Are you in the House of El or Babylon?

Genesis 28:1–22 and 29:1, Jacob’s journeys. Jacob was fleeing from his spiritual home, Beth-el or House of El, and was heading east some 500 miles on foot as a lone traveler and fugitive en route to Babylon (definitely not the House of El). What is the spiritual and prophetic significance of this? What is there for us to learn?

The same Scriptures elsewhere refers prophetically to Babylon as “the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Rev 18:2). Through his own human effort, Jacob had connived to procure the birthright blessing and in so doing had stepped out of the will of YHVH by trusting in himself instead of having faith in divine Providence to bring about YHVH’s perfect and blessed will for his life. 

But YHVH is gracious and often blesses us in spite of our human foibles and weaknesses. For example, YHVH had been gracious to Isaac earlier when he stepped out of YHVH’s perfect will for his life in attempting to flee Canaan for Egypt by graciously comforted him and redirecting his steps (Gen 26:1–6). Likewise, YHVH met the lonely Jacob and encouraged him at the outset of his long journey, for in Genesis 29:1 we read, “Jacob lifted up his feet and came into the land of the people of the east” (KJV, marginal reference). 

What can we learn about the ways of YHVH from these examples? Are you in tune with his methods of operation in the life of the believer? The more we study the word of YHVH, and the examples of the lives of those showcased therein, the more we can learn about our own lives. So study the recorded events about the lives of YHVH’s servants of old to learn wisdom for your daily life and spiritual walk. In so doing, you will learn how to stay in YHVH’s will for your life, and when you a happen to get out of his will, you will become aware of his mercy and grace.

Are you resting and abiding in the House of El or struggling in Babylon or somewhere in between?

 

The Corpse of Jacob Shows the Way to the Promised Land?

Genesis 50:11, Beyond the Jordan. Beyond is the Hebrew word eber meaning “across.” This was the roundabout way of reaching Machpelah.

The Jewish and Christian commentaries I have studied don’t give a good reason for Jacob’s burial entourage taking this most indirect route to the burial cave of the patriarchs.

It’s possible that Jacob was, out of faith in the promises of Elohim, prophetically tracing the steps his descendants would take several generations later in entering the Promised Land. It’s almost as if Jacob was showing the future generations of Israelites the route he wanted them to take from Egypt to the Promised Land to fulfill biblical types and shadows.


 

Jacob’s End Times Prophecies

Genesis 47:28–49:28, Jacob’s end times prophecy. The Jewish sages recognize that this final portion of Genesis chronicles Jacob’s wish to reveal to his sons some prophetic understandings pertaining to Israel’s long and numerous exiles, culminating in “the Final Redemption” or “the Second Exodus” (i.e. the return of Israel [all twelve tribes, not just the Jews] from her exile in “Babylon” at the end of the age just prior to and after the return of Messiah at which time the two houses of Israel will be reunited under Messiah Son of David).

Jacob states the timing of his prophecies regarding his sons in Genesis 49:1 when he predicts what will befall them “in the last days.”

The Jewish sages believe that prior to the establishment of the Messianic Age (or Millennium), all Israel will go into a time of darkness, gloom and exile.

The sages deduct the timing and tenor of this prophecy from the fact that the Torah scroll fails to place the customary nine spaces between the last word of the previous parashah (or Torah portion), which ends in verse 27 and the next parashah, which begins in verse 28. There is only a one space gap in the Hebrew letters between these two Torah portions, which predicts the “closing in” of Israel as they go into exile and captivity in Egypt.

The sages believe that these prophecies not only predicted Israel’s first exile into  and redemption from Egypt but also a latter, end times one as well because biblical history often repeats itself. This is evident by the fact that some of these prophecies weren’t fulfilled until Messiah came the first time and afterwards. More on this latter, so stay tuned.


 

Directions to Beth-El (the House of Elohim)

Genesis 35:1–15, Go up to Bethel. Jacob, twenty years earlier, had left Canaan in disgrace fleeing eastward into exile (as his descendants would do generations later), where in captivity to Laban he pays the price for being a deceiver. In captivity, Jacob prospers and finally is able to return to the Promised Land.

En route westward back to Canaan, he goes through a wilderness experience, as the children of his namesake would do several generations later. What type of individuals does YHVH not permit and permit to enter into the Land of Promise?

The answers are in Hebrews 4:1–11 where the writer speaks of doubt and unbelief, faith, hardness of heart versus resting in YHVH and not in the works of our flesh. (Read it.) To come home, like the prodigal son, to the home of his earthly parents and to that of his Heavenly Father (Beth-el or House of El) what was required of Jacob?

He had to manifest brokenness, humility, a new identity, repentance, and make restitution for past sins committed against others (Gen 34). Will YHVH not similarly break our stiff necks, refine and purify us to become suitable use in his spiritual house?

Are you fighting this process that YHVH is working in your life to prepare you for your Continue reading


 

Jacob’s Wrestling and the Jewish Sages Twistings

With whom did Jacob wrestle—a man or Elohim? If with Elohim, the Father or the Son? The Jewish sages say one thing, while Christian biblical experts say something else. What does Scripture actually say? This will be a faith-confirming, gospel supporting read!

Genesis 32:24–32, Jacob Wrestling With the Messenger of YHVH. In verse 24 we read,

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled with a man [Heb. iysh] or heavenly messenger [i.e. Heb malak]. (KJV, see Hosea 12:4)

In the following passages, we see that this man was Elohim. 

You have power with Elohim and with men, and have prevailed. (verse 28, based on the KJV)

… for you have striven with the Divine [Elohim] and with man and have overcome. (verse  28, The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach and Chumash)

Then Jacob says that he has “seen [Elohim] face to face” (KJV, CJB and The Soncino Edition Pentateuch, Second Edition). The two standard Orthodox Jewish versions of the Torah, The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach and The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, and Samson Raphael Hirsch’s Torah commentary The Pentateuch (by Judaica Press) all read, “For I have seen the Divine face to face.” Here they have translated the Hebrew word Elohim as the Divine (Heb. Elohim panim).

Which translation of the word Elohim is the correct one? Before resorting to human sources to solve this dilemma, does the Word of Elohim itself interpret this passage for us giving it clear light? Most assuredly so. In Hosea 12:2-5 we read,

[YHVH] hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he reward him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had strove with [Elohim]. He strove with an angel [Heb malak or heavenly messenger in many instances referring to YHVH himself, as noted elsewhere in this work] and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication to him; he found him in Beth-El, and there he spoke with us; and [YHVH Elohim] of hosts; [YHVH] is his name. (based on the KJV)

The Stone Edition Tanach renders this passage as follows (starting in verse four):

In the womb he seized his brother’s heal, and with his strength he struggled with [an angel of] God; he struggled with an angel and prevailed; [the angel] wept and beseeched him: ‘In Beth-el He will find us and there He will speak with us.’ HASHEM is the God of Legions; HASHEM is His remembrance. (bracketed supplied word are in the original)

So which translation is correct? The first one indicates Jacob was wrestling with a Heavenly Messenger who was none other than YHVH Elohim, while the second translation is cast in such a light as to imply that Jacob was wrestling with merely an angel. 

Does the word Elohim mean the Divine? It is interesting to note that in the Authorised Version the word Elohim appears 2606 times in the Tanakh. It is translated as God 2346 times, god 244 times and several other words less than five times each (e.g. judge, goddess, great, mighty, angels). As in all cases with a word which can have several meanings, the context of the Scripture passage will determine its meaning and its subsequent translation from the original language into English. The word divine was not Continue reading


 

Jacob Versus Laban = YHVH’s Saints Versus End Times Babylon

Is the greedy, idolatrous and enslaving grasp of modern Babylon holding you back from your spiritual destiny? It’s time to begin breaking free!

Genesis 31:43, These daughters are my daughters. Laban claims that Jacob’s wives and children belonged to him. Laban was also steeped in the idolatry of Babylon having in his possession idols or images called teraphim (Gen 31:19, 34–35), which legal symbols of his wealth, since they were actual title deeds to his property. These gods of one’s property also acted as good luck charms insuring the land’s prosperity. 

Is there a modern-day counterpart to this? Yes. Doesn’t modern Babylon want to control and possess the wives and children of redeemed Israel, indoctrinate them in its pagan religious system, and then keep Jacob’s modern descendants (Christians and Jews) from returning to their spiritual and physical homeland and birthright inheritance, and from returning to the Torah-faith of their fathers? Are governmental institutions (e.g. public educational institutions and state and federal Child Protective Services agencies, social welfare programs, various government regulations that have greatly diminished or eliminated many of our personal freedoms along with Elohim-given parental rights), socio-political organizations (e.g. ACLU, UN) and greedy corporate systems (banking systems that enslave people through debt, corrupters of our food supplies that destroy people’s health, pharmaceutical companies and the mainstream medical establishment that enslaves and destroys people’s minds and bodies through drugs) modern-day Labans who want to kill, steal and destroy for the benefit of money, power and control? Again, yes. 

Revelation 18:13 says that end times Babylon the Great will traffic in the bodies and souls of men. This is likely a reference to the trafficking in human body parts (for medical purposes, no doubt) and the enslavement of men’s hearts and minds. This speaks at some level of the modern day enslavement of people—of their religious expression, freedom of thought and action. In these end times, the saints of Elohim must protect themselves and their loved ones from the idols and the evil machinations of the Elohim-hating, devil worshiping idolators. 

Let us not forget John’s closing words in his first epistle: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21). An idol is anything that gets between us and Elohim, and which moves us downward and away from him on our spiritual path instead of upward and closer to him.

Laban and Balaam. It is quite possible that the false prophet Balaam, who heard from YHVH and had a sense of righteousness, though was still steeped in paganism, was a descendant of Laban. Both Laban and Balaam were from Aram (part of greater Babylon) and only 280 years separated them. One of the Aramaic Targums (Targum Jonathan) equates Balaam with Laban, while other scholars view Balaam as Laban’s grandson. Both were involved in a mixed-religious system—some truth and some error, some good and some evil. This is the nature of religious Babylon (meaning “mixture” or “confusion”). A mixture of what? Of good and evil. Remember the tree by that name in the Garden of Eden? Who was the one who enticed man to indulge in that fruit in rebellion to YHVH’s commands? 

Even today, Satan the serpent is at the helm of spiritual Babylon trying to lure people into his system of good and evil. Like the tree of knowledge, the religious Babylon of today, out of which YHVH is calling his people (Rev 18:4), is just that—a mixture of truth and pagan lies. How else, for example, do we account for the name of the Christian festival called Easter or Ishtar named after the Babylonian sex goddess of fertility? Or how else do we account for the Christmas tree phallus symbol that also originated from Babylonian sex worship? Or how about the Easter egg (an ancient Babylonian fertility or sex symbol) or the egg on the Jewish Passover Seder plate? All these are symbols of pagan sex worship. 

As YHVH called Jacob away from Babylon back to Beth-el (the House of El), and as YHVH turned Jacob’s heart back to the ways of his fathers, is not the same YHVH likewise now calling his people to come out of religious Babylon (Rev 18:4), to separate themselves from that which is unclean or not kosher (2 Cor 6:17)? 

Yes, YHVH is pleading for the modern descendants of Jacob (redeemed Israelites or the Israel of Elohim, Gal 6:16) to not succumb to the lying forked-tongued Labans and Balaams of today who always over-promise and underdeliver—who would through deceptive lies pull Elohim’s back into their religious systems that are a mixture of truth and error. Elohim is urging his people to remember the good, ancient and blessed paths of the Torah of Moses his servant and to listen to the spirit of Elijah as the children’s hearts re turned back to the Hebraic fathers of their faith (Jer 6:16, 19; Mal 4:4–6).


 

The Bible Law of Reciprocity—You Reap What You Sow

Genesis 28:22, I will surely give the tenth. To whom would Jacob ultimately tithe? We don’t know, but Jacob may have been making a prophecy about his descendants bringing their tithes and offerings to the house of El or the temple that would eventually be built on that exact spot.

Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28 was his first, life-changing personal encounter with the Elohim of his fathers (Gen 28:10ff). What was his response? It was to serve YHVH and to worship him by giving him one-tenth (a tithe) of his increase (verse 22). What prompted this response on Jacob’s part? Why was such a response appropriate?

When did you have your first encounter with your Heavenly Father and Master? In following the example of Jacob, have you faithfully used the first fruits of your increase to honor, worship and express your gratitude to him ever since? If not, why not? Scripture calls not tithing “robbing Elohim” and that as a result a curse may be on your finances (see Mal 3:8–11). Proverbs 3:9 lays out a solid truth about how tithing is a form of worshipping the Creator. “Honour [glorify] YHVH with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase, so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

The Scriptures reveal the importance of the spiritual law of reciprocity; namely, you reap what you sow (Gen 8:22; Gal 6:7–9). If you don’t sow you will not reap. If you sow evil or good you will reap the same. Jacob had to learn this law the hard way. In Job 4:8 we read, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”

Jacob gained the birthright through posing as Esau (a deception) and Laban in turn deceives Jacob by putting Leah under the veil posing as Rachel in Jacob’s marriage bed. It is very easy to see the principle of reaping and sowing in others’ lives, but can we see it in our own life? This is very difficult to do! Aren’t we prone to concoct every excuse and argument imaginable to justify our sinful actions and then blame the results on others? Prayerfully take a long and hard look at your life, examine hardships and trials, and honestly ask yourself the question: Am I reaping what I have sown? It is never too late to repent and make a course correction—to bring your life into agreement with YHVH’s Word and will, so you can start reaping Elohim’s blessings.

Honesty, patience and submission to authority are fruits of righteousness. What did YHVH have to teach Jacob about these fruits of the Spirit? Jacob was impatient in submitting to YHVH’s will and waiting for the birthright to come to him in a righteous way. How did YHVH use Laban to correct these character flaws in Jacob? Jacob had to go into the Babylonian world for a season in order to be refined before being ready to be a patriarch worthy of honor and an example of righteousness as the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.

What is YHVH allowing you to go through to refine you of character flaws and defects to prepare you for the future mission he has for you? Are you submitting to his refining fires that are burning the wood, hay and stubble out of your life (1 Cor 3:12–15), or are you resisting him thereby forcing him to “turn up the heat” of his discipline to help you “to get the point” and learn your lesson? (Read Heb 12:5–15.)

Jacob was forced to go east (toward Babylon) as a form of exile and punishment for his sins. After serving as a bondservant to Laban for 20 years, he returned westward to Canaan, the land of promise. This eastward-westward movement was a pattern followed by Jacob’s descendants later on several occasions. Even Abraham left Babylon and went west to Canaan. What are the prophetic implications of this in the end times when YHVH is calling his people to “come out” of spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4)?

Jacob builds a complete family in “exile” consisting of twelve tribal leaders. To return to the Promised Land of Canaan, he had to encounter Esau (or Edom) who is the father of many of the modern day Arab peoples. What is this a prophetic picture of? Did history repeat itself when the Jewish exilic remnant again encountered Esau’s descendants when they come back from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah? Isn’t this same thing happening again in our time as the exiled Jews return to Israel—their ancestral and Elohim-given homeland? Who currently is opposing their return and is openly vowing to annihilate them? Consider Edom’s opposition to Jacob past, present and future. What (or who) is really behind this opposition to Israel’s (Jacob’s) inheriting his birthright that includes a land inheritance whose borders are from Egypt to the Euphrates River in modern Iraq?

Jacob vowing to tithe to Elohim was his acknowledging his submission to Elohim and to his will—that Elohim was the Lord over his life. Complete submission to Elohim came hard for Jacob. The same is true for us, and when we tithe this is an act of worship of Elohim and acknowledgement that we have come to a higher place of surrender in our lives.