Reading the Bible ALWAYS brings you perfect Clarity
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I’ve been studying the Bible a LOT these past couple of days. These hours have been focused mainly on Jacob. Jacob, as we know, was the third of the Patriarchs—those men preceding the birth of Jesus Christ—to include Abraham, his son Isaac and Abraham’s grandson—my subject of study today—Jacob (Israel). Certainly we may consider the Patriarchs between Adam and Abraham as well; my studies today, however, are focused on the Patriarchal period
My decision for study is twofold. Paramount of my priorities is want for closeness to my Savior: Jesus Christ. Following the footsteps of Jacob today would lead through a journey many of us know only through rhymes and passing bible study classes. My desire for deeper meaning, however, focuses my mind in rhythm with my spirit; I wanted to FEEL Jacob’s footsteps. I prayed for clarity, for I yearned for it. Ask and it will be granted. Seek and ye shall find.
Jacob was the second of twins born—a subservient role—yet he earned the right, through such a simple act as sharing the stew with his starving twin, to rule over Esau (his older twin, the first born). Esau’s famished condition, upon returning from the fields one day, led to his acquiescence to the turning over of his birthright to his younger sibling. This desire for dominance between the twins had been revealed to his mother, Rebekah, by God—during her painful pregnancy when it was narrated in a dream to her that her twins would forever battle one another—yet hidden from his father, Isaac by Rebekah; a trend of deception that would surface again in young Jacob’s life. Later in life, as Isaac was nearing death, knowing it was time to bless Esau with the blessing of the firstborn, Isaac called for Esau to prepare a savory meal to facilitate the blessing.
Matriarch Rebekah, knowing of God’s prophecy for Jacob to rule over Esau, instead prepared a meal, camouflaged Jacob (his father Isaac was blind from old age) to resemble his brother Esau to the touch and sent Isaac into father’s room for the blessing. Once blessed, Jacob became the ruler of the land, never to be undone from Isaac’s blessing. Esau, returning at almost the very moment the blessing concluded, cried out for both relief and a blessing of his own. Isaac, stunned, could only reply,
“By your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck” (Genesis 27:39-40).
Esau, angered, vowed to murder his sibling. Rebekah, hearing of such, pleaded with Isaac to banish Jacob—claiming he had perpetrated, in fact, the act of Esau—wedding a Canaanite. In yet another act of deception, Jacob was banished and the battle for dominance between the twins, Jacob and Esau, as written by God, was now sealed.
En route to safety in the town of Haran—the place of Rebekah’s choosing—Jacob would rest for the night. His dream, known as Jacob’s ladder—a prophecy known to Christians and Jews throughout the ages—continues to fill us with wonder, inspiration and intrigue.
“According to Rashi, this ladder signified the exiles that the Jewish people would suffer before the coming of the Jewish Messiah: the angels that represented the exiles of Babylonia, Persia, and Greece each climbed up a certain number of steps, paralleling the years of the exile, before they “fell down”; but the angel representing the last exile, that of Rome or Edom, kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his children would never be free of Esau’s domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down”(WIKIPEDIA).
“That by the angels of God ascending and descending, is to be understood, that a perpetual intercourse should now be opened between heaven and earth, through the medium of Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh. Our blessed Lord is represented in his mediatorial capacity as the ambassador of God to men; and the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, is a metaphor taken from the custom of dispatching couriers or messengers from the prince to his ambassador in a foreign court, and from the ambassador back to the prince.” Adam Clarke (WIKIPEDIA)
Jacob’s dream was prophecy from God; leading him, upon wakening, to anoint the place he slept, naming it Bethel. This would become a significant location for God’s people as this was believed to be the holy resting spot where God promised Canaan to Jacob and his offspring.
Jacob would sire 12 sons and a daughter through 4 wives over the course of seven years. Joseph was Jacob’s 11th child, being born of the father’s marriage to Rachel, his first true love. Jacob had met her when arriving to Haran after his magical, prophetic dream after fleeing his brother’s wrath. Jacob was to be employed by Rachel’s father Laban for some years before marriage would be approved (tending his rather sizable herds, etc)—standard for the time—so Laban and Jacob would become well acquainted. After Joseph was born to the couple, Jacob wished a visit to his parents—a trip Laban was uncomfortable with in light of Jacob’s prowess with Laban’s property and the flourishing of the master’s flock (all signs that God desired Jacob’s presence in Laban’s employ).
Laban negotiated a salary for Jacob, on Jacob’s terms—terms that came to Jacob in a dream. Certain goats and sheep would be the bounty, this herd and flock multiplying exponentially through prophetic breeding experiments on the part of Jacob—leading to a wealth on the part of Isaac’s son never before realized in the land. Procuring such a profound herd and flock, far greater than that of Laban, or Laban’s sons, resulted in great strife for Jacob, Joseph and the entire family. The decision to evacuate was made, and the entire family set out in the darkness of night—unannounced. Laban and Jacob would later mend relations, but Jacob and family were already en route to Canaan—and a battle with Esau was inevitable.
The journey to Canaan would be one of Jacob’s most life altering experiences—and would place a moniker upon his brow that the world looks to; to this very day. Messengers would forge ahead first, bearing news for Esau in Canaan that Jacob was approaching—only to return to the younger sibling with tales of an army of 400, led by the elder twin awaiting Jacob’s arrival. Hoping for peace, Jacob sent ahead an offering of a large herd, flock and many camel, with a note stating his subservience. Jacob prepared his family, settling them down in a camp across the Jabbok ford in the cover of night, then returned alone to retrieve his possessions and be in communion with God.
In that isolation, Jacob met God.
Jacob was gathered into the arms of God almighty—some say it was an angel, others man. Through prayer, it was offered to me thus:
“He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Genesis 32:28
Jacob wrestled with God until daybreak, never losing. When the battle ended, God touched Jacob’s thigh, rendering the man to walk forever with a limp. Praying for a blessing from God, Jacob would be renamed by God: Israel. Christ in His pre-incarnate state had renamed Jacob: Israel (“one who fights victoriously with God”)—as in, with God at his side!
The battle with Esau would never materialize; the bounty sent ahead, and Jacob’s prayers sufficiently subduing the elder brother. The two would peacefully meet, exchange tears and later Esau would offer to safeguard the family’s travels back to Canaan. Interestingly, and quite prophetically however, Jacob would instead tell his brother that the two would someday later meet at Mount Seir—the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Edom and Judah. This planned rendezvous is oft referred to as foretelling the end of days; of the inevitable battle when the Kingdom of Israel will finally conquer the land of Judah for all its atrocities against God’s chosen ones.
Finally landing just north of what would become known as the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel—Shechem—in the land of the Canaanites, Jacob purchased property that would later be identified as the place of Joseph’s tomb. Things did not progress well in Shechem between the Canaanites and Jacob’s family. The ruler’s son kidnapped and raped Jacob’s daughter Dinah, leading to the murder of every man in Shechem by her brothers Simeon and Levi. This would not be the last battle between God’s chosen ones and the Canaanites. Deuteronomy tells of many battles between the Canaanites and God’s people; battles of destiny in establishing His word and Christ’s reign on Earth. At the time of this first encounter between Jacob’s offspring and the Canaanites, however, Jacob would chastise his sons responsible for the acts.
Famine soon would fall upon the land of Canaan, just as foretold by Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph, when he translated the Pharaoh of Egypt’s dreams—Joseph having now become the Pharaoh’s viceroy after being expelled to Egypt by his jealous brothers. As famine plagued the land, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to secure grain for the family, leaving only Jacob and the young son Benjamin behind. Upon entering Egypt, meeting with Joseph the viceroy to secure grain, the 10 brothers did not recognize the brother they had sent to what they once thought was Joseph’s certain death. Joseph, upon noting Benjamin was missing, demanded a second meeting, insisting Benjamin attend. Acquiescing, the brothers made way back to Canaan, returned with their youngest brother, thus being granted a private dinner with Joseph. This private dinner would be the revealing of Joseph to his brothers—and the realization from him to them that all of the events to that day had been God’s plan. This revelation reunited the entire family, bringing all to Egypt to reside in Goshen—Jacob blessing the Pharaoh. Jacob’s family was but 6 dozen in number at that time; they would surge to more than 600,000 men of fighting age in four generations. It would be Moses who would save God’s people from the jealous wrath of the Pharaohs in later generations, but it would require the divine hand of Joshua to finally deliver—with God as his guide—the Israelites to the Promised Land.
As Jacob approached the age of 147, just before demanding to be returned to Canaan for his burial, he summoned his sons for their blessings. Each son was to receive their inheritance; resulting in what is known to us today as the Tribes of Israel. While all sons were blessed, some also were scorned due to their perceived evil or treacherous ways; small territories were bequeathed, subordinate states encapsulated by their sibling’s grander regions were accorded, and so on.
Perhaps the most telling of the blessings would be realized when Jacob arrived to the inheritances of Joseph and Judah. Jacob, in fact, in showing his love for Joseph, went even further than generously blessing Joseph by additionally imparting inheritances to his two grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh. Indeed, Joseph’s paternal gifts were the most impressive, by far:
‘Joseph is a fruitful tree by a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. The archers savagely attacked him, shooting and assailing him fiercely, but Joseph’s bow remained unfailing and his arms were tireless by the power of the Strong One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd of Israel, by the God of your father-so may he help you! By God Almighty-so may he bless you with the blessings of heaven above, and the blessings of the deep that lies below! The blessings of breast and womb and the blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains and the bounty of the everlasting hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was prince among his brothers.’ (Genesis)
It would be Joseph, clearly Jacob’s favorite even until the father’s death, who would obtain the greatest holdings in Israel. Joseph’s land in Israel—called The House of Joseph (to include two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh named for Joseph’s two sons, adopted by Jacob during the bequeathing of the inheritances)—was the most significant, fertile and naturally well protected; historically considered the dominant portion of the kingdom. His spanned the River Jordan, practically without end; Ephraim’s Tribe separated from that of Manasseh’s by only a sliver of land.
Jacob would also bequeath a large inheritance upon his fourth son, Judah. Remembering scripture, upon returning to Canaan, Jacob’s second and third sons, Simeon and Levi murdered the men in the village; reaping their father’s scorn—this rebuking manifesting on his deathbed. But what was to become of the inheritance destined for Jacob’s first born son; what of Rueben? Scripture tells of Rueben’s adultery with his father’s concubine.
Thus it would be: Joseph (first born of Jacob’s first love) would receive the wealth reserved for first born sons: the greatest land in Israel; Judah (by actual birthright—as the 3 before him were scorned) would receive the inheritance reserved for first born: the position as a prominent ruler in a great land.
Joseph’s land—land figuring prominently in the Kingdom of Israel to come—to the North.
Judah’s land—land that would be the first kingdom ruled by David—to the South.
Battle lines had been drawn—but only in the minds of man.
While the first king of the United Kingdom of Israel would come from the tribe of Benjamin (the tribe named for Joseph’s younger brother through Rachel), Israel’s greatest earthly king (born from the tribe of Judah) would establish tranquility for the United Kingdom in Jerusalem. King David was born in Jerusalem—that city across the southern border of the land inhabited by the descendants of The House of Joseph—and his first rule would be that as king of Judah.
David, before he was to be king, had endeared himself to the then-king of the Israelites, King Saul, in the battle with Goliath—thus earning the position of commander in Saul’s military. Saul’s jealousy, however would eventually gain the better of the king, leading to attacks on young David’s life by the leader of the Israelites. As relations worsened, the king’s jealously growing steadily more intense with each successful battle over the enemy of the Israelites—the Philistines—by the warrior David; God’s intervention was soon to be realized. David, banished from Israel, took refuge in the employ of a Philistine king, raiding nomadic tribes, delivering the bounty to the leaders in Judah—eventually earning their trust resulting in them electing David as king.
After David was made king of Judah, King Saul and his son Jonathan would die in a battle against the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa (a battle perhaps winnable if the warrior David and his God had not been banished) leading to the inevitable clashes between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. In-fighting between the powers within the Kingdom of Israel only exacerbated the problems, further weakening the north. David, with God as his lead, would prevail—and the people of Israel, soon to name Jerusalem as their capital—elected David king. With David, and God, as their leader, this kingdom would be God’s most expansive of the Holy Lands. And it would be Jacob’s seed, through descendants of his 4th son, who would inherit this Holy Land—to usher in God’s new plan for mankind.
David, after 40 years as king, would be succeeded by his son Solomon. King Solomon would build the First Temple, Jerusalem would officially be made the capital of Israel and the national and spiritual center of the Jewish people would be realized.
Daily communion with God and Jesus Christ
And now we come to the second purpose of this paper. Through our daily communion with God and Jesus Christ, as it has been written, there will be many encounters—road blocks if you will—to challenge our faith, our perseverance and our overall stamina. For this child of God, when such a creature steps on my path in its attempt to alter my walk with Christ, I hit the books! Or, THE Book, I should say. And today’s paper is the result of one such serpent’s slithering across my path.
I’m now going to add to this paper another article I wrote just a few days back. It continues where the above ends—making for a continuation of the history of God’s people. I’ll conclude at its end with a final thought.
Good evening class. My name is professor Steffen-Hoffman-Frysinger-Massie (yes, seriously). I have been asked here this evening to offer a brief and succinct history on the basic premise of Zionism. Considering that many of you have possibly never been exposed to the facts I am about to report to you, I have also been asked to keep my teachings this evening as focused and “to the point” as possible. I will, therefore, avoid all innuendo, half-truths, rhetoric and falsehoods; my report to you this evening will contain only those facts as found in history. Through archeological ruins, data recorded throughout history, as well as modern fact finding, the information I will disclose to you has been verified as accurate. These facts are indisputable and have been shared between historians, theologians, scholars, preachers, laymen, students and more for literally thousands of years. Now, I encourage you to sit back, open your minds, and listen to history as it reveals itself to you…
Let us discuss this concept of “True Jews” ...Mmmm, as opposed to 2% Jews; or perhaps vitamin D reduced fat Jews? Jews are not like milk—take it from the Grandson of Polish and German immigrants—and my ribbing is meant in good spirit. The Jews of the Middle Ages—returning to the pre-Justinian days of 476—began dispersing after the fall of the Roman Empire, having been forced from the land promised to them by God. Before discussing where they landed, it’s important to denote the area of David’s Kingdom (David being the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible, as well as being credited with composing many of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms):
“At its maximum extent, during the height of David‘s united Kingdom of Israel it corresponded approximately to present-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, the western part of Jordan and the southern part of Lebanon.” (WIKIPEDIA).
As the Jews of the Middle Ages dispersed, they landed in—among other locations—Ashkenaz. This is the medieval Hebrew name for Germany, and by the early 1930s, this region (the German Rhine area to include what is now-French Alsace) was home to 92% of the world’s Jews (Albert Einstein was one of the more famous Ashkenazi Jews).
Ashkenazi Jews—and their brothers and sisters: Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews as well as others—were all descendants of medieval Jews expelled from the Kingdom of Israel by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. This empire (based in modern day Iraq) would finally fall to Alexander the Great, but not before the Jews, who built the promised land under David’s rule, a land bequeathed to them by God, had been exiled by the Assyrians.
The Assyrians of the latter days of David’s Kingdom of Israel (8th Century BC)—were led by Tiglath-Pileser III. Tiglath-Pileser is known as an “Hittites”; in Biblical tables an eponymous ancestor to Heth, a descendant of Ham through his son Canaan. In short, Tiglath-Pileser was a Canaanite. And when reading Deuteronomy, one becomes quite familiar with not only the Canaanites, as God describes them, but with all the Hittites who would poison the promised land. These were idol worshipers and:
“The Canaanites worshipped Baal, and his wife Ashteroth, fertility deities. Their religion involved temple prostitution, human sacrifice and orgies.”
These would be the creatures that forced the Jews to disperse to foreign lands. In particular, as recent history reports: to now-modern-day-Germany.
Now, returning to my brothers, the Ashkenazi Jews (my Grandparents immigrated from Germany and Poland), we find them comprising more than 90% of the Jewish population by the 1930s, as discussed. Assimilation into the culture of Europe by these Jews—and into their respective regional cultures by the Sephardic Jews, Mizrahi Jews and others—gave rise to a new moniker in the early part of the 20th century that was an attempt at communicating to the world at large that Jews has been forcibly removed from their religious home land: Secular Jews. This moniker—often twisted by modern-day anti-Semites and anti-Zionists to reflect their OWN secularism (i.e.: a state of non-religion or irreligion by Western secular-socialists)—in fact attempts to communicate to the non-Jewish world how profoundly Jews hold true to their shared roots. Jews from all walks of life recognize how history and ancestry binds them together, and their moniker of Secular Jew speaks to a forced removal from that once solid homeland. Jews have been separated from their religion by force; they are not separate from their religion by choice—THIS is the meaning of a Secular Jew.
It is the Secular Jewish population—descendants of those removed from David’s land by force by the Canaanites—that are the loudest, purest voices of Zionism. As David’s descendants, then, it is intellectually proper to posit that indeed it is the TRUE Jews that support the Zionist movement.
All Zionists seek is a sovereign, Jewish national homeland. Once it was theirs, under David; and it was stolen, by a demonic, evil, war loving, human sacrificing kingdom. Where should the nation of Israel’s rightful State be established? Again, in closing, look to the original borders before this Holy Land was desecrated by her enemies (enemies She did not manufacture; enemies She has been fighting for FAR MORE THAN 60 PALTRY YEARS!):
“At its maximum extent, during the height of David’s united Kingdom of Israel it corresponded approximately to present-day Israel, the Palestinian territories, the western part of Jordan and the southern part of Lebanon.” (WIKIPEDIA).
In closing, taking this issue of Jacob, Jews, Zionism, Christianity and God just a bit further, consider this blessing once more:
‘Joseph is a fruitful tree by a spring, whose branches climb over the wall. The archers savagely attacked him, shooting and assailing him fiercely, but Joseph’s bow remained unfailing and his arms were tireless by the power of the Strong One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd of Israel, by the God of your father-so may he help you! By God Almighty-so may he bless you with the blessings of heaven above, and the blessings of the deep that lies below! The blessings of breast and womb and the blessings of your father are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains and the bounty of the everlasting hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of him who was prince among his brothers.’ (Jacob’s blessing to Joseph)
Recall Manasseh and Ephraim: Jacob’s grandchildren—Joseph’s boys that grandfather adopted during the blessing you read just above.
Now consider this:
Samaritans consider themselves descendants of these grandchildren.
Persian Jews proudly boast connection to Ephraim.
Mizo Jews have traced their lineage to Manasseh.
Telugu Jews, too have discovered links to Ephraim.
Further, consider this:
Church of God in Christ claims that the whole UK is the direct descendant of Ephraim, and that the whole USA is the direct descendant of Manasseh, based on the interpretation that Jacob had said these two tribes would become the most supreme nations in the world (WIKIPEDIA).
The Mormons believe themselves to be descended from Manasseh and Ephraim (in a “grafted in” sense of ancestry), believing that the lost tribes are being restored in the latter days (meaning now) as prophesied by Isaiah; some believe that this would be the fulfillment of part of the Blessing of Jacob, where it states that Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall with the interpretation that the wall is the ocean. (WIKIPEDIA)
And, finally, naturally:
The Messianic Jews deeply belief they are part of the Manasseh tribe based on their faith in the Torah.
We are ALL seeds of Jacob, as seen through studies of lineage, bible prophecy, the displacement of peoples, races and creeds throughout the centuries and more. Jacob begat Judah, Joseph and Benjamin. From these men came the kings of the Kingdoms of Judah, Israel and the United Kingdom of Israel. These lands were destroyed, their peoples scattered across the Earth and their traditions incorporated into the lands of Germany and the Western World. Through the Ashkenazi Jews and so many other sects we all have come to realize the importance of our ancestors—a rich heritage that deserves to be protected.
After all, it is not only Jacob’s seeds we are cultivating.
It is the ultimate seed we should all seek to sow—that seed planted in man that became God in the flesh:
That seed known as Jesus Christ!