|Jacob wrestling with the angel|
Dreams from the LORD 2003-2006
17 February 2005
Genesis 32: 28: "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
I Timothy 2: 5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
When the Lord changed Jacob's name to Israel, I always thought of it as a foreshadowing of the born-again experience. But as I look at the two preceding scriptures, we can see that Jacob/Israel foreshadows or symbolizes Jesus. All scripture points towards Jesus. Israel is Jesus. Jacob wrestled with God and became a mediator between God and men. His immediate son, Joseph, helped save the world from famine when Pharaoh raised Joseph up into a position of power. Jacob's distant son, Jesus, saved the world from sin (if we believe in Him).
I have always revered Abraham because he is the father of faith, but there is more written on Jacob than anybody else in the Book of Genesis. The Twelve Patriarchs came from Jacob (12 means "to rule"), so in Jacob you have a more enduring foundation for Moses, the Prophets and the New Testament. It is true that the Lord changed Abram's name to Abraham, but when Jacob became Israel, I believe there was a deeper transformation--from death to life--or maybe a deeper meaning (you can't pass from death to life without the Blood of Jesus). Jacob came from Padan-aram (a strange land, death) to Canaan (the Promised Land, life). Jacob had to change to Israel because now he had to live by faith in God and not faith in himself. Jacob means "deceiver"; Israel means "prince". The Lord now wants a prince to rule Israel, not a deceiver.
Jacob's words hold much power even to this day: look at Jacob's Prophecy regarding his twelve sons in Genesis Chapter 49. Verses 1 and 2: "And Jacob called his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob and hearken unto Israel your father." If we abide in Christ, we hearken unto Israel. Jacob's Prophecy over Judah was definitely Messianic, but Jacob also gave Joseph a powerful blessing that also points towards some future ruler: "But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)."(Genesis 49: 24).
Before Jacob could pass into Canaan (the Promised Land), he had to confront Esau. Before Jesus could proceed to accomplish his work on the Cross, die and rise from the dead, he had to confront Herod. Herod was half Edomite (Herod was a descendant of Esau). There was enmity between Jacob and Esau and there was enmity between Jesus and Herod. Jacob was a true son of Isaac and Abraham; Esau was a real heathen--he married two daughters of Heth. Jesus was truly Jewish--he fulfilled the Law and the Prophets; Herod was not truly Jewish because he was half Edomite. Jesus was a son of Jacob; Herod was a son of Esau. You can't mix heaven with hell or heaven with the world: the love of the world is enmity with the Father. Jacob/Israel ultimately overcame and defeated Esau (the world) when Jesus died and rose from the dead. Esau is a term of derision; Israel is a term of endearment. During King David's reign (1000 B.C.) there was a nation called Israel; in the year 2005 A.D. there is a nation called Israel.
Jacob came, Jacob saw, Jacob wrestled, Jacob conquered. Jesus the same yesterday, today and forever. Jacob still endures and Genesis Chapter 49 is just as alive today as it was when it was first uttered from Jacob's mouth: "Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob and hearken unto Israel your father."