The Scriptures hold many interesting themes, one of which is the concept of Adoption and Inheritance. The importance of inheritance dominates the early writings, demonstrating the lawful, familial/tribal, and spiritual necessity for succession and family continuance. Not only did monetary possession, physical property, and sometimes “royal succession” revolve around this topic, but also the spiritual implication of blessings and generational curses as well. Let us examine important figures from the beginning (Beresheit), and work up to the Messiah and the spiritual implications for us today!
Beresheit (Genesis) 15:1-5:
(1) After these things the word of Yahweh came to Avram in a vision, saying, “Don’t be afraid, Avram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
(2) Avram said, “Master Yahweh, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eli`ezer of Dammesek?”
(3) Avram said, “Behold, to me you have given no seed: and, behold, one born in my house is my heir.”
(4) Behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir, but he who will come forth out of your own body will be your heir.”
(5) Elohim brought him outside, and said, “Look now toward the sky, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” He said to Avram, “So shall your seed be.”
– Avram (Abram), not yet renamed Avraham/Abraham, is in the beginning stages of the ultimate promise and covenant made between he and Yahweh – seed as numerous as the stars and the “title-deed” to the Promise Land from the River Nile to the River Euphrates. Avram has stumbled on quite a bit of a problem – he has no children, no sons as heirs to inherit what is being promised! Many theories have been offered by religious scholars, and yet the simplest is that Avram and Sarai had no son to pass on an inheritance. “By Ancient Middle Eastern custom, when a man had no son as an heir, he would take a slave as an “adopted” son, to serve them in their lifetime and bury and mourn them when they die, in return for which the adopted son is designated their heir. If a natural child should subsequently be born to the couple, he would be chief heir and the adopted son would be second to him.”¹
Beresheit (Genesis) 16:1-4, 15-16:
(1) Now Sarai, Avram’s wife, bore him no children. She had a handmaid, a Mitsrite, whose name was Hagar.
(2) Sarai said to Avram,” See now, Elohim has restrained me from bearing. Please go in to my handmaid. It may be that I will obtain children by her.” Avram listened to the voice of Sarai.
(3) Sarai, Avram’s wife, took Hagar the Mitsrite (Egyptian), her handmaid, after Avram had lived ten years in the land of Kena`an (Canaan), and gave her to Avram her husband to be his wife.
(4) He went in to Hagar, and she conceived….
(15) Hagar bore a son for Avram. Avram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Yishma’el.
(16) Avram was eighty-six years old, when Hagar bore Yishma’el to Avram.
– Problem solved right – not so much! As I touched on in the study of Blessing and Birthright, the “Seed of Elohim” or “Seed of the Promise” rarely follow the laws of primogeniture (Primogeniture is the “right, by law or custom, of the legitimate, firstborn son to inherit his parent’s entire or main estate, in preference to elder illegitimate sons, younger sons, daughters and collateral relatives”)², but it follows the choosing of Yahweh our Elohim. Yishma’el is the son of the bond-woman, the product of a union decided on by man and not Yahweh, and because of his character could never be a proper heir despite being the first born son of Avraham. The answer was Yitzchaq (Isaac), son of Sarah and Avraham that became heir of the promise!
Sons of Yoseph (Joseph):
Beresheit (Genesis) 48:3-6:
(3) Ya`aqov said to Yoseph, “El Shaddai appeared to me at Luz in the land of Kena`an, and blessed me,
(4) and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.’
(5) Now your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Mitsrayim before I came to you into Mitsrayim, are mine; Ephrayim and Menashsheh, even as Re’uven and Shim`on, will be mine.
(6) Your issue, who you become the father of after them, will be yours. They will be called after the name of their brothers in their inheritance.
– Ya’aqov (Jacob) has done something that had never been done before – He divided the Melek-tzadek line into 2 and gave the birthright to one of the youngest sons (and split it amongst His sons). The double portion or blessing should have gone with Re’uven (Reuben), but he forfeited that right by intimate relations with one of Ya’aqov’s wives – the handmaid/concubine Bilhah. The double portion then went to the son’s of Yoseph (first son of Rachel, Ya’aqov’s second wife) – Ephrayim and Menashsheh! In the Scripture proceeding this, we see Ya’aqov “adopting” Yoseph’s sons so that they will be part of the inheritance of the blessings – to be called by his name and be as numerous as the stars of the skies. It is also very prophetic because Levi, after being given the priesthood, no longer has an inheritance in Ya’aqov – the Son’s of Levi have Yahweh for an inheritance. The final portion, the “rule/throne,” was given to the tribe of Yehudah (Judah) – making way for the likes of King David, King Solomon, and Yahushua the Messiah.
Shemoth (Exodus) 2:10: The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Mosheh, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
– Mosheh (Moses) was adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh. Through this adoption, Mosheh became co-heir with the natural born son of Pharoah and potentially third in line to the throne of Mitsrayim (Egypt). The Father literally preserved the “deliverer” of the Hebrews/Children of Yisra’el right under the nose of Pharoah. Mosheh is then a “type-and-shadow” of the Messiah – son of priest (Levi), heir to throne, suffering servant, and prophet. It is a beautiful picture and foreshadowing of the anointed one of Yahweh come to redeem everyone!
Mattityahu (Matthew) 1:20-21:
(20) But when he thought about these things, behold, a messenger (angel) of Elohim appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Yoseph (Joseph), son of Dawid (David), don’t be afraid to take to yourself Miryam (Mary), your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy/Set-apart Spirit).
(21) She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Yeshua, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”
– This narrative of the birth of Messiah is also a story of adoption. As we all know (hopefully!), the Messiah is the son of Miryam (Mary) and Yahweh through the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-apart Spirit). This is the very reason why the Gospel of Yochanan (John) bears out the genealogy of Miryam – Yahushua/Yeshua is in line to the throne of David through his mother. In the Gospel of Mattityahu preceding verses 20 & 21, however, we are given the genealogy of Yoseph. The only reason is to show that Yahushua/Yeshua, through Yoseph’s claiming of him as son, is also heir to the throne of David through the adoption by Yoseph! This has a dual effect – it marks Yahushua/Yeshua as “Moshiach ben Yoseph” (Messiah son of Yoseph – the suffering servant) and “Moshiach ben David” (Messiah son of David – rightful ruler of Yisra’el & Yehudah). It also shows the culmination of the promise to Avraham and his seed (which he was guarantor for anyway).
Mattityahu (Matthew) 3:16-17:
(16) Yahushua, when he was immersed, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of Elohim descending as a dove, and coming on him.
(17) Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 17:5; Marços (Mark) 9:7; Luços (Luke) 9:35: While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
– Just as it was important that Yoseph call Yahushua his son, so too was the Father Yahweh calling him son! By the same laws of inheritance on the Earth, Yahushua by this claiming is the one and only heir to the Kingdom of Heaven/Elohim. Not only is he the rightful king of the Promised Land, but He will be the rightful king of the Spiritual Kingdom of Elohim where he will sit on the throne in the new Yerushalayim (Jerusalem)! Would he have been the heir anyway, well of course he would, and yet to fulfill the prophesies every contingency had to be covered to insure his legitimacy.
The Promise for Us Today:
Romayim (Romans) 8:14-17,23:
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of Elohim, these are children of Elohim.
(15) For you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(16) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of Elohim;
(17) and if children, then heirs; heirs of Elohim, and joint-heirs with Messiah; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.
(22) For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
(23) Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body.
Galatiyim (Galatians) 4:4-7:
(4) But when the fullness of the time came, Elohim sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law,
(5) that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
(6) And because you are sons, Elohim sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
(7) So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of Yahweh through Messiah.
Eph’siyim (Ephesians) 1:5: “having predestined us for adoption as sons through Yeshua the Messiah to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,”
– The Emissary Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) tells us, the believers in Messiah and partakers of His Resurrection, that through Messiah’s death we receive the Spirit of Adoption from the father and become “joint-heirs” in the Kingdom of Elohim! What an amazing concept !
We have been adopted by the Father, a peculiar people and a set-apart nation, to become co-heirs and share in the inheritance with Messiah. May you all be blessed and enjoy the riches of His salvation.
1.) Adoption. Encyclopedia Judaica. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0001_0_00486.html
2.) Primogeniture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primogeniture