Joseph the Hebrew-Israelite
Jun 07, 2007
In many articles and books, I have shown why Christ must come twice. Each manifestation has its own unique characteristics and purpose, and it requires two comings to complete the divine plan. When Jacob-Israel divided the responsibilities of the Birthright between Joseph and Judah, he essentially gave Joseph a stripped-down version of the Birthright (1 Chron. 5:1, 2). He took the Dominion Mandate out of the Birthright responsibility and gave it to Judah.
This division of labor, as it were, forms the background to the division of the tribes that occurred many years later, when the tribes of Joseph revolted from Judah's King over high taxes without representation (1 Kings 12:4). In that division into two nations, the Birthright was separated from the Scepter on a national level.
Since Jesus Christ was the ultimate Inheritor of both the Scepter and the Birthright, He had to come twice in order to reunite them under one Head. So He came of Judah the first time to claim His Scepter, and He comes of Joseph the second time to claim His Birthright. Hence, His robe is said to be "dipped in blood" (Rev. 19:13), even as we see in the story of Joseph (Gen. 37:31).
To Joseph's sons were given the name Israel, which the angel had given to Jacob. See Gen. 48:16. Thus, in the division of the tribes, the name Israel was applied to the northern kingdom that included the tribes of Joseph, while the southern kingdom settled upon the alternate name Judah.
In my books, Who is a Jew? and Who is an Israelite?, I showed how the law of God tells us how to obtain citizenship in Judah and in Israel. Citizenship in Judah requires being justified by faith, and the formal citizenship ceremony is what we call baptism. Thus, any true believer in Christ and the death-work that He did as King of Judah, is a Judahite, or "Jew" (a contracted form of Judahite). What we normally call "The Church" is actually the lawful tribe of Judah. Those who rejected the King were cut off from that tribe and are not of Judah in the sight of God.
But there is more to this Christian walk than just accepting Jesus as Christ and King of Judah. There is a second work of Christ that we are called to accept by faith. It is the work of Joseph, or Israel. Those who accept Him in this second manifestation have opportunity to become Israelite citizens as well, thus forming a kingdom that unites the tribes and their callings once again.
Accepting Jesus as the Heir of Joseph-Israel and the Birthright goes beyond being a mere Christian believer. It has to do with becoming an overcomer and becoming one of the manifested Sons of God. In this sense, becoming an Israelite is the same as becoming a true Hebrew, which, as we saw, literally means "manifesting the sons." The fine distinction between an Israelite and a Hebrew is that an Israelite follows the theme of Jacob, who became an overcomer in his wrestling match with the angel; while a Hebrew is a manifested Son of God.
Ultimately, the goal is for us to achieve all three positions. We must first become members of the tribe of Judah, and then overcome as an Israelite, so that we can be rewarded with Sonship as aHebrew.
As true Hebrews, we have "crossed over" from death to life, and from mortality to immorality. This event is marked by the Feast of Tabernacles, where (as Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:1-6) we are clothed with that heavenly tabernacle, so that mortality may be swallowed up by Life. This is the reward of Sonship, which is the main essence of the Birthright.
When all of this was prophesied in the Old Testament in the story of Joseph, there was no clear distinction made between Israelite and Hebrew. Nor was there a need to make such a distinction. The two ideas are almost identical, and certainly are closely linked. Thus, Joseph, the Birthright inheritor, is blessed in Gen. 49:22, "Joseph is a fruitful bough," that is, a SON, for the Hebrew word for bough is ben, which means a son in the sense of a branch from the family tree.
Even Joseph's name indicates Sonship, for he was so named, as Rachel said in Gen. 30:24, "May God add to me another SON." In that story, Joseph was a type of Christ in His second manifestation, while Benjamin was the actual fulfillment of Rachel's prophecy. Benjamin was Joseph's younger brother who fulfilled Rachel's desire for "another son." Benjamin means "Son of my right hand," and in this sense represents the overcomers who came after Jesus, the Firstborn Son.
The story of Benjamin's birth in Gen. 35:18 gives us an added prophetic detail about how one can become part of the Benjamin company. Benjamin had two names. His mother called him Ben-oni, "son of my sorrow," while his father called him Benjamin, "son of my right hand." On one level, this is a prophecy of Jesus Christ Himself, but it also speaks of the overcomers who follow in His footsteps. In Christ's first manifestation, He came as a "man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3) in order to die on the cross. When that work was completed, He was raised to sit at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 1:20).
Having set the example, the path was then opened for the overcomers to follow. First, they were to identify in His death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-11). Overcomers must first become Ben-oni before they can become Benjamin. There is only this one path, established by the Pattern Son.
Thus, Rev. 20:4 tells us that those who inherit the first resurrection are those who have been "beheaded." Jesus Himself was never beheaded as such, so John does not mean to imply a literal beheading. Being crucified with Christ has to do with an inner process of the heart. It involves losing one's own "head" (i.e., mind and will) and receiving a new Head, which is Jesus Christ. If it were not so, then Jesus Himself would have had to die by beheading, rather than by crucifixion, for He established the pattern death.
So how does one become Ben-oni? How is one "crucified with Christ"? It is an identification with Him and a willingness to say, "Not my will, but Thine be done." It is an inner death of the Adamic man, the will that we were born with and which we inherited from Adam. Many would like to think of this "death" as a momentary death, where we mumble a few words about dying with Christ, so that we can enjoy the good life ahead of us. Wishful thinking! Oh, do I wish dying were so easy! That old Adam is a die-hard and has learned to raise himself from the dead.
Paul said also, "I die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31). How many times does the Adamic nature have to die?Every time it shows signs of life. At no time do we have the luxury of relaxing. But this does not mean we have to wait to begin to exercise the power of Benjamin. Our exercise of such power may be imperfect, but it is still very real. In the book of Acts, whenever the disciples exercised a spiritual gift, it was by the power of Benjamin, "Son of my right hand." Exercising spiritual gifts--not necessarily the sensational gifts of miracles--is evidence of the beginning of rulership.
Our experience as Benjamin will be according to how well we have experienced Ben-oni. Our measure of rule as Benjamin types can only match our measure of death as Ben-oni. I have observed that miraculous things can be done by believers whose personal lives are pretty messed up. But I have also observed that there are much greater ways of ruling as Benjamin that do not make much of a splash to catch one's attention.
When spiritual fruit is our priority above spiritual gifts, then God has balanced Sons.