Let’s continue following the life of Jacob/Israel. As we pick up the story, the name “Israel” was sealed over Jacob’s forehead after his wrestle with God, landing him in Sukkoth, which means, “booth/tabernacle.”
It was in the Promised Land, at Sukkoth, that Jacob built his first “house” (Gen.33:17). This was a prophetic picture of Jacob receiving his immortal/permanent house (body):
“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor.5:4)
Having met God face to face at Peniel, the transformation process began for Jacob/Israel in the Lord’s presence. This encounter was symbolic of the process that will occur for the “Firstfruits” remnant during the first resurrection when Christ returns (Rev. 20:6):
“They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one could learn that son except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the EARTH. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being FIRSTFRUITS to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:3,4).
In this next portion of Jacob’s life, we get a glimpse of the blueprint of the Millennium reign, and the role of this “Firstfruits” remnant as the Lord’s “priests” to sanctify the nation (Rev. 5:10).
“But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, they shall call you the servants of our God” (Is. 61:6).
So let’s pick up the story where we left off in the last blog.
After Sukkoth, Jacob/Israel led his family to the city of Shechem, where he purchased land for the first time. Why this is significant is because when Christ comes back to earth, He will take dominion over the LAND (kingdom) as King, with His “Firstfruits” remnant assisting Him.
The name Shechem has two meanings; one means, “shoulder” as in the “responsibility or right to rule.” In Is. 9:5, God uses the verse to describes the government (leadership) upon the Lord’s “shoulder:”
“And the government will be upon His shoulder.”
Shoulders are also used to describe governmental authority of those God chooses to reign with Him:
“The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one will shut” (Is. 22:22).
Shechem was the first place God put His mantle of authority upon the shoulders of Jacob/Israel to carry out the Abrahamic Covenant.
Shechem’s name also means “unity.” Shechem was the place God established His Covenant (UNION). For example, Schechem was the first place the Lord appeared and spoke to Abraham after he entered the land of Canaan for the first time.
“There Abraham built an altar and called on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 12:7).
In Joshua’s farewell address, Joshua gathered all the leaders in Israel in Shechem and made a Covenant (UNION) with the people that day, representing the multiplicity of the Abrahamic Covenant (Joshua 23:2).
“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem” (Josh. 24:25).
In the story of Jacob/Israel, it was at Shechem that his family would be tested to rule in God’s righteousness, or rule recklessly; to be in union with God’s character or not.
How did this test come about? Shortly after arriving in the city of Shechem, the prince, whose name was Shechem, raped Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. Jacob’s sons were outraged, and decided to take revenge. So they tricked the men of Shechem, and killed them all when they were unable to defend themselves.
This vengeance was led by two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi. Afterwards, all the brothers joined the “evil” deed and plundered the city, stealing the possessions of the people because they felt justified (Gen. 34:25-29).
These actions did not represent the righteousness of God, but resembled the sinful actions and character of their earthly father, Jacob. Jacob had been a schemer, and one who took possessions unlawfully. Jacob had never gone so far as to kill anyone, but sins left undealt with can lead to death. (Today, our nation has become a divided nation, which has produced death to our Christian foundation. Because our nation has compromised and not dealt with the iniquity, it is hard to distinguish who is right (good), and who is bad (evil). By the actions and words presented by both sides, ALL look evil because of their retaliation and “justification,” much like the Jacob’s sons do at Shechem).
Jacob/Israel, now transformed as a “priest unto the Lord,” knew these actions would open the door for the Lord to raise up an adversary against them as well:
“You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land” (Gen. 34:30).
So Jacob spent time interceding and communing with God. The Lord said to Jacob/Israel:
“ARISE, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God” (Gen. 35:1).
Jacob/Israel in this scene is being used to awaken the family to righteousness because the government of God rested on his shoulders. His job was to help prepare the family, lead them through a sanctification process, so that they were in right standing with God. This is the same blueprint that resembles God’s purpose of His “Firstfruits” remnant in preparing the Harvest Bride throughout the Millennium.
The “wake up” call to ARISE is also a picture of the HARVEST BRIDE’S FEAST OF TRUMPET “awakening” (Rev. 20:4-12).
God then instructed Jacob/Israel to have the family (Church) examine their sin, to get rid of their idols, and to repent and cleanse their hearts. He commanded them to “change their garments” that were filthy rags (sins) to garments that were symbolic of the “righteous acts of the saints” (Rev.19:8).
This is a similar blueprint of the HARVEST BRIDE’S TEN DAYS OF AWE before the Day of Atonement.
“And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments” (Gen. 35:2).
Afterwards, God appeared to Jacob again. Given that the family had repented wholeheartedly, they were about to enter into their DAY OF JUBILEE instead of DAY OF ATONEMENT.
“Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but ISRAEL shall be your name” So He called his name Israel” (Gen. 35:10).
God had already changed Jacob’s name to Israel back in Peniel. So why did he come again and say the same thing? This always nagged me before I understood the Feast’s blueprint and the fulfillment of the first and second resurrection. God called forth the identity change for the WHOLE FAMILY/NATION, not just the “Firstfruits” remnant, and both became a double witness of the Covenant promise:
“I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a NATION and a company of NATIONS shall proceed from your and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land” (Gen. 35:11,12).
Jacob set up a pillar of stone in the place where God talked to Him, and poured a drink offering as well as oil on it (Gen. 35:14,15). This was symbolic of the blueprint of the 1st Day of the Feast of Tabernacles for the Harvest Bride, when the 7-day cleansing process begins, representative of the water (see last blog for details of this cleansing process), and the bodies being transformed in His glory (oil).
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
The place in which this occurs is called, “Bethel” which means “House of God.“
“For we know that if our earthly HOUSE, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
This happened to be the same place Jacob met God for the first time, and now the Covenant promises were extending to His family as well (Gen. 28:19).
In addition, this would symbolically confirm the blueprint of the beginning of the FULL transformation process of the Lord’s glory dwelling in a corporate body (CITY), which the bible refers to as the NEW JERUSALEM:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE of God is with men, and He will DWELL with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God”(Rev. 21:1-3).
Keeping in mind what we have already learned about the Feast of Tabernacles blueprint, which is 8 days long, 7 of those days were set aside for “cleansing.” But, the 8th day was a “sacred assembly.”
For the Harvest Bride, the 8th day was the revealing of God’s glory dwelling amongst a corporate people with incorruptible bodies, birthed forth into the new beginnings of having the ability to go up the “spiritual ladder” to God’s throne, and back to the earth as “sons of His light!”
Now let’s continue on reading how Jacob’s story mimics this death/life process.
Shortly after Jacob/Israel and his family left Bethel, Rachel (Jacob’s wife), went into labor. This was going to be Jacob/Israel’s 12th son, and the ONLY one to be born in the Promised Land.
“And when they were a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor”(Gen. 35:16).
Rachel dies giving birth. Upon Rachel’s death, she confesses a secret sin that she hid from Jacob and her father. Rachel had stolen her father’s idols and took them with her when they departed from Laban’s home. Even when Laban caught up to Jacob and accused him of being a thief, Rachel said nothing, and continued to hide the idols (Gen. 31:14-37).
When Rachel died, this hidden sin became exposed as she confessed when she named her newborn:
“And so it was, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she called his name “Ben-Oni,” but his father called him BENJAMIN”(Gen. 35:18).
Rachel’s death represented the finality of the struggle with our Adamic sinful nature that produces sorrow. Rachel named her child “Ben-Oni,” which is translated, “son of my sorrow.” Rachel’s death marked the end of the 7-day cleansing process of the Feast of Tabernacles, described in scriptures as “death swallowed up in victory” (1Cor. 15:54). Her death was the final cleansing of the “sins of the family” before “immortality.”
Jacob would have probably honored his wife’s dying wishes and agreed to name the newborn “Ben-Oni.” Most men would in that situation. But, ISRAEL could not honor his wife’s dying wishes. Israel had the government of God’s rulership on His shoulders, and was directed by God to rename the child according to who the child represented in the Covenant blueprint. So ISRAEL named his son, “BENJAMIN,” which means, “SON OF LIGHT!”
“While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them”(John 12:36).
Benjamin was the ONLY son born in the Promised land. He was the fulfillment of the Promise of God for the “sons of God” to arise and be seen in the earth as God’s light (glory) (Rom. 8:19).
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9).
Incidentally, all the disciples of Christ came from the tribe of Benjamin. They received only a deposit of God’s glory, so the manifestation of the “sons of light” could not be FULLY seen in the earth until the Lord fulfills Tabernacles up ahead.
Benjamin’s birth represented the promise of the NEW JERUSALEM, the body of Christ, transformed into His glorious bride, full of His glory where His presence dwells:
“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).