The Order for Advancement
As shown through the 12 tribes of Israel: Part 7-Ephraim
Ephraim was not an actual birth son of Jacob. He was one of the sons of Joseph. However, he did receive a blessing from Jacob (Israel) the same as Jacob’s other sons. Before we get into the meaning behind ‘Ephraim’, let us take a look at the blessing Jacob bestowed upon Joseph:
Genesis 49:22-26 – “Joseph is a fruitful bough, A fruitful bough by a well; His branches run over the wall. 23 The archers have bitterly grieved him, Shot at him and hated him. 24 But his bow remained in strength, And the arms of his hands were made strong By the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), 25 By the God of your father who will help you, And by the Almighty who will bless you With blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26 The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
‘Ephraim’ means double fruit.
Genesis 41:50a,52 – And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came…52 And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
There was some (in today’s language) controversy when Jacob gave the blessings over Joseph’s two sons. Before he blessed them, he said this:
Genesis 48:5 – And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.
Then the blessings came.
Genesis 48:12-20 – 12 So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. 14 Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, 16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” 17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
Even though Ephraim was not the firstborn, he received a blessing from Jacob of the firstborn.
Ephraim means double fruit and he was placed above his older brother as far as the blessing from Jacob. Joseph was respresented among the tribes twice (through both his sons). The blessing Jacob gave to Joseph was that he would was a fruitful bough. What does this show us as far as God’s proper order for the advancement of His Kingdom?
1) We open ourselves to give our praises (Judah) to our Lord because:
2) He is our wages/recompense (Issachar) for our sin through His sacrifice.
3) Through Him living in us and us living in Him, He becomes our habitation/dwelling place (Zebulun). Where He moves, we learn to move also because we…
4) Begin to see Who He truly is. We behold/look at/perceive The Son of God Almighty (‘behold, a son’-Reuben).
5) We also begin to hear His voice through Holy Spirit. As we hear, we begin to obey what God says to us through our relationship with them and through the Living Word. We begin to ‘hear with acceptance’ (Simeon) because our Father hears our cries through our pain and affliction.
6) Once we see, hear, and begin to obey our Lord, we come to the understanding of how fortunate we are (Gad).
7) The more we come to know the persons of the God-Head, the more our spiritual fruit grows as the weeds of our fleshly garden begin to die away. The more we grow spiritually, the deeper our blessings become. We receive and acknowledge our ‘double fruit’ (Ephraim) so we can then give to others out of our abundance.
Are we beginning to see what God has already set in motion? There are so many layers to the written Word of God just as there are so many layers to God’s Word made flesh (Jesus, The Annointed One). All because there are an infinite number of layers to God our Father. He does not do anything by accident. Everything serves a purpose. Even how He constructed our fleshly bodies (that will be in another series at a much later time). Everything has a purpose including how He arranged the tribes to set up and break camp. I know for me personally, I don’t always act as if I am fully blessed. Through my relationship with the God-Head, I am learning. It is revelations like these that I receive that grow me into the being God designed me to be.
He wants us to come to know all of Who He is. It is a matter of us choosing how much we want to know Him.
Ephrayim (Ephraim) https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H669
Alicia R. Shipe