Since the Feast of Tabernacles is a time to “dwell” in the Lord’s Covenant promises, I thought I would write about the life of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, and identify the pattern of the Feasts fulfilled in his own life.
Let’s go back in history when the Lord decided to choose a people He would “set apart” to fulfill His redemption plan, making way for Christ to enter into the earth as the “son of man.” That moment in time came through Father Abraham:
“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant” (Gen. 17:7).
It was through Abraham’s lineage that God would multiply His people to the ends of the earth like the sand of the sea and the stars in the sky. Abraham later gave birth to Isaac, the chosen “Seed” used to fulfill the Covenant promise.
“And I will make your descendants multiply as the star of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your SEED all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 26:4).
In a moment that did not make sense to the fulfilling of those Covenant promises, Abraham was commanded by God to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:2). Of course, we know the story of how God stopped Abraham and provided a ram, but I am pointing out this part of the story to show how Isaac was a symbol of Christ, offered up for our sins.
Afterwards, Isaac had two sons: Esau and Jacob. Jacob would end up being the son who would inherit the Covenant promise, multiply it, and through his family, form a nation. When it was time to bequeath the inheritance of the Covenant, Isaac blessed Jacob and charged him:
“May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an ASSEMBLY of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger which God gave to Abraham”(Gen. 28:3-4).
The blueprint that resembles these Fall Feasts has to do with an “assembly of peoples.” We see the corporate/national fulfillment through Jacob (the Firstfruits Remnant” in our blueprint), and Jacob’s offspring, who represent the Harvest Bride. This family would become a nation “set apart” for the Lord as God prophesied.
“Therefore, may God give you of the dew of the heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine, let peoples serve you. And NATIONS bow down to you”(Gen. 27:28,29).
So let’s keep following Jacob’s story, keeping that in mind:
Isaac blessed Jacob in Beersheba, which translated means, “well of the oath.” This is the place Jacob had his “PASSOVER” experience, because he inherited the covenant promises of his father and was “set apart” and “justified” to carry them forward.
Jacob’s name means “deceiver,” which was inherent of his character. Jacob received the birthright by tricking Esau and Isaac (Gen. 27). Once that blessing was given, it couldn’t be revoked. This deception didn’t surprise the Lord, for he understood Jacob’s weakness, and knew his motives were based on self gain rather than service to the Lord. But God had a redemption plan He could work through Jacob’s life.
Jacob at this point in his life had heard about the God of Abraham and was raised in the blessings Isaac had received. But Jacob really didn’t know God or seek a personal relationship with Him. For the most part, Jacob just liked the benefits of the birthright!
Most of us today have a similar story. We hear about God, but shrug it off. Then, when we do accept Christ as our Savior, we do so because we are desperate, afraid of hell, and want the benefits of eternity. But rarely do we first come to the Lord to lay our life down for servanthood, becoming a “bondservant of Christ.” This heart change comes through a process of sanctification.
Not long after receiving the birthright, Jacob had an encounter with God through a dream, which most refer to as “Jacob’s ladder.” In the dream, he saw a ladder that was set up on earth and its top reached heaven. Angels were ascending and descending on this ladder, and then the Lord stood above it and spoke to Him:
“I am the Lord God of Abraham, your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also, your descendants shall be spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed ALL the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 28:13,14).
This was Jacob’s “PENTECOST” experience, with the promise of “Tabernacles” to come. Jesus Himself mentions this same “Tabernacles vision” that He Himself would experience up ahead after His resurrection in John 1:51:
“And He said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, you shall see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
This encounter Jacob had with God empowered him to believe for himself in the God of Abraham, and to begin trusting for the promises that came with the birthright. Jacob made a vow:
“IF God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, THEN the Lord shall be my God” (Gen. 28:20).
Notice that this vow was conditional on God meeting Jacob’s needs. It was topped off with this understanding as well: IF God does such and such…THEN Jacob would believe God for His Word. Most Christians are no different than Jacob when they first come to Christ.
Jacob’s “Pentecost experience” lasted 21 years. Working for Laban was training to learn how to become an obedient servant while living in a place not his home. Jacob married Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel, and had 11 children while working for Laban. Through it, God was working on Jacob’s character that was prone to deception, as well as taking things into his own hands to make things happen.
Jacob was close to the finality of his “Pentecost” testing time when the Lord spoke to him through an angel to leave Laban’s and begin the journey back to the land he was called to.
“I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family”(Gen. 31:13).
Jacob obediently left, but his sinful nature led his actions once again. Instead of being upfront with Laban of his departure, he left deceptively, taking the whole flock and possessions he had gained, as well as his family with him (Gen. 31:18-20).
Jacob left in fear of Laban taking all he had worked for. God had to work out this root issue in Jacob so that he would fear the Lord more than the people or possessions he had. Jacob had learned much from being Laban’s servant, but the gain was still self serving. God had “proven” His word faithful as Jacob was blessed during this time with great wealth.
This final process of sanctification was needed in Jacob so he could rest in the knowledge of who God was in order to carry the Covenant forward, much like that of the “Firstfruits remnant” today. God Himself raises up adversaries to get our attention when we stray from His ways, or when we still have confidence in ourselves over the Lord. BUT, God will also cause our adversary to be subdued when we turn from our wicked ways:
“But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries” (Ex. 23:22).
God wasn’t going to allow Jacob to return home without giving him an opportunity to confront his sin. In Jacob’s case, he had to enter into Esau’s territory and make things right with his brother.
Esau had been angry, revengeful and willing to kill his brother for stealing his birthright. The Bible says he had a great army of 400,000 men ready to confront Jacob to take him out. And so the story goes, the night before this encounter, Jacob got on his hands and knees and prayed with all his heart, wrestling with an Angel until the breaking of day.
“And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks. But he said, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me!’ So He said to him, ‘What is your name? He said, ‘Jacob.’ And He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but ISRAEL; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed'” (Gen. 32:26-28).
Jacob had finally come to a place that all his tricks, all his strength, and all his planning couldn’t get him out of a position of losing everything he worked for. But instead of scheming a plan, He cried out to the Lord for help. This caused Jacob to wrestle with the Lord to contend for the promise.
As Jacob wrestled the angel, the angel asked him what his name was. It seems like a strange thing to ask since the angel obviously knew who he was. But God set Jacob up to give him an opportunity to come clean, repent, and to confess his sin. By telling the angel his name, Jacob was confessing that he was a deceiver. This was Jacob’s DAY OF ATONEMENT.
In the midst of the wrestling, Jacob let go of the fears He was holding on to so tightly. He was ready to exchange the old identity of being a thief and deceiver and submit to the Lord’s leadership.
Because Jacob allowed the sanctification process to work in his heart, this day became Jacob’s Day of JUBILEE!
“They shall see His face, and HIs name shall be on their foreheads’ (Rev. 22:4).
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel (which means “God rules”). Jacob/Israel understood he did not rule over his life anymore…God did. Jacob/Israel understood that he was chosen to carry forth God’s inheritance, serving a greater purpose beyond his comfort or will, which required him to become a “bondservant” of the Lord’s.
Jacob/Israel then called the name of his wrestling place “Peniel,”
“For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Gen. 32:30).
Just as Jacob/Israel crossed over Peniel, the sun rose on him. This was the first sign of the “TABERNACLES” transformation process for Jacob.
Jacob/Israel then “bowed himself to the ground seven times” before meeting his brother. This represents the 7 day “cleansing process of TABERNACLES” that purifies a body from “the wages of sin.”
As a result, instead of attacking Jacob/Israel, his enemy was subdued, and healing took place.
“But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept”(Gen. 33:3).
Jacob/Israel offered Esau a “firstfruits” offering of his possessions to Esau. This act confirms that Jacob/Israel’s heart had changed. He no longer held onto his possessions in greed or self-gain. Now he was stewarding them with the Lord’s principles of blessings, and truly, this offering was “unto the Lord.”
Afterwards, Jacob/Israel stopped in Succoth, which is translated as “tabernacles/booths.” There he built himself a house and made booths for his livestock (Gen. 33:17). This was the FIRST permanent house that Jacob/Israel had build since his “Passover” experience, representing the new glorified bodies we receive after the “purifying process” so we can permanently “tabernacle” with the Lord.
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation”(Heb. 9:11).
Join me in the next blog to finish Jacob/Israel’s story, mirroring the blueprint of the Millennium reign and the second resurrection.