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01/02/2011 / Test All Things

A Study of Genesis 47:13-26

Three Pictures (1st Peter 2:9-10, Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 1:6, Hebrews 4:14, Romans 5:10)

1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

1 Peter 2:10
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Who is God speaking to here in 1st Peter 2?

First of all, God is addressing us Gentiles as “A chosen generation”.

God is speaking to the saints; He is speaking to the believers who in chapter 1:1 are called “the strangers”, because we are strangers and pilgrims on this sin cursed earth. This earth is not our home. And here in 1 Peter 2:9 God calls us “A chosen generation”, because all those who have become saved, all those who have become believers, are believing because God has made us believers.

“God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him”, as we read in Ephesians 1:4 and in other parts of the Bible.

Is that not wonderful how God gives us all these beautiful titles?

But God did that for a reason. God gave us these titles to teach us something about salvation. God says here in 1 Peter 2:9 that we are “an holy nation”, which means a separate nation, just like the name saints means: “the separated ones”. And then God gives us three more titles. God says here that we are “a royal priesthood”, which means that we are of royal descent; we belong to a kingly household. Christ is our King, and “He has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Revelation 1:6).

Secondly, we are not only called “royal”, but we are also called “a priesthood”. The New Testament teaches us that the saints are called a “priesthood of believers”, and Christ is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14). There are no other priests between Christ and us, because Christ is our only Mediator to God. Christ is our only Intercessor before God the Father. That is why we read in Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Thirdly, we are called “a peculiar people”. This translation does not do justice to the original Greek text. It would be better to say: We are called a people that are “a purchased possession”. We have been purchased “that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you by His grace.” We are to proclaim Him “who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), and in proclaiming Him we function as prophets, declaring the words from God.

These three groups of people: kings, priests and prophets are prominently on display in 1 Peter 2:9. Here in 1 Peter 2:9 these three groups of people are actually the same group: “the chosen generation”. But in Genesis 47 God gives us three different pictures of three groups of people: kings, prophets and priests. But spiritually these three groups of people represent the same group: they are “the chosen generation”.

Let us look at the first picture: The kings represented by Joseph’s brethren.

Joseph’s Brethren (Genesis 42:5, Genesis 42:17, Genesis 42:25)

We have already seen last week, from Genesis 41, that Joseph is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Pharaoh is a picture of God, and the land of Egypt is a picture of the kingdom of God. These representations only apply to the last ten chapters of Genesis. After Genesis, Egypt turns into a kingdom of Satan. Just like the local assemblies/congregations start out as the kingdom of God, but during the final tribulation period near the end of time in the great apostasy they turn into Satan’s kingdom. Joseph’s brethren dwelt in a land wherein was no food, because the famine was in all the lands. Then their father Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain. We read in Genesis 42:5,

Genesis 42:5
And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

And is that not typical of all of us who eventually become saved?

First we dwell in a land, which is smitten with a spiritual famine. It is a world that supplies no food for the soul. There are only husks, which the swine feed upon.

And how do we initially come to Jesus?

We come with money in our hands, just like the brothers of Joseph did. We want to pay for our spiritual food. We want to do something in return for what God has done for us.

But how does God treat us when we do that?

He speaks roughly to us, just like Joseph did when he recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. God wounds us before He heals. He puts our face in the mud in order that He may heal. He tells us: “There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE”.

He tells us that we are rebellious sinners who deserve to be sent to hell forevermore.

And what is our initial response?

We deny that we are totally depraved and “dead in trespasses and sins”, and we believe that we can reach out to God and accept His salvation. We deny that we are haters of God. Then we read in Genesis 42:17, And he put them all together into ward three days.

Joseph put them all in jail for three days. Joseph was putting these men into their proper place: The place of shame and condemnation. He made them feel it. That is what God did, or does with us. First we must be abased before we can be exalted. God makes us feel that we deserve nothing good. And then Joseph released nine of them, but kept Simeon in prison.

Why Simeon?

The two most violent men of the sons of Jacob were Levi and Simeon, for they murdered almost the entire city of Shechem by using the ceremony of the covenant as a cloak for their murderous feelings for the Gentiles of Shechem. That is why he kept Simeon. Let us now drop down to verse 25,

Genesis 42:25
Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.

Why did Joseph do that?

We must realize that God wrote the Bible, and so it was God who initiated these plans in Joseph’s head. Joseph, as a representation of Christ, makes it known to his brothers that deliverance is by grace alone. The bread of Life cannot be purchased. It must be received as a free gift. The terms of the Gospel are “without money and without price”. To the children of God the bread of Life must be free.

The Grace of God Is Free (Ephesians 2:8, Genesis 45:5-8)

God says in Ephesians 2:8,

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. (A free gift)

That is why Joseph, as the type of Christ, ordered the money to be restored to his brothers. Just imagine the consternation of his brothers when they discovered that their money was put back in their sacks.

They said to one another, “What is this that God has done to us?”

But when their food was finished they had to come back to Joseph and they came with more money and with Benjamin, the youngest son of Jacob. But Joseph was determined to bring his brother’s sins out into the light. There can be no peace with God until a change of heart has occurred. Joseph again put his brothers to the test. And let us make a long story short. Joseph threatened to take Benjamin captive and let the ten brothers go home. But then we see that the grace of God had changed his brothers on the inside. Now they gave up every attempt to clear themselves. Now they admitted that they were guilty and that “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants”. They remembered their sin of selling their brother to slave traders. Then Judah stepped forward, and Judah offered himself to be the substitute for Benjamin. Judah offered himself to be the lifelong slave of Joseph in the place of Benjamin. This was the moment that Joseph had waited for. What a change from the brothers he used to know. Now he could see the work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. They were declaring before God that they were undone, and lost, and that they needed mercy.

How did it come to pass that they had such a change of heart?

It was all by the free grace of God. And everything else they received was by the free grace of God. They did not need to come with money. They were of the family of Joseph, and Joseph was rich beyond measure. Remember, Joseph was a picture of Christ. In this picture, the brothers were of the family of Christ; brothers of the king. Now Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

And Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 45:5-8,

Genesis 45:5
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Genesis 45:6
For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.

Genesis 45:7
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

Genesis 45:8
So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

These are exactly the words that the Lord Jesus speaks to us. The Father “did send the Lord Jesus before you to preserve life”, and “to save your lives by a great deliverance”.

How did the Lord Jesus Christ save our lives?

He did that by laying down His life on the cross, and He did that only for His own family; for His own sheep. He did not do that for everyone in the world. That was a great deliverance for our soul. Yes, Jesus did not die to save our physical life, but He died to save our soul, by paying for the sins that cleave to our soul. Once He has redeemed our soul, He also owns the body that our soul possesses. And then the Lord Jesus says to us: I will give you:

The Best of the Land (Genesis 47:5-6, Genesis 47:11-12, Revelation 12:14).

Joseph said, “There are five more years of famine coming”, and Joseph invited his father and his brothers and their families to come to Egypt so that he could provide for them. And they came. Here we see the first picture in this chapter. This first group of people was treated as royalty, because they were of the family of Joseph, and Joseph was royalty. Joseph was highly exalted in the land of Egypt. We read in Genesis 47:5-6,

Genesis 47:5
And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee:

Genesis 47:6
The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

The children of Israel were given the best of the land. The land of Goshen was the Nile-delta. It was the most fertile land of Egypt. They received the land freely. Joseph nourished his father and his brethren with bread totally free of charge. They received the honor to be rulers over the cattle of Pharaoh. They did not have to pay for any of those favors. Pharaoh welcomed Jacob and his household with open arms into Egypt. They were treated like kings in the land of Egypt. You have to realize that all this took place in the midst of a famine, when there was not enough food for the Egyptians.

What is God telling us here?

We read in Genesis 47:11-12,

Genesis 47:11
And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

Genesis 47:12
And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father’s household, with bread, according to their families. (It was a gift)

Spiritually, this means that if we are born in the family of Christ, if we have been born of God, then we are guaranteed that Christ will feed us with the bread of Life freely, so that we will not die from lack of spiritual food, even in the time of spiritual famine. That is a great comfort to the saints. We are called sons of the King of kings. We are called sons of God, and we are secure forever. God says of us in Revelation 12:14,

Revelation 12:14
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

The wilderness is the wilderness of this world, where the woman finds a place of shelter, provided by God. But now let us look at the second picture in this chapter. Look at the Egyptians.

The Egyptians (Genesis 47:13-17)

Did the Egyptians have to pay for bread?

Let’s continue to read from Genesis 47.

Genesis 47:13
And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.

Genesis 47:14
And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

Genesis 47:15
And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

Genesis 47:16
And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Genesis 47:17
And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.
Can you see that the Egyptians were mostly vegetarians, and not meat eaters?

It is very clear that the Egyptians had to pay for bread right from the beginning, from the first year.

What is the spiritual picture here?

Pharaoh represented God. Egypt represented the kingdom of God. The famine is a famine of the Word of God. This is a famine that is far worse than a physical famine where people die of starvation. In a spiritual famine people die and go to hell forevermore. That is much more terrible than physical death The Egyptians represented the people of the kingdom of God, therefore the Egyptians also represented saved people, like the children of Israel. The time in history that this picture represents is a period in the history of the world when the true Gospel was scarce throughout the world.

Saved people want to continue to receive the Word of God, and for this they are willing to give up everything that they have. They are willing to give up their money and their possessions so that they and their children may have spiritual food, so that they will be spiritually nourished. They are not trying to buy their salvation, but it is the nature of saints that they want spiritual bread, the bread of Life, to remain spiritually healthy.

Did you notice how often bread is mentioned in this chapter?

It seems as if bread was the only thing they ate. They did not even eat their cattle. This does not seem logical. But remember that God used this historical event to craft these words in such a way that we can learn from it the various aspects of salvation. Now we know that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”. And

God is teaching us here an important lesson. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:24,

No Man Can Serve Two Masters (Matthew 6:24, Genesis 47:18-21)

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We see that principle clearly here in the Egyptians, who represent saved people, because they are the servants of Pharaoh. They willingly gave everything they had to receive spiritual bread.

But now God is developing another aspect of salvation. We read in Genesis 47:18-20,

Genesis 47:18
When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

Genesis 47:19
Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

Genesis 47:20
And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh’s.

Wow. Here we see another land purchase. This is the fifth land purchase we have seen so far.

First, Abraham bought a piece of land from the Gentiles, for a burial place for Sarah.

Second, Jacob bought a piece of land from the Gentiles, to build an altar there.

Third, Boaz bought a piece of land from Ruth the Moabitess, a Gentile, and he also bought Ruth the person, as a picture of the bringing in of the Gentiles.

Fourth, David bought a piece of land from Ornan the Jebusite, a Gentile, to build an altar there and to build the temple there, which was a shadow of the New Testament temple of believers and which also includes the Gentiles.

Fifth, Joseph bought the land of Egypt from the Gentiles, for a present to Pharaoh, who represents God.

All these land purchases are pointing to the cross of Christ. Because Christ paid the full price for the souls of His elect, that is why their bodies and their land became His’ also. Joseph was able to give all the Egyptians bread, and Joseph became more and more in charge of their lives.

Is that not a perfect picture of how Christ becomes more and more in charge of our lives?

We cannot have two masters. And look at what Joseph did with the people of Egypt in Genesis 47:21, “And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof.” Joseph bought the people of Egypt, who are now representing the kingdom of God, because in this picture they were saved people, and thus God lived in their soul.

In the New Testament what do saved people do?

They become witnesses. They prophesy, which means they proclaim the Word of God, which is the Bible, only the Bible. But that is the definition of a prophet: it is one who proclaims the Word of God. Here we see that the Egyptians represent the group known as prophets, because Joseph sent them to every city in the land of Egypt.

But now we want to look at three characteristic words: “Unto this day”, and what does it mean to us who are living in this day?

Unto This Day (Genesis 47:23-26, Romans 12:1).

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Genesis 47:24
And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

Genesis 47:25
And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

Genesis 47:26
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Is it not interesting that God said in verse 26, “unto this day”? You find this expression sprinkled throughout the Bible. What does it mean when God says “unto this day”?

Well, it means exactly what it says: Whatever is in view applies “unto this day”, and tomorrow it still means “unto this day” and the day after tomorrow it still means the same thing, and so on. The Word of God still stands until the end of time. God means what He says. Therefore, the only way we can understand these words is by looking at the spiritual meaning of the passage that is in view.

What is in view here?

God says in verses 24 and 26, “And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh”, and that is a law which still stands unto this day.

Does this 1/5th part law apply to the current inhabitants of the land of Egypt, who are mostly Moslems?

Or does this 1/5th part law apply to any of the Jews living there today, who have cut out the New Testament?

The answer is: Of course not. God laid down this law for servants of God only; it is for believers only; it is a law for us.

God says to believers in Romans 12:1,

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

In other words, God does not want only 1/5th part from us. God wants our whole bodies. The 1/5th is a fraction representing the whole. There is a perfectly English word for it. It is called a synecdoche, which means it is a part representing the whole. God wants us to dedicate 100% to Him; not just 20%. Remember this word synecdoche; it comes back again and again. We have seen in Genesis 47 the family of Joseph who we recognized as “the kings”. We have seen in this chapter the Egyptians whom we recognized as “the prophets”, but what about “the priests”?

The Priests (Genesis 47:22, Genesis 47:26, 1 Peter 2:9).

Let us read verses 22 and 26,

Genesis 47:22
Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

Historically, the priests did not sell their land, because they were given food from Pharaoh’s table. There was no need for the priests to sell their land, because they did not feel the effect of the famine. Spiritually, the priests represent another picture, separate from the other two pictures that we have already seen. Just like the Egyptian priests were servants of Pharaoh, so the New Testament priests are servants of God, and God Himself will nourish them.

What is a priest?

A priest is just the opposite of a prophet. A prophet proclaims the Word of God, or the message from God to the people. A priest brings the petitions from the people to God. So, when God addresses the New Testament believers as “a royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2:9, God indicates thereby that we all are a “priesthood of believers” who need no mediator between Christ and us. We can come directly to the throne of Christ and bring there our petitions.

But what shall we ask Him?

God says that He has already given us all things. There is no need for us to ask anything for ourselves. But we can petition God on behalf of other people. In this way we are really filling the role of a “priesthood of believers”. All the New Testament saints are a priesthood of believers. Now look at this puzzling verse 26,

Genesis 47:26
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

Does this mean that Pharaoh was not king over all of Egypt?

No. That is not correct. From this verse we can see that this story of the priests must be interpreted spiritually, because Pharaoh was king over all of Egypt. The lands of the priests were not little enclaves within Egypt where Pharaoh had no power over at all.

Then what is the meaning of verse 26?

The meaning is that eventually, on the Last Day, (remember “unto this day”) the land of the priests will not be part of the New Heaven & New Earth, because in the life hereafter there will be no more priesthood of believers. There will be no more unbelievers on whose behalf we will bring petitions for salvation. And this harmonizes verse 26 with the rest of Genesis 47. But there is one additional thorny problem to be solved, and that is:

The Big Land Purchase (Gen 47:19,23, Matt 1:21).

We have already seen in the previous four land purchases that these were miniature pictures of Christ purchasing the world, so that He could guarantee to us a New Heaven & New Earth where only righteousness dwells. Again here in this chapter the picture clearly shows that Joseph, as a representative of Christ, bought the entire land of Egypt for Pharaoh, as a representative of God.

For example, we read in Genesis 47:19, “Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.”

Did Joseph buy the people and the land?

Yes he did. Notice how the bodies of the people and the land are never separated. We can see this again in verse 23,

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Was this the BIG land purchase, which was a picture of Christ buying the world, meaning that Christ bought this present sin cursed earth?

Did Christ buy this junk?

Yes and No! The language clearly indicates that Christ bought this world. But we have to understand how He bought this world. We have to understand the question: “Who bought what, and for how much”?

When the Lord Jesus Christ was going to the cross, the guilt of the sins of all the people whom God intended to save, both Old Testament as well as New Testament people, were charged to His account. And He was going to pay for the guilt of all those sins.

“Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:21)

Christ did not make it possible for people to become saved. He definitely saved His people. Christ is not a possibility savior, but He is Almighty God who does save whom He wants to save. Therefore, when Christ was going to the cross, He paid the price for the guilt of all the sins charged to His account. The wrath of God was poured out upon Him, to the extent that every sin He carried was fully satisfied in the eyes of a perfectly righteous God. Since God is a righteous Judge, the penalty that Christ had to pay was the penalty that we would have to pay, which is the equivalent of an eternity in hell. He suffered that full penalty both in His body and in His Soul. And when Jesus cried “It is finished”, He fully paid for our sins, and thereby He had purchased our souls for Himself. But when He owns our souls, He also owns our bodies which those souls possess. This means that He also owns the land that we stand on. Christ did not buy the land separately. He purchased our souls, but that includes our bodies and the land. It is a reverse of the process that Adam went through. The reason why I wanted to be clear on this matter is because I have been getting questions like: Did the Lord Jesus buy this world by suffering the equivalent of an eternity in hell. NO! He did not!

The Lord Jesus Christ bought our souls. In fact He redeemed our souls. He did not buy our dead souls covered with sins. Christ purchased our regenerated souls, which means He purchased us, and He owns us body and soul. But Christ did not pay the equivalent of an eternity in hell for our bodies which are still inclined to dirty rotten sin. But because Christ owns us, He also owns this earth that we stand on. Let me give another example: The children of Israel did not fight the land of Canaan; they fought the people, the Canaanites, and when they conquered the people, they inherited the land. Through the conquest they bought the land. That is the sense in which Christ bought the world. Now, let us take a good look at verses 23 and 24 again. The question is:

What Are Our Rewards? (Genesis 47:23-24, Luke 18:29-30, Revelation 3:21, Romans 8:32, Matthew 20:1-16)

Genesis 47:23
Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Why did Joseph give them seed to sow the land?

Joseph knew very well that there were five more years of famine, and that the people would not get any harvest. That seed would go to waste. Here again you can see the necessity to interpret this chapter spiritually, and not just historically. The seed represents the seed of the Word of God. Even in a period of spiritual famine the Gospel must still go out throughout the entire world. God has work for us to do, because “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.

We must be sowing the seed of the Word of God to reach those souls who have already been purchased at the cross. The very same seed that saved my life should also be used to sow into the world. Genesis 47:24 “And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.”

Is this our reward for doing the work of God?

NO! Not at all!

It is God’s plan that we use the four parts to lubricate the machinery. In other words the four parts are also to be used to serve God, by feeding ourselves and by feeding our family so that we will have the energy to sow the seed, so that there will be an increase. We see that the mandate to send forth the Gospel is already here in Genesis 47. We must never work for rewards. That would degrade the Gospel to a system of selfishness.

When the Lord Jesus walked on this earth, Peter asked Him that very same question: What’s in it for us?

Luke 18:29
And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

Luke 18:30
Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Our rewards are always spiritual rewards, and they are received here on this earth. But in the world to come we all receive the common denominator, which is “Life everlasting”.

How can we ask for more?

Life everlasting is a gift that is given freely to all whom the Lord wants to be gracious. Life everlasting is a gift that is greater than anything we would have expected as a reward for doing good on this earth. In Revelation 3:21 the Lord Jesus says that Life everlasting means that we will sit with Christ in His throne as kings reigning over an entire new universe. We will not share the throne with 200 million other saints, but we will individually reign over an entirely new universe. That is more and greater than anyone of us could have expected as a reward.

Romans 8:32
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

And when God freely gives us all things, He literally gives us all things in this life and in the life to come. There is nothing left to give for extra rewards, so we should not be asking for extra rewards. When the Lord Jesus told us the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16, He told us that the wages He gave to those who worked one hour and those who worked 12 hours was exactly the same. And when some of those who worked 12 hours murmured He asked them, and I paraphrase, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Why do you begrudge my generosity? Is it not because you are wicked?”

And then the Lord adds this ominous remark in verse 16, Matthew 20:16, “So the last shall be first and the first last.”

What did the Lord mean by that?

The Lord had two groups of people in mind: Those who end up with the label “first”, and those who end up with the label “last.” Now read the second half of Matthew 20:16, which says, “For many be called, but few chosen.”

Here are the same two groups of people: the many who are called, and the few who are chosen. This we can understand easily, for this has been repeated throughout the narrative Gospels. It means that the Gospel goes out throughout the world, and many are thereby called to salvation.

But who will truly receive the Gospel call?

Few! From the many who are called only a few believe and are saved. And thus, when the Lord divides the human race into two groups “the many” and “the few” He is indicating the many who remain unsaved and condemned and the few who are saved, and there is nothing in-between. These two groups are also labeled as “the last” and “the first”, the condemned and the saved. Those who murmured because they wanted some extra rewards were labeled “the last”, for they were the ones who were hired first and they were dissatisfied with what they received. But according to Matthew 20:16 they were the condemned, for they disputed with God about the fairness of His plan of salvation. On the other hand, those who were hired last ended up to be labeled “the first”, for they received their wages gladly, and they were aware that their wages were far greater than could be expected, humanly speaking. According to Matthew 20:16 these were the saved, who knew that salvation is by grace alone, and that every good and perfect gift is from above.

And so, this then is the spiritual meaning of Joseph’s remark in Genesis 47:23, “Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.”

Let us be glad and rejoice in a salvation that is so full and free.


By Alfred J. Chompff

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