6. The Tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh

By John Thiel, The Characteristics of the Twelve Tribes of the 144,000 Conference, study 6, mp3

Only One of Two

Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph, but only one of them is found in Revelation chapter 7.

Revelation 7:6 Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand.

Dan and Naphtali also were brothers, but Dan isn’t there.

Revelation 7:6 …Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand.

Manasseh is there, but Ephraim, his brother, isn’t. What is the purpose of these studies into the tribes of Israel? We are living in the time in which we must be among those twelve tribes that are sealed.

Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

This is a subject that pertains to us who are living on the very last segment of the work of this sealing angel. The angels are holding the four wings of strife. In 1848 a war was on the point of breaking out in Europe in which America would have been involved. It looked like it was going to explode, but then, for no reason at all, everything calmed down again. This was the beginning of the experience of the sealing angel. And, as Sister White was shown, the sealing angel is the third angel’s message of Revelation 14. Ever since 1848 the angels have been holding those winds of strife; and aren’t we watching it today? The First World War broke out, and then it was peaceful again; but then the Second World War came. And now men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things that are coming onto the planet. We see the wars everywhere; it’s just about a world war again. The whole world is looking in on the Middle East, on North Korea, on Africa, and all the battles that are being fought. It is just phenomenal. We are living in this period in which it befalls us to make sure that we are understanding the message of the sealing and the personal experience that applies here. This is the time in which our characters are to be prepared to enter the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.

The Bride

Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

This is the bride that we are to be part of.

Revelation 19:7 … the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

This is the pure character that we are to develop and with which the 144,000 come through. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is the righteousness of the saints. And we are studying this important exercise of developing that by watching the development of the sons of Jacob in their experience. This is the important purpose of our meditations.

Revelation 21:12 And [the city] had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

This is the beautiful picture that is presented for those who are preparing to enter these gates.

Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

The gates are pearls. A pearl represents the purification exercise of the covering of Christ’s righteousness over the offending grain of sin that has to be eclipsed and taken away by the work of tribulation.

We are now studying another object lesson of character development which will leave another character trait unrefined with no pearly gate to enter through. This is Ephraim and Manasseh. Which one of the two will have a gate for his name?

Who Were Ephraim and Manasseh?

Genesis 48:8 And Israel beheld Joseph’s sons, and said, Who [are] these? 9 And Joseph said unto his father, They [are] my sons, whom God hath given me in this [place]. And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.

Who were Ephraim and Manasseh? Were they the literal sons of Jacob? Obviously not. The other ones were, but these two were not. This is a very important aspect which will come to fruition at the end of this study. What was declared concerning these two sons?

Genesis 48:5 And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, [are] mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.

What did Jacob say? These two sons of yours, Joseph, are mine. Jacob is here declaring that Ephraim and Manasseh belong to him, that they are part of the tribe of Israel.

Birth and Legacy

Observe now the source of their birth and their legacy.

…the sons of Joseph were to be formally instated among the children of Israel. Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with him Ephraim and Manasseh. {PP 234.2}

Here is now the genetical ingredient in these two sons:

These youths were connected, through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian priesthood; {Ibid.}

Joseph married a daughter of one of the Egyptian priests. Can you imagine? What sort of a legacy do these two children have, coming as they did from a mother in the line of a pagan priesthood?

…and the position of their father opened to them the avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph’s desire, however, that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his faith in the covenant promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been entrusted the oracles of God. {Ibid.}

Does this not identify the experience of God’s people today? A poor and afflicted people, the 144,000 come out of that kind of background. And no matter how wealthy these people might be, like Joseph’s sons and the tribes that come from them, they are taken away from the high and lofty position of the world to the despised people of God. But this was a greater blessing for these two sons than merely being children of the Egyptian glory.

As they were officially brought into the Israel of God, what was their privilege?

Genesis 48:14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid [it] upon Ephraim’s head, who [was] the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh [was] the firstborn. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 16 The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

This was the blessing upon these two sons. They were to be named under Israel. So these became part of the twelve tribes of Israel by the decree of the blessing of Jacob. What he was doing when he was crossing his hands to bless these two sons, so that his right hand fell on Ephraim, was very significant. What special privilege did Ephraim gain by that?

Genesis 48:18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this [is] the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head. 19 And his father refused, and said, I know [it], my son, I know [it]: he [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

This was the blessing: Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh. And the blessing was repeated by Moses.

Deuteronomy 33:17 His [Joseph’s] glory [is like] the firstling of his bullock, and his horns [are like] the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they [are] the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they [are] the thousands of Manasseh.

So who was the greater? By Moses’ blessing Ephraim had ten thousands, while Manasseh only thousands. We see here the same pre-eminence of Ephraim over Manasseh. That was the blessing. But now we ask the question: Is there any special spiritual pre-eminence by the fact that Manasseh was less in number and Ephraim greater in number?

Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory. {COL 404.1}

Although they were richly blessed, although Ephraim was blessed above Manasseh, it wasn’t the number that was the blessing. There is no spiritual power in that. As it says, not in our numbers or entrusted talents is to be found our success, but in feeling our inefficiency.

Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory. {COL 404.1}

The victorious that will enter in through the gate are the people who are not necessarily greater in number. It is the spiritual blessing that counts, and which is found in what? The deep sense of our great need. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him we may gain those victories. So the blessing of greater number was not the issue.

Ephraim’s Characteristics

What characteristics mark Ephraim’s legacy? There is much written about Ephraim, and very little about Manasseh. But one stands with the 144,000 while the other doesn’t.

Judges 7:24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Bethbarah and Jordan. 25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

Gideon with his three hundred men had just done this great work and sent the Midianites scurrying. And as this was happening, Gideon realised that these two kings were on their way, so he called upon Ephraim to chase them. And of course, the children of Ephraim were happy to go to battle. But after they had brought the heads of these kings to Gideon,

Judges 8:1 …the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.

What were they doing? What was the characteristic that Ephraim was showing here? Weren’t they envious and upset? “Why didn’t you use us first of all? Why did you call us last of all?” This is the legacy of pride. Notice now how Gideon sort of palliates them:

Judges 8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? [Is] not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

Ephraim revealed this legacy of pride. “Here we are, you are using us last of all; why didn’t you bring us into the heat of the battle in the first place? We wanted to be part of that.” And they were really giving him a hard time. So he had to palliate them and lift up their ego. “Look at you; you’ve done greater than we’ve done.”

Observe how God laments over Ephraim. He laments many times over him. God knows the heart of this people, and He already foresees what is going to happen.

Jeremiah 31:20 [Is] Ephraim my dear son? [is he] a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD.

You can just about see the foreboding that is expressed here about Ephraim. “Is he really My pleasant child? I spoke against him already. I do earnestly remember him still; my bowels are troubled for him. I have mercy for him.” God is lamenting.

Isaiah 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

So there was envy. This is a declaration of the problem with Ephraim. There is this envious nature in him, a legacy that he gained, so that if he was not in the highest position his nose would be put out of joint, as we say.

Never can the love of Jesus be received and shed abroad in the heart until envious feelings, hatred, jealousies, and evil surmisings are put away. {SD 49.2}

Jesus’ love cannot be shed abroad in the heart while there is envy there. And envy leads to other aspects, such as feelings of hatred, jealousies and evil surmisings.

God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do. {SD 49.4}

How much love do we work with? That is what God esteems highly. Someone else might do greater jobs; it doesn’t matter with God. The thing that counts is the love.

The scripture of Isaiah says that envy shall be removed from Ephraim. But did envy become removed from Ephraim? God was working to remove envy; but what happened? How did the tribe of Ephraim continue to develop?

Downward Spiral

After Solomon, because of his sin, the kingdom was split into two, and the ten tribes of Israel separated and continued north while Benjamin and Judah continued in Jerusalem. Rehoboam took control of Jerusalem, and the king who took over the tribes of the north was Jeroboam. And what tribe did he come from?

1 Kings 11:26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name [was] Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up [his] hand against the king.

The story continues until the splintering of the kingdom took its full course.

1 Kings 12:16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither [have we] inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. 17 But [as for] the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who [was] over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.

We know that they were discontinued as God’s faithful people. And this was under the headship of Jeroboam, who came from the tribe of Ephraim.

1 Kings 12:20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. 21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.

He was going to fight to regain the kingdom of Solomon. But God said, Don’t do it, because this is of Me.

1 Kings 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, [even] unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

So what did Jeroboam do? To stop them from returning to Jerusalem he arranged a city, and there established a different form of worship. It is very interesting that Ephraim, Jeroboam being a child of that tribe, was the leader in this activity, to turn away others from the God of Israel to the gods of Egypt. Strange. The infiltration of the mentality of the priesthood of Egypt was affecting Ephraim, and Jeroboam as king over Israel. So the jealousy and envy of Ephraim was not put down; they continued to go contrary to God’s overtures to them.

Worshipping the gods of Egypt

So strong was Jeroboam’s desire to keep the ten tribes away from Jerusalem that he lost sight of the fundamental weakness of his plan. He failed to take into consideration the great peril to which he was exposing the Israelites by setting before them the idolatrous symbol of the deity with which their ancestors had been so familiar during the centuries of Egyptian bondage. {PK 100.2}

Can you see something coming through Ephraim here? The Egyptian priesthood.

Jeroboam’s recent residence in Egypt should have taught him the folly of placing before the people such heathen representations. But his set purpose of inducing the northern tribes to discontinue their annual visits to the Holy City led him to adopt the most imprudent of measures. “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem,” he urged; “behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28. Thus they were invited to bow down before the golden images and adopt strange forms of worship. {Ibid.}

Ephraim was really degenerating, not progressing. And as we see the tribe of Ephraim going down this path, together with the other nine, let us enlarge God’s consideration of the envy that is leading them down this path of finally losing their position entirely. What does the Scripture say in reference to this envious nature of Ephraim that became their undoing?

Dangers of Envy

Proverbs 27:4 Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before envy?

Envy is worse than all the others. It has a detrimental effect.

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

What does envy do? It rots your spirituality. It deteriorates us away from God’s beautiful experience. It shuts out the love of Jesus. We can actually see here why Ephraim, holding on to this envious way, was finally dismissed from the faithful tribes.

Envy is not merely a perverseness of temper, but a distemper, which disorders all the faculties. It began with Satan. He desired to be first in heaven, and because he could not have all the power and glory he sought, he rebelled against the government of God. He envied our first parents and tempted them to sin and thus ruined them and all the human race. {5T 56.1} 

The envious man shuts his eyes to the good qualities and noble deeds of others. He is always ready to disparage and misrepresent that which is excellent. Men often confess and forsake other faults, but there is little to be hoped for from the envious man. Since to envy a person is to admit that he is a superior, pride will not permit any concession. {5T 56.2}

The Pharisees could not, pride did not permit them to, make any concession.

If an attempt be made to convince the envious person of his sin, he becomes even more bitter against the object of his passion, and too often he remains incurable. {Ibid.}

Here we see the development of the condition of Ephraim – incurable.

The envious man diffuses poison wherever he goes, alienating friends and stirring up hatred and rebellion against God and man. He seeks to be thought best and greatest, not by putting forth heroic, self-denying efforts to reach the goal of excellence himself, but by standing where he is and diminishing the merit due to the efforts of others. {5T 56.3}

Here is the condition in which Ephraim developed a point of no return, all because of this envious condition.

A Type of the Unchanged Laodicean

Hosea 7:8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth [it] not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.

What does that remind you of? Who can be an Ephratite? “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not…” Ephraim is like that. The Laodiceans who stay Laodicean are identified by Ephraim. They miss out.

Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.

What a sad story. Ephraim is systematically described as coming to a point of no return. How did God try to help him? Remember, it says, I will have mercy on him. God wasn’t going to give Ephraim up.

Hosea 11:3 I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

If you were of the tribe of the people of Ephraim, God would be helping you and you wouldn’t even be recognising it.

Hosea 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

But sad story…

Hosea 11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

So although they didn’t go to Egypt, the Assyrians came in and devoured Israel.

Hosea 11:6 And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour [them], because of their own counsels. 7 And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt [him]. 8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? [how] shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? [how] shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. 9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I [am] God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

You can see the heart of God here. And for those who are of the Ephraim mind, God doesn’t want to give us up. He keeps on striving so hard.

Hosea 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit:

God is compassed about with Ephraim’s lies. Isn’t this profound? We see in this story the demise, and God is really pained because of Ephraim. What was the final cry that God made over Ephraim?

Why Does Ephraim Miss Out?

Psalm 78:9 The children of Ephraim, [being] armed, [and] carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. 10 They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; 11 And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them. 12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, [in] the field of Zoan.

They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law – Here lies the reason why people miss out. It’s not because they are weak, or because they’ve made mistakes and have done serious sins; it is because they refuse. It is a decision. And doesn’t that comfort each one of us? Have made a decision not to walk any longer under this beautiful message? No; that is why we are here, no matter what our mistakes have been in the past. But there are people that say, No; I’m not going with this anymore. That was Ephraim’s nature.

Hosea 8:11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. 12 I have written to him the great things of my law, [but] they were counted as a strange thing.

Can you identify with any of this? Do you say that whatever God does to you you don’t want? Do you say, It’s strange to me what God is saying? or are you willing to let Him mould you? You don’t have to be shut out of the 144,000 if you understand what is written here.

Hosea 9:11 [As for] Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. 12 Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, [that there shall] not [be] a man [left]: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! 

This is why God permitted them to be removed, because they chose to reject Him.

Hosea 9:16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay [even] the beloved [fruit] of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.

You can see why none of Ephraim is included among the 144,000.

Hosea 4:17 Ephraim [is] joined to idols: let him alone.

This characteristic dismisses the souls from having an entrance into the gates. There is no gate there for Ephraim. They will not enter the gates of that city.

Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love. {COL 404.2}

The golden gate, the pearly gates, will not be open to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit who have envy. This is why Ephraim won’t be there. But what about Manasseh?

Manasseh, A Faithful Branch

In contrast with Ephraim, Manasseh continued even though faulty. The humility of Manasseh, being smaller in number, was of greater of value than the great numbers of the proud Ephraim.

2 Chronicles 30:1 And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel.

But Jeroboam said, No; we’re not going to send them there.

2 Chronicles 30:10 So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.

None of Ephraim accepted the offer, but certain of Manasseh humbled themselves and did come to Jerusalem. They responded to the call, and as a consequence there could be a remnant out of the tribe of Manasseh that could enter into the gate under the name of Manasseh. Manasseh, the lesser in blessing, was yet privileged, because he was not really of the literal sons of Jacob and he savoured this privilege. These two sons were grafted into the tribes of Israel, but Manasseh was the only one who held onto that.

1 Chronicles 5:18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, [were] four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. … 20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that [were] with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him.

They cried for the help of God. There was the touch of a child; they were depending, humbling themselves. Because God had installed these two sons, Manasseh respected that. The people of Manasseh embraced this privilege. Even though they were not literally born to Jacob, yet they were incorporated by being grafted in.

Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 

People like Manasseh, while they are not the natural born of Jacob’s sons, appreciate the fact that they are privileged.

Romans 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off,

Ephraim was broken off because of unbelief.

Romans 11:20 …and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Here is a principle which the Manasseh people could actually realise – “I am not the natural line, but I am grafted in. I am going to savour that; I will hold on to it.” But Ephraim was affected by the world; these are the people that permit the world to make them envious of all sorts of things and fill them up with pride. As for Manasseh, there is not much written about him, but enough to show that these are the people that have a possibility of becoming part of the 144,000. We see then why Ephraim is not among the 144,000 but Manasseh is.

May we take hold of these lessons as we measure ourselves with these pictures. Where do I stand? Do I harbour envy? Do I decide, because of my envy, that I am not going to make a decision to stay with it? This is what you see, isn’t it? This is one of the things that I have suffered under over the years. People have said, after coming to this message, Wonderful! We’ve never heard it like that before! But then, what comes in after a while? Envy starts coming in. Envy comes along and disturbs the activity of Jesus in the heart. And then those very people who had given wonderful testimonies on how wonderful the message was, finally are not there anymore. I’ve scratched my head over this many times. All through the years of ministry, people have come and people have gone, the very same who had once been praising the Lord for what it was.

We have to guard carefully that we don’t fall into Ephraim’s mould but stay very humble and open our hearts to the privileges that are ours. May God bless us as we take this to heart.

Amen.

Posted on January 10, 2018, in Characteristics of the Twelve Tribes of the 144,000, Divine Service Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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