In Gen 28, we have the beginning of a 20 year episode in the life of Jacob that will be a picture of the last days. Jacob is told by Isaac to go to Paddan-Aram, or the “sons of the east” (29.1). He is not to take a wife from the daughters of Canaan, not making the same mistake the sons of God made in Gen 6.1-4. Isaac blesses him and he departs for his relatives and he is to take a wife from the daughters of Laban. So he leaves and he spends the night at a “certain place.” Now, the word “place” is “makom” in Hebrew and it is an idiom for God and the Temple. The sun had set and he takes stones (another term for the Messiah) at that “place” and he uses them as a pillow of sorts, and laid down “in that place” (v 28.11). The word place” is used three times so the Lord is trying to tell us something here. There is a concept in Hebrew called the “Milah Hamanchah” which means a word or phrase is repeated and it stands out for some reason. Our job is to find out why.
While he is sleeping, he has a dream and he sees a ladder which was set up on the earth, reaching to heaven. Angels of God were ascending and descending on it. The word “ladder” is spelled defectively without the “vav” because this is only a picture of the reality of Yeshua and the Messiah. The letter “vav” is the number six and it is the number of man, and this ladder is not “man-made.” The Lord stood above it and told Jacob his descendants will be like the dust of the earth. When the Lord says descendants will be like the stars, he is speaking spiritual descendants. When he uses dust of the earth, he is speaking physical descendants. The Lord will be with Jacob, and he will be the father of the physical people called Israel.
Jacob realizes that God has been dealing with him all along, and he says that the place he is in is awesome, and it is none other than the “house of God (Bethel) and the “gate of heaven.” This is the “portal” that Solomon knew (1 Kings 8) and the priests knew it. Incense ascended to heaven like the prayers of the people (Rev 8.4). So, Jacob rose early and took the stone he slept on and anointed it. The “stone” is a term for the Messiah, and Messiah means anointed (Zech 3.7-10, 4.4-7; Josh 24.26-27). The word fpr “rock” is another term for the Messiah and it can mean stone. It is the word “even” (aleph-beit-nun) in Hebrew. The first two letters (aleph-beit) spell the word “Av” meaning “father.” The second and third letter (beit-nun) spell the word “ben” meaning “son.” So we see the Father and the Son in this word.
He sets this rock up as a pillar and pours oil on it, in other words, it was anointed (“mashiach”). Then he calls that place “Bethel” which means the “House of God.” He vowed that if God will be with him, takes care of him, then the Lord will be Jacob’s God. He also says “this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and all that you give me will surely give a tenth to you.” The “place” he stayed (v 11) will be the future site where the Temple will be built. It is the same mountain Abraham offered Isaac. The “stone” is the Messiah, and Messiah is the Temple (Matt 12.1-7). Other allusions here are a Torah scroll is like a ladder, with spindles called the “tree of life.” The Hebrew letter “aleph” is like a ladder and the Torah is seen as a “ladder” or link to the Lord. The angels are entities that carry out the will of the Lord, ascending and descending on this ladder. We also can carry out the will of God as we move on the ladder of the Torah. The Torah was given at Sinai, which has a numerical value of 130. The word “ladder” also has a numerical value of 130. This portion of Scripture is also spoken of by Yeshua in John 1.51. The meaning of both these portions is that there would be a clear discovery of who the Messiah will be, and who Yeshua is, and it would look like heaven was opened, and the angels bringing revelation from God to us.
So Jacob journeys from there and goes on to Paddan-Aram (across Syria), where he meets and falls in love with Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his cousin. Laban had another daughter named Leah. When Jacob thinks he is going to marry Rachel, he switches the two girls out on the wedding day, and Jacob realizes he has “taken” Leah. He must serve Laban another seven years in order to have Rachel. However, this was all according to the plan of God. We have an eschatological picture in the children of Leah, and it will be a picture of how we come to the Lord. So, let’s look and at the first four children and see how this teaches how we come to the Lord. The first child is Reuben, which means “see, a son.” This is when Yeshua is presented to us and we “see.” The next child is “Shimon” which means “to hear (like Shema) and obey.” This shows we come to the Lord by “emunah” or faith. The next child is “Levi” which means “to join” and we are “joined to the Lord. The last child is Judah which means “praise” and when we believe, we are a praise to God. These four children speak of salvation.
The seven children of Leah speaks of the 7000 year plan of God. Reuben (see, a son) speaks of the creation and Adam. Shimon (hear and obey) alludes to Abraham hearing and obeying the word of the Lord. Levi (joined) speaks of the Levites joined to God and Israel becoming the chosen people of God. It also alludes to the Mishkan/Temple where people came to be instructed by the Levites on how to worship God. Judah (praise) speaks of the Messiah coming in year 4000 (Judah the fourth child) and coming from this tribe. Issachar has two Hebrew letter “shins” in the name. His name means “my hiring” and this alludes to the Jewish dispersion after Messiah came for the last 2000 years. “Shin” means “teeth” and it speaks of Israel being “consumed” by the nations while in dispersion.
Zebulon means “to dwell” and it alludes to Israel “dwelling” in the kingdom after 6000 years. Te final child is named Dinah, a female. Her name means “to judge” or “judgment” and this alludes to the judgment that is coming when Messiah comes, and his bride will rule with him.
Of course, other children were born at this time through Zilpah and Bilhah, with Rachel giving birth to Joseph and Benjamin, for a total of twelve children. These two names are a picture of the two comings of Yeshua, but we will touch on that later. Jacob wants to leave and go to “my own place” but Laban wants him to stay. Laban wants Jacob to name his wages and Jacob says that Laban knows how the Lord has blessed Laban since he has been with him. Jacob wants to go through the flock and remove the speckled, spotted and every black lamb, and the speckled and spotted goats. That would be his wages. These animals were seen as being less valuable. This alludes to the Lord’s flock. It doesn’t “meet the standards” of the world (1 Cor 1.26-29). But the Lord, like Jacob, chooses us, too. We are not “stolen” from others but we are being separated. Jacob then tries to “manipulate” the flock into reproducing by using visuals and so on (v 37-43). But, his manipulations were not the reason they multiplied (31.12-13). It was the Lord who blessed him, not his carnal works and efforts.
In Part 15, we will pick up with Gen 31.1 through 33.17 where we will see a picture of the seven year birth-pains and the coming of the Messiah.