Joseph’s bones

Joseph wanted Israel to take his bones back to the Promised Land. Read what this story means for us today.

Written by ActiveChristianity
Joseph’s bones

“And Joseph said to his brethren, ‘I am dying, but God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land to the land of which you swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’” Genesis 50:24-25.

These words of Joseph contain a tremendous prophecy, but what do they actually mean for us now in our time?

Strengthened in faith

God had sworn that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would receive a land; the land of Canaan. The Israelites weren’t meant to remain as slaves in Egypt. They lived there in Goshen, but God was going to lead them out of that place. Joseph said these words because he understood that they would encounter great hardships and difficulties when they came out into the wilderness on their way towards the promised land.

When Joseph died, they embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:26.) “And you must take my dead bones with you,” he said. “I want to enter into the promised land together with you, into Canaan, the earthly Canaan.” Because Joseph was a great man to them, so his words carried weight. When he said that, it strengthened them in their faith that they were going to reach Canaan, because they were going to have his dead bones with them.

A heavenly calling

When Jacob died in Egypt, he leaned on his staff, and he blessed his sons. He was on his way, he was a pilgrim, holding his pilgrim’s staff. And that is also how it is with us. We are pilgrims here in this world, on our way to the heavenly Canaan. Now, in the new covenant, if we are going to enter into the heavenly Canaan, we need to carry the dying of the Lord Jesus with us in our bodies, just as the Israelites carried the dead bones of Joseph with them to the earthly Canaan. (2 Corinthians 4:10.) Then our faith is also strengthened; we see the way clearly and attain our goals.

And those who don’t do this are swallowed up by the earth. It wasn’t just Korah and his men where the earth opened up from under them (Numbers 16), but there are many since then who have been swallowed up by the earthly things, and who have destroyed their heavenly calling. We mustn’t be so foolish to do that. We need to hold on to our pilgrim’s staff as long as we are present here and carry the dying of Jesus with us in our body. Then we will clearly see the way into the heavenly Canaan, and it will succeed for us.

This article is inspired by a talk by  Kaare J. Smith on 10th April 2019.

You can read more about Joseph and others on our topic page about the heroes of faith.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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