The Jacob/Israel’s story continues mirroring the Feast pattern through his family after Jacob becomes “Israel.” The name “Israel” had been sealed over Jacob’s forehead after wrestling with God, landing him in the city of Succoth, which means, “booth/dwelling/tabernacle.”
It was after Jacob crossed into the Promised Land, in Succoth, that he built his first house (Gen.33:17). Up until this time, Jacob had lived in temporary dwellings. This “permanent house” was a prophetic picture of Jacob receiving his promised “permanent house;” i.e., glorified body, that would never be removed from the Lord’s presence:
“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. This encounter was symbolic of the process that will occur for the “Firstfruits” remnant during the first resurrection when Christ returns:
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The Firstfruits remnant is mentioned again:
“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).
Jacob’s life mirrors the pattern and purpose of the Millennium reign, and the role of this “Firstfruits” remnant, as the Lord’s “priests” as He rules over the nations (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).
After Succoth, Jacob/Israel led his family to the city of Shechem, where he purchased land for the first time. This is significant, because when Christ comes back to earth, He will take dominion over the LAND (kingdom) as King, with His “Firstfruits” remnant assisting Him (Gen. 33).
The name Shechem has two meanings; one means, “shoulder” as in the “responsibility or right to rule.” In Isaiah, God uses a 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 the 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, Shechem 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. 12:7,8; 13:4).
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 (Gen. 34).
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 un-dealt 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 wrong (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:
“Then God said to Jacob, ‘ARISE, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God’…” (Gen. 35:1).
Jacob/Israel 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 Bride throughout the Millennium.
The “wake up” call to arise is also a picture of the BRIDE’S FEAST OF TRUMPET “awakening” (Rev. 20:11).
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 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).
In Revelation, this moment is spoken of at the Great White Throne of Judgment:
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).
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. This second time God came to Jacob and told him that his name was no longer Jacob but Israel wasn’t to once again seal Jacob’s identity. God was calling forth the identity change for the UNION of the whole family/nation.
Now the whole family/nation/bride became God’s double witness of His Covenant promise, following the first witness of the “Firstfruits” remnant.
Jacob set up a pillar of stone in the place where God talked to Him, and poured a drink offering and oil on it (Gen. 35:14,15). This was symbolic of the blueprint up ahead, of the 1st Day of the Feast of Tabernacles for the Bride, when the 7-day cleansing process begins, as represented by the drink offering. The water represents purification. The oil represents the bodies being transformed into His glory.
“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 happens to be the same place Jacob met God for the first time. Coincidently (not really), the Covenant promises were now being extended to His family as well (Gen. 28:19).
In addition, this event symbolically confirms the blueprint of the beginning of the transformation process of the Bride’s members being removed from death (which is the wages of sin), and glory dwelling in the 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).
Jacob’s story mimics this death/life purification 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 there was but 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 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, JACOB/ISRAEL could not honor his wife’s dying wishes. Jacob/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 Jacob/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).
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 Bride, the 8th day is the revealing of God’s glory dwelling amongst a corporate people with incorruptible bodies. Having finished the cleansing process, the Bride is able to rise and stand before His throne.
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).
The Bride is also now able to fulfill the vision of “Jacob’s Ladder” as well as being able to go from being in the presence of God’s throne and transported back to the earth as “sons of His light.”
“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).
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Rev. 22:1-4).
Incidentally, all the disciples of Christ came from the tribe of Benjamin, called the Galileans in the New Testament because they settled in Galilee after being released from the 70-year Babylon captivity. 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 prophesies of 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).
“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).