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Minggu, 27 Juli 2008

Humanity in Sin Part 59: Jacob’s Death

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong on 6th July 2008 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 49:29-50:14


Jacob also gave Joseph very special blessing. He was the most precious son of Jacob. Although God chose Judah as the tribe through which Christ was descended, Joseph also received special blessings.

Joseph was referred as a fruitful vine. In the New Testament, Christ likened Himself as the vine as well. The fruit is on the branches, not on the stem. Christians ought not to forget that they are but branches. The true quality comes from the stem. The fruits we bear are not our fruits, but the Holy Spirit’s. The fruits are not for us to enjoy only but also for others. They are for God’s glory.

Joseph was portrayed as strong although there were enemies all around him. It is because the Almighty is with him. When Joseph was sold to Egypt, he was a slave. But he did not compromise his faith. His faith towards God is genuine and he knew that God would never forsake Him. Joseph was victorious and strong was because of the Shepherd of Israel. Joseph is different from all his brothers.

He was the prime minister of Egypt and was the only one who married an Egyptian. So his children were not pure Israelites. He was chosen by God and his future would surpass his brothers. Jacob wanted to emphasize that God had blessed Joseph, and that although he was the prime minister of Egypt, the blessings he gave to Joseph was greater than all other blessings he had received.

Genesis recorded only one chapter on creation, but many chapters on people’s lives. From chapter 12 to 50, it is all about 4 persons over 4 generations. This structure represents something important thing. The center of creation is humanity. The center of humanity is God’s chosen ones. The center of God’s chosen ones are those to whom God gave His revelation to guide His people through all generations. In Genesis, they are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. Of all the blessings Jacob pronounced on his children, the blessings for Judah and Joseph are special.

After he blessed his children, he asked them to bury him in Canaan, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca were buried. Joseph was a person who faithfully held on to the promise of God. The Egyptians conceded to his request. Joseph cried for his father for 7 days. When Joseph was about to die, he also asked his brothers to retrieve his remains when God brought them out of Egypt. Like his father, he still remembered the promises of God for Israel.

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