The Gathering of the Clan


The Gathering of the Clan

July 26th, 1989 @ 7:30 PM

Genesis 49-50

And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD. Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. 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. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth. And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again. And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear. And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 49, 50

7-26-89    7:30 p.m.


The message of the pastor tonight entitled The Gathering of the Clan is a continuation of the amazing prophecy of which we spoke last Wednesday evening.  I cannot but be overwhelmed, moved in my deepest soul, at what I read here in God’s Holy Word.

Do you remember I began last Wednesday night with the avowal that if you could know the future for a few seconds, I’m not talking about a year, I’m talking about half a minute, a quarter of a minute, if you knew the future for a few seconds, I can tell you a plain way to be a billionaire?  I mean a billionaire, a multibillionaire.  All you would have to know, the future for a few seconds and buy one of those stocks on the New York Exchange before it goes up and sell it before it goes down, just a few seconds.  Dear me, it would be as simple as adding one and two to be a billionaire, a multi-billionaire.

Yet I stand here, opening my Bible, and here are the men of God, the patriarchs of the Holy Spirit, who are speaking of things that are to come to pass hundreds and thousands of years yet to come.  I repeat; I cannot but be overwhelmed at the presence of God in the hearts and in the lives and the minds of these patriarchs who gave their hearts to Jesus—Jehovah—in the days of their pilgrimage.  So here in the forty-ninth chapter of the Book of Genesis, Jacob has his twelve sons, and he has invited them that he may tell them what shall befall in the days that are yet to come.  So, he turns to Judah—Judah.  Judah is not his firstborn son, that’s Reuben.  He’s not his second son, that’s Simeon.  Not his third son, that’s Levi.  Each one of those young men, he describes for them their future, but the fourth son, Judah—Judah is the one who is to be the father, the progenitor, the forebearer of the great coming Messiah Christ, the Savior of the world; the fourth boy, Judah—Judah [Genesis 49:1-8].

And he prophesies that when all the rest of them have been scattered and disappear in the throngs and nations of the world, Judah will continue, will be a great people and a great nation until that tremendous Savior arrives.  This prophecy is for 1,900 years yet to come.  It’s God.  Judah, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” [Genesis 49:10].  And that is a sign and a figure of the greatest size, the great rendezvous of all the people of all time, gathered around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Shiloh that is yet to come.

May I make one passing remark?  Judah will continue, Judah will abide, and when I look through the passing of history, there are the Assyrians and the Babylonians and the Greeks and the Romans, and beyond them, the warring nations from Asia.  There are the Saracens, finally, and the Mohammedans, but Judah will abide and remain.

We don’t use the word “Judah” today.  We use the word “Jew,” which is a shortened form of Judah.  And he’s going to be here until Jesus comes [Matthew 24:34].  Did you ever see a Hittite?  Did you ever see an Amorite?  Did you ever see a Hivite?  Did you ever see a Jebusite?  I never saw anybody who ever saw anybody who ever heard of any of those “-ites,” but God says that Judaite, that Jew will be here until Jesus comes again.  And here he is.  We have got them in Dallas.  Some of the dearest, sweetest friends I have in this world are Judaites.  They are Jews.

Now may I speak of some of the things that were in the heart of this great patriarch and prophet?  Here’s one of them: in death, and in the decline of his years, he saw the city of God.  “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise . . . dwelling in tabernacles [Hebrews 11:9], for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” [Hebrews 11:10].  Then the author of Hebrews in chapter [11] adds these words: “These all died in the faith,”  Abraham, Isaac and this Israel, “not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth” [Hebrews 11:13].

Is this my home?  No.  Sorrows and dangers stand round me on every hand.  Heaven is my home.  “They confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth” [Hebrews 11:13].  “They desired a better country…a heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them that city” [Hebrews 11:16].

This may sound crazy to you, and it may be, but I believe in my heart that had there been no such thing as the city of God, the Lord would have created one to honor the faith of these great old patriarchs.  They looked for a city not made with hands, and God honored their faith and created it for them.  And the Lord God will do that for us.  If we believe in Him and trust in Him, the Lord will give to us also a home in that beautiful city.

Now it ends like this:

Israel charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people:  bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

In the cave that is the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought from the field of Ephron the Hittite for our possession of a burying place.

There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah my wife.

The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.

[Genesis 49:29-33]

I have stood there as you have, and I have looked upon those caskets that are supposed to hold the remains of Abraham and Sarah, and Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Leah.  And what do I feel when I look upon the patriarchs and their wives who are buried in that cave of Machpelah?  I say it’s a fee.  It is a down payment of what God is going to do for the Jew, and through him, for us all.  They hold that land in fee simple against the day when God gathers all of Israel in the homeland.

I repeat, you never heard of those other tribes and nations.  They have been gone for the generations, but God says the Jew will be here—scattered because of their refusal to accept their Savior, the Lord Jesus—but someday He is going to appear to them.  God’s Book says so.  The Lord Jesus is going to appear to His people.  This is in Zechariah, and they are going to look upon Him whom they pierced, and they are going to cry, saying, “Where did You get those wounds in Your hand, and where did You get that scar in Your side?”  [Zechariah 13:6].  And He is going to say, “I received them in your unbelief and rejection.”  And they’re going to repent and cry [Zechariah 12:10], as David did in the day of his turning to the Lord in his day of his confession [2 Samuel 12:13], and a nation will be born in a day [Isaiah 66:8].  And all Israel will be gathered back into that Holy Land, all of them [Isaiah 43:5-7; Ezekiel 28:25-26].  It is their assignment forever, and they hold it in fee simple, I say, in these who are buried in that cave of Machpelah [Genesis 23:19, 25:9, 49:30, 50:13].

And the rest of us are going to be gathered in that great assize, first these who are saved, and that includes us.  We are going to be gathered before the Lord, and He is going to give us our rewards for what we have done.  If it is wood, hay, and stubble, it will be an indescribable disappointment.  But if it is gold, and silver, and precious stones, it will be our joy forever and ever.  We are all going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things we’ve done in the flesh.  That is our judgment [1 Corinthians 3:11-15].  And then at the end of the age, the consummation of the denouement of history, the lost will stand before the great white [throne] judgment, and hear their sentence into everlasting separation and punishment [Revelation 20:11-15].  O God, use us to save the lost!

Now I close with the word concerning Joseph.  Sixty years later, sixty years later, sixty years after Israel died—it’s been eighty years now since Joseph was brought into the land of Pharaoh [Genesis 37:12-36]; it’s been ninety-three years since he was taken out of the pit [Genesis 37:28]—it’s a remarkable thing, it’s a remarkable thing; there’s only one thing that Joseph said that the Holy Spirit records in the New Testament.  In Hebrews 11:22 the Holy Spirit repeats the prayer of Joseph: “When I die, you take my bones and bury them in the land of Canaan” [Genesis 50:24-25].  Isn’t that a remarkable thing?  A pyramid, an obelisk, all of the wonders of ancient Egypt that even abide today after these thousands of years, this great leader and ruler of the land of Egypt says, “You take me back to Canaan, back to Canaan, back to the land of my fathers” [Genesis 50:25] and here again, I see holding it in fee simple against the day of that great ingathering.  So, it says that he died and they embalmed him and put him in a coffin in Egypt [Genesis 50:26], and dear people, when you read the story in Exodus, they took with them out of Egypt the bones of Joseph and buried him in the plot that was given to him by his father, Israel [Exodus 13:19].  And in Joshua 24:32, in Shechem—in Shechem, there did they bury this man of God named Joseph.

Well, I pray that my own heart and my own life will never fall into despair or discouragement concerning what God hath purposed for us.  It may seem as though things are, in their order, a denial of the presence and the goodness and purpose of God—but you keep the faith.  God has for us that beautiful city [Revelation2 1:1-5].  And God has for us our rewards where moth does not corrupt and the waste of time does not decay.  Our treasures are not here, they are in heaven [Matthew 6:19-21].  And one of these glorious consummating days we are going to look upon Him [1 John 3:2], and we shall be assigned our home in the beautiful city of God [John 14:2-3], the Lord having purposed some better thing for us [Hebrews 11:40].

Now, Brother Fred—it is Mark, still.  Son, I want you to lead us in a hymn, and I am going to stand right down here, and if there is somebody you tonight to give your heart to Jesus [Romans 10:9-13], you come and stand by me.  If there is a family to come into the fellowship of our dear church, if there is somebody who would just love, publicly, statedly and unashamedly, to answer a call of the Spirit of God in your heart, you come, and the Lord lead and the angels bless as you come, while we stand and while we sing.


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis , 50


Genesis :10 comprehends all people

Let us come closer to Him ourselves Genesis 18:23

Final gathering

1.    City of God

2.    Gathering of His

3.    Cave of

4.    Looking forward
to heaven