LESSON 55 JASHER CH 52
JACOB’S BOOK PLEADS FOR MERCY ON HIS SONS
1. And they entered their house, and everyman opened his sack and they saw and behold everyman's bundle of money was there, at which they and their father were greatly terrified.
2. And Jacob said unto them, What is this that you have done to me? I sent your brother Joseph to inquire after your welfare and you said unto me, A wild beast did devour him.
3. And Simeon went with you to buy food and you say the king of Egypt hath confined him in prison, and you wish to take Benjamin to cause his death also, and bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave on account of Benjamin and his brother Joseph.
4. Now therefore my son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead and he is left alone, and mischief may befall him by the way in which you go, as it befell his brother.
5. And Reuben said unto his father, Thou shalt slay my two sons if I do not bring thy son and place him before thee; and Jacob said unto his sons, Abide ye here and do not go down to Egypt, for my son shall not go down with you to Egypt, nor die like his brother.
6. And Judah said unto them, refrain ye from him until the corn is finished, and he will then say, Take down your brother, when he will find his own life and the life of his household in danger from the famine.
7. And in those days the famine was sore throughout the land, and all the people of the earth went and came to Egypt to buy food, for the famine prevailed greatly amongst them, and the sons of Jacob remained in Canaan a year and two months until their corn was finished.
8. And it came to pass after their corn was finished, the whole household of Jacob was pinched with hunger, and all the infants of the sons of Jacob came together and they approached Jacob, and they all surrounded him, and they said unto him, Give unto us bread, and wherefore shall we all perish through hunger in thy presence?
9. Jacob heard the words of his son's children, and he wept a great weeping, and his pity was roused for them, and Jacob called unto his sons and they all came and sat before him.
10. And Jacob said unto them, and have you not seen how your children have been weeping over me this day, saying, Give unto us bread, and there is none? Now therefore return and buy for us a little food.
11. And Judah answered and said unto his father, If thou wilt send our brother with us we will go down and buy corn for thee, and if thou wilt not send him then we will not go down, for surely the king of Egypt particularly enjoined us, saying, You shall not see my face unless your brother be with you, for the king of Egypt is a strong and mighty king, and behold if we shall go to him without our brother we shall all be put to death.
12. Dost thou not know and hast thou not heard that this king is very powerful and wise, and there is not like unto him in all the earth? Behold we have seen all the kings of the earth and we have not seen one like that king, the king of Egypt; surely amongst all the kings of the earth there is none greater than Abimelech king of the Philistines, yet the king of Egypt is greater and mightier than he, and Abimelech can only be compared to one of his officers.
13. Father, thou hast not sen his palace and his throne, and all his servants standing before him; thou hast not seen that king upon this throne in his pomp and royal appearance, dressed in his kingly robes with a large golden crown upon his head; thou hast not seen the honor and glory which God has given unto him, for there is not like unto him in all the earth.
14. Father, thou hast not seen the wisdom, the understanding and the knowledge which God has given in his heart, nor heard his sweet voice when he spake unto us.
15. We know not, father, who made him acquainted with our names and all that befell us, yet he asked also after thee, saying, Is your father still living, and is it well with him?
16. Thou hast not seen the affairs of the government of Egypt regulated by him, without inquiring of Pharaoh his lord; thou hast not seen the awe and fear which he impressed upon all the Egyptians.
17. And also when we went from him, we threatened to do unto Egypt like unto the rest of the cities of the Amorites, and we were exceedingly wroth against all his words which he spoke concerning us as spies, and now when we shall again come before him his terror will fall upon us all, and not one of us will be able to speak to him either a little or a great thing.
18. Now therefore father, send we pray thee the lad with us, and we will go down and buy thee food for our support, and not die through hunger. And Jacob said, Why have you dealt so ill with me to tell the king you had a brother? What is this thing that you have done unto me?
19. And Judah said unto Jacob his father, Give the lad into my care and we will rise up and go down to Egypt and buy corn, and then return, and it shall be when we return if the lad be not with us, then let me bear thy blame forever.
20. Hast thou seen all our infants weeping over thee through hunger and there is no power in thy hand to satisfy them? Now let thy pity be roused for them and send our brother with us and we will go.
21. For how will the Lord's kindness to our ancestors be manifested to thee when thou sayest that the king of Egypt will take away thy son? As the Lord liveth I will not leave him until I bring him and place him before thee; but pray for us unto the Lord, that he may deal kindly with us, to cause us to be received favorably and kindly before the ding of Egypt and his men, for had we not delayed surely now we had returned a second time with thy son.
22. And Jacob said unto his sons, I trust in the Lord God that he may deliver you and give you favor in the sight of the king of Egypt, and in the sight of all his men.
23. Now therefore rise up and go to the man, and take for him in your hands a present from what can be obtained in the land and bring it before him, and may the Almighty God give you mercy before him that he may send Benjamin and Simeon your brethren with you.
24. And all the men rose up, and they took their brother Benjamin, and they took in their hands a large present of the best of the land, and they also took a double portion of silver.
25. And Jacob strictly commanded his sons concerning Benjamin, saying, Take heed of him in the way in which you are going, and do not separate yourselves from him in the road, neither in Egypt.
26. And Jacob rose up from his sons and spread forth his hands and he prayed unto the Lord on account of his sons, saying, O Lord God of heaven and earth, remember thy covenant with our father Abraham, remember it with my father Isaac and deal kindly with my sons and deliver them not into the hands of the king of Egypt; do it I pray thee O God for the sake of thy mercies and redeem all my children and rescue them from Egyptian power, and send them their two brothers.
27. And all the wives of the sons of Jacob and their children lifted up their eyes to heaven and they all wept before the Lord, and cried unto him to deliver their fathers from the hand of the king of Egypt.
28. And Jacob wrote a record to the king of Egypt and gave it into the hand of Judah and into the hands of his sons for the king of Egypt, saying,
29. From thy servant Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham the Hebrew, the prince of God, to the powerful and wise king, the revealer of secrets, king of Egypt, greeting.
30.Be it known to my lord the king of Egypt, the famine was sore upon us in the land of Canaan, and I sent my sons to thee to buy us a little food from thee for our support.
31. For my sons surrounded me and I being very old cannot see with my eyes, for my eyes have become very heavy through age, as well as with daily weeping for my son, for Joseph who was lost from before me, and I commanded my sons that they should not enter the gates of the city when they came to Egypt, on account of the inhabitants of the land.
32. And I also commanded them to go about Egypt to seek for my son Joseph, perhaps they might find him there, and they did so, and thou didst consider them as spies of the land.
33. Have we not heard concerning thee that thou didst interpret Pharaoh's dream and didst speak truly unto him? How then dost thou not know in thy wisdom whether my sons are spies or not?
34. Now therefore, my lord and king, behold I have sent my son before thee, as thou didst speak unto my sons; I beseech thee to put thy eyes upon him until he is returned to me in peace with his brethren.
35. For dost thou not know, or hast thou not heard that which our God did unto Pharaoh when he took my mother Sarah, and what he did unto Abimelech king of the Philistines on account of her, and also what our father Abraham did unto the nine kings of Elam, how he smote them all with a few men that were with him?
36. And also what my two sons Simeon and Levi did unto the eight cities of the Amorites, how they destroyed them on account of their sister Dinah?
37. And also on account of their brother Benjamin they consoled themselves for the loss of his brother Joseph; what will they then do for him when they see the hand of any people prevailing over them, for his sake?
38. Dost thou not know, O king of Egypt, that the power of God is with us, and that also God ever heareth our prayers and forsaketh us not all the days.
39. And when my sons told me of thy dealings with them, I called not unto the Lord on account of thee, for then thou wouldst have perished with thy men before my son Benjamin came before thee, but I thought that as Simeon my son was in thy house, perhaps thou mightest deal kindly with him, therefore I did not this thing unto thee.
40. Now therefore behold Benjamin my son cometh unto thee with my sons, take heed of him and put thy eyes upon him, and then will God place his eyes over thee and throughout thy kingdom.
41. Now I have told thee all that is in my heart, and behold my sons are coming to thee with their brother, examine the face of the whole earth for their sake and send them back in peace with their brethren.
42. And Jacob gave the record to his sons into the care of Judah to give it unto the king of Egypt.
JACOB SEEKS TO PROTECT HIS SONS, ESPECIALLY BENJAMIN
Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, she wanted to name him, "Ben-oni", which means "son of my sorrow." But, Jacob named him "Benjamin" which means "son of my right hand."
Jacob kept this son near to him, as a pre-eminent son. God's saints are given pre-eminence, not on the basis of birth, but on obedience.
We can be constantly at the right hand of God. We can come boldly to His throne. We can cry "Abba Father." We can stay in His presence eternally, for He will never leave us.
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
These sons of Jacob are the namesakes for the twelve gates to the city of the New Jerusalem:
Revelation 21:12, 21
"And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel... the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl."
So these twelve patriarchs were saintly men, for whom God has reserved not only the honor of being the namesake for the twelve tribes of Israel, but the namesake for the twelve gates to the New Jerusalem, our eternal home, and God's eternal home.
We have too long thought only, or mostly, of their failure concerning the mistreatment of Joseph, but these men grew in the Lord, learned from their sins, and were mighty men of God.
Joseph was a great type and pre-figurement of Jesus, the coming Messiah. They knew this even back in the days of the patriarchs. Prophetic revelation was much greater then, than we have been taught. Prophecy was revealed to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and all the patriarchs.
We are often smug in Christianity, thinking we are so smart, and the past saints had no prophetic revelation as we do. However, Abraham looked for the New Jerusalem, and many saints today do not even know about a New Jerusalem. These past patriarchs had much prophetic revelation. At times different generations rejected it, or ignored it. Prophecy should have an effect upon us, as it did these patriarchs.
JACOB’S SONS WERE A ‘CHURCH’
The sons of Jacob, the family of the Jewish nation were to be the first "church", i.e. "called out ones" with a mission for God. They failed, and stumbled, for the most part throughout history, until God turned to the Gentile church to continue the ministry they were to have had.
Paul called the church a "mystery." This mystery was revealed to him. He was taught, by the Spirit, that the people of God did not understand in the other ages what God was doing with the "called out ones." He teaches us in Ephesians that the Gentiles are to be made "fellow heirs" and part of the same "body", and "partakers of the promise". He reveals that all people, Jew and Gentile, are now to make up what we now call the "church," the body of believers. The Gentiles were not to be attached to the Jewish "body" of believers, but a new joint-body (Greek = sussomos) is revealed to be the desire of God since the beginning of the world.
"How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel;... And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ."
Jesus spoke of "mysteries" that He was revealing to the disciples. The mysteries that He revealed referred to the church and prophecies concerning it that were being openly revealed.
Matthew 13:10-11, 17, 35
"...Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given... many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them... I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
For many of the people of our day, the church is still a "mystery." Its condition is unrealized because the people don't even understand what it is, and what its purpose is. Some today have a warped view of the church, and see it as something that is a perverted image of what God really intended. The mystery of the Old Testament about the church is still a present day mystery in the last days. That church failed by means of unbelief, doubt, internal feuding, debate, misconceptions of their ministry, greed, idolatry. The story of the betrayal of Joseph has been often relived in congregations of the current days.
God is greatly desirous of reviving the church, and preparing the church for the rapture. He is about to sever the tares and offenders of the church (as Jesus revealed in Matthew 13). The church will see a revolution of change in the last days, and will finally return to the mission and purpose that Jesus intended it to have.
Paul revealed that God's purpose in the church was to bring Jews and Gentiles into one body.
"... remember, that in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off and are made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ; For He is our peace, Who hath made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in the ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain, one new man (the church is called a man here), so making peace, and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby... through Him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father... Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God... in Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
The church had its beginning ages ago. First, it was only a plan in the mind of God. Then God set the nation of Israel aside as a special people, a "called out" group of people who were to serve and worship Him.
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself... the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage."
Too often, the church has been seen as a New Testament idea alone. In a strict sense, the word "ecclesia" (called out ones, assembly) is a Greek word, and thus only in the New Testament. However, Stephen referred to "the church in the wilderness..." (Acts 7:38). This puts the concept of the church into an Old Testament period. The church is the "called out ones" of the Lord in all ages, and in the New Testament period the Gentile Christians are grafted into the church.
"...thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree."
The prophets of the Old Testament tried to communicate the message of a universal church to the people for God. In Zechariah's prophecy, the Lord calls Himself the "Lord of Hosts". This literally means the "Lord of everyone." This is probably why they stabbed Zechariah as he walked into the holy place of the temple one day. They could not accept the concept of sharing the "special calling" of God with the Gentiles.
The three members of the Trinity all have a work concerning the church. Jesus purchased the church, and it is built upon Him. Yet, God the Father is the One Who originated the plan for the church. The Holy Spirit is now the Administrator of the church.
"...upon this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
"He (Christ Jesus) is the head of the body, the church."
Much of the work of the church is now left for we, the saints, to do. Christ left us with the same Power that He had (the Holy Spirit), and gave us the authority to do signs and wonders in His name. Some of the Christians are given special offices to help perfect the various ministries within the church.
"And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
The purpose of these offices of ministry is to bring the "body" into a perfect manifestation of Jesus. Just as Jesus said that to see Him was to see the Father, so with the church, to observe the church in operation should be as to see Jesus Himself in operation. We are to perfectly manifest Jesus to the world. This is our purpose as a church. The ministries are given to help us reach that goal. This is an extremely high calling. The previous segment of the "church" has failed. The brothers of Joseph failed utterly, and so have many congregations today.
The ecclesia (called out ones) are to have this mission in the world. It will include these four points.
1. To evangelize...
"...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
2. To glorify God...
"That ye may with one mouth and one mind glorify God."
3. To edify its members...
I Corinthians 14:12
"...seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."
4. To cooperate in mission and in the duty of the church.
"From Whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Jacob’s sons had a mission. Joseph, in this scenario, represents Jesus. He has the supply for our needs. We are to come to Him with our requests. Our reactions to this often are repeats of the words and actions of the sons of Jacob here.
Let's get serious with our mission. We need radical, revolutionary Christians to understand the turbulent times in which we live. We, as a church, can have revival. We can return to God's original plan for the church. Then, we will see the life-transforming power, the signs and wonders, the Biblical ministry of Jesus to a dying world, the full impact of a prophetic message, the spiritual awakenings that God wants in these last days.
Paul never called himself a "prisoner of Caesar", though physically he often was. Yet, he called himself a "prisoner of the Jesus Christ." (Philemon 1, Ephesians 3:1, 4:1, II Tim. 1:8)) His attention was not on the government of the world, but on the government of the Lord.
II Corinthians 4:18
"We look not to the things which are, but to the things that are unseen."
We are not to be concerned with the governments of this world, but to get the church to do the ministry given us by Jesus. When the government of the church gets in order, the world's governments will feel the effect. They may try to hinder the church, they will even soon do direct battle against the church. Yet, we are to victoriously proclaim the message that the Lord has given us. Signs, wonders, miracles will accompany the church. We are currently at that time, and the church is woefully lacking its readiness.
Our primary concern is to witness Christ.
I Peter 2:9
"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wondrous deeds of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
The church cannot save the world, only Jesus can. Our part is to show Christ's love, and proclaim His love for all.
"By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
The first necessity is to get unity, as the Lord desires it. It is not the unity that the world, or the ecumenical movement, has sought. Yet, there is a unity that is vitally necessary for the church to have. The family of Jacob struggled, mostly unsuccessfully for this unity, finally, the loving forgiveness, the providence of God enabled them to reconcile. Let us pray for a restoration in the church of the last days.
THE BOOK OF JACOB TO JOSEPH
Not knowing yet, that Joseph was the ruler to whom his other sons were appealing, Jacob writes a short book of explanation of his faith, and of his awareness of the mission and plan of God. It is sad that some of the church fail to understand, that like Jacob’s faith in God’s plan for his family, the church is in God’s plan today. We have a mission, we have a work, we are blessed and anointed to do it, and nothing will derail God’s plan.
Abraham, the grandfather of Jacob, had started this mission in the land, and Jacob remembered what his father and grandfather had taught him.
"By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith, he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; For he looked for a city which hath foundations, Whose Builder and Maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful Who had promised. These all died in faith, not having received the promise, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city."
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac...
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come...
By faith Jacob when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph...
By faith Joseph when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel."
God made promises to Abraham and the other patriarchs, just as He does to us. Abraham waited 25 years after the promise of a son to be born, and then Isaac was finally born. Sara likewise waited a long time. Waiting for a promise to be fulfilled is difficult.
Abraham was esteemed greatly by the Jewish people. He had been promised of the Lord:
"I will make of thee a great nation."
"I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth."
From Abraham came the Jewish nation, Arab nations, Edomites, and others.
"Thou shalt be a blessing... in thee shall all families be blessed."
Jacob recalled all these truths, and wrote a letter, a short book, of faith in God’s blessing on his family. When in trials, when under persecution, we too need to stand strong in faith, for God has a plan for the church, and he will fulfill His plan, and we need to exercise our faith in it.
The Jewish peoples have been a blessing, not a curse, to many other peoples. Abraham had faith to leave his native land, based on a promise from God on a land he had not seen. Abraham followed God's leading step by step. He left the people, the hometown, the culture, all for an unknown destination. Abraham believed the promise of a son, and of a seed to someday be as the sand of the sea. Abraham had faith to settle disputes without bitterness. There was much strife between relatives, employees.
Abraham had the faith to offer up his only son, Isaac. Abraham had faith to conquer strong nations. Five great armies were conquered by Abraham and his 318 men. Abraham had faith to intercede for Lot and the righteous of the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As a result, Lot and his daughters were saved from destruction.
"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness."
"He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God, through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what He promised, He was also able to perform."
The faith of Jacob had to be patient, but he was tried over and over. God honored such a faith. God has prepared for him a city, not only for Abraham but for every saint who has such faith. God had a plan for Joseph, though he was believed slain and gone to Jacob. God’s plan was working, and bringing deliverance to Jacob and his sons. The church needs to have such faith today, in our troubled world.