Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Genesis-Part 15

We are going to deal with some concepts found in the festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in a portion of Scripture from Gen 31.1 to 33.17. This will allude to the seven year birth-pains that Israel will go through prior to the coming of the Messiah on Yom Kippur.

Jacob (will be renamed Israel in this portion) hears that Laban’s sons think that he has stolen what belongs to them. He sees that their attitude towards him has shifted to one of animosity. But we know that it was the Lord who blessed Jacob and that is what is going to happen during the birth-pains. The world (Laban/sons) has always accused the Jews of “having all the money” and they cheated their way to prosperity, and in the process were “robbing us.”

The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land” (31.3). The Jews will begin to return to Israel after Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 (Micah 4.10; Jer 50.8, 16, 28, 51.6, 9, 45, 50). The Natzal has occurred and they are told to leave “Babylon” (USA) before destruction comes. Jacob tells the family they are leaving and that they are returning back to the land. The word “return” is an idiom for Rosh Ha Shannah. Laban hears that they have left and begins to follow them and eventually catches up to them. Jacob says he has been with him 20 years (2000 years) and Laban (the world) has cheated him at least ten times (31.41). The word Laban backwards spells “Nabal” in Hebrew and it means a “Rasha, wicked fool” (1 Sam 25.25) They eventually agree to make a covenant that they will not pass a heap of stones they have set up to do harm to one another.

After this incident, they move on and camp at a place called Machanaim, meaning “two camps.” This is 400 yards from Peniel and it is in the Valley of Sukkot where David fled to from Absalom (2 Sam 17.24). This alludes to the fact that we have “two camps” in our lives, too (2 Kings 6.17). He knows that eventually he will have to confront Esau, so he has a plan and sends him a message. He learns that Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. He prays to the Lord and reminds him of what he promised and that he told him to come back to the land. He selects a present for Esau of many animals from his flock which included 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, 30 milking camels their colts, 40 cows and ten bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys. Each drove was to be separate when they take it to Esau. He believed that the arrival of these gifts would appease the anger of Esau.

Then Jacob “arose” (another term for Rosh Ha Shannah) and he comes to the ford of the Jabbok River, which means “emptied out.” Jacob is just that, emptied out, and Israel will be emptied out during the birth-pains before they confront “the man.” Jacob sends his family across the Jabbok and he is temporarily left alone. A man confronts him and he wrestles with him. This alludes to the “time of Jacobs trouble” when Israel will struggle with God in the form of a man. They are still wrestling today until “daybreak.” The Lord is going to show Jacob his weakness until it “dawns on him.” The “man” touches Jacob’s hip, dislocating it, and Jacob has a “different walk.” The “man” changes Jacob’s name to Israel because he wrestled with God and has prevailed. Jacob lived up to his name in Gen 25.26.

Jacob names the place “Peniel” which means “I have seen God face to face.” Face to face is an idiom for Yom Kippur. He has wrestled with God “in the form of a man” and this alludes to Yeshua. Israel has wrestled with him now for 2000 years, but on a Yom Kippur that “wrestling” will end when Russia is destroyed and Israel believes that the Lord has done it, and that Yeshua is the Messiah (Isa 10.12; Ezek 39.22). They will leave that encounter with a different walk also. So far, we have had allusions to Rosh Ha Shannah and Yom Kippur in the story of how Israel/Jacob returned back to the land, but there is more.

After this, Jacob looks and sees Esau coming. He divides his family in groups between Leah, Rachel and the two maids Zilpah and Bilhah. He put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children next, followed by Rachel and Joseph. Jacob went ahead of them and met Esau. Esau ran to meet him and kissed him. The word “kissed him” him in Hebrew has dots over the letters, which is telling the reader to “beware, take notice.” After they reconcile (Yom Kippur term), Esau doesn’t want all the gifts Jacob has sent. But Jacob says he wants him to have them because “I see your face as one sees the face of God.” This is another allusion to Yom Kippur. Esau believes that Jacob is coming to him at Seir, and wants to escort him there. But Jacob is being led of the Lord, and knows that he is going elsewhere because he is to go back to the land. We must never let family ties deter us from where the Lord wants us to go. So, he tells Esau to go ahead, and Jacob has other plans. Now we come to Sukkot.

Jacob journeys to a place called Sukkot, where he builds a house and “booths” (Sukkot) for his livestock. He then moves on and comes to Shechem, meaning “shoulder.” This is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom where we have the allusion to Sukkot and where the “government will rest on his shoulders” (Isa 9.6-7). So, we have allusions to the three festivals of Rosh Ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in this story of how Jacob returns back to the land.

In Gen 35.16-22 we have the account of the birth of Benjamin, which means “son of my right hand” or “son of the last days.” Rachel has severe birth pains, but manages to give birth to Benjamin. She wanted to name him “Ben Oni” meaning “son of the birth pains” but Jacob names him “Benjamin.” This alludes to the two comings of Messiah, who is the son of the birth pains and the last days. Joseph will be a picture of the first coming of the Messiah as suffering servant, and Benjamin is a picture of the second coming. Rachel dies on the way to Ephrath, or Bethlehem (35.19). Jacob erects a pillar at her grave site. This is very near a place called Migdal Eder meaning “tower of the flock” where Yeshua will be born (Micah 4.18, 5.2).

In Part 16, we will begin to tell the story of Joseph from Gen 37.1 to Gen 50.26. This will be one of the most important pictures of the Messiah in the Scriptures, and another picture of Israel’s rejection of the the Messiah Ben Joseph and eventual redemption. We will start with the basic story, and then we will look into Joseph and what happened to him at a deeper level.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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