogance, but based on humility and service to Pharaoh. Joseph enters the political scene of Egypt at a time when within almost seven years the whole civilized world of that time would experience a severe famine. These natural catastrophes, even though not directly initiated by God, served as a platform for Joseph to demonstrate his exceptional leadership abilities. In the process of executing a brilliant rescue plan, he met and restored himself to his family. God will use every situation in our lives to restore us to our rightful calling and position. Joseph, with all the pomp and power of Egypt, yearned for the rugged hands of his shepherd father to caress his face. He yearned for the smell of his father’s garments and the feel of the warm embrace he used to receive from his father. Nothing in the world can satisfy our deep yearning for the father’s home and the father’s touch, and Joseph was dreaming of that day! God turns around events of our lives to serve His purposes and in the process, to bring us closer to Himself. A famine breaks out. Even though it looks and feels very harsh it will eventually bring Joseph and his brothers face to face. Why do you think Joseph wept when he met his brothers? He had missed them. He missed his home. He missed being the son of Jacob and nothing in the world was sweeter than the sound of his father’s voice calling his name. He was truly homesick! Are you homesick too? Are you yearning to go back home even though you may have acquired and accumulated great wealth and prosperity in this world? Joseph would have given everything if he could be with his father. Are you prepared to do the same? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to let God know that you miss Him? You see, Joseph and the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, had one thing in common: even though one started poor and became very rich and powerful, and the other started rich and became very poor, they both had missed their father and his home! Notice when Joseph’s brothers met Joseph he asked them, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive? And they answered ‘your servant our father is in good health, he is still alive’. And they bowed their heads down and prostrated themselves. Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, ‘Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?’ And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son’. Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there” (Gen. 43:27-30). The prodigal son also yearned for his home and his father as you read in Luke 15:18. There is a deep yearning in the heart of every human being who has been taken away form his eternal home whether by choice, in the case of the prodigal son, or by force, in the case of Joseph. We will never be fully satisfied and at peace with ourselves and our surroundings unless we return home to our heavenly Father. Nothing in this world, be it money, beauty, fame, power, education, and anything else can and will take the place of our “home” and our Father’s touch. Joseph had everything and yet he wept when he saw his brothers who reminded him of his origin and calling. Our origin is not from the world! We were not created to suffer the pains of loneliness, rejection, mistreatment, misuse and abuse, hunger, tears, and guilt. We were created to be in our Father’s house forever.
Joseph had also learned a great lesson in his life. Through and in the sufferings he had endured, he had learned a great principle that not only applied to him, but also to all of us who, by faith in Christ, are the children of Abraham. He learned that power without character is useless to God. Earlier in his life, as a teenager, he had dreamed of great things. He had dreamed that his brothers and even his parents would bow down to him. True, he was destined for the throne, and yet, he was unprepared for the responsibility that went with that call. He had the calling of the throne but not the heart of the throne. The heart of God’s throne is grace and mercy. It is compassion and empathy for the destitute and the lowly. It is love for the despised and the rejected. Joseph had to possess these qualities in afflictions and sufferings. The life of faith is not a life of comfort and convenience void of difficult lessons that would transform our hearts into the heart of a “priest” in the true sense of the word. We all want the blessings of God and His throne, as Joseph desired it, and yet, we re not ready for it, because we don’t possess the heart of he Throne! Today’s “commercialized and sensational” Christianity promotes power without character. The top bestsellers and Christian television programs are nothing but the attempts of a few to sell this brand of cross-less and painless Christianity that is based on pleasure, comfort, and self sought plans and purposes. Afflictions and suffering have no place in our western version of Christianity. And unfortunately we export this brand of meaningless and cross-less faith to others in the world who, in addition to spiritual suffering, are literally starving and dying of malnutrition and persecutions. We tell them to exercise faith and ask God for prosperity and bigger homes and better cars and nicer vacations!
Joseph had to learn that the Throne life is a life of wearing thorns and being thrown down into lowliness and humility! He learned it well. How else could he have saved Egypt and the world of that time if he had not starved and gone thirsty, naked and beaten? How could he have been a faithful servant of God if he had not learned what a servant of Pharaoh experiences. Even Jesus, according to Hebrews 2:17 “in all things He had to made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God”.
Joseph learned how to identify with those who were suffering and soon with a whole world who would suffer in the hands of the curse of famine. Therefore, he gained an image engraved in him by the Holy Spirit though sufferings that was appropriate and suitable for the Throne from where he would not only rule, but also dispense mercy and aid to all. A beautiful type of our Lord is seen in his life.
Meanwhile Judah has also succeeded in passing on his seed to Tamar who has borne him two sons. Judah, through these events and incidents, is transformed also into an intercessor for the safety of his brothers. We read twice more (Gen. 43:9-10; Gen. 44:32) that Judah acts in the position of his ultimate Seed, the Lord Jesus, and offers himself up for his brother, Benjamin. This intercessory conduct and attitude reveals how beautifully our God had dealt with Judah over those many years since the wicked act of the brothers in conspiring against Joseph. Perhaps even the incident of Tamar’s pregnancy had left a deep impression on him as to how a woman would go through such length as to shame herself and endanger her own life for a cause higher than herself and her life. Tamar in a sense had given herself up as a sacrifice, destroying her own good name and even possibly her life in order for God’s purpose to be fulfilled. Judah had awakened to his true character, which he not only demonstrated, but also passed on to his sons who would ultimately bring forth the Savior, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ.
The key players had all been changed and transformed in to the image that God wanted them to possess. Lastly, Joseph had to rise to power and prominence because the Seed was in danger of being subjected to harsh and destructive elements that would result form starvation. Joseph was there to protect and to provide for the survival and the welfare of the Seed. Notice that at the end of Genesis once everything has been consummated and God has obtained a unified nation under the banner of the name Israel, Joseph tells his brothers, “…You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is, this day, to save many people [including Tamar and her children] alive. I will provide for you and your little ones”.
Finally, we see Jacob in his good old age and after being reunited with his beloved son Joseph, pronouncing the great blessings of chapter 49 from which we discover the real Seed bearer. Judah would be the father of Shiloh, the holder of the Scepter, and the object of Praise. Meanwhile, Jacob utters a number of blessings and admonitions upon all his sons and thus for the time being, the ancestral blessing and inheritance is spread out among the brothers, not all gathered in one. You can guess by now, why Jacob, being inspired by the Spirit of God, utters such pronouncements. Satan would not be able to focus his attacks on one person or tribe, but there would be safety in numbers and the Seed would be kept obscure and safe from harm. Now instead of individuals and small bands of people keeping the Seed, the Lord raises an entire nation to be the womb and the cradle of the Divine Seed. Now Satan has to deal with a nation, not just an individual.
The existence of Israel as a nation is primarily to carry the Seed and bring it to full manifestation in due time.
The history of the nation of Israel up to the birth and the revelation of Jesus Christ is nothing but a call to faithful preservation of the Divine Seed. All that we read from this point on, starting with the book of Exodus all the way to the book of Malachi, reflects this reality. God has hidden His Seed, the Redeemer, in Israel, and Satan with all his power and might is in hot pursuit of this nation directly and the Seed bearers indirectly. The persecutions and the sufferings of Israel in the items before Christ were all the result of their calling to this great and monumental task.
Genesis ends with the death of Joseph and the dawn of a new era in the history of the children of Jacob (Israel). As long as Joseph was alive, the children of Jacob and their families were safe from harm. God had raised Joseph for this purpose notwithstanding other great things that he did for all humanity. Now that he was dead, and all governmental powers had been resorted to Egyptians, Satan having heard and knowing full well that the Seed was hidden in this small budding nation, prepared the stage for a massive campaign against it.
Exodus begins with the rise to power of a different Pharaoh who did not recognize and know Joseph. In his inaugural address to his people, he revealed the mind and the spirit of Satan so clearly that one cannot mistake it for anything but a demonic plan to destroy Israel and the Seed. Read Exodus 1:9-10 where he tells his people, “Look, the people of he children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply”. Here we see the underlying intention in the Pharaoh’s speech: Preventing Israel form multiplying, thus stopping the Seed form being passed onto the next generation. The fewer the people of Israel are the better for Satan, who through his earthly agents would be able to destroy the Seed. So the first act of Pharaoh is the position of harsh and cruel working conditions upon Israel. Why? So their life would be so miserable and difficult for them that they would not even dare contemplate having more children. More work meant less procreation, so thought Pharaoh, and thus fewer children. The ones who were already alive would eventually die of malnutrition and mistreatment in the hand of the task masters, and thus the nation of Israel would cease to exist and along with their destruction would the Seed also perish. Israel’s defeat meant God’s defeat. Satan knew one thing about God’s character which he considered His so-called “soft spot” or “weakness”: God’s faithfulness to His promises! You see, once God makes a promise and ratifies it with a covenant, He never goes back on His word and remains faithful forever. If you read the Bible, you will see on numerous occasions, God makes a promise or a vow and we know that He had remained totally faithful to what He had uttered, even if at present, there would be sufficient reason to back awaty form the promise. He kept His promise to Adam and Eve regarding the Seed/Redeemer. He kept His promise to Noah. He has kept His Promise to Abraham even up to now, as He has preserved both Israel after the flesh and Israel after the spirit (the Church). He promised that Christ would be a High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedech and he has honored that promise. And more! God is a faithful God! He is faithful because that is His character and essence. God must remain true to Himself to be truly God. On the other hand, Satan is the father of promise breakers, covenant breakers, and law breakers, because he himself is a rebel and not subject to truth and truthfulness. He is a liar and the father of all lies. He is never faithful. He always betrays. Remember Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus. He became the betrayer when Satan entered him. That is his nature to betray and never keep his word. He is only faithful to himself and to no one else. That is why he is shrewd and cunning because he comes with great promises and illusions of truthfulness and yet once he achieves his purpose, he abandons the object to utter rejection and abuse. The closest example of Satan operating in our human realm is Hollywood! It promises young men and women all the fame and glitter one can imagine, but once they are done with you and you have fulfilled their economic desires and filled their pockets with dollars, and once you begin to show a few wrinkles on your face and under your eyes, your role and importance diminishes and eventually becomes non-existent. Hollywood is a reflection of the mirage and illusion Satan has created for humanity in general. No faithfulness. But, praise the Lord, our God is faithful! He will never forget us! Satan knew that God is such a being and therefore knew that God will never abandon Israel, so he tried with all his might to keep Israel away form the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to make them Egyptian in mind and character.
Next, in order to fully implement his demonic plan to destroy Israel completely, Pharaoh summons the Jewish midwives and instructs them to kill male children at the time of birth. He wanted to prevent any more male children who could be both recipient and the carriers of the Seed to the next generation form coming into the world. What a brilliant thought! Prevention by abortion! Satan is really serious now. He can not allow a nation like Israel to remain and to challenge his well-entrenched position in the world and the hearts of men from being challenged. Israel is a threat to Satan. Any vessel, whether individual or corporate, that contains and carries the divine Seed and revelation as a testimony to the Lord’s Sovereignty and kingdom is a clear and present danger to Satan. They cannot co-exist with Satan and his rule. Either Satan must stay or the Lord and His testimony through His people.
So Pharaoh gives the orders to kill and destroy the male children of Israel. In Exodus 1:17 the Bible states, “The midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive”.
God, through the compassionate attitude of these noble women, saved the Hebrew male children, thus ensuring the continuation of the Seed’s journey to full manifestation. Even though the central theme of the book of Exodus is the rise of Moses, who himself was a Levite, the underlying message of the book is nothing but the preservation of the nations in whom the tribe of Judah kept the Seed safe and secure. Moses, who is a type of Christ, rises to challenge the authority of Pharaoh, just as Christ challenged and overcame Satan’s hold on humanity, not with the blood of sheep and goats, but with His own precious blood as the price of atonement.
God heard the cry of Israel in their utter slavery and bitterness and raised Moses to be a mighty deliverer to free Israel form Egypt and to reestablish them back in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel was like a lost son that was found and brought home. The Seed was in Israel, and yet, Israel was not in her land. The Seed and the land must go hand in hand. The land is where the Seed must eventually be planted and brought to full manifestation. Therefore, rescue form Egypt without a full entrance into the land is incomplete in a sense and ineffective for the purposes of God. Similarly, we as believer, even though we cherish our salvation from sin and death, we need a full and perfect entry into the fullness of God’s plan and purpose which is a type of spiritual fullness and rest at this time and the millennial rule of Christ in the age to come. The Seed had to be transported form Egypt to Canaan. The Seed and the land had to be in sync with each other. Where the Land is, there the Seed must be. In the parable of the Seed and the Sower, you will notice that the seeds that fell on the roadside never became anything even though it was the same good seed that the sower had in his bag along with the seeds that eventually produced a great harvest. The problem was not the seed. The problem was the location where the seed fell. Those of Israel who fell in the wilderness were like the seeds fallen by the wayside that the birds of the air snatched away.
The transportation of the seed to the desired land was crucial because it not only brought the land and the seed together, it ensured the safety of the seed as well as the fulfillment of the promise of God to make the seed fruitful and abundant in the land of promise.
In Exodus the Seed bearers are transported out of Egypt by and through the blood of the Passover lamb, and even so, we as the bearers of the Seed of the Life of Christ, are transported out of the domain and the dominion of Satan by and though the blood of the Lord Jesus shed on the cross. Seed bearers must be vessels who have been redeemed by God for His purposes. Our redemption as a Christian has specific reasons attached to it. One and probably the most important at this time, is to be a suitable vessel for the life of the Seed that has been planted in us to come to full manifestation and fruition. We were not redeemed so that we escape the fires of Hell and then pursue whatever we wish and desire to do after the redemptive experience of the blood of Christ as our atonement. We were redeemed with this in view that we would become, individually, and corporately, a vessel, a carrier, of the divine Life implanted in us by the Holy Spirit for manifesting, expressing, and representing the fullness of God’s Life in us, through which the dying world would be saved and blessed.
Exodus is the story of how God, by His mighty power and the shed blood of the Passover lamb, removes His people from the domain of the ruthless “Seed killer” Pharaoh, in order for His redeemed people to repossess their inheritance by entering Canaan and occupying and ruling in life, thus proclaiming and demonstrating the fullness of God’s sovereignty and kingdom to the whole world.
In Exodus, the Lord acknowledges the fact that the promise that He had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be realized and the goal of Israel will be achieved. When the people fell into rebellion and sensuality of the flesh by erecting a golden altar, God desired to destroy Israel and raise a nation from Moses and his seed. Moses resisted the temptation of this offer from God and pleaded with Him to relent by saying, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants [seed] as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants [seed], and they shall inherit it forever.’ So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:13-14).
Thus the people of Israel leave Egypt and journey towards the land of promise. We will not go into the details of all that happened to them as they entered the wilderness and how in unbelief, that first generation of the men and women of Israel perished in the wilderness. There are many lessons to be learned there, but they are not in the scope of this book. What I am attempting to show is the development of the Seed, His carriers, and the land in which the Seed would be planted and be made manifest.
We see that under the leadership of Joshua, the second generation of Israelites enter Canaan. Of all the people who had originally come out of Egypt, estimated to be over two million, only two people enter along with the new generation of the Israelites: Joshua and Caleb! It is interesting to note that Joshua was from the tribe of Benjamin and Caleb from the tribe of … yes, Judah! God had preserved one man from Judah who would stand before Him as the bearer of the testimony of God’s kingdom and preserve the divine Seed as promised to Judah. Caleb, in the book of Joshua chapter 14, reclaims his inheritance from Joshua. Hebron and the surrounding areas become the territories of Judah and thus, Judah resettles and rests, along with all the tribes from the dangers of Egypt and the wilderness, living in a land flowing with milk and honey, perfectly conducive to the development of the divine Seed.
Caleb symbolizes the victory of Judah in gaining entrance to the promised land, as Christ, through His victory on the cross, gained entrance into the heavenly realm where He dislodged the principalities and powers of this dark age. Judah triumphed in Caleb and thus the carrier tribe received the choice land and the site of Jerusalem, the city of the Seed of David, the King of Israel.
Therefore, the children of Israel, now a nation of millions, finally enter Canaan, resettle in the land of their forefathers, and rest in their God’s provision of goodness and abundance. The Seed that had been promised to Adam, had traveled through so many lands and so many characters, now resided and rested in the very heart of the nation of Israel. Satan had again lost the battle. He had not succeeded, at any stage of the earth’s history, to frustrate God’s plan as God very decisively and confidently, directed the affairs of His divine Seed, in and through His chosen vessels.
In Genesis, the Seed Bearers are made to believe the promise of the Seed.
In Exodus, the Seed bearers are rescued from the tyranny of Pharaoh.
In Leviticus, the Seed bearers are taught to worship the Lord.
In Numbers, the Seed bearers are taught to trust and obey Him and His servants.
In Deuteronomy, the Seed bearers are taught to love the Lord the God.
In Joshua, they are made to conquer and possess the land of the Seed.
In Judges, they are taught the meaning of suffering caused by idolatry.
In Ruth, the Seed’s inheritance is redeemed.
In the book of Judges, we encounter an all out assault on the people of Israel by their neighboring nations of Canaan. What God had commanded Israel, ordered by Moses, and partially obtained by Joshua and the people, in ridding the land of the Hamite nations who had no interest but the utter destruction of Israel, proved to be very correct. Every so often, one of these nations would attack Israel and take people as slaves, burn their homes, confiscate their belongings, and impose heavy taxes. All of these measures were directly and indirectly orchestrated by Satan himself in order to frustrate God’s plans and turn the people away from the true knowledge of God.
It is a very dark era in the history of Israel. Most of the people have given in to the pressures from without and from within. Compromise and conformity to the images of the other gods are rampant and God has no choice but to raise great men of faith to counter this attack of the enemy and to raise the ancestors of His Seed.
Judges is a book of failure of the masses of Israelites as they compromisingly gave in to the patterns of the surrounding nations and corrupted themselves through the detestable cultural and religious practices of these nations. Perhaps the most noteworthy person in this era, which best represents the condition of the people was Samson. His Nazarite vows taken on his behalf by his parents, were not only disregarded as he revealed the secret of his strength and power to a foreign and pagan woman, he also severely jeopardized the welfare of the nation by getting entangled in the web of deceit and corruption of Delilah. Samson represented a nation that likewise had been sanctified and consecrated for the Lord and His purposes, and yet had forsaken their calling, and had wandered into the arms of the foreign neighbors of Canaan, thus polluting themselves and through their failure, compromising and endangering the future of the Seed. Once again, Satan in the book of Judges had, in his own estimation, taken the upper hand, and presumably corrupted Israel beyond any remedy.
God, in His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, having suspected such a massive failure, had separated a remnant unto Himself who would always remain faithful to Him and His cause, preserving the lineage of the Divine Seed. This remnant is so evident in the fabric of the Biblical revelation that one cannot dispute or argue its existence. Paul in Romans 11:5 says, “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace”. God, in His grace and mercy, has always maintained a remnant of His people who have always remained faithful to Him no matter what. The Bible refers to them as overcomers and victors. The book of Judges ushers in an era of constant failure followed by a miraculous rescue by God though a Judge. This goes on and on until we come to the most beloved of all Old Testament men: David, whose life as the Seed bearer to the Messiah will be examined in the next chapter.
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