What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?

What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?

sermon Genesis 49 : Patrice Berger, 2023_07_01, AB Lausanne church

title : What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?

What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?


– “And if our funeral were an opportunity to deliver a message! »

Enabling Inheritance _ _

The last time we looked at Genesis chapters 47-48, we focused on Jacob’s inheritance to his sons. But an inheritance is not a reality until the one who prepared it dies. It will be reality when Jacob dies; what is related to us in the last verses of chapter 49 which we are going to read today. But this heritage is much more than a simple family heritage, it is part of the promises that God has in store for humanity who has rejected him. And these promises were specified to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Announced legacy

Promise to Abraham

Genesis 12:1-3 / NJEB21

1. The Lord said to Abram: “Leave your country, your fatherland and your family and go to the land that I will show you.

  1. I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great and you will be a source of blessing.
  2. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you, and *all the families of the earth will be blessed in you.”
    Genesis 18:18 / NIV 18. Abraham will become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.

In summary

A people (first descended from Abraham, from which will come a blessing for all peoples),
led by God,
in the territory that He intends for him (first Canaan).
God leads

This end of the book of Genesis shows us once again that God is in control of what He has promised:

be with those who follow Him,
either in spite of those who do not want to follow Him.
God is leading His people, even though at this point in history they are just one big family, but that family is going to become a population.

The patriarchs and their family,
the sons of Jacob who will become 12 tribes,
later a people=> the Hebrews.

But if God is leading His people, they are not yet in the promised territory; this realization will be done later by Joshua, then by David and Solomon.

First milestone of the promised territory

However, the tombs of the patriarchs and their wives are like an anticipatory artifact, because they are in the promised territory, Canaan.

Genesis 49. 28-32

Meaning of the end of Genesis

And the end of the book of Genesis ends in such a way as to show us:

“Egypt is really great” but it’s not the place God intended for us. It’s Canaan!

In Egypt they are there and will be there very well; it is only at the end, after 400 years, that it degenerates, with a blinded sovereign and the Eternal who shows that it is time to leave to join the territory which is planned for the Hebrews , Canaan.

Aside: Timing of God

Also at a revolutionary moment in the history of humanity when a new material has just been born in a region which seems to me to be called Byblos, the papyrus.

With a guy trained in one of the best schools in the world, Moïse!

But that’s not where I’m expecting you…

It is also very good Canaan

It is Canaan.

That’s not bad either.

It is a country flowing with milk and honey.

The last time, we saw the size of the bunches of grapes brought back by the Hebrew spies: two people were needed to carry them and there were no transgenics at the time!

Jacob and Canaan

Jacob understood that Canaan was the place reserved by God

This is why he gives instructions for his burial. She will be there, in Canaan.

Genesis 49:28-32 / NJEB21

  1. These are all the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them, blessing them. He blesses them by attributing to each the blessing which was proper to him.
  2. Then he gave them this order: “I will join mine. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
  3. in the cave of the field of Machpelah, opposite Mamre in the land of Canaan. This is the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial property.
  4. There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah.
  5. The field and the cave in it were purchased from the Hittites.”
    Proverbs 29 / Bible Segond21 1. The man who deserves reproaches and who is refractory will be broken suddenly, without remedy.
  6. When the righteous multiply, the people rejoice; when the wicked dominate, the people groan.
  7. The man who loves wisdom delights his father, but he who associates with prostitutes squanders his wealth.
  8. A king strengthens his country by law, but he who multiplies taxes ruins it.
  9. The man who flatters his neighbor lays a snare under his feet.
  10. The wicked man’s transgression lays a snare, but the righteous triumphs and rejoices.
  11. The righteous know the cause of the weak, while the wicked do not understand knowledge.
  12. Mockers inflame a city, while sages calm anger.
  13. If a wise man goes to court with a madman, no matter how angry he gets or laughs, peace will never come.
  14. Bloodthirsty men hate the honest man, while upright men protect his life.
  15. The stupid man flaunts all his passion, while the wise puts a brake on it.
  16. When the ruler pays heed to lying words, all his servants are wicked.
  17. The poor and the oppressor meet: it is the Eternal who enlightens the sight of both.
  18. A king who judges the weak in all truth will have his throne established forever.
  19. The rod and the reproach bring wisdom, while the child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
  20. When the wicked proliferate, sin proliferates, but the righteous will see their downfall.
  21. Correct your son and he will leave you in peace, he will delight you.
  22. When there is no revelation, the people know no restraint, but if they keep the law, they are happy.
  23. It is not by words that one corrects a slave: even if he understands, he does not obey.
  24. If you see a man talking without thinking, there is more to expect from a stupid man than from him.
  25. If you spoil a slave from childhood, he ends up taking himself for a son.
  26. The choleric leads to conflict, the man full of fury commits many transgressions.
  27. A man’s pride will lead him to humiliation, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain glory.
  28. He who shares with a thief hates himself; he hears the curse well, but he does not confess.
  29. It is a snare to tremble before men, but trusting in the Lord provides security.
  30. Many seek the favor of the one who rules, but it is the Eternal who gives justice to everyone.
  31. The unjust man abhors the righteous, and he whose way is straight abhors the wicked.
    Instructions for future generations…

Genesis 48. 21

“I am going to die, but God will be with you and he will bring you back to the land of your ancestors. »

Joseph and Canaan

Joseph had also understood this well, in his role as 4th patriarch !

He couldn’t be buried in Egypt

His functions in Egypt did not allow him to be buried in Canaan, that would have been an affront.

As if we had a binational federal councilor who would be buried in France… Shame!

But he was already looking towards Canaan

However, through what he had lived with the Eternal, Joseph had also understood that Egypt was not the place of the promise; Joseph will also give instructions for his bones when the Hebrews return to the place of promise,



Genesis 50:22-26 / NJEB21

  1. Joseph dwelt in Egypt, together with his father’s family. He lived 110 years.
  2. Joseph saw the sons of Ephraim up to the third generation and he even held the sons of Makir, the son of Manasseh, on his knees when they were born.
  3. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am going to die, but God will intervene for you and bring you up from this land to the land which he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
  4. Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “When God intervenes for you, you will bring up my bones far from here.”
  5. Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and put him in a coffin in Egypt.
    This realization is not an imagination of the mind but the Bible tells us


Hebrews 11:22 / NJEB21 22. It was by faith that Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave orders concerning his bones.

Moses fulfills Joseph’s wish

And it is Moses, at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, who will organize the repatriation of Joseph’s bones so that they are in Canaan.

Exodus 13. 19

and Moses had taken the bones of Joseph with him, for the latter had made the children of Israel swear to it, saying, “When God intervenes for you, you will bring up my bones far from here with you.”

Jacob’s funeral “anticipates” the Exodus

The occasion of Jacob’s funeral is even “a dress rehearsal” of what the Exodus should be.

Permission request

Joseph asks the Pharaoh’s entourage for permission to go to Canaan to bury Jacob.
Moses will do the same to go and offer sacrifices ( Exodus 7. 16 & 26 and 8. 4 etc.).
Huge population displacement

Almost all of Egypt is empty (of Egyptians like Jacob’s family) to go there, only the children remain.
And with Moses, all the Hebrew people will come out but not the Egyptian people.

All return (the Egyptians and the family of Jacob).

We will read it together.

Genesis 49.33 – 50.26

Death of Jacob

33 When Jacob had finished giving his orders to his sons, he put his feet back in the bed, he expired and went to join his people.

Genesis – Chapter 50

Genesis 50:1-26 / NJEB21

1. Joseph threw himself on his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him.

  1. He ordered the physicians who were in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Israel.
  2. It was 40 days which passed thus and were employed in embalming him. The Egyptians mourned him for 70 days.
  3. When the days of mourning were over, Joseph addressed the members of Pharaoh’s entourage saying, “If I have found favor in your sight, tell Pharaoh what I tell you.
  4. My dad made me take an oath saying, ‘I’m going to die. You will bury me in the tomb that I prepared for myself in the land of Canaan.’ So I would like to go up there to bury my father and come back.”
  5. Pharaoh replied, “Go up there and bury your father according to the oath he made you swear.”
  6. Joseph went up to bury his father. He was accompanied by all the Pharaoh’s servants, the officials of the palace, all the officials of Egypt,
  7. all his own entourage, his brothers and his father’s family. Only the children and the small and large cattle were left in the Gosen region.
  8. There were still chariots and horsemen with Joseph, so that the procession was very numerous.
  9. When they came to the threshing floor of Athad which is on the other side of the Jordan, they uttered great and very deep lamentations. Joseph mourned for seven days in honor of his father.
  10. The inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, witnessed this mourning in the threshing floor of Athad and they said: “What a great mourning for the Egyptians!” This is why we called Abel-Mitzraïm this threshing floor which is on the other side of the Jordan.
  11. Thus the sons of Jacob obeyed the orders of their father.
  12. They carried him into the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Macpelah, purchased as a burial property by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite and which is opposite Mamre.
  13. After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all those who had gone up with him to bury his father.
  14. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to themselves, “If Joseph hates us and repays us for all the evil that we have done to him!”
  15. And they sent word to Joseph, “Your father gave the following command before he died:
  16. ‘This is what you will say to Joseph: Oh! Forgive the crime of your brothers and their sin, for they have wronged you!’ Now forgive the crime of the servants of your father’s God!” Joseph wept as he listened to their message.
  17. His brothers themselves came and fell at his feet and said, “We are your servants.”
  18. Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I indeed in the place of God?
  19. You planned to hurt me, God changed it for good to accomplish what is happening today, to save the lives of many people.
  20. From now on, therefore, do not be afraid any longer: I will provide for you and for your children.” This is how he comforted them by speaking to their hearts.
  21. Joseph lived in Egypt, together with his father’s family. He lived 110 years.
  22. Joseph saw the sons of Ephraim up to the third generation and he even held the sons of Makir, the son of Manasseh, on his knees when they were born.
  23. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am going to die, but God will intervene for you and bring you up from this land to the land which he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
  24. Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “When God intervenes for you, you will bring up my bones far from here.”
  25. Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and put him in a coffin in Egypt.
    The end of Genesis shows us a bit more how God leads; the birth of His people and as this already points to the territory He reserves for them, through the burial places of Jacob and Joseph.

Jacob and Joseph deliver a message

Through their funerals, Jacob and Joseph take the opportunity to deliver a message that points to the fulfillment of God’s promises.

And U.S ?

And us, are our funerals reduced to a small egocentric question: cremation or burial?

What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?

small parenthesis

Either by burial or cremation; Besides, is it biblical?

Notice here, in today’s text, if we were misinterpreting the Bible, we would have to conclude that biblically, one must be embalmed… Since this is the case for Jacob and Joseph

Why did they do it?

Because it was the usage understood as respectful in Egypt at the time.

A little hindsight in the AT

In general, this is what the Old Testament shows us.

In common usage, burial was understood as respectful to the Hebrews.

If we wanted to deliver the opposite message, we exposed the corpses of the vanquished, we took their bones out of the graves to desecrate them ( 2 Kings 23. 16 ), it was a sign of judgment ( Leviticus 20. 14 & 21. 9).

There was also the idea of ​​not imitating the surrounding nations which, for some, cremated their dead, certainly so as not to slip into the idolatry that was linked to it.

In the NT

The New Testament does not give us a specific order, let’s keep the general idea of ​​respect understood in the culture where we are.

No biblical or unbiblical indication

So in this, there is nothing biblical or unbiblical about being buried or cremated, or even being embalmed (well, it takes 40 days!).

Interesting debate

But this subject which is debated from time to time is very interesting.

Because the basic subject comes back to the message that we want to convey through these gestures.

Example in Switzerland

At the time of the first cremations in Switzerland, a debate between cremation and burial was an ideological issue; those who were the first to be cremated in Switzerland were rather free thinkers, atheists who wanted to show by this: “Look, there is nothing after” or “I don’t have to go through the Church and Temple”.

And U.S ?

And what message can we leave?

The Mennonites in Montbéliard

French Association of Mennonite Anabaptist History

Montbéliard Archives Center
3 route de Grand-Charmont
25200 Montbéliard

Menno Simons

Friends, what a treat to walk in the alleys of these cemeteries and also in the old Protestant cemeteries.

On each tombstone wonderful verses testify of God and point to Eternity.

Job 19. 25

I know that he who redeems me lives and will rise last on earth

John 11. 25

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies;

And U.S ?

Maybe we have a card to play to keep witnessing for Christ. Whichever way we choose, we can leave a mark: small graves headstone for cremation or classic grave headstone for burial.

What verse I would like to leave to those who pass by?

We will also have a growing impact, since a large number of our contemporaries are being cremated.

We will be all the more readable.

What if our funeral was an opportunity to deliver a message?

What if our funerals were an opportunity to continue to worship God?

Bible Passages

Genesis 12:1-3

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 18:18

Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Genesis 49:28-32

All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spoke unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.

And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,

In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burial place.

There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.

The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.

Genesis 48:21

And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.

Genesis 50:24-26

And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Job 19:25

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

John 11:25

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Related Links / Notes

Series : The Josephs in the Bible

Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in “note” form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The notes provided here follow that form, and are detailed enough to help provide a deep understanding of the texts of the parables.

All services as well as some of the bible studies are streamed on the channel  YouTube église AB Renens-Lausanne.  Also visit the You Tube channel of the Swiss Action Biblique Youth Groups (JAB Suisse Romande).

Bible verses cited in this series are avalaible online in the KJV Bible among others and also as a podcast on Spotify


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