“So Jacob blessed the boys that day with this blessing: The people of Israel will use your names when they give a blessing” (Genesis 48:20, NLT)
Before Jacob (Israel) died, he blessed Joseph and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.
First, he adopted Joseph’s sons, which entitled them to part of the inheritance of the promised land. Then he gave Ephraim, the younger of Joseph’s son, the right-hand blessing, which was the right to inheritance entitled to the eldest son.
Centuries later when God delivered the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and they possessed the land of Canaan, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh each received a portion of the land distribution.
Ephraim eventually became the leading tribe in the northern kingdom of Israel and the Old Testament prophets sometimes referred to the entire northern kingdom as Ephraim.
Blessing was used in the Old Testament to describe the conditions of covenantal relationships.
God, who is the ultimate Grantor of blessing, uses people to channel or convey His blessings. Thus, Abraham’s call by God to be a blessing was a missionary calling meant to convey God’s blessings to all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:2-3).
When Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manesseh (and his other sons in vs. 49:3-28), he was conveying God’s blessing to the nation of Israel.
The nation of Israel, which was the successor to the Abrahamic covenant, was intended to be the channel for God’s blessing to all nations.
Declaring the gospel is the New Testament expression of the Old Testament blessing.
When Jesus commissioned His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), theirs was a missionary calling under the new covenant.
Just as God called Abraham to be a blessing to all nations, Jesus called His disciples to be a blessing to all nations by proclaiming the gospel.
So, be a blessing, share the gospel!
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16, NLT)