The word nation in Genesis 48 could have been translated "state," because both words are interchangeable in this case.
The United States, as its name describes, is a multitude of nation-states. It formed out of many individual colonies, all of which could have become individual nations had they not joined together. The 14th colony, in the New World, did become its own nation, Canada.
Each state is like a nation
Each U.S. state is like its own nation and could function well if Washington disappeared.
It has its own constitution. It makes its own laws and has its own supreme court. It specifies and collects taxes. It has its own military, called the National Guard, that operates under the state governor.
The governor may call up for active duty its National Guard to help respond to domestic emergencies and disasters. The federal government needs the consent of the state governor to use a state's National Guard.
U.S. governors act like heads of state in many ways. The governor experience has been the path for many to become president of the United States: Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush 2.
Each state, after the first 13, went through a process to join the Union. Hawaii and Alaska were the last two states to join the Union, in 1959.
The American Civil War was fought over the secession of 11 states from the Union. The autonomy each state has in the Union is unique among the world's nations. Genesis 48 does not require Ephraim to be the only nation so organized. It just states that it is thus organized and is made up of Ephraim's descendants.
Ephraim and Manasseh have a lot in common, but the Bible points out some differences.
In ancient Israel, Manasseh was split in two because half of Manasseh wanted a good area to raise livestock (Numbers 32:1-5).
Consider that today England is on one side of the globe, and Australia and New Zealand are on the other side with great herds and flocks.
Manasseh got along better with Judah. That may explain why the throne of David is in England.
What nation would you expect to say this: "'What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!' So Israel departed to their tents"? (1 Kings 12:16).
This sounds a lot like the United States' response to British "taxation without representation" 230 years ago. The United States is willing to go its own way when other nations disagree.
Which nation acts like Ephraim?
We have biblical examples of how Ephraim conducted himself in war, and we have present-day examples. Which nation, Great Britain or the United States, would be more likely to respond this way:
". . . We have heard that the kings of the house of Israel [Ephraim] are merciful kings. Please, let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life"? (1 Kings 20:31).
Continuing: "They quickly grasped at this word and said, 'Your brother Ben-Hadad.' So he said, 'Go, bring him.' Then Ben-Hadad [the defeated king] came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot" (verse 33).
By having Ben-hadad ride with him, Ephraim treated defeated Ben-hadad as a political equal.
The United States is the only nation that treats its vanquished enemies as equals. That is not a British trait. Britain was made great by conquering and subjugating its enemies and colonies. If the United States had done the same after World War II, it would have controlled more of the world than Britain ever had.
". . . They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh" (Deuteronomy 33:17).
Younger shall be greater
The nation with the larger population, the United States, is Ephraim.
There is a difference between how a firstborn acts and how someone who is not a firstborn acts. Firstborns think they are hot stuff. What others think of them is important to them. England and France both act like a firstborn.
The United States isn't troubled by such concerns, as long as it's making a buck on whatever is happening.
The United States looks to England as an older brother. Even though there is respect there, America still does its own thing. England acts with amazement at how its younger brother can take the lead in the world. You can detect that it kind of hurts her.
What difference does it make?
Mislabeling Ephraim prevents a full understanding of prophecy. Many think England will go to Germany for money at the end time. With North Sea oil, England has something going for it. It is the United States that is in financial trouble.
In normal economic times, Germany might be able to bail out England, but the United States is a different matter. Even before the current economic crisis, America had gone so deeply in debt it would have asked too much of Germany.
What makes a nation great?
In many areas the United States comes out ahead of Britain: population, geographic size, wealth, power, individual freedom. Even in conquests: Great Britain has Mount Everest, but the United States has the moon.
Much evidence connects Britain with Joseph. Many feel this is proof that it is Ephraim.
The facts are undisputed, but the conclusion is a jump, not a product of the facts. Who is most interested in keeping family genealogy? The firstborn or the others?
It is the firstborn, of course. The more you can find to link Great Britain with Joseph, the more (I believe) you prove she is Manasseh (the firstborn) and not Ephraim (the second born).
The two Great Commandments
"'And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart ...' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31).
If you replace Joseph with Manasseh and Ephraim as direct sons of Jacob, then Ephraim would be the 13th son born to Jacob. That the United States started with 13 colonies is more circumstantial evidence that United States is Ephraim.
God is clear in His priorities. Judah excels (not perfectly) in keeping the First Great Commandment. It is my hypothesis that Ephraim excels (not perfectly, but far above any other nation) in keeping the Second Great Commandment.
Since God did not choose Judah, I believe God would want His birthright nation, the nation given universal dominance above all nations, to be the nation that most embodied his Second Great Commandment.
No other nation shows the kindness and love to its neighbor and enemies that the United States does and also offers the freedom to be different. Not even England has that kind of freedom.
It has been said that in England people can do what they want as long as they do exactly what they are told.
The United States, on the other hand, is the only nation where true freedom exists. The desire for real freedom, which did not exist in England, is the reason people came out of England to form the United States.
Backwards from the conclusion
Many think that loyalty to God and ministers is all that is necessary, but Jesus said otherwise.
He said we must "give to the poor" (Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22) and do good works to others (Acts 2:45; 1 Timothy 6:18).
If we start with what would be God's will for His "birthright" nation and then try to identify which nation best fits those characteristics, I believe we are led to the United States, not England.
Besides receiving a double portion, the birthright recipient receives all the judicial authority and positions of his father.
"The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Genesis 48:16).
". . . He [Israel] set Ephraim before Manasseh" (verse 20).
Birthright advantages, privileges, responsibilities
Ephraim does not have just Joseph's personal birthright, but that of Jacob, Isaac and Abraham.
Scripture indicates Ephraim is the possessor of the birthright blessings that were given to Abraham as to no other descendant.
As Abraham's birthright descendant, Ephraim speaks for the family. As such, all other descendants of Abraham should look to Ephraim as the leader of the family and should support and back him on matters that affect the whole family.
This should not be limited to Israel, but includes the descendants of Esau and Ishmael (Arab nations), who should follow Ephraim's lead.
Why did God select Ephraim?
We know God does not always pick the firstborn. Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Ephraim over Manasseh and David over his older brothers.
If God wanted the nation that "respected" God or "kept" God's Word the "best," He would have chosen Judah, but He did not.
If God wanted a nation that would have done what it was told, He probably would have chosen a nation like Germany, but He did not.
God chose a descendant of Joseph.
What about Joseph?
What do we know about Joseph?
Joseph did not hold hostility, bitterness or hatred for his brothers who sold him into slavery. Instead of taking revenge, Joseph forgave his brothers and provided for them in their darkest hour, during the worldwide famine (Genesis 50:19-21).
These are characteristics of one who obeys the Second Great Commandment, not of the First Great Commandment. God picked the nation that would be kindest to its fellow nations and not force them into its box culturally.
What nation most fulfills these characteristics? The United States does. The United States did not hold it against Japan that it attacked Pearl Harbor. It shares its wealth with the world like no other nation. The United States leads without subjugating other nations. We have to look only at the treatment of Germany and Japan after World War II.
The Philippines and Puerto Rico give us other examples of how the United States exercises control over other lands. Compare them to how England used its predominance over the British Commonwealth.
The United States has not been perfect. Sadly, American companies have often acted in their own self-interest. Simeon was violent and scattered among Israel (Genesis 49:5-7), which includes Ephraim. Could it be that Simeonites in Ephraim have periodically given Ephraim a black eye?
Anyone who does not want to accept the United States as being God's chosen nation to lead the world should ask himself what other nation would he rather be conquered by.
Who should lead?
History tells us how Germany, Japan, Arab nations and other nations treated nations they conquered: not very nicely.
The leader is not the nation that appears the most religious, nor the most organized, nor the smartest. I believe it's the nation that would be the best for all the other nations.
Instead of looking for perfection, it would be wise to ask: What nation would you like to lose a war to? Japan, Germany, Russia, a nation ruled by a religious extremist? No, thanks!
If you choose England or France, you will become a colony, subject to the parent nation. Only the United States has a history of being kind and supportive of defeated nations.
This is not common in most nations, and, sadly, the United States is losing these great traits.
Spiritual laws are in force
Most people understand the laws of gravity and centrifugal force. If you turn a corner slowly, your vehicle will not turn over. But, if you turn a corner too fast, centrifugal force will cause your vehicle to flip.
There are also spiritual laws that have automatic consequences. God does not need to keep a scorecard to see if you have been naughty or nice.
Many have wondered why things have historically worked out so well for the United States. To say it was because Americans were descendants of Abraham is too shallow, because so are other nations. Blessings come for keeping God's law.
I believe it is the United States' ability to keep the Great Second Commandment better than any other nation. If other nations kept more of God's laws than does the United States, then they would probably receive more blessings than the United States does.
I am not talking about being more religious. While proper religious exercises have their own rewards, religions (Jewish, Christian, Church of God or others) tend to cancel out many rewards by teaching the commandments of men.
Even when the United States gets mad--like when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor--it did not hold onto its anger and seek revenge. It forgave those who wronged her.
Things are changing and laws are being passed. We have made a great leap toward being a corporate nation, where companies (in league with the government) and rich people have more rights than the little guy.
It is okay to disagree, but groups are holding onto their anger and hatred for other groups and seeking revenge.
When the United States looked after the interests of others, it enjoyed enormous blessings. As the United States starts to oppress people and other nations, we can expect the blessings to diminish.
Whereas in the past the United States gave to the world, our recent housing greed problems have not only diminished the little guy's investments, they have robbed wealth from many other nations of the world.
The United States' conduct, both morally and financially, could play into prophecy by leading the whole nation into slavery (the tribulation).
God is forgiving. With repentance, Ephraim's (the United States') freedom and greatness will return.
I believe that only the United States, not the British Commonwealth, truly fulfills the Genesis 48 requirement that Ephraim be a multitude of nation states and Ephraim's descendants.
The abundant documentation connecting England with Joseph is evidence that England is Joseph's firstborn, Manasseh.
As the nation God has chosen to lead and serve (not rule) the world, the United States should act appropriately in a way that reflects positively God's ways and is held to a higher standard.