Joseph’s Birthright

The greatest nation that has ever existed on Earth. Could it be?

This is something that has been on my mind for many years. I learned of this in the year 1972, and have never forgotten what I had read in a book titled “The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophesy”. Few have been exposed to this concept of what happened with the Abrahamic birthright through which the whole world was to be blessed.

Abraham’s birthright blessing was passed to his son Isaac instead of his brother Ishmael, then to Abraham’s grandson Jacob instead of his brother Esau. As we read in Hebrews 11:11&12 they have not received the promises, so what happened?

Moses said to Yahweh:

Exo 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and You spoke to them, I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens, and all this land which I have said, I will give to your seed. And they shall possess it forever.

Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there it shall be said to them, You are the sons of the living God.

Paul writes: Rom 9:27 Isaiah cries concerning Israel, "If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, It is the remnant who will be saved (not a large number).

It is quite obvious that this is indicating multiple millions of people, perhaps billions. What we will see in Genesis 48 is what happened to the birthright blessing passed to Isaac by his father Abraham, then to Jacob, who's name was changed to Israel. An important point to remember is what the birthright is. The birthright refers to two things, territory (land) and population.

I am sure you know about the amazing story of Joseph who ended up to be the most powerful man in the known world during his lifetime besides, or equal to the Pharaoh of Egypt who apparently gave all his authority to Joseph.

Gen 48:1 Now after these things, word came to Joseph that his father was ill: and he took with him his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.

Gen 48:2 And when they said to Jacob, Your son Joseph is coming to see you: then Israel, getting all his strength together, had himself lifted up in his bed.

Gen 48:3 And Jacob said to Joseph, Yahweh, the Ruler of all, came to me in a vision at Luz in the land of Canaan, and gave me his blessing,

Gen 48:4 And said to me, Truly, I will make you fertile and give you increase and will make of you a great family of nations: and I will give this land to your seed after you to be their heritage for ever. (where were/are those nations)

Gen 48:5 And now your two sons who came to birth in Egypt before I came to you here, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, in the same way as Reuben and Simeon are. (also Asher, Gad, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, and the rest of the 12)

Gen 48:6 And any other offspring which you have after them, will be yours, and will be named after their brothers (Ephraim and Manasseh) in their heritage.

Gen 48:7 And as for me, when I came from Paddan, death overtook Rachel on the way, when we were still some distance from Ephrath; and I put her to rest there on the road to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem.

Gen 48:8 Then Israel, looking at Joseph's sons, said, Who are these?

Gen 48:9 And Joseph said to his father, They are my sons, whom Yahweh has given me in this land. And he said, Let them come near me, and I will give them a blessing.

Gen 48:10 Now because Israel was old, his eyes were no longer clear, and he was not able to see. So he made them come near to him, and he gave them a kiss, folding them in his arms.

Gen 48:11 And Israel said to Joseph, I had no hope of seeing your face again, but Yahweh in his mercy has let me see you and your children. (Read Genesis 37)

Gen 48:12 Then Joseph took them from between his knees, and went down on his face to the earth.

Gen 48:13 Then taking Ephraim with his right hand, Joseph put him at Israel's left side, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Israel's right side, placing them near him.

Gen 48:14 And Israel, stretching out his right hand, put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands on purpose, for Manasseh was the older.

Gen 48:15 And he gave Joseph a blessing, saying, May the Mighty One to whom my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, gave worship, the Elohim who has taken care of me all my life till this day,

Gen 48:16 The angel who has been my savior from all evil, send his blessing on these children: and let my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, “be given to them”; and let them become a great nation in the earth.

Make no mistake, that name is not Judah or any other of the eleven tribes of Israel. Reuben was actually Israel's first born. Regardless Israel specifically placed his own name on those two boys Ephraim and Manasseh. If this is true then Judah is not Israel, but part of the now thirteen tribes who are the sons of Israel.

Gen 48:17 Now when Joseph saw that his father had put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it did not seem right to him; and lifting his father's hand he would have put it on the head of Manasseh.

Gen 48:18 And Joseph said to his father, Not so, my father, for this is the older (Manasseh); put your right hand on his head.

This next verse explains the last account of the land and population inheritance first given to Abraham.

Gen 48:19 But his father would not, saying, I am doing it on purpose, my son; he will certainly become a nation and a great one (Manasseh); but his younger brother will be greater than he is, and his seed will become a multitude of nations (Ephraim).

Gen 48:20 So he gave them his blessing that day, saying, You will be the sign of blessing in Israel, for they will say, May Yahweh make you like Ephraim and Manasseh; and he put Ephraim before Manasseh.

What I want to do is to explain what I think is the likely version of who these nations are today, and how most of the end time, or unfulfilled, prophesies concerning Israel point to these nations we just read about in Genesis 48:19, Ephraim and Manasseh. Some of the following thoughts are not mine only, but what I have managed to put together from several sources. But before we go any farther, I want to note what Yahweh said to Abraham: Gen 21:12 He said …from Isaac will your seed be called. If you look up the word Isaac and Saxon in the same search, you will find many references relating Saxon to the “Sons of Isaac”. I don’t really want to go into that area other than to say it fits the scenario it's worth considering. There are people that disagree with this, but this is the point of view I personally have, and I think for good reason.

A look at Genesis 48

In order to appreciate the significance of the blessing of Joseph's two sons, we need to understand some background with regard to both history and prophecy in relation to Israel. The promises to the tribes of Israel were specifically reserved for the "LAST DAYS".- [Gen 49:1 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. The rebellion of the northern ten tribes against the throne of David in the time of Solomon's ruling son Rehoboam, who ruled the break away House of Israel that you can read about in 1 Kings 11:9-13, and 29-32. The northern ten-tribe division retained the name ISRAEL. The tribes of Judah, in the South, were granted the support of the tribe of Benjamin, and were collectively known as JUDAH. Understanding this division of Israel and Judah is essential, in order to rightly apply prophecy. 2 Kings 17 gives a summary of how, because of sin, Yahweh took the ten-tribe ISRAEL away from the throne of Judah, and eventually caused them to go into exile in Assyria. They never did return! The fact is, both Ezra and Nehemiah record that only 42,360 of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, returned to Judea from exile in Babylon, together with a "mixed multitude". From these, the Jews of Yahshua's day descended.

It is clear therefore, that to identify Israel in both history and prophecy we have to distinguish Israel from the Jews. It was prophesied that Israel would lose their identity, Yahweh referring to them as "not my people". In other words, a people who would not be identified as Israel yet we can identify Israel by the destiny they were to fulfill! 1Chronicles 5:1 tells us Reuben’s birthright (he was Israel’s firstborn) was given to the sons of Joseph, the grandsons of Israel; and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright”. Again, the birthright did not go to Jacob’s first born Ruben, but rather to Joseph’s two sons.

This means that, through the descendants of the sons of Joseph, Yahweh would fulfill the great promises of Israel's greatness! That greatness included the promise given to Jacob in Genesis 35:11:

Gen 35:10 Yahweh said to him, "Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel." He named him Israel.

Gen 35:11 Yahweh said to him, "I am Yahweh Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company (commonwealth) of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your loins.

Commonwealth - Websters: “Often capitalized - An association of self-governing autonomous states more or less loosely associated in a common allegiance (as to the British crown)”.

Ephrim was to be a nation with a monarchy, which would expand to become a "company of nations"!

The account of the blessing of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, is recorded in Genesis Chapter 48. It is amazing that Israel (Jacob) chose Joseph’s grandsons, to be bearers of the birthright passed down from him. That birthright was the passing on of the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Israel! This included the promise given to Jacob, that his seed would become a "nation and company, multitude, or group of nations"! The reason was that, though they were actually his grandsons, Jacob adopted the sons of Joseph as his own sons. It was, in fact, the highest honor he could give to Joseph, that his sons would not only be equal with the other sons of Jacob, but would receive the birthright, yet Israel went further than this. Take note: now there are 13 tribes of Israel.

Although Manasseh was the elder of the two lads, while giving both Ephraim and Manasseh a share of the birthright, Jacob gave the firstborn-portion to Ephraim! In fact, Ephraim is Yahweh's firstborn! (Jeremiah 31:9)

To identify modern Israel,we are clearly looking for a people who, though not recognized as Israel, have the hallmarks of Israel-identity. Yahweh had told Abraham his seed would be GREAT and their name GREAT. Jacob's descendants were to become a "nation and company of nations", a prophecy which conferred the birthright given to the sons of Joseph.

The indisputable fact that no other Nation is named "great",or has become a Company or Commonwealth of Nations in precisely this way. To me, it is extremely strong evidence that Great Britain is Ephraim, and that the prophecy had firstborn fulfillment in the Nation of Great Britain and its Commonwealth of Nations, the "Multitude of Nations" prophesied by Israel in Gen 48:19. The Roman Empire, at its height, tyrannically ruled approximately a quarter of the then known world. At its height, the benign British Empire ruled over a third of the earth's surface, becoming the greatest Empire of all time, its "branches ran over the wall!" (Genesis 49:22). Many of these nations now have independence, yet Queen Elizabeth II remains "Head of the Commonwealth", representing

over 30% of the world's population.

The portion of the birthright given to Manasseh is fulfilled in the United States of America. Joseph represented the greatest, richest power on earth in his day, and that blessing was passed on to both his sons, first Ephraim and second Manasseh. Ephraim's position has diminished, at this time, partly for reasons of judgment, and partly to allow Manasseh to enjoy, in turn, Joseph's pre-eminence in wealth and power. But this does not alter history, or reverse Ephraim's prophetic mandate.

There have been attempts by some Anglo-Israel believers to reverse the identities of Ephraim and Manasseh. Those who take the position that America is Ephraim, argue that the "states" fulfilll the criteria of a "company of nations". I personally can’t see that, but either way they are still called Israel because Israel, the man placed his name on them.

The U.S.A. declares itself to be "one Nation under God", a single nation or republic, constituting a federation of states, not a "company of nations"! It is the reason Israel crossed his hands to indicate which of the boys were first and second in order of prominence. It would be incorrect to attempt to uncross Jacob's hands and usurp Ephraim's mandate. America precisely fulfills Manasseh's role. The amazing accuracy of this prophecy is awesome! Manasseh was to become a great people! The word "people" (in contrast to a "company of nations") is significant, suggesting Manasseh would become a republic, as distinct from a monarchy! The word "people" implies a "multitude gathered as a unit", which is exactly what the United States of America is. Undoubtedly, a broad representation of Israel tribes is gathered in America under the leadership of the Manasseh branch of the birthright people!

Here are a few reasons why Ephraim is most likely Britain, and Manasseh is America and why the Roles cannot be reversed:

Jacob placed Ephraim BEFORE Manasseh, and he was called the firstborn:

People who take the 'Ephraim-U.S.A.' position do so on the grounds that America is the younger, just like Ephraim was the younger. Yet this undermines the whole point of the 'Ephraim Blessing', which was to set him before Manasseh. The term "firstborn" in both Hebrew and Greek Scriptures consistently means literally first-born!

As the younger son, for Ephraim to become the firstborn would mean his offspring would be literally first-born into their prophetic identity, fulfilling their destiny first!

Though Ephraim was originally the younger son of Joseph, the order was to be reversed in prophetic destiny. This means Ephraim's destiny was to be fulfilled before that of Manasseh, and he would fulfill the role of the firstborn of the birthright of Israel. So it was that Ephraim - originally the younger of the two sons - became the leading tribe of Israel, and the firstborn – that is, the Commonwealth of Great Britan - in prophetic destiny (Jeremiah 31:9 ….for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.)

Ephraim set before Manasseh means he would be first in both time and greatness. As we read; Gen 48:20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In you shall Israel bless, saying, God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh. And he set (put) Ephraim before Manasseh.


The terms "set" and "before" both relate to order in terms of position and time. It is significant that of several Hebrew words of similar meaning, the words employed have to do with "setting in order" both in the sense of occurrence and importance. The fact that Britain entered into the height of its power in the 19th Century and America in the mid-20th Century bears this out. However, since the birthright is shared, neither can be completely independent of the other, so America and Britain have supported each other in World Conflicts in the prophesied Anglo-American Alliance.

Deu 33:17 His glory is like the first-born of his bull, and his horns are like the horns of the wild ox. With them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth. And they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.

It is true to say that both America and Great Britain are experiencing judgment and diminished influence in many respects, at this time. Look what is happening with the economy, the immigration situation, and the Muslim influence.

I think this is speculation, but it is interesting to note that the subjugation of the tribe of Manasseh to Assyria actually began in 745 B.C. If we calculate from this date the prophesied chastisement of 2520 years (i.e. the prophetic "seven times" Leviticus 26:24, 28) we arrive at A.D.1775-6, precisely when the 13 States signed their Declaration, and obtained Independence from Great Britain.

Ephraim was exiled to Assyria in 720 B.C. Calculating "7 Times" from that date we arrive at 1801 A.D. That very year, Great Britain became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Again this is speculation.

The coincidental number 13. America is likely Manasseh because Manasseh is the 13th Tribe:

When Jacob blessed Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, he adopted them as his sons, which placed them on a par with the other eleven sons (tribes). This means Joseph was now represented by two tribes, making an overall total of thirteen tribes. Since Jacob "set Ephraim before Manasseh", this meant Manasseh was the thirteenth tribe of Israel.

One source I looked at had this to say:

The prominence of the number 13 identifies America with Manasseh the 13th Tribe:

1. 13 States signed The Declaration of Independence.

2. 13 Stars are above the Eagle on the American Seal.

3. 13 Letters form the motto 'E Pluribus Unum' - 'one of many'.

4. 13 Leaves are on the Olive Branch, on the left talon

5. 13 Olives also, are on the left talon of the U.S. Seal

6. 13 Arrows are on the right talon of the Shield

7. 13 Stripes are featured on the Shield

8. 13 Stars were on the original U.S. Flag - 'Old Glory'

9. 13 Stripes also, were on 'Old Glory'

10. 13 Stripes still feature on the current Flag of the U.S.

Consider the following:

The British Empire was much bigger than the United States. At its height in the early decades of the 20th century, the Empire covered a third of the world's territory.

In terms of longevity, Britain's Empire lasted until after World War II, meaning that its global empire lasted well over two centuries. American power began after World War II and became the greatest nation ever on the face of the earth. It is now obvious that its greatness and power is already on the wane just like we see in Great Brittan and many other English speaking nations today.

Gen 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation. (The Nation of Islam)

Gen 17:21 But I will establish My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year.

If we believe that the decedents of Ishmael, and of Isaac’s brother Esau In general are the present day Muslims, how many of them inhabit the earth today? The birthright went to the sons of Joseph, how many of them inhabit the earth today? The Gospel was to be taken to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” The term “House of Israel” is repeated 145 times in the Bible. After the separation which occurred after Solomon died, the term Israel referred to the northern ten tribes which up until this last century were “lost sheep”. In a general sense it looks like we can understand the latter day nations that comprise those lost sheep.

I think it is significant to note that all of these people are Shemites, (Semites) decedents of Shem, Noah’s son. When grouped together it is obvious that a huge amount of the world’s population, and is the fulfillment of the covenant given to Abraham so long ago.

Bob Widmer