Abram was the first in scripture to be called 'Hebrew'. Why? What does it mean? Is it only referring to the lineage that Abram descended from? Or, is there an understanding of this discriptive term that also applies to us, as Believers In Christ? This writing explores this concept.
The Sons of Jacob / Israel
Ben Yamin; Son of the Right, or Right to be the Son.
The long and arduous journey of Jacob, since fleeing from the presence of his brother Esau some 20+ years previously, has brought him through a long list of encounters and developments that have revealed, in Jacob and to Jacob, that his wit and cunning have been sufficient to permit him to ‘supplant’ most, if not all, obstacles and controversies in his path. And ‘supplant’ is probably the most illustrative word available to describe Jacob in his relationship with all he encounters on this journey from ‘adam’ to ‘Christ’. Most dictionary descriptions of ‘supplant’ tend to shade this word as being a devious or dishonest means of succeeding another in a venture or venue. But the negative connotations most apply to supplant, in my much studied opinion, is driven or formed more by religious bias than critical logic. There is no moral imperative involved in being more successful in a field of endeavor than others that may have preceded you. To ‘supplant’ another by being more successful in no way implies deceit or guile. A supplanting may very well have been derived by malicious cunning or deceit, but the word ‘supplant’ in no way suggests the same. That conclusion cannot be fairly or honestly assumed. To supplant one that abandons or vacates or suspends a position of performance or responsibility does not necessarily indicate a motive of deceit or guile. Such is just the case in the episode of Esau and Jacob. Esau despised the responsibility of ‘first-born’, and was willing to sell the ‘position’ of ‘first-born’ for a meal of bread and pottage. [Gen. 25:32-34; Heb. 12:16-17]. And even Isaac maligned Jacob in this event, rather than to admit that the first-born Esau had abandoned and despised the responsibility that goes with being ‘first-born’. ‘First-born’, from the Hebrew language and the culture as well, places the ‘first-born’ into a position of servitude and responsibility where the rest of the family, and the family’s farm and well-being, falls on the shoulders of the ‘first-born’ to hold things together when the proverbial ‘poop hits the fan’. No place in scripture can I find an example of a chronological ‘first-born’ that actually understands and manifests the responsibility that goes with being ‘first-born’; protector and defender of the family’s inheritance and potential. Only in Christ do we see that the ‘First-Born’ understood, and then accepted with Joy, the response ability that is called for in manifesting the Birth Right that is associated with being the First-Born Son of God, the Wholly Spirit of Truth in Love.
We all, birthed into this physical dimension, arrive here in the form, or limitation, as ‘adam’. And as ‘adam’, or mankind, we begin our own individual journey in this dimension, learning to navigate the myriad of obstacles and challenges that this physical dimension demands that we experience, and learn to overcome or supplant; either by our own talents, or manipulations or deceits. The negative spirits and/or energies to which this physical dimension exposes us all tends to cause us to focus on, and put our confidence into, an existence founded upon compromise, cunning or deceit in effort to grasp a “mere meal of bread and pottage”. And yet, the Wholly Spirit of Truth in Love, that which we refer to as God, never abandons us to a comfort zone of compromise, deceit and deception. For it is the Goodness of God that leads us to repent of our trust in carnal and selfish motives and attitudes [Rom. 2:4], and put our trust and reliance in the First-Born Identity of Christ, and to yield our motivations and manifestations to the Christ Identity that is the Gift of God to all who believe. Only The Father can identify, and confirm, the nature and performance of the First-Born. Being ‘first-born’ chronologically has no benefit to afford or impart a superior spiritual identity or performance. Only Being First-Born in Spirit can impart a confidence, desire and potential to manifest the Kingdom of God within and without. When the First-Born of the Spirit of God manifests the Kingdom of God within and without, then indeed “…Thy Kingdom has come, in my earth as it is in Your Heavenly Realm”.
Into this very situation Jacob finds himself as he is departing Laban, and returning “…to the land of your Fathers, and to your kindred”. [Gen. 31:1-3] And Jacob now is confronted with the realization that he doesn’t know if his brother, Esau, is still planning on killing Jacob because Esau despised the ‘birth-right’, and blames Jacob for purchasing a ‘birth-right’ that Esau had no ability or privilege to sell something he never possessed. And a mere morsel of bread and pottage could never have separated the ‘birth-right’ from Esau if Esau had ever desired the birth-right, or believed that he was indeed the possessor of a responsibility of ‘first-born’. By now, more than 20 years have passed, and maybe all have had the privilege of some serious ‘reality check’ in their reckonings and reasonings.
KJV Genesis 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images (teraphim; based on the verb ‘rapha’; to heal, or restore) that were her father's.
Laban’s clan realizes that Joseph and company have packed up and left ‘Labanville’, and Jacob and his boys are not shepherding Laban’s flocks. Laban pursues after Jacob to demand an explanation of Jacob’s behavior, and when Laban arrives on the scene, he confronts Jacob with the charge of having stolen his household gods, his ‘teraphim’. Jacob responds with the following rebuttal to convince Laban that no one in the Jacob camp is guilty of such a crime. KJV Genesis 31:32 “With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them.”
Jacob uttered a death curse against the one that had stolen Laban’s ‘teraphim’; his household gods that he revered as his protectors, restorers and redeemers. And undoubtedly, in his conversations with his wives, Jacob retold this in the hearing of his wives, while never acknowledging that the words of his mouth may someday become exceedingly bitter, indeed. Jacob’s words never had the power to exert a death sentence against another, but guilt and anguish are powerful enemies in the mind of one that is struggling to survive physically. Without question, Rachel lived in guilt for having stolen the household gods of her Father Laban, and continually she heard, ringing in her heart/mind, the words of her husband declaring a death sentence on the one that had stolen Laban’s ‘teraphim’. And perilous days and times lay ahead, for Rachel was going to be pregnant with her second son, after having pledged in the naming of Joseph that “…YHWH will add (asaph) another son.” [Gen. 30:24]
After making peace with Laban, and cutting a covenant with Laban to agree that their individual gods would watch between them to essentially keep them honest in their covenant terms, Jacob departs from the region of Padan Aram to continue his trek back to Canaan, and to his Father Isaac’s kindred. Chapter 32 of Genesis gives a detailed account of how Jacob, the ‘supplanter, plans to send gifts and offerings in the direction of Esau to soften the impact of Esau’s response when he finds out that Jacob and company are returning to the region. And Jacob’s advance party returns to tell him that while they were on their way to greet Esau, they were met by Esau and his company of 400 that were coming out to meet them. This ‘news’ greatly disturbs Jacob, and he makes plans to manage the situation if Esau’s intentions are hostile or combative. [Gen. 32:6-8] Jacob then launches into a reminder to YHWH, the God of my fathers, that YHWH told him to return to his father’s kindred and land, and YHWH will deal kindly with him. Jacob is being sifted, and Gen. 32: 9-23 details the plans Jacob was making to protect his possessions and to manage the pending confrontation with Esau. Jacob is doing what Jacob does best. He is preparing to supplant a threatening situation with a more benevolent possibility. However, Jacob’s prayer in verse 9-12 was for deliverance from the threatening hand of Esau. But God had a more complete correction of the plight of Jacob than just neutralizing the threat of Esau in the mind/heart of Jacob. This scenario reminds me of the man lying at the pool of Bethesda, John 5:6. The man desired that someone would help him get into the pool, for it was believed that if you could get into the pool, you could be relieved of your ailment. To him Jesus said, “Will you be made whole”? Like Jacob, the man was simply looking for some relief from his distress. However, there was a complete makeover, and restructuring of his life in store that the man could not possibly have believed.
Jacob has asked to be relieved of the distress of Esau, but he was in for a complete makeover. Jacob was in for a name change, which is always indicative of a nature change. And this is revealed in Gen. 32:22. Jacob took his wives and maid-servants and his eleven sons and passed over the ford Jabbok. The Hebrew word ‘yah-bok’ is Strong’s # H2999. The word is illustrative of emptying a vessel of whatever contents it contained, for the contents are no longer acceptable, and must be discarded. The primary root is Strong’s # H1238, ‘bah-qaq’ which also is descriptive of being emptied of those things, or qualities, that are no longer acceptable for the assignment that lies ahead. Jacob asked for relief from Esau. God however had decided to empty Jacob of Jacob, that he may be replaced with Israel. This is why I have said in the past that Jacob had eleven sons. But Jacob’s name was to be changed to Israel before the birth of Benjamin, just as Abram had to have a name/nature change before becoming siring Isaac. We recognize that there were many years of ‘makeover’ in the process of changing the nature/identity of Jacob until he could be recognized or considered Israel. However, the process always first begins with accepting a name change to indicate a change of nature. And so Jacob ‘crosses over’ the brook (nah-hkhal; most often translated as ‘inheritance’) to inherit the emptying of his carnal, or soulish and selfish limitations. The word ‘nah-hkhal’ (Strong’s #5157, 5158) is used to refer to that which you are inheriting. It is sometimes translated as ‘brook’, ‘river’, ‘steam’ or ‘valley’ to refer to a physical border to indicate a border or place where an ‘inheritance’ begins, or ends. The brook ‘Jabbok’, or emptying, is the inheritance that Jacob is receiving in order to prepare his introduction to the ‘new land’ of Israel. And so begins the beguine.
Gen. 32: 24 – 31. And so Jacob finds himself alone, and in a struggle with a ‘man’, an ‘iysh’, Strong’s # H376, contracted from the formal ‘enosh’, Strong’s # H582. There are three Hebrew words most always used to indicate ‘man’, or mankind. The most recognized is the word ‘adam’. The most often used throughout the Old Testament is ‘iysh’, which refers to ‘adam’ in his divided identity of ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. And the other is ‘geber’, which is where the word Gabriel comes from. ‘Iysh’ is the word used when the feminine aspect of ‘adam’ (iyshah) is separated in ‘adam’ by YHWH to be given the form of ‘woman’ (iyshah). She was called ‘iyshah’, which is the feminine form of this word, because she was separated from/within the ‘iysh’, the masculine form of this word. A deep sleep was imposed upon ‘adam’, which he ultimately only awakens from in Christ.
And so Jacob wrestles with, grapples with, his ‘iysh’ self. But the victory cannot be gained that way, and no amount of supplanting can rid yourself of carnal and soulish appetites and reasoning. The ‘iysh’ must be reunited with the ‘iyshah’ within all of us, and that is only accomplished by the Wholly Spirit of Truth in Love, which is the Christ identity that we receive as a gift of God from yielding our natures to the makeover of the Wholly Spirit within. Jacob is being introduced to “…will you be made Whole”?
Jacob has the revelation that he has been wrestling and struggling against the nature of God, and he proclaims the name of this ‘place of struggle’ as Peniel. To translate this word literally into English, I am very confident that it is proper and acceptable to describe this word as “My face is God”; or “My face with God”. Either is acceptable, because it indicates you have ‘seen God’, and you still exist. Pagan religions believe if you saw a god’s face, you would have to die; cease to exist. That isn’t far wrong, because when you see your own face as the face of God, you have essentially died to the old carnal thinking that had you so twisted and maligned all along. Yashua, as Messiah, appeared to reveal and declare to us the nature of God the Father, and God is Spirit [John 14 thru 17], and the Spirit of God, in you, empowers you and emboldens you to manifest the Spirit of God in whatever way the Wholly Spirit within reveals to you is called for. Your face becomes the face of God to whatever situation needs to ‘see God’ to be healed, or made Whole. “Show and Tell”? Hmmmm.
From this revelation of struggling with his ‘iysh’ limitations, Jacob realizes that he has been struggling against God all along. And now, he is prepared to have the sun (Son) arise on his experience (Gen. 32:31], as he ‘crossed over’ Penuel he halted on his thigh. I don’t doubt it, for his walk is now being influenced by a power and authority he could not possibly have considered before this experience. Penuel, is the same concept as Peniel, except Peniel is first person possessive identity. Penuel, from its Hebrew spelling, is third person identity. I have likened this to Jacob realizing that his face of God now has to recognize his brother, Esau, a third person identity, as the face of God. And from this encounter, the pageant takes on a completely different flow, leading Jacob into situation after situation that he has to begin to trust on his Peniel revelation rather than trusting the supplanting that has directed his steps to this point in his journey. Jacob is beginning the dance of becoming Israel, and it isn’t a short dancing lesson. And from this Peniel revelation within Jacob, now on his journey to becoming Israel, he is allowed to be the father of ‘ben yamin’; the right to be the son. Rachel becomes pregnant from her prophecy “God will add another son”. Gen. 35: 16-18; “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: [ohn; Strong’s # H202-206]. This small word has been used prolifically throughout the Old Testament Hebrew, and it gets translated a number of different ways, but all have a negative, or negating, connotation. This word is translated most often as ‘iniquity’. It is a reference to a quality of life that is seen as inferior, or distorted or less than exemplary. It is obvious from this word that Rachel was lamenting that her ‘iniquity’ had produced this hard birthing in which she died. She called her ‘added’ son the son of her iniquity; but his father called him Ben-yamin.” The Hebrew ‘yamin’, Strong’s # H3225, is often used to indicate the ‘right’ versus the ‘left’, although the nature of this word ‘yamin’ is much more complex than just ‘right’ or ‘left’. When translating this concept into western languages, it most often has the word ‘hand’ added to the text. However, rarely is the Hebrew word ‘yad’, the hand, ever included in the original text to specify specifically it is referring to a ‘right hand’, versus a left hand. There are a few such instances, but not many. By translating this word ‘yamin’ as ‘right hand’ gives a much skewed understanding of the worth of this word ‘yamin’. Jacob, now contending with his ‘Peniel’ and ‘Israel’ revelations, refused to allow his son to be referred to as ‘iniquitous’, but rather the son of his ‘right’. Jacob is now seeing himself, and his world, through different eyes, and his character is beginning to show the influence of these influences. Jacob did not ‘cheat’ Esau out of the birthright blessing. Esau offered to sell a responsibility that he despised. Jacob did, however, go along with his mother’s scheme to deceive Isaac into blessing Jacob, thinking he was blessing Esau. And for this previous act of deceit that his mother conjured up, there would be pain and anguish that he would have to endure on his journey to ‘Israel’. Just as do we all in our journey to Christ. In Christ we are all seated, in our Christ mind, at the Right of God. I have often wondered if the ‘left hand’ of God is inferior to the ‘right hand’ of God. But the ‘Right’ of God, Our Father, is the position of coming to know Our Father’s Heart, and Mind, and manifesting His nature is the Right thing for His Son, Christ, to do.
Shalom and Shalom, Y’all and may the Right of God be the way you see yourself for ever more.