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  • Writer's pictureBro. Caleb Taft

Morning Manna | 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 | But the Birthright was Joseph's

1Ch 5:1-2  Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)

As I was reading this morning these verses of Scripture caught my heart. I didn’t know how they were significant or what deeper truth was in them other than giving us the information as to why Reuben was not mentioned first in the genealogy, but I knew that there had to be more than met the eye. We should begin by trying to understand what is being talked about in these verses and then we'll try to trace some lines from their shadows of the OT to the figures of NT Truth.

Chapter 4 is a genealogy of Judah, then Chapter five is a genealogy of Rueben and these genealogies continue into chapter seven. It would seem strange to readers that the genealogies start with Judah, instead of Reuben because Reuben was the firstborn, so Ezra puts these verses here to explain why Judah has prevailed above Rueben in the genealogies Because Reuben had lost his position of firstborn.

Being the firstborn meant receiving a double portion [Deuteronomy 21:17]  and having preeminence among the heirs. Genesis 49:8 shows us exactly what was given to Judah, that would have been Reuben’s had he not sinned, “Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.” Then in Genesis 49:10, we have the famous prophecy of a King coming from the tribe of Judah to bring peace, this spoke of David, but more so of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus was of the line and lineage of David, of the house of Judah. So we see that Judah received the preeminence of Reuben, but he did not receive the birthright. The birthright was given to the sons of Joseph. Judah received the Glory but 2 half Egyptian boys received the Land and inheritance that would have been Reubens. 

Then we need to look at Reuben. He is the firstborn, but he is a sinful man. A man not worthy of the honor given him, nor the double portion allotted to him. What was it that disqualified him from honor and double inheritance? Sin. He had slept with his father's concubine and thus he was removed from the honor he once had and lost the inheritance. Of all the pictures we will see today, this one is the easiest to comprehend. Can’t you see a type and picture of the old man in Reuben? 

Adam the first man had honor and glory bestowed upon him and was given a whole creation to live and work in. He had all the glory and honor of the firstborn, but he was not worthy of the honor nor the gifts given to him. What was it that ruined the glories of the first man? It was sin. His sin was not after the similitude of Reubens but it was sin all the same. In Reuben, we see our old man, the old nature, the first Adam. We have Fallen, what a tragedy, oh the glory that was lost when we were evicted from God’s manifest presence and when we could no longer live in the glories that were bestowed upon men at creation. 

Secondly, we Jesus in Judah. A second Adam, one who would come and do what the first could not. Out of this tribe who was not first in birth but was certainly first in honor and glory, came the king who would bring peace and victory to the sons of Jacob. Furthermore would come the Prince of peace, the King of kings, Jesus Christ! All the glories that were bestowed upon Adam were given to Jesus, Just listen to God introduce him, “This is my beloved son, in whom I Am well pleased!” Jesus took those glories of the first man and lived up to the honor bestowed upon him, He was tempted in all points yet without sin! He was the second Adam and all the glories of the first were bestowed upon him and for all of eternity he will be worshiped and receive the glory and preeminence due to his holy name.

Thirdly, we see ourselves as those who received the birthright. Glory to God! Christ received the glory of God and we received the birthright, the inheritance that should have been Jesus’s. What in the world are a bunch of Gentiles doing in heaven? We received the birthright! All that was given to the first man Adam will be given to us. Adam lost the joy of living in the presence of God, in Christ, we have regained this birthright. Adam lost the hope of eternal life, In Christ, we have regained this birthright. All that was lost was regained, Christ receives the glory as the redeemer but we receive the benefit of the redeemed! Jesus Prevailed above his brethren but we have received the Birthright!

All Ephraim and Manasseh did was be born into the family, they were just boys when this blessing was bestowed upon them, they never earned it, nor did they ever live up to it, they just received it. So it is with you and I. One Day I was born into the family of God, I couldn’t earn it, neither have I ever lived up to the glories of it but this birthright has been and will be bestowed upon all those that are in Christ! “Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s!”

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