The Birthright and Sonship--Part 1
Jul 21, 2009
The Gospel revelation has progressed since the beginning. With Adam we see a simple statement in Gen. 3:15 about someone who would crush the serpent's head. But without subsequent history to shed light on it, it would have been difficult to know much more than that simple prophecy.
In Abraham's day and in Moses' day, the Gospel of the Kingdom was mostly about faith and obedience, but it lacked a clear understanding of the Messiah. Moses prophesied about the coming King and gave instructions for kings to follow (Deut. 17:14-20), but his role as Messiah was not yet clear, even though all the sacrifices pointed to the True Sacrifice.
With David and the prophets afterward, a clearer idea of the role of Messiah began to emerge, particularly with Isaiah, whose chapter 53 connects the Messiah to the Sacrifices. Isaiah 50 makes it clear that the great Sacrifice was, in some way, Yahweh Himself. If I may quote Rabbi Dr. Max Wertheimer's "How a Rabbi Found Peace,"
"Then I began to study the context of the fifty-third chapter and in Isaiah 50:6 I found, 'I gave My back to the smiters.' I pondered that: Who gave his back to the smiters? In the beginning of the chapter it says, 'Thus saith Jehovah.' Jehovah is the only speaker in the chapter. Jehovah gave His back to the smiters? Had God a back? When and why was it smitten? Who smote it? Further I read: 'Who gave His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair.' And still further, 'I hid not My face from shame and spitting'."
The Rabbi finally came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was Jehovah in the flesh, "the arm of the Lord" in Isaiah 53:1 that was being revealed. But Rabbi Wertheimer was able to look at Jesus Christ to see if He fulfilled these prophecies. In Isaiah's day, these prophecies were no doubt a great mystery, for it had not yet been revealed how God could be incarnated on earth, nor was it clear how all of us could be called "the sons of God."
Yet this idea of Sonship is central to the entire Scripture, and it is the goal of all history. Without it, creation would lack true meaning and purpose.
This idea of Sonship is the essence of the Birthright. The Birthright has been with us from the beginning, but its understanding has been progressive, a little here and a little there. It started out with two mandates in Genesis 1. The first was the Dominion Mandate of Gen. 1:26, and the second was the Fruitfulness Mandate of Gen. 1:28.
"Let them have Dominion," and "Be Fruitful and multiply."
These two sections of the Birthright remained united as they were passed down from generation to generation to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob-Israel. Jacob, then, split them when he divided up the blessing to his sons. To Judah went the Dominion Mandate (Gen. 49:10), saying, "The Scepter shall not depart from Judah." The second part, the Fruitfulness Mandate went to Joseph, saying in Gen. 49:22, "Joseph is a fruitful bough" [Heb. ben, "SON"].
We know that Joseph received the birthright, because this fact is plainly stated in 1 Chron. 5:2,
"For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's."
From this point on, the Dominion Mandate ceased to be part of the Birthright--at least until the time of the end, when both were to come together again under the Headship of Jesus Christ. In fact, this is hinted in Gen. 49:10, where the full verse says,
"The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be."
The implication is that the scepter would depart from Judah when "Shiloh" came, because the people would rally around Him and consider Him to be their King.
The rest of Scripture gives us the progressive history of the fulfillment of this prophecy. Judah and Joseph were split into two nations after the death of Solomon. The two nations were called Judah and Israel. Judah held the Dominion Mandate with the seed of David ruling in Jerusalem; Israel held the Birthright and the Fruitfulness Mandate ("seed as the stars of heaven"), and its capital was Samaria. But this was a breach that needed repair (Is. 58:12), and the only One who could repair it was the Messiah (Is. 30:26).
Worse yet, when the house of Israel was taken into Assyria (745-721 B.C.), it appeared that the Birthright was lost with them. Since the Israelites were the ones who had the responsibility to bring forth the sons of God by the Fruitfulness Mandate--and they were LOST--it appeared that mankind had lost its opportunity to become the sons of God.
This breach, in fact, was the reason why the Messiah had to come TWICE. The first time He came of the seed of Judah (specifically David) in order to lay claim to His Throne rights, because to Him was given the Dominion Mandate. But the Birthright remained an open question until modern times. As God began to prepare the earth for the second coming of Christ, the issue of the Birthright came to the forefront.
I have already shown how the Throne was usurped by the chief priests in the first appearance of Christ. This was the fulfillment of earlier prophecy in the story of David and Absalom. But in the past century, the usurpers of the Throne decided that they wanted the Birthright of Joseph as well. After all, what good is a Throne without the Birthright? What good is a King without the Kingdom?
The Birthright NAME is Israel. When Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph and gave them the Birthright (Gen. 48:16), He also gave them the name that went with it--Israel. It was the name given to Jacob by the angel in Gen. 32:28. So we read in Gen. 48:16 that Jacob blessed Joseph's sons, saying, "The angel that blessed me bless the lads; and let my name be named on them."
Hence, years later, when the ten tribes split from Judah, those ten tribes retained the name of Israel, whereas Judah, though it was ruled by the house of David, had to settle for a secondary name.
In 1948, the Zionists decided to call their new nation Israel, rather than Judah, or the Kingdom of Judah, and other alternate names that were debated at that time. They did so in order to force other nations to recognize their right to the Birthright of Joseph. The question is whether or not they really had the right to take that name. For thousands of years they were content with being known as "Jews," a shortened form of Judah or Judahites.
So 1948 marks the prophetic time when Joseph's Birthright was usurped, even as the Scepter had been usurped in the first century. The plot was now complete.
Meanwhile, also around 1948, the revelation of the Sonship movement hit the Church. But Christians knew little of the history of the Birthright and its relationship to Sonship. So they were induced to recognize the Jewish state as the true Israel, not realizing that the lawful effect of this was to recognize the usurpers as the true holders of the Birthright and the right to bring forth the sons of God.
The effect of this was that the Church could not attain to the manifestation of the sons of God as it desired to do. Why? Because the right to Sonship had been usurped, and the Church no longer had that right as long as it recognized the Jewish state as being true Israel.
This is the Judas factor today, applied to the usurpation of the Birthright in the second coming of Christ. But the overcomers have brought up this issue in the divine court, and the judgment of God has vindicated them.
This is the first part of a series titled "The Birthright and Sonship." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones