The Covenant of the Torch and the True Firstborn 1 Chronicles 5:1-2

Missionary Joanna Pae’s sermon from Shiloh’s Lord’s Day Service on April 28, 2019

They will return

The Covenant of the Torch is one of the most important covenants in the Bible because it’s actually the covenant that shows in most vivid detail how the Kingdom of God will be established. And we learned that the Covenant of the Torch is fulfilled by the 4th Generation, Joseph. When the 4th generation appears, we know that the Covenant of the Torch is about to be fulfilled because God said, “In the 4th generation they will return,” meaning that we will return to our spiritual Canaan. Therefore, it is extremely important that we understand who the 4th generation is.

The 4th generation

The 4th generation is Joseph; he is also the firstborn. Therefore, the question is, “Who does God see and acknowledge as His firstborn?” Joseph, although he is the fulfiller of the Covenant of the Torch, he dies in Egypt and does not get to go to Canaan. Joseph was supposed to take the Israelites into Canaan, which spiritually is the Kingdom of Heaven. Right before his death, Joseph could have asked all the people to bury him in Canaan just as his father Jacob was buried there. But instead, Joseph chose to remain with his people. Even in death, Joseph declared and believed that God’s covenant was true (Heb 11:22). Because of the faith and last will and testament of Joseph, all of the Israelites entered into the same living faith of Joseph and became the firstborns as well. This all foreshadows Jesus Christ for He carried all of us to include all of our brothers and sisters who walked the earth in His heart and He died. And by the power of resurrection, He rose with all of us together and took us to heaven which is our current address (Eph 2:4-6).

Becoming One with Israel

Joseph was placed in a coffin in 1806 BC and his final resting place was in Shechem in 1390 BC. Therefore, his funeral procession took place for 416 years (Gen 50:26). This long period was necessary for Joseph and Israel to be bound as one. This is why with the Exodus, they were able to come out together as one people. The same thing is happening to us right now. Through the death of Jesus Christ, we are getting one step closer to becoming one with Jesus Christ to form one body. Yes, there is physical, and mental suffering as with the Israelites but be assured that we have a torch right next to us which symbolizes the presence of God.

God’s firstborns are without genealogy

Joseph is the firstborn and symbolizes Jesus Christ. What we learned from our main text today is that God’s true firstborns are not written in the genealogy (1 Chron 5:1). Still, from Judah came the leader (Jesus Christ). Yet, the birthright belongs to Joseph (1 Chron 5:2). Here, God makes two points. The first is that Joseph is the firstborn, and secondly, that Jesus Christ will come from the tribe of Judah. However, Jacob also declares that Jesus will not only come from the tribe of Judah but also from the tribe of Joseph as well (Gen 49:10, 22-24). In the 4th generation, we have both Judah and Joseph. From the tribe of Judah, we know Christ comes (Gen 49:10). However, Jacob also prophesied that Christ will come from the tribe of Joseph (Gen 49:24). How is the coming of the Messiah fulfilled through Joseph? Jacob takes the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh who were born in Egypt and claims them as his own sons and Joseph is taken out and missing from the genealogy. Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh are placed in Joseph’s place in the genealogy. Therefore, Joseph becomes a man without genealogy which reveals that God’s firstborns are without genealogy. This is very important, why? The answer is that Jesus Christ and Melchizedek are without genealogy whom Abraham met (Heb 7:1-4). This makes Joseph a very important link. Interestingly, in the Matthean genealogy, Jesus’ supposed father is Joseph and Joseph’s father’s name was Jacob.

The humanity and divinity of Christ

Melchizedek has two offices: he is both King and a Priest (Heb 7:1-3). Although Melchizedek was a physical human man, he was without genealogy. Likewise, Joseph was a physical human being; however, he was taken out of the genealogy and was God’s firstborn. The Bible emphasizes Melchizedek as a priest forever and one like the Son of God. Judah’s line received the “scepter,” the ruling power, which is the line of “kingship” (Gen 49:10). In the line of Joseph, is the line of “priesthood” (Gen 49:22-24). Thus Jesus comes in the line of kings, i.e., David’s line of kings. However, in the line of Joseph and Melchizedek is the line of priest. How did Jesus fulfill both of these offices? In the line of Judah, it is speaking of Jesus’ “humanity,” the line of flesh, of a human being. In the line of Joseph and (Melchizedek), it shows the spiritual nature of Jesus Christ, which is His “divinity” and Joseph is foreshadowing all of this. Jesus was born according to the line of David which is the tribe of Judah but that is the line according to the flesh. However, He was declared the Son of God with power according to the spirit, divinity (Rom 1:3-4). Thus Jesus came in both humanity and divinity.

True firstborns are sent by the Father

Joseph was sent by his father Jacob to go to his brothers in Shechem (Gen 37:13). Joseph knew that his brothers hated him and going to Shechem was like going to be killed. However, Joseph obeys and goes because his father said “go.” Likewise, God the Father sent Jesus down to this earth not to be served as a king but to serve and to lay down His life as a ransom for many. Therefore, true firstborns do the will of the father (Matt 20:28). Shechem is the place where the father sends his son to the brothers. Secondly, Joseph the true firstborn served his brothers through forgiveness (Gen 50:19-20). In the same way, Jesus also served His brothers through forgiveness (Luke 23:34). If we died with Him, we also rose together with Him; and He made us sit together with Him in the heavenly places (Eph 2:4-6). Thus from Shechem to the heavenly places is “priesthood.”

Conclusion: First there is the human flesh, and then the spiritual. The natural comes first, then after the cross, the spiritual. As fallen men, we are like Adam who is earthy. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Jesus has opened up that way through the cross by tearing the veil. We are all now like priests and freely able to go into the most holy place. This is the image of the heavenly. Outwardly, this transformation that happens to us goes unnoticed, but inside, we are different. So, therefore, we must put on the imperishable (1 Cor 15:45-56). Priests must put on priestly garments. This is in the line of Melchizedek, for we have been invited to become the royal priest of God and therefore we must put on the priestly garment.

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Shiloh International Missions


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