My patriarchal blessing tells me that I’m from the house of Israel and I have the lineage of Joseph. What does that mean? What are the blessings from this lineage of Joseph? I appreciate your help very much. Thanks.
Congratulations Gabby! You are now part of a very old cycle of promise and renewal. I know you asked specifically about Joseph, but to really answer your questions I need to go back to Abraham. The Lord was pleased with Abraham, and so he made a covenant with Abraham (Abraham 2:8-11). The Lord promised Abraham
1. Generations of children (he would be the father of a great nation)
2. Patriarchy (a blessing to his seed)
3. Priesthood (for both his literal children, and those “spiritual” children who he converts to the gospel)
4. Land (Genesis 17:8)
The Lord also gave Abraham a duty/blessing that his family would carry the gospel to the whole earth. He promised Abraham that this covenant was not just between the two of them, but it was a covenant that would be renewed with each new generation (Gen 17:7).
Abraham’s son, Isaac, experienced this promise firsthand. The Lord renews with Isaac the covenant He made with his father (Gen 26:3-4). He is specifically promised 1) children (“as the stars of heaven”) 2) priesthood (“in thy seed shall all the nations … be blessed”) and 3) land (“all these countries”). Patriarchy is implied since the Lord “will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father,” and he is listed among the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
Isaac’s son, Jacob, also received a renewing of the covenant. You may have also heard of Jacob referred to as Israel – the same Israel who had 12 sons (the 12 tribes of Israel). Jacob was given the same specific promises as his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham (Gen 28:13-15).
Today, these same covenants are extended to us. Through baptism, we are adopted in as the children of Abraham (if we are not literally such already). We are also adopted into one of the tribes of Israel (again, if we are not already literally such). When you received your patriarchal blessing, it was declared to which tribe of Israel you belong. Whether you were adopted in or a literal descendant doesn’t matter, for the blessings are the same. Consequently, the Abrahamic covenant becomes available to each of us. Elder Russell M. Nelson testified that “The ultimate blessings of the Abrahamic covenant are conferred in holy temples (Special Witnesses of Christ)”.
Similar to his fathers before him, Joseph qualified for the birthright blessing. You can find the blessing Israel gave to him in Gen 48:3-7 and Gen 49:22-26. Joseph’s children, Ephraim and Manasseh, were also blessed by Israel in Gen 48:13-20. Moses extended the blessing to their descendants (Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh) in Deuteronomy 33:13-17. These blessings have been renewed today with the descendants of Joseph in D&C 133:26-34.
Latter-day Prophets have given two principles in connection with the blessings of Joseph. First, Joseph’s land of promise is right here in the Americas. It is the land promised to Lehi and his descendants (there’s that renewing again), who were descended from Manasseh (Alma 10:3 – if your lineage is through Manasseh, search the Book of Mormon for additional promises to the children of Manasseh). Second, Ephraim has taken the charge in these last days to spread the gospel and gather the other lost tribes.
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “It is Ephraim, today, who holds the priesthood. It is with Ephraim that the Lord has made covenant and has revealed the fulness of the everlasting gospel. It is Ephraim who is building temples and performing the ordinances in them for both the living and for the dead. When the ‘lost tribes’ come – and it will be a most wonderful sight and a marvelous thing when they do come to Zion – … they will have to receive he crowning blessings from their brother Ephraim, the ‘firstborn’ in Israel (Doctrines of Salvation 3:252-3)”.
I want to emphasize to you that these blessings are available to you as well. It is your privilege to enjoy the blessings of 1) Posterity, 2) Matriarchy, 3) Priesthood, and 4) Land, as well as living up to the charge to spread the gospel. Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel and Leah equally qualified as helpmeets in this covenant, and in these last days it is extended to you.