Beresheet (Genesis) 47:28-50:26
The Bible is God’s Word; it is one book starting from the book of Beresheet (Beginnings, also known as “Genesis”), and ending with the book of John’s Vision (also known as the Book of Revelation). Unfortunately, translations of the Bible have been separated into two books known as the “old” and “new” testaments. Apart from the fact that one does not make sense without the other, having only one testament greatly limits our understanding of the wholeness of God’s message! The entirety of His plan for the world – from the fall of man, to the calling out of a people to be set apart for Him, to the first coming of Messiah, and finally to the ultimate, eternal reign of the Lord – is laid out in the Scriptures.
In this week’s parasha, we can see one of the reasons that we are to read the entire Word of God as a whole, rather than dividing it into two parts. In Genesis 49:1, many of the English translations write, “Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what shall befall you in the days to come.” A more accurate translation would be, “Jacob called his sons and said, ‘Gather together and I will tell you that which will happen to you at the end of days (the last days).’”
It is clear that the first book of the Bible is setting the foundation for us to understand the rest of God’s Word, and as the above verse states, it will also reveal to us what will happen at the “end of days”. The final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, also refers to what Jacob had foretold:
“After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind should blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.” Revelations 7:1-8
If we read this carefully, we will notice that one of the 12 tribes is missing here. In fact, it is more accurate to say that it has been replaced; the tribe of Dan has been replaced with the tribe of Manasseh, which was one of Joseph’s sons. The question is why? In order for us to understand this, we must refer to Jacob’s prophecy about Dan in our parasha this week:
““Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path,that bites the horse’s heels, so that his rider falls backward. “For Thy salvation I wait, O LORD.” Genesis 49:16-18
Jacob prophesies destruction at the hands of Dan. Verse 16 tells us that Dan will judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. My understanding of this is that, in the last days, a man will rise up pretending to be one of the tribes, and will even judge the people as such, but will not actually be a part of Israel. This is the reason that we do not find him listed as one of the tribes in Revelation 7.
From these Scriptures we can understand that Dan will not only pretend to be one of the tribes of Israel, and will judge the people as one, but that people will be deceived into believing that he is indeed one of the actual tribes of Israel. However, instead of leading the people toward God, this man will draw them away from Him and bring destruction upon Israel. It is no wonder that Jacob speaks the words, “For Thy salvation I wait, O LORD.” That time will be so bad, that the people will cry out for God’s salvation to come!
My dear brothers and sisters, I would like to encourage you to be students of the entire Word of God, from the beginning to the end… from Genesis to Revelation. When you do, you will open yourself to the truly amazing wholeness of God, and His kingdom.
January is a wonderful opportunity to begin to read the Bible cover to cover! Will you join me in reading Genesis to Revelation in 2017?