Everyone has fantasised about it at least once – imagine if you could have the ability to see what the future holds. What would you like to know? What would you do with the knowledge you acquire? Now, please don’t misunderstand me – I am not talking about divination, fortune-telling or astrology which God hates. I am talking about prophecy and walking the path that God has prepared for you so that His name could be glorified in your life.
In this week’s parasha, Vayechi, we learn that Jacob has been in Egypt for seventeen years and at hundred and forty-seven years of age, he is drawing near to the end of his life on this earth. So, Israel calls his son Joseph and requests that he would not be buried in Egypt but instead in the same grave as his forefathers. Joseph swore in agreement.
A couple of chapters later, Israel gathers of all his sons and blesses each one of them. But not only that, he also says he will tell them about what will happen to them in the end of days. Now at this point this texts becomes one of those messianic passages which will not only affect the future of the lives of his sons and their offspring but also the future of the rest of humanity.
Interestingly enough, at the beginning of the parasha in Bereshit/Genesis 48:3-4, Jacob seems to make the point that his vision of what will happen in the future is not just the wishful thinking of a dying man for his children, in fact is not even his own vision at all. Instead he acknowledges: “[The] Almighty God appeared to me in Luz, in the land of Canaan, and He blessed me. And He said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and cause you to multiply, and I will make you into a congregation of peoples, and I will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting inheritance.’” (emphasis added).
Impressive! How is that for seeing and knowing what will happen far ahead into the future?!
…this is not just his own blessing for his sons but most importantly it is a blessing and a promise that comes from the Most High
But how does this impact us?
Well again, this is not just his own blessing for his sons but most importantly it is a blessing and a promise that comes from the Most High, the Aleph and the Tav, the Beginning and the End. So even though Jacob knows that there were things some of his sons had done which went against his own will (most notoriously selling their brother Joseph as a slave to the Egyptians only to later be rescued by Joseph while not being able to recognise him), the promise given by God to him and his descendants still stands and it will continue to stand for all ages as an everlasting inheritance. Perhaps the most important blessing, which would change the course of history, is given to Israel’s son, Yehuda (Judah). The understood prophecy that the Messiah will come from his lineage and will ultimately reign for all eternity.
“Judah, [as for] you, your brothers will acknowledge you. Your hand will be at the nape of your enemies, [and] your father’s sons will prostrate themselves to you.” (Bereshit/Genesis 49:8). But why does Israel say that Judah’s brothers “will acknowledge” him? Do they not already know he is their brother? Do his brothers not know Jacob is Judah’s father? Well of course they do and it seems unlikely they will forget it in their future; so perhaps this is alluding to something that will happen in the future. After all Jacob is talking to them about “the end of days.”
If we treat his words as a prophecy for the future, perhaps it would be the Messiah who would come and his brothers wouldn’t acknowledge, perhaps the children of Israel would turn their backs and not recognise Him as the fulfilment of Gods promise and blessings to them and even all nations?
The prophet Yeshayahu/Isaiah writes in chapter 53 verses 1-3: “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
The will of that hundred and forty-seven-year-old moribund, Jacob, would be that his blessings will come to realisation and that even though his children might act against that very will, the blessings given to him by God and passed along to his children will always remain. That indeed one day the brothers of Judah will recognise the need for and acknowledge Him and that they will prostrate themselves to Him and recognise that the Messiah has come as the fulfilment of their given blessing. That one day the Messiah would be born and walk on this earth and that He would redeem not only His own but everyone who acknowledges Him. That He would pay for our transgressions and that in Him we would be made whole again.
So, in closing I have a prediction to give you of which I am very confident will come to pass. But, just as with Jacob, this prediction or “glimpse” into the future is not my own. Are you ready?
“For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” – Matthew 23:39 (emphasis added). These are the words of Yeshua. One simple but important question remains – have you acknowledged Him yet?
A glimpse into the future