Handout #12: Favored Joseph, Asenath, Revelation, Manasseh/Ephraim, blessings, Middle/Late Bronze Age, Axis Mundi, temple complexes, the yod.           March 2014

In Genesis 37-45 we learn about Joseph, Yosef (Heb. יוֹסֵףhe will add) as the favored son of his father, Jacob (ya acov). When Joseph told his family about two dreams he had wherein he received homage from them (37:5-11), his brothers were jealous. They captured him and sold him into slavery in Egypt. Through dutiful service he became overseer of Potiphar’s house, rejected the sexual advances of that ruler’s wife and endured the lies she told. He was sent to prison where through service he rose to the position of overseer. Joseph has the gift of discernment and correctly interprets dreams. He is eventually put in charge of food disbursement, and when his brothers come to Egypt to purchase food, Joseph reveals himself, forgives them and invites his family to come live there. 1650-1450 BC timeline

Joseph maintained his power to interpret dreams came from God ((Gen 41:16). He predicted famine and plenty. Upon obtaining freedom at age 30, Joseph was given a new Egyptian name Zaphenath-paneah:the God speaks, he lives. Asenath (gift of sun god), daughter of a priest, became his wife. She bore him Manasseh (Menashe ) and Ephraim (),meaning “ to bear fruit”.

Revelation is communication from God to His children on the earth and one of the great blessings associated with the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The Holy Ghost is a revelator,” and “no man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007]. Revelations are conveyed in a variety of ways, including, dreams, visions, conversations with heavenly messengers, and inspiration.

When Joseph brought his two sons to his father, Jacob, for a blessing, Ephraim received the birthright blessing in place of Manasseh (God has made me forget) (Gen. 48:13-20), one of the departures noted in the Bible from the custom of bestowing on the firstborn son the special privileges that belonged to him by right of primogeniture. In Hebrew the verb to forget means God has taken something away, in this case, the greater blessing. The Lord continued to acknowledge Ephraim’s blessing centuries later when he said, “I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (Jer. 31:9; 1 Chr. 5:1-2). Ephraim’s descendants will continue in significant roles.

The Book of Mormon records that Joseph of old “obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel…to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord” (2 Ne. 3:5). Further, a “choice seer” would arise from Joseph’s descendants who would “do a work for the fruit of [Joseph’s] loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I [the Lord] have made with thy fathers” (2 Ne. 3:7). Many Latter-day Saints believe that they are of the branch of Ephraim, of whom Joseph prophesied (2 Ne. 3:5-16; D&C 133:30-34) and that the Prophet Joseph Smith is the “choice seer” (3 Ne. 3:6).  See more: www.http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Ephraim 

Manasseh’s blessing: Land around the Jordan area. They are to assist Ephraim in gathering scattered Israel in these times. (Deut 33:13-17, Alma 10:3. Lehi was of Manasseh.

Note re name Ephraim: Hebrew root identical to root for “ashes”, a precursor of the grief this tribe of Israel suffered when Israelites of Gilead, under Jephthah’s leadership, subjected many members of Ephraimite tribe to death. Also,  the ongoing conflict with Judah may point to conflicts with many nations in the last days.

Gen 49: Blessings of the tribes by Jacob (Ya’acov). See third page.

The Middle/Late Bronze Age saw Sumerian worship of numerous pagan gods, ziggurats, ways of connecting humans and “the gods”. People often engaged in various kinds of divination including dream interpretation and astronomy. Joseph would fit into this pattern of men who communicated with the mysterious gods of Mesopotamia (land between rivers). The inquisitiveness of these people gave rise to the Ebla tablets, likely containing stories engraved upon the Brass Plates. The collection of laws=Hammurabi’s Code revealed the harshness of that society. (See www.nelsonbrain.com)

Archaelogical findings of Sumerian and Assyrian temple complexes have been found at Uruk from 4th millennium. They build palaces of tile and temples of brick. In their cosmology the world was a disc of land surrounded by a salt water ocean, both floating on a sea of fresh water, below a firmament to regulate time. A world mountain joined the three layers to symbolize a meeting place between gods and men, an axis mundi. Some temples also functioned as a storage and distribution center and housed its priesthood (pre- Hebraic)

Joseph of old was the precursor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who in 1920 wrote of a heavenly visitor who ordained him with the priesthood of Aaron, holding the keys of the ministering of angels:”  “…For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph. Wherefore Joseph truly saw our day… (From 2 Ne 3).

First character in Hebrew name for Joseph is a yud or yod, similar to an apostrophe. 10th letter of Hebrew alphabet, representing the open hand, the root of all Hebrew letters. Implies action and the dual nature of mankind. In his name was the seed of humble greatness.

The Emblems of the 12 Tribes of Israel

The name Naphtali means to be obtained by wrestling. This name was written in the Jasper stone which was transparent and signified water and fullness of glory. Transparent means that one is seen clearly.
Through natural birth, Naphtali was wrestling / In blessing (Gen.49:21) Naphtali is a deer let loose (released, set free) with goodly words (fruit).

The name of Simeon means to hear or to discern. It also implies obedience, content, understanding, and witness. His name was inscribed on the Sapphire stone which also means to discern. Additional meanings of the name are: to declare, to write, to inscribe, to enumerate, celebrate, proclaim, show forth, and also to divide or cut.

The name Zebulun means dwelling, habitation, abiding, continuing, to reside or dwell with. The Carbuncle stone upon which the name was engraved symbolized lightning, glittering, or flashing. The tribe of Zebulun traveled and they settled on the coastlands. They were as a lighthouse, a guide in the dark, and their place of habitation became a welcome port.

Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob and his name means to ‘see behold, perceive, discern, or know a son’. His name was inscribed in the Emerald stone which represented healing life, birthing, rolling sea (water), turmoil (pangs, pain). Its green color speaks of Resurrection (Life), Restoration (Healing), and Reinstatement (Forgiveness).

The name Asher was inscribed in the Onyx stone. Asher means blessed, happy, prosper, straight, honest, go, guide, lead, and relieve. Onyx means fire/or splendor. Genesis 49:20 tells us that “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties”. Truly the richness of Asher passed on to the generations and his children were blessed.

Inscribed upon the Sardius Stone was the name Judah which means Praise of Jehovah and denotes the expression of praise. The Sardius stone was red in color symbolizing blood & man. The tribe of Judah was the Regal and Ruling tribe of God. It was out of this tribe that the Lawgiver and Kings came. Blessings, joy, strength, and victory were always their portion.

The name of Gad which means to crowd upon, attack, invade, overcome was inscribed in the diamond. A diamond is a very hard stone and is unchangeable and adamant in its nature. The diamond also means to conquer, smite, break, or overcome. In 1Chr. 5:18, the scripture tells us that the tribe of Gad was skillful in warfare and they were mighty men of valor.

The name of Dan means to judge, to minister judgment or to plead a cause. It is most significant that this name is engraved in the Beryl stone which represents a subduing or a breaking. Dan was to judge his own house as an equal, judge his tribe.

The name of Issachar means reward or to hire for payment and was engraved upon the Topaz stone which was golden yellow and represents “to seek”. This tribe willingly accepted what was before them and with what they had. The children of Issachar were mighty men in David’s army and because of their ability to understand the times, all brethren heeded their command.

Levites

No property/ Priesthood

The name of Ephraim was engraved in the Ligure stone which was considered to be a stone of mystery. The name Ephraim means to be doubly fruitful or productive. Joseph brought his two sons Mannasseh and Ephraim to receive their blessing from Jacob before his death. Although Mannasseh was the one that was to receive the blessing of the firstborn (Deut. 21:17) in Joseph’s family, Jacob crossed his hands and laid his right hand upon Ephraim imparting the double portion blessing (Gen. 48:14).This act by his father was most mysterious to Joseph and quite upsetting.

Benjamin was born in Bethlehem and was the last son of Jacob and Rachel. The birthing of Benjamin brought the death of his mother and in her final moments, Rachel (soul) called him ‘Benoni’ (son of my sorrow), but Israel (spirit) called him Benjamin, meaning the son of my right hand (Gen 35:18). Also means: in the widest sense of son (grandson, great-grandson, etc. thereby covering all generations to come). It was the bringing of Benjamin to Joseph in Egypt that released the provision of food to Israel (Jacob).

 

 

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