15: Genesis 49:1


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 15

The Prophecy of Jacob’s sons: An appointed time for the coming Messiah

Old Testament Prediction:

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days…”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

Luke 2:1-6 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


Genesis 49:1 describes Jacob at the end of his life. Acting in the role of a prophet, he calls each of his twelve sons to his bedside to pronounce his final blessing. The importance of this 15th Old Testament Prophecy is seen in the descriptions that Jacob makes for his sons in this blessing. As Jacob describes the character of each son, he attributes the words that he is speaking as being “prophetic” because the subject matter is for the period of time described by Jacob as “The Last Days.”

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days…”

As Jacob begins to speak to Judah, he pronounces one of the most exciting and important prophecies of the Old Testament: the prediction of a coming Messiah through the tribe of Judah.

Genesis 49:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

You might recognize the language that Jacob uses here in describing Judah as a “lion” from the narrative that is made of Jesus later when He is called, “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” in the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 5:5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

The fulfillment of this 15th Old Testament Prophecy is found in Galatians Chapter 4, Matthew Chapter 1, and Luke Chapter 2.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son….

The Lord has a plan for the last days concerning man and the earth that involves Jacob’s son, Judah. When this time has fully come, God will send forth His Son, the Messiah.

Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

The fact that Jacob is able to see into the future, as the Lord gives him the prophetic ability to know what will happen in the last days, is truly amazing. This once deceitful, conniving, self-centered man has now been transformed into God’s man. His former name Jacob the liar, who was guided by his own flesh and impulses, is now called by God Israel, one who is guided by God’s Spirit.

Genesis 32:28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

In Genesis Chapter 48, we see Jacob, old and nearly blind. His physical senses are greatly diminished, while his spiritual abilities are greatly enhanced by God. Being nearly blind, he asks his son Joseph to come before him in advance of the other brothers to pronounce his prophetic word for Joseph’s two son’s Ephraim and Manasseh.

The spiritual significance of these words is seen in the name that the Holy Spirit now calls Jacob by— Israel.

Genesis 48:10-11 Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. Then Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them. And Israel said to Joseph, “I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!”

“God has shown me your offspring.”

Jacob is called Israel, and acting in the capacity of a prophet, he predicts that the older son Manasseh will serve the younger son Ephraim. It was customary for the older, firstborn brother to have the larger portion of his father’s inheritance and the right of rule over the younger brothers. In this case, Jacob/Israel predicts that the opposite will take place. The first born son Manasseh will serve the younger son Ephraim.

Genesis 48:13-20 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands knowingly, for Manasseh was the firstborn. And he blessed Joseph, and said: “God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day, The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ ” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

As Joseph realizes the error that has been made by his father, he seeks to correct his mistake and place Israel’s right hand upon Manasseh’s head, the first born. Israel informs Joseph that this was not an error: I know my son, I know… truly his brother shall be greater than he and HIS descendants shall become a multitude of nations.

In the New Testament, John Chapter 4, we see Jesus leaving Judea and coming to the region of Galilee. He goes through Samaria and comes to a city called Sychar. The importance of this verse is that this land, where Jesus has come to, is the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

John 4:3-7 Jesus left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”

From this verse, we understand that Jacob had a piece of property near Sychar that he had taken by sword and bow and gave this double portion of the firstborn to Ephraim. Although Ephraim was the younger, he became greater than his older brother Manasseh. This is in fulfillment of Jacob/Israel’s prophecy that the older son would serve the younger in later history.

The fulfillment of this prophetic word by Israel is important because in the next chapter of Genesis 49:1, he will make an additional claim to predict the outcome of each of the 12 tribes in The Last Days. The result of this prophecy is that Jacob’s son Judah will be the line that will bring forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

This is a stunning Old Testament prophecy that was fulfilled in the New Testament by Jesus Christ.

One additional piece of interesting information is seen in the phrase that Jacob uses here:

Genesis 48:16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil.

Notice that the word Angel is capitalized. We find in the Bible that the word angel comes from the Greek word angelos which means a messenger. He can be a man, a pastor, or a literal angel. In the Book of Revelation, the angel that is described by John is the pastor (messenger) of each of the seven churches.

Revelation 2:1 To the angel of the church of Ephesus

Because the word Angel is capitalized here in Genesis 48:16, it is the intent of the Lord that this Angel be understood as the Lord Himself.

Because this is the first place in the Bible where the word Redeemed or Redemption is seen, this establishes an important principle for us for future reference. When we see a particular word or phrase mentioned for the first time in the Bible, a principle or definition is established (Call the First Mentioned). In all other places in the Bible where we find additional uses for this word or phrase, we understand what they mean by the first place where they were mentioned.

According to the Hermeneutical principle (method of interpretation) called the first mentioned, the context of Jacob using the term Redemption here and attributing it to the Angel is quite significant. Jacob is prophetically attributing all Redemption to the Lord.

Clearly, Jacob’s attribution of the Lord’s redemption in his life from all evil, is a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ. In various places throughout the Old Testament, Jesus is referred to as The Angel of the Lord. Here, this Angel is seen as being the One who has redeemed Jacob and made him Israel. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is described as one who will save His people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.

As Jacob is prophesying over Joseph and his sons, he describes three separate individuals: “The Father” as his God, the work of “the Holy Spirit” in feeding and shepherding him, and “the work of Jesus Christ” in redeeming him. These three are an Old Testament description of the Trinity of God who are seen in acting as Israel’s redeemer.

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