GENESIS 47
Enter subtitle here


29 And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph, and said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt:

30 But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place. And he said, I will do as thou hast said.

31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed's head.

Seventeen years having passed away after his arrival in Egypt, the time drew nigh that Jacob must die. This residence in the land of Ham had not at all diminished his attachment to the land of Canaan. When, therefore, he found his end approaching, he took an oath of Joseph...

And Joseph promised to do as he had said. But why was Jacob thus anxious? Surely it could make no difference to him where he should crumble into dust! Nor would it, if Jacob had been a faithless Gentile; or a religionist whose mind was perverted by Platonism. He would have cared nothing about his body; all his solicitude would have been about his "immortal soul." But in Jacob's death-bed scene, he expressed no anxiety about "his soul;" all his care was for his body after death, that it might be duly deposited in the cave of Machpelah, where Abrabam, Isaac, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah, were sleeping (Gen. 47:29-31;49:29-33).

This was equally the case with Joseph; for although Egypt had been the theatre of his glory, and he was venerated there as the saviour of the country, in which he had also lived ninety-three years, yet his last thoughts were upon the land of Canaan and the disposal of his bones. "I die," said he; "and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of Egypt unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob!" and he took an oath of them, saying, "Ye shall carry up my bones from hence."

Why, I ask, is all mankind's anxiety now about their "souls," and a heaven beyond the skies, when the friends of God, who had all their pilgrimage been the honored subjects of his fatherly care, manifested no such carefulness; but, on the contrary, exacted oaths of their survivors expressive of their love for Canaan, and of their concern that their bodies should moulder there?

The reason is that the moderns have no faith in the promises of God. Neither protestants, nor papists, "believe on God." They have a system of faith which bears no affinity to the religion of God; and hence they hope for things which He has not promised; and, consequently, the most pious of them die with a lie in their right hand.

The faith and hope of protestantism are not the faith and hope of "the fathers," whom God has constituted the "heirs of the world." The last thoughts of these holy men were on "the exceeding great and precious promises" which are to be manifested in the land of Canaan; where their posterity will yet become "a great and mighty nation" under Shiloh and His saints as the lords of Israel and the Gentiles...

...When professors believe the truth, they will have as much interest in Canaan, and the disposition of their bodies, expressive of their faith, as we find testified of Israel and Joseph by those who are high in the favour of their God. We must believe the promises concerning Canaan, if we would be immortal of body in the kingdom of God.

Elpis Israel 2.3.