On the twelfth day of christmas

my True Love gave to me:

Twelve tribes of Israel

This one may seem strange. How are these gifts of God to us? Just because Jacob had twelve sons?
The numerical expansion God promised Abraham really begins here. From one faithful son of Abraham (Isaac), and one son of Isaac (Jacob), we now have 12 reckoned in God's covenant of promise. Not that they were saints. Their mothers were envious rivals, barren (Rachel) and needy and unloved (Leah), trying to one-up each other by the number of children they had. The brothers' own rap sheet includes incest (Reuben), unjust warfare (Levi and Simeon), and kidnapping and selling one of their own (Joseph).

But God provides restoration and forgiveness in Egypt through Joseph, because of Judah's willingness to sacrifice himself for Benjamin.

The tribes' significance continues in the New Testament. Jesus says the twelve apostles will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes (Matthew 19:28). In Revelation, each tribe has 12,000 sealed before any harmful judgment comes to the earth from God. This is a sign that Gentiles have joined Israel's 12 tribes as God's people, while the identity of the root of Jacob has not been lost. Jesus identifies Himself in the last book of the Bible as the root of David (Rev 22:16). This brings us to Epiphany!

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