Theme: Sanctification (Part 3)
(Key Verses: Gen 29:31-35; Gen 30:1-24)
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God loves the world, pointing to all in the first Adam as they are all linked to the process of eventually being conformed to the spiritual image of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate focus of this love of God (Joh 3:6; Rom 8:29; 1Co 15:22).
1Co 15:45-46 ERV As the Scriptures say, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam is a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual man did not come first. It was the physical man that came first; then came the spiritual.
God created the first Adam, and all in him, in a marred condition and they will all receive spirit life through Jesus Christ, whom the Father appointed as the Saviour of all in the world of the first Adam (Jer 18:4; Eph 2:8-9; 1Ti 4:10; Tit 2:11-13; Tit 3:3-6; 1Jn 4:14). God does not love the natural man and all in this physical creation the same way He loves the new man in Christ, and He advises His elect to have the same focus:
1Jn 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1Jn 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
God’s love for this last Adam is therefore His focus as He also loves His elect more in this age as He is preparing them for their important task at hand to be rulers on this earth in the symbolic thousand year reign and to be the judges in the lake of fire (Joh 3:16; 1Co 6:2-3; Rev 20). The flesh, however, wants to be accepted and loved apart from God’s eternal spiritual purposes. It is this selfish craving in each natural heart that is also the focus of the trouble in the life of Jacob. The struggle for love and children is the struggle between Leah and Rachel.
Gen 29:16-18 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Jacob was in love with Rachel, and his uncle Laban promised him Rachel if he will work for him for seven years. When his first seven years of service were completed, Jacob wanted his wife, and Laban organised a feast to celebrate the occasion. But Jacob could not discern properly who the veiled bride was as Laban also brought her to Jacob in the evening. But when Jacob woke up the next morning, he saw that he slept with Leah, the elder sister of Rachel:
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?
Jacob, the deceiver and manipulator, was deceived by Laban, and in his self-righteous heart he could not accept this. Seeing the evil around us is easy for our carnal mind, but to see the same evil inside is humiliating. The theme of sanctification is also highlighted in the life of Jacob who started off as a deceiver and manipulator, but is taken through much purging in order to place him in the right position to be the servant for his master’s use. Jacob is set apart to serve God’s purposes and not his own:
2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these [selfish, deceitful heart and actions], he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Leah is given to us as the type of the false bride (false church) who we all encounter on our spiritual journey when we are convinced, by our own deception, that we have found the true bride (Church) of Jesus Christ. But Jacob will have to fulfill his duties to Leah, as the dominion of flesh and the influence of spiritual Babylon in our own lives must run its full course as determined by our heavenly Father:
Gen 29:26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.
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.
Jacob’s love and care for Leah was not on the same level as his love and care for his favorite Rachel. But it is therefore important to see how Jacob also treated Leah with respect and also submitted to the customs of that country. We must respect God for the time He ordained for us to be under tutors and governors of the flesh until the time that the faith of Christ is given to us which will bring us to spiritual maturity (Gal 3:22-25; Gal 4:1-5):
Gen 29:28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week [Hebrew: “shâbûa” linked with “shâba” which has more to do with a complete period of time, which links spiritually with the number seven]: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
Gen 29:29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.
Rachel is the symbol of God’s true church when we receive the faith of Christ to serve God and His children (Rom 12:2; 1Jn 5:2-3):
Gen 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him [Laban] yet seven other years.
Gen 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
The word “hate” indicates to love to a lesser extent in this case also, as Jacob loved Leah and will have several children with her. But his love for Rachel was more than his love for Leah, and this once again helps us to see the way we need to understand God’s love for the world (the first Adam) versus His love for His elect in the last Adam, Jesus Christ. God’s love for His elect is witnessed in their love for Him as they seek and do His will by dying to self and denying the attachments of flesh (Mat 10:37-39; Luk 14:26):
Pro 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
The favoured and much beloved wives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob shared the same problem. God chose to close the wombs of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, and they could not produce an offspring initially. The concubines and other wives of these patriarchs, however, brought forth children first, and this only emphasizes that flesh is prosperous and productive long before the spirit man is formed in us. The flesh is given a head-start by God to even have an appearance of maturity. Leah is shown to us with more experience in child bearing than Rachel as Leah conceived four sons initially. Leah first conceived the elder son for Jacob which was a huge plus in her understanding of things:
Gen 29:32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben [Hebrew meaning: “behold a son!”/ “who sees the son”/“the vision of the son”] for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
The Hebrew meaning of the name “Reuben” indeed relates to sonship which links him to the all-important inheritance and rights of the firstborn, and that is what Leah was so excited about. But what Leah did not know was that the son of man is not the true heir of the more important spiritual inheritance (Job 25:6; Psa 146:3-4). The flesh has a way of convincing itself of its own delusions and beliefs. But the Scriptures make it clear that the rights of the firstborn are actually reserved exclusively for God’s spiritual Lord from heaven, Jesus Christ, “the firstborn of every creature” (Col 1:15; Rev 3:14). Flesh and blood will never have access to God’s full inheritance in His spiritual kingdom!
1Co 15:45-50 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
But Leah will get four sons in this first fertile period of her life to complete this whole delusion of godly prosperity and favour which she also wants Jacob to see:
Gen 29:33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon [Hebrew meaning: “hearing”]
The second son of Leah is named Simeon, meaning “hearing”, as she believed the Lord heard her prayer, and this son is the proof of her answered prayer to be the beloved wife of Jacob. But God’s elect knows that the trials of faith are of much deeper spiritual value when our prayers are not answered in the way and time our flesh wants things to happen (1Pe 1:7-9). It is indeed through patience and much tribulation that we take possession of our spiritual inheritance – not through quick fixes (Act 14:22; Rev 14:9-12). This is what Rachel is learning as she witnessed all of this:
Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
he third son of Leah was called “Levi” which means “joined to”:
Gen 29:34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.
Levi will be the head of the tribe of priests at a later stage serving in the earthly tabernacle and temple. Leah believed that she was joined to Jacob in a deeper spiritual sense after the birth of this third son. Flesh has the delusion that it can please God and be even joined to God in that same condition. Natural man’s faith convinces him that he will appear in the same body in the resurrection as some even described this resurrected body as ‘spiritual flesh’ when the scriptures are clear that the body that is raised is totally different from the one that is buried (1Co 15:36-50). No-one will be joined to the true Christ and His elect with carnal aspirations and high-mindedness:
Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Leah’s fourth son was called “Judah”, meaning “praise”:
Gen 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise [Hebrew: “yâdâh” and “êth”] the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Although the flesh indeed praises God, this praise is more about what flesh receives to consume it upon its lusts. That is why the self-centeredness of flesh is incapable of receiving the spiritual inheritance of God (Joh 7:18; Php 2:3-5):
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Leah “left bearing” after her fourth son for the time being, even while the flesh of Rachel also shows envy towards Leah as Rachel now vents her frustration towards Jacob:
Gen 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
Gen 30:2 And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?
Jacob has been learning since he left Canaan that all things are from God, and he could not be held responsible for God’s actions, even through the dream he had at the place he named Bethel afterward (Gen 28:11-22). God is the only responsible Being, and no one can take this position if they know the truth of God’s sovereignty over all things (Rom 11:36; Eph 1:11). But Rachel, not adhering to the words of Jacob, did exactly what Sarah did with Abraham (Gen 16:1-3). Jacob, like his grandfather Abraham, followed his wife’s counsel and slept with her handmaid Bilhah, who became Jacob’s concubine:
Gen 30:3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
Gen 30:4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.
To bear upon another’s knees is to claim ownership to their offspring – “that I may also have children by her”. Rachel named the first son Bilhah bore for Jacob, “Dan”:
Gen 30:5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.
Gen 30:6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.
“Dan” means judge or judgment, as this announces what Rachel and Jacob, as types of God’s elect, will first go through as they will be the first to learn about their own evil hearts and the true righteousness of God (Isa 26:9):
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Bilhah conceived another son for Rachel after she bore Dan:
Gen 30:7 And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.
The name “Naphtali” carries the meaning of wrestling or fighting, which again emphasizes the battle between these two women in our own lives in the form of the flesh or fleshly church versus the spirit or spiritual assembly in the true Christ (Gal 5:17). Like the typical elect of God, Rachel now also must learn that nothing of eternal value will come the easy way. All God’s true spiritual inheritance will come through much resistance. The levels of persecution and hatred from those who are “after the flesh” will not subside, but rather increase (Gal 4:29). Although Leah had four sons of her own flesh against Rachel’s two sons through her handmaid Bilhah, this did not satisfy Leah. She could not bear children of her own at this stage, but then gave her handmaid, Zilpah, to sleep with Jacob to have more offspring through her:
Gen 30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.
Gen 30:10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.
Gen 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
The first son which Zilpah bore for Leah as Jacob’s seventh son, was called “Gad”, Gad means “a troop cometh” which connects with overcomers in warfare (Gen 49:19). Seeing that Gad is an offspring of the handmaid of Leah, the negative application applies first, as the flesh indeed overshadows our life from our birth, and we are under the dominion of its lusts and pride (1Jn 2:16). But Gad and his offspring will also have a positive application in the overcoming Christ (1Ch 5:17-22). The second son which Zilpah bore for Leah from Jacob was Asher:
Gen 30:12 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son.
Gen 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
The meaning of Asher’s name connects with fleshly happiness through Leah’s emotional state of mind. Happiness is a temporary emotion which our old man is given by God to keep him going amidst his otherwise dreary life. Outward earthly happiness is the worldly counterfeit of true inward joy which is part of the fruit of the spirit of God in His elect (Gal 5:22-23). The prosperity gospel is well loved in spiritual Babylon, as it overpowers those who are searching for “these things” of the earth which bring temporary happiness long before the kingdom of God is first established in their lives. The flesh always has things the wrong way around:
Mat 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
But now the eldest son of Leah, Reuben, has grown big enough to start playing his role in this battle between Leah and Rachel, and also in the household of Jacob:
Gen 30:14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.
Much has been speculated about these mandrakes which Reuben brought his mother Leah, but this happened in the time of the wheat harvest or the feast of weeks (Pentecost) which was later established in the calendar of the physical nation of Israel. This harvest was one of the three major harvests in Israel:
Deu 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
Exo 34:22 And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.
This wheat harvest is all about the resurrection of the “kind of firstfruits” which is reserved for God’s elected church which is represented by Rachel and not Leah (Jas 1:18; 1Co 15:23). Mandrakes are also described in the scriptures as giving off a sweet or pleasant fragrance which also is connected to the elect of God:
Son 7:12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
Son 7:13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
This pleasant fragrance of the true doctrine of Christ is earmarked for God’s elect because the world and its churches cannot appreciate the “sum of” God’s true doctrine, combining the old and the new, which fulfills the true savour of the knowledge of God’s Word (Psa 119:160 ASV; Isa 28:9-10; Mat 13:52; Joh 17:3; 1Co 2:13). The churches of this world, which Leah and her more children symbolize (the “many”), can only corrupt the word of God with their false doctrines as they also add and take away from all the words man must live by (Mat 4:4; Rev 22:18-19):
2Co 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2Co 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
2Co 2:17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Leah actually accused Rachel of taking her husband which was not the case at all:
Gen 30:15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.
The Word of Christ, like the mandrakes in the wrong hands, will be twisted and abused to serve the interest of the flesh. Leah could not let go of her carnal aspirations and fleshly lusts to be the true wife of Jacob. She seduced Jacob again to sleep with her as he came from the field in the evening indicating that although we are the elect of God, we can never assume we have arrived. We are in the process of being saved and should always be on guard (2Sa 11:1-27; Pro 4:23; 1Co 10:12; 1Pe 5:8). This time Leah was able to conceive a fifth son for Jacob called Issachar:
Gen 30:16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired hire [Hebrew: śâkar = temporary purchase] thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night.
Gen 30:17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.
Gen 30:18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire [Hebrew: śâkâr = payment/wages/compensation], because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
Issachar means “there is recompense” as even the flesh demands its wages for work done. Leah saw this son as her reward for giving her maiden, Zilpah, to Jacob. The number five has to do with grace through faith, and this is how the natural mind sees grace as his reward for his own faith. It is all about physical rewards which God must give when the flesh believes it has done good deeds. But all the good deeds of flesh are but a filthy cloth of self-righteousness (Isa 64:6):
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The sixth and last son that Leah personally conceived for Jacob was Zebulun:
Gen 30:19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son.
Gen 30:20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.
Zebulun was the tenth son of Jacob (six sons from Leah), and this all complements the number of fleshly man (the number ten combining with the number six). The name “Zebulun” means “habitation” which is the temporary dwelling which flesh is. Zebulun’s habitation was indeed “at the haven of the sea” which is spiritually the symbol for flesh and all its activities as expressed by Jacob at his death (Isa 60:5; Rev 13:1; Rev 17:1,15,18):
Gen 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
Leah also bore Jacob one daughter after this last son:
Gen 30:21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.
God will not change His mind on anything, as He had it all worked out before this physical age began. God never forgets His plan for mankind and is constantly working everything for His purposes and for the benefit of His elect. The time has come for Rachel to bring forth her firstborn:
Gen 30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
Gen 30:23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
Gen 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.