Short summary of the previous pages The life cycle
of the angels and man is composed of four phases: peace,
sin, judgment and return to peace. The same phases were discovered in
The account of the Flood. On the following
pages, it is shown that the whole salvation history is composed
of eras with four cycles, which in turn are composed of four phases
(see Summary of Salvation
History). On this page, the third and fourth cycle of the patriarchs'
era are presented.
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The ancestors of Israel
Abraham and Lot
Abraham’s history begins with chapter 12 of Genesis, which no
longer contains multiple references. Hence, the account relates events chronologically.
This is why the cycles can be more easily extracted because one only has to recapitulate
The historical context of Abraham is the gradual Semitic ascension
in Mesopotamia, the beginning phase of the third cycle of the patriarchs’ era (see
here and Summary of Salvation History). Abraham was
born around 2160 BC (see appendix C: Classical biblical dates) and lived
in the city of Ur (Gen 11:31), which was once the Sumerian capital. God promised
Abraham a great posterity in a foreign country and invited him to emigrate there
(Gen 12:1-3). So at the age of seventy-five years, Abraham left Ur with his
nephew Lot and settled in the country of Canaan (Gen 12:4-5). Abraham’s wife
Sarah, however, proved barren. One day, three mysterious men visited him.
Abraham invited them in his house and offered them a meal. They announced to him
that Sarah, despite her advanced age, would bear a son, Isaac, in order to make
true God’s promise (Gen 18:1-15).
The three visitors not only announced the birth of Isaac but also
said: “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is loud and their sin is very grievous”
(Gen 18:16-20). The wrongdoing of the inhabitants of these cities therefore
became intolerable. This of course indicates the phase of sin, which caused the
destruction of the region, the phase of judgment. Abraham begged the three men to
save Lot from it (Gen 18:23-33), which is a precursory sign of the revival
phase. So they took Lot and his two daughters outside the city (Gen 19:12-22).
Then, all the plain with its cities and its residents was destroyed by the fire
It is likely that the destruction of
Sodom and Gomorrah
is linked to an earthquake accompanied by volcanic eruptions in the region of the
Dead Sea, which forms part of a long crevice in the terrestrial crust. There is
further archaeological evidence of five cities in the Valley of Siddim at the southern
extremity of the Dead Sea where this has taken place. These cities are also mentioned
by the Scriptures, with an overwhelming correspondence of historical and archaeological
The survival of Lot and his two daughters, who united with their
father to give him a posterity, namely that of the Moabites and Ammonites (Gen 19:31-38),
is part of the phase of revival since it is essentially characterized by the formation
of new nations from a single man during the patriarchs’ era. Yet the revival applies
more to Abraham, who, by insistently praying to God to save Lot, played a more important
role and who, as father of Isaac, the son promised by the three visitors, and grandfather
of Jacob, became the ancestor of the Israelite people, the holder of a new era.
Joseph and his brothers
Before the birth of this people, there is still a fourth and last
cycle in the era of the patriarchs, which begins with the more or less peaceful
period in which lived Isaac and his son Jacob (Gen 20-35), the father of the
twelve patriarchs of Israel. Jacob is also the father of Joseph, who holds a special
role among the patriarchs. Joseph was Jacob’s most beloved son because he was born
after a long period of infertility to Rachel, whom Jacob preferred to his other
wives (Gen 29:16-30:22; 37:3).
This is why his brothers hated Joseph so deeply (Gen 37:4).
When he once told them of his dream, according to which he would become an important
man to them, they detested him even more (Gen 37:5-11) and decided to get rid
of him as soon as an opportunity arose. They finally sold him to passing Ishmaelites,
who took him away to Egypt (Gen 37:18-28).
In Egypt, God made Joseph succeed in all he undertook (Gen 39:1-6).
One day, Joseph correctly interpreted a dream of Pharaoh, according to which seven
years of great abundance and seven years of famine would occur. This is why Pharaoh
gave him a large authority over the Egyptian kingdom (Gen 41:1-49).
During the seven years of abundance, Joseph stored up grain “like
the sand on the seashore” (Gen 41:47-49). When the seven years of famine
arrived, he opened the stores and all the population of the country came to him
to buy grain (Gen 41:53-57). The famine raged not only in Egypt but in the
entire region and consequently also in the country where lived his father and brothers,
who also came to Egypt to buy grain from him (Gen 42-44). Thus Joseph’s dream,
according to which his brothers would one day prostrate themselves before him, was
Hence the phases are manifest: the first phase is the peaceful
initial life of Jacob’s family in Canaan. Then, the rejection of Joseph by his brothers,
the phase of sin, causes the famine, the judgment. However, only his brothers are
concerned by the famine and not the entire population, since Joseph has gathered
enough food for the survival of everyone. His brothers are humiliated because they
are obliged to go to Egypt and beg for food.
Their journey also leads to the phase of revival, that is to say,
to the reunion of Joseph with his father and the reconciliation with his brothers
(Gen 45:1-15; 46:28-34; 50:15-21), who stay with him in Egypt (Gen 45:16-47:12),
where their descendants become very numerous (Gen 47:27; Ex 1:7).
 This elevation of a foreigner to the rank of
viceroy in a country where nomads were so despised (Gen 46:34) is disputed
among scholars, mainly because there is no mention of a viceroy in the Egyptian
archives, which are the most complete of all the ancient civilizations. However,
the Hyksos, northern Semitic tribes, occupied Egypt from 1730 to 1580 BC. This
period constitutes a discontinuity in the Egyptian archives (without doubt they
wanted to forget this humiliating period). If one asserts that the Exodus took place
in 1290 BC instead of 1440 BC and relies on Exodus 12:40, which asserts
that the stay in this country lasted 430 years, we arrive to 1720 BC. This
is why some scholars hold that the beginning of this stay, that is to say, the arrival
of Joseph, and later of Jacob and his sons, coincides with the take-over of the
Hyksos, under whom it is much more probable that a foreigner could become viceroy
(Werner Keller, The Bible as History). However, according to biblical sources,
the Exodus was in 1440 BC (see appendix C: Classical biblical dates).
The arrival of Joseph’s brothers in Egypt is therefore shifted back 150 years to
1870 BC and does not coincide with the Hyksos. According to
this date fits the historical data better and according to
it even seems that Joseph’s palace and tomb was found in the
land of Goshen.
 Joseph distributing wheat announces Christ instituting
the Eucharist, and his brothers prefigure the Apostles. There are also other parallels:
the twelve brothers are the ancestors of Israel just as the twelve Apostles are
the founders of the spiritual kingdom. However, Judas betrayed Jesus to his accusers
and was thereby dismissed as Apostle. It is Levi, one of the ancestors of Israel,
who announces this dismissed Apostle because the Levites received no territory after
the conquest of Canaan (Num 18:20-24). Moreover, the Levites are the tribe
of the priests to whom Judas betrayed Jesus and who got him executed. No tribe was
attributed to Joseph, but to his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen 48), which
means two things: (1) Joseph, although he is one of the twelve sons of Jacob, announces
none of the Apostles but Christ, whose Kingdom is not terrestrial (Jn 18:36);
(2) the nomination of Matthias as Apostle at the place of Judah (Ac 1:15-26).
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