Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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A. A Son of a Fruitful Tree

Genesis 49:22 says, "A son of a fruitful tree is Joseph, a son of a fruitful tree by a fountain; whose branches run over the wall" (Heb.). Joseph was very fruitful. He was fully occupied with fruitfulness, having no time for anything else. He had no time to argue with his brothers or to fight with others. People become occupied with negative things because they are not fully occupied with positive things. It is not profitable for a large number of saints to be gathered together and not be fully occupied. In such a case they will not be occupied with the positive things. Rather, spontaneously they will become occupied with negative things, just like the man in Matthew 12 who was vacant and who became possessed with seven demons (vv. 43-45). That man was like a clean, unoccupied apartment. Many saints are clean, but they are empty, unoccupied. Therefore, negative things come in. The saints need to be occupied with positive things. Then they will have no capacity, time, or energy for things such as gossip. Gossiping proves that not all our energy is being used. Joseph, however, was not an unoccupied person. As we shall see in later messages, from the time of his youth, he was occupied with positive things. He was occupied with his father’s will, his father’s mind, his father’s interest, and his father’s commission. Hence, there was no opportunity for the "gophers" or "dogs" to come in. If a room is filled with twenty people, no gopher would dare to come in. But if the room is unoccupied, gophers and dogs may try to come in. The best way to keep the saints from negative things is to fill them with positive things. Again I say that from his youth, Joseph was fully occupied with positive things, mainly with fruitfulness.

When Joseph’s father and eleven brothers and their families came down to Egypt, they became the channels for the branching out of Joseph’s fruitfulness. At that time in Egypt Joseph was not simply branching out personally; he was branching out God’s administration with seventy people. Joseph was very fruitful. The entire world was under the branching out of Joseph. Joseph was a picture, a type. This means that the fulfillment must be with the church. The church people should be the most fruitful people. Acts chapter two reveals how fruitful Peter and the other eleven apostles were. Throughout the centuries, all who have loved the Lord and who have been occupied with Him have also been fruitful.

Verse 22 says that Joseph was a son of a fruitful tree. The word "son" here indicates a bough or a branch. Most versions translate the Hebrew word as "bough," which is a large branch. This means that Joseph was a branch of a fruitful tree. In the entire universe there is just one fruitful tree, and that tree is Christ. As the branch of God, Christ is a fruitful tree. Zechariah 6:12 says, "Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH." This branch is Christ. Christ as the branch of God has branched out God to humanity, eventually becoming a tree. In John 15, a chapter on fruitfulness, the Lord Jesus said, "I am the true vine" (v. 1). Christ is the vine tree. In John 15:5 the Lord said, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit." As branches of such a fruitful tree, we all need to be fruitful.

Do not consider your weaknesses, failures, or the pitiful situation around you. Church history has two sides—a dark side and a glorious side. When we look at the glorious side, we see abundant fruitfulness. Not only Peter and Paul but all those who love the Lord have been fruitful. Sometimes we may say, "We are weak, our situation is not promising, the increase is coming slowly, and the number remains small." But if you have the heavenly view, you will see that the church is very fruitful and that the history of the church is a history of fruitfulness. Again I say, do not look at the situation from the dark side, but from the glorious side. God is victorious, and the church is fruitful. The branch is branching out. Peter, Paul, and all the lovers of Christ throughout the centuries have had many branches.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 105, by Witness Lee)