The Great Switch

Title: The Great Switch

Bible Book: Genesis 48 : 1-19

Author: Donald Cantrell

Subject: Church; Grafted into Christ; Blood of Christ; Substitutionary Death


[Editor's Note: All scripture in this sermon is from the of the KJV.]

The odds of having a twin are 1 in 33 or 3 percent of all births. In 2006 there would have been just under 46,000 twins born. The older the age of the mother, the greater odds of having twins. It is fun to hear various stories of twins tricking people on dates, skipping school, or even taking tests. In the Bible we read of a famous set of twins, Jacob and Esau. If we read the story of these two brothers we quickly realize that they were not identical twins, but Jacob was the trickster and the conniver.

In our sermon today we find that Jacob is now coming to the end of his journey and life is still repeating itself. When he was a young man he pulled of one of the greatest switches known to mankind. Jacob and his mother Rachel schemed together to dupe Isaac and steal the birthright and the blessing of being first born from Esau. If you know the story, then you are aware that due to Isaac being old and his eyes were dim, he was tricked by his mother and his son. The great switch had been invoked and the younger was going to be blessed rather than the older.

I. The Matter of the Hour “The Setting”

The aged patriarch is now 147 years old. He was 130 upon entering Egypt and he has now been there 17 years. I find it amusing that Joseph was around 17 years old upon being sold into slavery, and upon being reunited with his son, Jacob gets another 17 years.

Genesis 47:9 - And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

Genesis 47:28 - And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.

A. Jacob’s Dying Hour (1a)

Genesis 48:1 - And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: (1a) Jacob is now in the last phase of his life and I wonder if he is pondering the encounter he had with God at Beersheba. God told him to go to Egypt and in going he would eventually die in that foreign land, but his son Joseph would be there to comfort and to care for him in his old age. Genesis 46:4 - I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.

B. Joseph’s Deliberate Haste (1b)

Genesis 48:1 - and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. (1b) Joseph wasted no time to hurry and be with his dad, but in rushing to his side he also gathered his two sons. Joseph wanted his boys to have one last opportunity with their dying grandfather.

The elder son, Manasseh was named “Forgetful” – causing to forget

The younger son, Ephraim was named “Fruitful” – doubly fruitful

C. Jacob’s Delightful Heritage (2 – 4)

Genesis 48:2-4 : "And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession."

Jacob gathers himself upon hearing Joseph is in the house and sits upon the bed. He is going to get straight to the point and his mind is very clear about his life and his fate.

1 – The Prescribed City (3a)

Genesis 28:19 - And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

Genesis 35:6 - So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

Jacob says that God appeared unto him in the city of Luz, which was literally at Bethel, in the Land of Canaan. The Luz is called “The Almond Tree”.

2 – The Proper Credit (3b)

Jacob was not hesitant to give God the proper credit for the blessings of his life. He was a schemer, a trickster, and a heel grabber and always tried to help God out early on in his life, but he knew the truth.

Jacob would not have amounted to anything Godly or Righteous were it not for the blessings of his God. He was swift to credit God with blessing him, just as Joseph was swift in telling Pharaoh about God.

Genesis 41:15-16 : "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

Nehemiah 2:8 - And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

3 – The Perpetual Covenant (4)

Genesis 48:4 - And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.

Jacob is still clinging to the covenant that God gave him that night at Bethel. The aged patriarch has learned to fully in trust in the God of his father and grandfather. Due to Jacobs trust he will now be counted among the big three for eternity. The nation of Israel, which got its name from Jacob, would always refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as their founding fathers.

God promised to make him fruitful and he did. God had promised to multiple his seed and he did. God had promised to make him a multitude of people and in the next 400 plus years, they would march out of Egypt as a nation of over 2 ½ million people. Last but not least God had promised to give him and his seed the land of Israel for an everlasting possession; which God is still doing and before long they will settle upon every square inch of that land.

II. The Moving of the Hand “The Switch”

I find it interesting how history repeats itself. Previously Jacob had received the birthright of his older brother and now Joseph was to witness his younger son receiving the birthright rather than his elder brother. This does not go over well with Joseph; he has groomed Manasseh for this very moment. I dare say they had spoken many times about Manasseh receiving this special blessing.

A. The Beautiful Adoption (5)

Jacob now tells Joseph that he is adopting the two boys and they will become one of the 12 tribes of Israel. In observing the 12 tribes we realize there is no mention of Joseph nor Levi as one of the 12 tribes. The sons of Joseph have been adopted into the eternal heritage of Jacob and they are going to help Israel become a mighty nation whose seed will be as innumerable as the sand on the seashore.

B. The Bold Attempt (12 – 14, 17a)

Joseph takes the boys and positions them so that the hand of Jacob will rest upon the head of Manasseh, but Jacob crosses his hands and is going to lay his right hand upon Ephraim.

C. The Biting Admonishment (17b – 18)

Joseph bristles at the very idea of this and quickly tells his father this is not to be. He tries to move the hand of Jacob, but the old patriarch will not budge on his intent.

D. The Blessed Action (19)

Exodus 15:6 - Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

Exodus 15:12 - Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.

1 – The Insistence of Jacob’s Actions

Even though Joseph wanted to stop the proceedings, Jacob was insistent upon placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim.

2 – The Inference of Jacob’s Actions

Ephraim would truly become mightier than his brother in every aspect.

III. The Mystery of the Holy One “The Shock”

I want us to consider two other switches that we find in the bible. I am very thankful that God allowed these two switches. If he did not allow these switches you and I may very well be doomed for hell. If we truly study the word of God we can all agree that it is a mystery how God chose to love the church, to die for the church, and to take our proper place upon the hill of Calvary.

A. Switch One “The Mystery of his Special Grafting”

“He Chose to Bless the Church”

Romans 11:18 - Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

In this portion of the sermon I want us to discuss how God placed his hand and his blessing upon the church. The church cannot boast that they are more special than Israel. If it were not for them, the church would not be in existence at all. We have nothing to brag about, if not for the grace and love of God we would be heading for a sinners hell.

1 – The Country and her Backsliding

Rom 11:11 - I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Romans 11:19 - Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

The nation of Israel rebelled against God over and over and to make them jealous and to get their attention; he grafted the church into his plan. We were aliens and strangers to the people and the plan of God, but thankfully he had a greater plan than just Israel.

2 – The Church and her Blessing

Rom 11:17 - And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

Romans 11:30 - For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

Deuteronomy 32:10 - He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Zechariah 2:8 - For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

If Israel was depicted as the apple of his eye, how much love does God have for his church? He left heaven to come down to earth and spent 33 years walking among men to lay the foundation for his church.

The church was the pearl of great price

Matthew 13:45 - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Matthew 13:46 - Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

The church was brought near due to Jesus

Ephesians 2:12 - That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:17 - And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Ephesians 2:19 - Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

B. Switch Two “The Mystery of his Son Dying”

“He Chose to Bless the Sinner”

The rightful place of Jesus was to be at his father’s right hand. I will never be able to comprehend how he loved me enough to leave heaven and to come down here and suffer for me. It is a mighty mystery to me trying to discern why God allowed Jesus to stand in my place. It should have been me that died upon the cross for my sins and for my iniquities. Jesus was the perfect spotless son of God.

Isaiah 53:4 - Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:5 - But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Matthew 27:45 - Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Matthew 27:46 - And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

1 – The Sinner

As a sinner we were destined to hell. There was nothing good in us, we were all guilty and in poor standing with God.

a. Consider Man’s Sinfulness

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

b. Consider Man’s Servitude

John 8:34 - Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

c. Consider Man’s Separation

John 8:35 - And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

d. Consider Man’s Sentence

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

e. Consider Man’s Savior

John 8:36 - If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 5:19 - To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2. The Son

Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:4 - But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Ephesians 5:2 - And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

1 John 3:16 - Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:19 - We love him, because he first loved us.

a. His Body for My Body

1 Peter 2:24 - Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Galatians 3:13 - Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Leviticus 16:21 - And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

Leviticus 16:22 - And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

b. His Brokenness for My Brokenness

Isaiah 52:14 - As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Isiah 50:6 - I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Isaiah 53:3-5 : "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Isaiah 53:10 - Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:12 - Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

c. His Blood for My Blood

Hebrews 9:22 - And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Ephesians 1:7 - In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Ephesian 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Colossians 1:14 - In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Colossians 1:20 - And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Hebrews 9:12-14 " "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

Hebrews 10:19 - Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 13:12 - Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

1 Peter 1:19 - But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

1 John 1:7 - But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Revelation 1:5 - And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 5:9 - And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

Revelation 19:13 - And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

d. His Birthright for My Birthright

Romans 8:15-17 : "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."

Galatians 4:7 - Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

e. His Beauty for my Beauty

Ephesians 5:27 - That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

1 John 3:2 - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.


“Mommy, I Am Thirsty”

Around 11:30 a.m. on the day of the quake, she said she and her daughter were driven by Mrs. Petrosyan's husband, Gerkham, a shoemaker, to the apartment building on Leninakan's Kamo Street where Karine lived. Mrs. Petrosyan, a petite woman with thick black hair and curving eyebrows, wanted to try on a black dress with puffed shoulders that Karine had for sale. It fit her perfectly. As she took it off at 11:41 a.m., the fifth-floor apartment began to tremble, and then shake violently. Dressed only in a slip and her underwear, she grabbed Gayaney, wearing a heavy winter sweater, and ran to the door. Then the floor opened up and the 36-unit building collapsed. The three fell into the basement, with the nine-story building crumbling around them. Although trapped on her back, Mrs. Petrosyan found an 11/2-pound jar of blackberry jam that had fallen to the basement from Karine's pantry. On the second day of their captivity - the day Karine died of her injuries - she gave the entire jar to Gayaney to eat.

"Mommy, I'm so thirsty, I want to drink," cried the 4-year-old girl.

Susanna Petrosyan said she was trapped flat on her back. A prefabricated concrete panel 18 inches above her head and a crumpled water pipe above her shoulders kept her from standing. She wore only a slip, and it was horribly cold. Beside her in the darkness lay the lifeless body of her sister-in-law, Karine. She had been crushed by falling walls and died pinned beneath rubble one day after the Dec. 7 earthquake leveled much of Leninakan and other towns in northwestern Armenia.

"Mommy, I need to drink," sobbed Mrs. Petrosyan's daughter, Gayaney. "Please give me something."

"I thought my child was going to die of thirst," Mrs. Petrosyan, 26, recalled. "I had no water, no fruit juice, and no liquids.

Mrs. Petrosyan said she found a skirt, perhaps the one she had tried on, and made a bed for Gayaney to lie on. Despite the bitter cold, she took off her stockings, and wrapped them around her daughter to keep her warm. As the days passed, and Gayaney's pleas for something to drink become more pressing, her mother remembered something she had seen on television. "It was a program about an explorer in the Arctic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave his friend his blood," she said.

Although she was trapped in darkness, she could slide on her back from side to side. Her groping fingers, numb from the cold, found a shattered glass. She sliced open her left index finger with a shard and gave it to her daughter to suck. The drops of blood weren't enough. "Please, Mommy, some more. Cut another finger," Mrs. Petrosyan remembers her daughter saying. The woman made more cuts in her flesh, feeling nothing because of the bitter cold. She put her hand to her child's mouth, squeezing her fingers to make more blood come. "I knew I was going to die," Mrs. Petrosyan said. "But I wanted my daughter to live." Losing track of time because of the unchanging darkness, Mrs. Petrosyan doesn't know what day she cut open her fingers, or how many times she used the method to feed her daughter.

Gayaney cried that she wanted to go home. "I want to be back in my bed again and see my daddy," she said.

"I lost all hope," the mother said. "I was just waiting for death."

On Dec. 14, the eighth day of their captivity, rescue workers opened a small hole that let in a shaft of light. "We're saved!" Mrs. Petrosyan cried. "There's a child in here, be careful not to hurt her!" she screamed as they got closer.

Beneath the rubble of a fallen world, he pierced his hands. In the wreckage of a collapsed humanity, he ripped open his side. His children were trapped, so he gave his blood - It was all he had. His friends were gone. His body was broken. His possessions had been gambled away at his feet.
His Father had switched His hands.

His blood was all he had. But his blood was all it took.

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