Genesis 47:27-31 Our Hope.
What did Jacob/Israel mean when he said he was a sojourner or pilgrim (47:9)? Did he have a pagan worldview that the body and physical existence was a bondage place for the spirit? Is the biblical conception of humanity that our ultimate existence will be a release from this physical existence to either cease to exist or to have a solely “spiritual” existence in heaven? The fact is that both Israel the man, and Israel the nation, did live for much of their life as sojourners or foreign pilgrims in the land of others. However, such a pagan view of the body doesn’t explain why he made Joseph take a vow that he would bury him beside his fathers in the promised land. This was a statement by Israel of his hope for the future.
Jacob wanted his body to be raised in the land of promise. If his hope was in a solely “spiritual” existence it would matter little where he was buried. The LORD had blessed him in the land of his “pilgrimage,” but like his forefathers he hoped for more (v. 27). The heavenly country that they hoped for is the same that the saints have always hoped for, and continue to hope for, expressed in the so-called LORD’s prayer with, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt. 6:10; 11:13ff.) Joseph made good on his vow to his father, and he of the same faith charged his descendants to also take his bones to the promised land (Ch. 50). Their hope was in the promise of a resurrection of the body, not its dissolution.