Blessings and Responsibilities of the Tribe of Ephraim

After all these years, I recently paid attention to the injunction in my patriarchal blessing that comes after the declaration that I belong to the tribe of Ephraim, a directive to learn about the blessings and responsibilities that attend that lineage.  I’ve only devoted a few Saturday mornings to this scripture study project, but the results so far have been clear, consistent, and enlightening.  Here’s what I have so far (comments in italics are just my own summaries and paraphrases to help me apply what I’m learning):

Responsibilities and Blessings of the Tribe of Ephraim

Responsibilities

I. “The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

“Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:

“And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.

“And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

“Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

“And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.” (Ezek. 37:15–20.)

From this commandment from God to the prophet Ezekiel, these provisions should be noted:

1. That a stick or record was to be kept for Judah, and that a stick or record was to be kept for Joseph;

2. That the two records were to be joined together into “one stick,” or record, in the hands of that prophet.

Where is the fulfillment of this important commandment? Who claims to have the record of Joseph today?

The Book of Mormon Fulfills Joseph’s Prophecy

The record of Joseph has been brought forth in this day to Joseph Smith by a messenger sent from God.

–We need to share and “flood the earth” with the Book of Mormon

[Ezra Taft Benson, “A Message to Judah From Joseph,” Ensign, 12/1976]

II. I come to you in my true identity as a husband, a father, and an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. My priorities are my wife, my family, and my ministry. I am to teach plain and precious things that have been restored in these latter days. As special witnesses of His name in all the world, the Apostles “talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ” (2 Ne. 25:26).

In a very real way, you bear similar responsibility. As Jesus said to His faithful followers in ancient America, He would surely say to you, “Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph” (3 Ne. 15:12). You and I are to bear witness; we are to minister; we are to enlighten; we are to be an example to all who come within our sphere of influence.

This privilege is ours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—even on vacation. The Savior stated simply: “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). Your most sincere sign of adoration of Jesus is your emulation of Him.

We are to become Christlike, preach the gospel, and serve others

This Church has been restored to the earth to fulfill divine prophecies and purposes. Israel is to be gathered. Families are to be sealed in holy temples (see 1 Pet. 3:18–20; 1 Pet. 4:6; D&C 1:11; D&C 138:10–37; Abr. 2:8–11). 8 And the world is to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior.

Members of the Church are among “the elect of God” (Col. 3:12; see also Titus 1:1; D&C 84:34), to whom truths of the gospel and ordinances of the priesthood have been given. Enjoy these blessings and teach them to others by precept and example.

Gather Israel (missionary/reactivation work), build up family, teach others

[Russell M. Nelson, “Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Ensign, 8/2001]

III. 5 Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.

6 For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

7 Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

16 Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.

–Follow Joseph Smith’s work and example in spreading the Book of Mormon, defending the Bible, teaching doctrine, and establishing Israel.

[2 Nephi 3:5-16]

IV. 3 What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?

4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.

5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?

6 Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.

–Gather the Lord’s people

[Doctrine and Covenants 113:3-6]

V. 32 And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.

33 And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.

–Crown converts with glory as we gather them in.

[Doctrine and Covenants 133:32-33]

VI. In the last days, Ephraim’s descendants have the privilege and responsibility to bear the message of the restoration of the gospel to the world and to gather scattered Israel.

[Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Ephraim”]

VII. It was the privilege and responsibility of Ephraim to be offered the gospel first in this dispensation; as the birthright tribe, Ephraim was given the gospel first because it is Ephraim’s responsibility to minister the gospel to the other peoples of the earth. The covenant or “chosen people” concept is a call to bear the holy priesthood and to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world. Those who have that designation—in other words, those who are numbered among the covenant people because they have made covenants with the Lord—are not chosen to be saved faster, or higher, or easier than all others, but are chosen for service and responsibility.

–Carry the gospel to all the world. Missionary work!

[Robert J. Matthews, “Our Covenants With the Lord,” Ensign 12/1980]

     

 

Blessings

I. “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:

“The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:

“But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

“The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” (Gen. 49:22–26.)

There are several points which we should note carefully about this blessing:

1. Joseph’s posterity would be numerous; that is, he would be a “fruitful bough.”

2. His posterity or “branches” would “run over the wall.”

3. His descendants would be sorely persecuted, which is the meaning of the phraseology “the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him.”

4. The blessings on Joseph’s posterity were to prevail “above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.”

–We are able to be fruitful and have a lot of posterity

[Ezra Taft Benson, “A Message to Judah From Joseph,” Ensign, 12/1976]

II. How do you obtain your blessings? How can you qualify for eternal blessings—even “all that [the] Father hath”? With your identity preserved and your priorities properly honored, our Father’s blessings will flow to you by virtue of the holy priesthood, which is without beginning or end. 6

You can lay claim to all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, destined to be fulfilled in these latter days (see 1 Ne. 15:18). Blessings and responsibilities once extended to other nations (see Gal. 3:7–9, 14, 27, 29) have now been given to us (see D&C 110:12). Patriarchal blessings reveal our linkage to the great patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 7We are the seed of Abraham through whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed. That identity merits our precious priority, which in turn brings to us the blessings of heaven.

These blessings include access to the Book of Mormon, which stands as another testament of Jesus Christ. It also stands as a sign that God will keep His covenants with the remnants of the house of Israel (see 3 Ne. 16:11–12; 3 Ne. 29:3; Morm. 5:20; Morm. 8:21; Morm. 9:37).

We get to have the Book of Mormon, the Abrahamic Covenant, and God’s presence with us

[Russell M. Nelson, “Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Ensign, 8/2001]

III. 30 And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.

–Enjoy the blessings of those nations who are gathered into the Church.

[Doctrine and Covenants 133:30]

IV. It was the privilege and responsibility of Ephraim to be offered the gospel first in this dispensation; as the birthright tribe, Ephraim was given the gospel first because it is Ephraim’s responsibility to minister the gospel to the other peoples of the earth. The covenant or “chosen people” concept is a call to bear the holy priesthood and to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the world. Those who have that designation—in other words, those who are numbered among the covenant people because they have made covenants with the Lord—are not chosen to be saved faster, or higher, or easier than all others, but are chosen for service and responsibility.

Get to be members of the Church and have the gospel early in the dispensation.

[Robert J. Matthews, “Our Covenants With the Lord,” Ensign 12/1980]

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8 comments on “Blessings and Responsibilities of the Tribe of Ephraim

  1. Wrong!!!!! This is not true… This is the correct info: chief-rabbi-and-the-state-of-israel-c… – CachedSep 6, 2006 – Sept 6th 2006, Chief Rabbi in Israel recognizes Ebos (Igbos) of the … Chief Rabbi and the State of Israel Confirm Ebos as Ephraim

  2. Thank you for the help! I am preparing to serve a mission and reading my patriarchal blessing I always wondered what it meant and now seeing that I am truly called to serve The Lord!

  3. On my fathers death bed he handed me something imagery, he said take this and share it .I said daddy what is this.He said its the Blessing Stick. Take it and share it. He died shortly after that. I was raised catholic. I am a christian and attend an Assemblies Of God Church.I feel I am truly called to serve the Lord.

  4. Thank you so much for your comments about the Tribe of Ephriam. I am very touched by the spirit through these words, and would like to express the admiration I have for you for speaking up and taking the time to extend a portion of your own understanding to help encourage others to do the same, by taking responsibility for our own personal spiritual obligations to ourselves, and to the world.

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