Genesis 48:14 and 16, Jacob’s Prophecy Over Ephraim and Manasseh
While prophesying over Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands over their heads making the symbol of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav (like the letter t or x in the alphabet), which resembles a cross and in that ancient Hebraic script and according to some Hebrew scholars pictographically means “sign of the covenant.” Jacob then spoke of the Heavenly Messenger (the Hebrew word malak mistranslated as “angel” in most Bibles) of YHVH (i.e. the preincarnate Yeshua) who had redeemed him from all evil (see Gen 31:11–13). Jacob then prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would become like “fish in the midst of the land” (literal translation of Gen 48:14–16; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach).
In light of this prophetic symbolism, which present day religious group would qualify as having fulfilled Jacob’s prophecy as to who the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh would be? Which religion on earth uses the fish as their symbol, speaks of a Messenger from YHVH as their Redeemer, and has the sign of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like a cross? The Buddhists? The Moslems? The Hindus? Even the Jews? No! Only Christianity fits this enigmatic criteria. Many Christians are without a doubt the literal descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. Those who are not, according to the Paul the apostle, once they come to saving faith in Yeshua in some unique sense become the descendants of Abraham (e.g. Gal 3:7, 29). Many of these unsaved descendants of Abraham will recognize Yeshua their Messiah on the day that he returns to Jerusalem (e.g. Zech 12:10).
Which nation on earth is without a doubt still the greatest Christian nation? It is the United States of America. Having an understanding of how Jacob’s prophecy to Ephraim and Manasseh was fulfilled is the first piece of the puzzle in identifying America in Bible prophecy.
Genesis 48:15–16, Elohim…the Angel/Messenger. The Angel or Heavenly Messenger is here being equated with Elohim. This truth is confirmed in Hos 12:3–4 where we find similar parallel verbiage used.
Genesis 48:20, May Elohim make you. Many Jewish fathers pronounce this blessing over their sons every erev Shabbat (in Heb. this phrase means “entering the Sabbath,” i.e. Friday evening) to this day. If the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh became the Christians (of which there are presently about two billion on earth, see notes at Gen 46:14, 16), then what are these Jewish fathers asking of Elohim when pronouncing this blessing over their sons? That they become believers in the Christian Messiah (i.e. Jesus or Yeshua)?
Genesis 48:16, Let my name. The descendant of Ephraim and Manasseh would be known historically as the house of Israel.
Multitude in the midst of the earth. The ArtsScroll Stone Edition Tanakh translates this verse as follows:
‘May the angel who redeems me from all evil bless the lads, and may my name be declared upon them, and the names of my forefathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they [Ephraim and Manasseh] proliferate abundantly like fish within the land.’ Onkelos renders this verse as follows: ‘And like the fish of the sea may they multiply among the children of men on earth’ … The literal translation of VDS/dagah refers to procreation … [and] the word essentially denotes fish. (The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis commentary, p. 2117, emphasis added)
What religious group on earth today has spread out across the face of the earth into all nations and has proliferated a message of Redemption pertaining to a Messenger of YHVH involving a cross-symbol resembling the ancient Paleo-Hebrew letter tav and a fish symbol? Obviously, this can only be a prophetic reference to Christianity.
Genesis 48:19, Multitude of nations. Here is what the ancient Jewish sages say about this prophetic verse pertaining to the descendants of Ephraim:
Many nations will descend from him (i.e. the word melo, fullness, connotes abundance, the phrase meaning: And his seed will become the abundance of the nation [Neter; Karnei Or].) (quote by Ibn Ezra;The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis commentary, p. 2121).
The expression denotes abundant profligacy to a point that they will have to inhabit lands of other nations. It is an allusion to Ephraim’s expansive territory (quote by R. Avraham b. HaRambam; ibid.).
This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants … See also Hos 7:8: “Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations. (a quote by Radak; ibid.)
What kind of blessing was this prediction that one day his descendants—the Ten Tribes—would be scattered among the nations? R. Munk explains: while it is true that the dispersion was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come (Sanhedrin 110b). And R. Eliezer adds: “Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the. … Messiah son of Joseph (Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exod 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the … Messiah Son of David …” (Ibid., pp. 2121–2122).
Ibn Ezra declares that many nations will descend from Ephraim, since the word many in this verse is the Hebrew word melo meaning “fullness,” and connotes abundance. The phrase literally means “and his seed will become the abundance of the nation” ([Neter; Karnei Or]; ibid. p. 2121)
R. Avraham b. HaRambam somewhat similarly states that the expression denotes abundant profligacy to a point that they will have to inhabit lands of other nations it is an allusion to Ephraim’s expansive territory (ibid.).
Can you better see in Jacob’s prophecies over the sons of Joseph and the resulting rabbinic interpretations of those prophecies, in a broad sense, are foretelling the Messianic or Hebrew roots movement (within the Christian church) of the final days? This movement will be instrumental in bringing the Christians (many of whom are descendants of Joseph’s sons) back to their spiritual Hebrew (or Book of Acts) roots as part of the restoration of all things before Messiah Yeshua, the Son of David, returns (Acts 3:21). The Book of Revelation also prophesies the last days Hebrew roots movement when it declares that the end-time saints will be those who have the message of the gospel or the faith and testimony of Yeshua the Messiah and who keep YHVH’s Torah-commandments (the Torah or instructions of YHVH given to Moses and Israel at Mount Sinai, Rev 12:17 and 14:12).