Now it came to pass after these things that Joseph was told, “Indeed your father is sick”; and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. And Jacob was told, “Look, your son Joseph is coming to you”; and Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. (Genesis 48:1-2)
Apparently after Joseph returned from Goshen, Jacob took ill. In His goodness and mercy, God allowed Jacob to live long enough to see his lost son. At the same time, God allowed him to live long enough to be able to do something regarding Joseph and his sons that was very important and very prophetic.
When Jacob heard that Joseph was coming to see him, the text calls him “Israel” and said that he strengthened himself. Upon Joseph’s arrival, Jacob briefly recounted his life’s story and the promises that God had made to him. Included in that promise was that he would be fruitful.
“And said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’” (Genesis 48:4)
The Hebrew phrase rendered as “a multitude of people” could also be translated to say, “a congregation or assembly of people.” The Hebrew word kahal means, “congregation” but with the connotation that this assembly is gathered together in order to implement a specific plan. You might be interested to know that the Greek equivalent of kahal is ekklesia which means “called out.” In our day, the kahal or ekklesia is often translated as “church” and, according to Messiah, was to be founded upon Him — the Rock
“On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
The Hebrew equivalent of Messiah’s declaration is “I will build my kahal.” Later, as recorded in the book of Acts, Stephen referred to the “church (ekklesia) in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Of course, the church he referred to was the people of Israel under the leadership of Moses. So the point we are making today is this: when God blessed Jacob and promised that a company or assembly of nations would descend from him, it was implied that there would be more to it than just physical descendants. In fact, rabbinical commentary suggests that this promise implied that Jacob would have other “children” besides his twelve sons.
In short, you and I are evidence that God kept His promise to Jacob. More importantly, if we are part of that kahal, then there is this — we have been gathered in order to implement a specific plan. We are here to “take the land,” which is to say, we are here to advance the Kingdom against the Adversary, taking territory away from him, consequently, setting those in captivity free. We are to take the Gospel of the Kingdom into the whole world and have been promised that, if we are standing on the Rock, not even the gates of Hell will be able to withstand our advance. Amen.
Blessings and Shalom,