Theme: Sanctification (Part 2)
(Key Verses: Gen 29:14-30)
We are discussing the foundational theme of sanctification through servanthood for God’s elect as typified in the life of Jacob. Jacob had to leave his family in Canaan because of the threats on his life from his twin brother Esau, because Jacob robbed Esau from the rights of the firstborn, and also with the help of his mother, Rebekah, received the blessing of the inheritance of the firstborn (Gen 25:29-34; Gen 27:6-29; Gen 27:42-45). Rebekah however gave another reason to Isaac when she asked him to send Jacob to her brother Laban to be protected from the women of Canaan, to which Isaac agreed (Gen 27:46; Gen 28:1-5). But Jacob will learn that taking possession of the inheritance will only come through a painful process of sanctification through which God sets His elect apart for service to Him and His people (Exo 28:41; Exo 29:44; Joh 17:17; Eph 5:27; Col 3:24; Rom 12:1; 1Th 1:3-5). Jacob’s selfish and deceitful nature needed purging:
2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these [selfish deceitful nature and all the “profane and vain babblings” (false beliefs)– 2Ti 2:16-20], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Jacob met Rachel at a well in the field outside Haran, from where she introduced Jacob to her father, Laban, and the family. Laban then presented Jacob with an opportunity to work for him in order to provide for his own needs and thereby also laying foundations for Jacob’s future household:
Gen 29:14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.
Gen 29:15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?
Laban had two daughters of which Leah was the elder of Rachel. Both these daughters will play an important role in the purging process of Jacob to fulfil his role in God’s plan which typifies the road of God’s true servants:
Gen 29:16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
The number two plays an important role throughout the scriptures. One of these is to show us the unity and the relationship in the Godhead between the Father as the giver of spirit life, and the Son as the receiver of this same spirit life:
Gen 1:27 So God [Hebrew: “ĕlôhı̂ym” – plural form of “ĕlôahh” = supreme deity] created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The invisible things of the Godhead (the “ĕlôhı̂ym”) and this relationship between the Father and the Son, Jesus, are understood by the physical creation and union between a male and a female in marriage (Rom 1:20; 1Co 11:3):
Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
Gen 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
This relationship between the giver (in the case of Adam a rib) and the receiver is also the reflection of the relationship between the Father and the Son and how this one spirit and one mind is shared – Jesus “came out from” the Father (Joh 16:27; Joh 17:8). This relationship is also witnesses in spiritual terms between Jesus and the church. These beautiful attributes are now being established in Jacob as the future head and provider for his bride to be, Rachel.
1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
But the number two also indicates the two opposing domains with which God works from the beginning:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
These opposing realms have many levels of spiritual applications. On one level this all relate to what the earth represents in our physical flesh and its natural heaven which is the natural or carnal mind. But on another application this flesh with its carnal mind is contrasted with the true spiritual things of God in Christ – the new earth with its new heaven, the mind of Christ (2Pe 3:13; Rev 21:1). These two opposing domains are seen in the two Adams in scripture:
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
The first nature which all humans receive from God is what the natural or earthy Adam with all his deception and darkness fulfils in our lives, before all in this Adam will receive the spirit life in Christ (Jer 18:4):
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
We must live through both these Adams as the last Adam, Christ, will eventually subdue and subject all in the first Adam, in order to present those in the first Adam holy and blameless to the Father (Joh 3:5; 1Co 15:22):
1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Jacob’s whole life beautifully exposes this process and also the inward struggle of two natures within all of us. Jacob, like all in Adam, first encountered self-centeredness to get his way in everything and in the process he, like all of us, is given skilful abilities of deceit and manipulation. We are actually made to believe we are getting away with it, but God in His great mercy will bring His righteous judgment on each one in Adam, and through that judgment we learn true righteousness:
Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Jacob also had an incessant hunger in him to be in rulership which is actually what all the elect of God gets from the heart and mind of Christ in them. Christ was appointed as the God and ruler of this creation and all with His mind aspires to this position by having dominion over their own sinful lives (Isa 9:6; Col 1:15-17; Mat 28:18; Rom 6:8-14). God’s elect will eventually fulfill this desire for rulership in the symbolic thousand year reign on earth, and also being the judges in the lake of fire (Rev 20). Jacobs’s second stage of his life now focuses on his time in Haran, in the east, representing our own time in spiritual Babylon. In our initial stage of immature spiritual blindness we deceive others, but we can never deceive or mock God as Jacob also is going to learn what it means to reap what you sow. At our appointed time we will all reap our own bitter harvest of all the bad seed we sowed in this life (Mat 13:24-30):
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
This all will start for Jacob with getting a wife. In scripture all natural things are used as spiritual parables, a woman is generally also referring to the church. The symbol of these two daughters of Laban are given to indicate the two churches we all have to go through – first the earthy and afterward the heavenly – that is the sequence which all will follow. Leah, the elder sister of the two, was the representative of the first earthy church, as she represents the false bride of Christ. All of this is noted in the way the two are described:
Gen 29:17 Leah was tender [Hebrew: “rak”] eyed, but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
This is how Dr Strong explains this Hebrew word “rak”:
Rak: From H7401; tender (literally or figuratively); by implication weak: – faint [-hearted], soft, tender ([-hearted], one), weak.
This Hebrew word “rak” is also translated as “fainthearted” in this verse:
Deu 20:8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? [Hebrew: “rak”] Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.
Fear and faintheartedness are not good things to have in one’s heart when there is a war being waged, as any army will do well to get rid of soldiers with such hearts, as also indicated by God’s commandments in the time of physical Israel. Fear and faintheartedness affects our vision and actions, and are connected with being weak in faith (Rom 14:1-2). Faintheartedness is when the mature faith of Christ is absent from us and we are not in a position to endure the trials coming our way (Luk 18:1; 2Co 4:1; 2Co 4:16; Heb 12:2-4; Rev 2:3). Leah is therefore described as “tender eyed”, meaning she did not have the right spiritual vision. But Rachel on the other hand is described in more positive terms as being beautiful and well favoured – representing the true church of God with the write vision and mind-set. It is only through the faith of Christ in us that we are given strength and patience to endure the long wait to see the fruits of our womb, which will also manifest in the life of Rachel. Through patience and endurance we learn to be bold and confident in Christ’s abilities in us and not look at our abilities or inabilities (Php 4:13; Luk 21:19; Rev 14:11-13; Heb 12:5):
Eph 3:12 In whom [Christ] we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Eph 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
This is not the spiritual position and vision by which Leah is described. This concept of “tender eyed” is therefore significant to show our time of being without the mature faith of Christ, in spiritual darkness. This spiritual darkness and blindness already played a big part in the life of the immature Jacob. This is first seen in the problem with Isaac’s eyes as Jacob and his mother used this to their advantage to deceive Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of Esau:
Gen 27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see…
Even when Jacob first laid eyes on Rachel, what he saw with his eyes influenced his reaction:
Gen 29:10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.
Gen 29:11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
Gen 29:17 (ESV)….Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.
Jacob’s heart was controlled by what his eyes saw about Rachel and he agreed with Laban to work seven years for him for Rachel’s hand. A dowry for a woman is paid to the father of that woman as the law of Moses also later stipulated. This is not aimed to regard a woman as a property of a man, but it all spiritually is pointing to overall ownership of our heavenly Father and how we are to honour Him in all things. The value of and access to the bride of Christ is determined by the Father and we will have to live through each and every aspect of His ordinances to enter into His temple which is His elect – we will pay our dowry in that respect (Mat 4:4; Joh 6:44; Act 14:22; Rev 15:8). As with Jacob, our love for God and His children are measured by the obedience in service when we are enabled by God do His will (Mat 7:24-25; 1Jn 5:2-3). This makes the service in His kingdom seems “but a few days” as our eyes are fixed on the high calling of the Head Christ Jesus (Php 3:14; Heb 12:1-2):
Gen 29:18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Gen 29:19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
Gen 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.
When the seven years of service were completed for Jacob, he wanted his wife and Laban organised a feast for the occasion. Intoxicated by his love for Rachel and what transpired at the feast, Jacob’s great expectancy and his emotions for his first night with Rachel blinded him and he could not discern properly who the veiled bride was as it was also evening. Again the darkness and limited vision played a role in this respect:
Gen 29:21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her.
Gen 29:22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
Gen 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her.
God uses evil and all darkness for His specific purposes – nothing God created is without purpose (Gen 50:20; Pro 16:4; Isa 45:7; Rom 11:7-9). The lack of proper perception in the case of Jacob sleeping with Leah was from the Lord, as it brings so many meaningful spiritual applications to the fore in our lives. The spiritual blindness He brings on us in our appointed times are used for the purpose “that the works of God should be made manifest”. We are all like this man who was born blind as this also relates to our natural spiritual vision:
Joh 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
The works of God is to show us our spiritual blindness in the first Adam. Adam and all in him are naturally made blind to spiritual things:
Exo 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s [Hebrew: “âdâm”] mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
If we think we can see spiritual things via the spirit of the world in us, we cannot see that we are deceived and “made blind” by God:
Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
The spirit of God teaches only by comparing spiritual with spiritual which the natural Adam could not do until today:
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
When we think we are connected to the true bride or church of Jesus when we follow our own perceptions and false doctrines, we are deluded and cannot see that we are in bed with the false bride, the spiritual whore Babylon. When physical senses convince us that we have arrived in the heavenly Jerusalem, we cannot as yet see our own flesh and all physical things as indeed wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked:
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man [Greek: anthrōpos = old Adam] that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
When we, like Jacob, think that we have worked patiently to fulfil our time of service and deserve our reward, we are totally blinded to the truth that we deserve nothing as even the concept of “deserve” is foreign to the mind of Christ. This is the time when we think we are alive in spirit when we are actually still dead in sin and trespass. We are intimate with the false bride who controls us like “that woman Jezebel” controlled King Ahab and led Israel in spiritual fornicating (1Ki 16:31-33). In this time of sleep with the false wife we sacrifice to the idols of our own deceitful heart and do not as yet know the true depths of Satan as we are entangled into more and more of his deceit:
Rev 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Rev 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
It is in this time of intimacy with our Babylonian wife we place stumbling blocks in the path of other’s faith as we do not add to their joy, but rather through the Nicolaitan spirit in us exercise dominion over the faith of others (2Co 1:24; Rev 2:14-15):
Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them [His disciples] unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
While Jacob was sleeping with Leah, and also her concubine Zilpah, at regular times from this first night onwards, this reflect the times when we indeed leave our first love in the true Christ and His church, typified by Rachel:
Gen 29:24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid [Hebrew: “shiphchâh” = bondwoman].
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left [Greek Aorist tense] thy first love.
Spiritual Babylon, the great whore, is a bondwoman who focusses on our earthly senses and she is indeed a mystery as she also traps the saints of God in their appointed time as they also marvel at her with great admiration (Pro 5:3-6; Gal 4:25; Rev 17:1-5). But God will always send his angels to wake and warn His elect in this life:
Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Rev 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
Thank God after the darkness will always be a morning! Darkness and death was never intended to be a permanent creation of God. Just as in the case of corrupt flesh, so darkness and death are temporary tools in God’s plan and they will be overruled and eventually totally destroyed by the eternal Light! (1Co 15:54-57). The morning light in Christ brings the right spiritual vision when we can see what transpired during our time of blindness and delusion. Jacob is progressing towards that light when he also woke up the following morning after his night with Leah:
Gen 29:25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?
It is only in the morning when God’s light and insight is given to us that we can first see the works of darkness and unrighteousness we have committed. This is when we put on the armour of light and reprove the unfruitful works of darkness – in us first and foremost:
Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Like Jacob, we are all furious when we are being deceived as if we are innocent of that very sin. In our delusional state of self-righteousness, we, like Job, contend with God and those who deliberately beguiled us, but in the process of contending we miss the whole point of the exercise (Job 40:2). Evil around us is just reflecting our own evil heart, if we can see and know that (Jer 17:9). What others do to us is what we will also do if we were in their shoes or what we have done to others. If we can see that all of this is part of God’s perfect plan to reveal our own heart, we will stop “putting forth the finger” (Isa 58:9):
Gen 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
When we know this all is for our benefit, we will humble ourselves in the sight of God and His wonderful works, and abide to what is given and clarified to us (Psalm 107). Jacob is now also learning so much more of his own heart and how to submit to the ways of God through Laban (Isa 55:8-9):
Gen 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Gen 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week […that is Leah’s week….we will fulfill our times in Babylon …7 days…70 days….70 years…and God will bring us out…and we will forgive those who have sinned against us…70 times 7…for our health and salvation…Matthew 18] and Laban gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
This new insight and humility also gave Jacob the courage to start the time for serving Laban for his second wife Rachel, which signifies our own time in serving the true Christ and His church:
Gen 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
Gen 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
Jacob, like all of God’s servants, will learn through much falling and humiliation that we all do blaspheme the name of God as we also, God willing, repent of these practices to not recompense evil for evil:
Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.