Topic: The Second Swallows up the First

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There is a concept from Jewish sages saying “the second swallows up the first”.

  • Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the first and Isaac the second.
  • Isaac had two sons Esau and Jacob. Esau was the first and Jacob the second.
  • Jacob had two sons with Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the first and Benjamin the second.
  • Joseph had two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh was the first and Ephraim the second. – Genesis 48:14

Why is this pattern important and what does it mean?

Adam was the first man and Jesus was the second man.

Those patterns were prophecies foretelling the coming Messiah and the Gentiles.

  • Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the first and Isaac the second. But Isaac was the “son of promise”.
  • Isaac had two sons Esau and Jacob. Esau was the first and Jacob the second. Like Adam, Esau despised his birthright and fell from God’s grace.
  • Jacob had two sons with Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the first and Benjamin the second. Joseph, like Adam, became a captive because of sin. Benjamin was held as the child of promise to redeem his brothers.

Now, the pattern shifts from: Adam and Jesus, to: the Jews and the Gentiles.

Joseph had two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh was the first and Ephraim the second. But Jacob put his right hand of blessing on Ephraim’s head (Ephraim meaning ‘fruitful’).

  • Exodus 6:19-20 his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he (Manasseh), and his (Ephraim’s) descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”
    So he (Jacob) blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel (aka Jacob) will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ ” And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.
  • Symbolically, Manasseh represents the Jews who did not bear the fruit God expected, while Ephraim, as gentile believers are second in order, but first in fruitfulness.

The Spiritual Swallows up the Natural

The first man, Adam, was replaced by a man, Jesus, the second Adam in order to redeem all the Adams throughout history, if they accept the second Adam’s “dam (red blood) to cover their sins” and believe God raised His body from “Adamah” (the ground).

  • I Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust (red clay); the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
  • Note: throughout scripture the second swallows up (becomes greater than) the first: The new covenant swallows up the old covenant, David swallowed up Saul, Jacob swallowed up Esau, and of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim swallowed up Manasseh, etc.
  • The concept being that the spiritual swallows up the natural.
    • 1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
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