Studies in Torah

Genesis 28:10-32:3: Is it better to learn through mistakes?

“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12 NASB)

Ya’akov returns to Bethel, called Luz at this time. Jewish tradition says this is the same place as Mt. Moriah but the Torah does not say that. Yerushalayim, where Mt. Moriah is located, was never called Luz. There is only one Bethel in the Promised Land.

He sees the ladder, Earth, Heaven and the angels going back and forth.

  • Ladder: Messiah (John 1)
  • Earth: Ya’akov
  • Heaven: Promise

How do we know the ladder is our Messiah Yeshua? Yeshua says so Himself in John 1:

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and *said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He *said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”” (John 1:47–51 NASB)

There is only one way to enter heaven, through Yeshua, the Ladder! Yeshua is the only way humanity can connect to God.

“And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Yitzak; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”” (Genesis 28:13–15 NASB)

Ya’akov and his descendants are the earth. They are made from the dust of the earth. Their promise comes straight from heaven. God gave Abraham land, but it was not the earth made by man but the land made by God. The same promise given to Abraham is given to Ya’akov.

This promise extended not only to Ya’akov in his lifetime but it is also stretching out all of Ya’akov’s descendants.

One covenant does not cancel out a prior covenant. They overlap.

Ya’akov realizes that what he saw was a vision, not a dream. Ya’akov knows that God talks to him in dreams and visions and Ya’akov knows that every dream or vision that God gave him came true. Ya’akov also looked to see which one of his sons would have this same gift in the future.

“Then Ya’akov went on his journey, and came to the land of the sons of the east.” (Genesis 29:1 NASB)

Ya’akov is running from his brother, from his possible death and this vision gave Ya’akov a lot of encouragement. Ya’akov ran away from home with nothing, like a fugitive. He had a rock for a pillow, no supplies, no clothing.

But after this vision, he is walking on air, full of hope.

“When Ya’akov saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Ya’akov went up and rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother.” (Genesis 29:10 NASB)

Ya’akov was able to lift a large stone that would normally take multiple men to move all by himself. He was not a scrawny wimp. He was Esau’s twin.

This vignette of Ya’akov and Rachel is a story of Messiah. Let’s look at the symbols here.

  • Well=grave
  • Water=life
  • Father in law’s sheep=God’s people

“And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face.” (Genesis 29:17 NASB)

We don’t’ know if Leah was extremely near-sided or if this is something else about Leah’s appearance. Either way Ya’akov found Rachel more appealing than Leah.

There’s no reason to believe that Laban didn’t intend to give Rachel to Ya’akov all along, after all, Laban had seven years to find a husband for Leah but as the time more closely approached, Laban decided to deceive Ya’akov instead because he wasn’t able to get Leah married off during that time.

Leah must have agreed to the deception. This deception would never have been successful if Leah hadn’t gone along with it. Leah was not innocent in this. You don’t accidentally marry your sister’s fiancé.

This story of deception should sound familiar. Rivkah and Ya’akov had deceived Yitzak years before.

  • Yitzak was deceived by Rivkah and Ya’akov and Esau was the victim.
  • Ya’akov was deceived by Laban and Leah and Rakhel was the victim.

Rivkah knew that what Yitzak wanted to go was against God’s will and was not in God’s interest.

Ya’akov could have declined the deception but he went along with it.

God did not tell Rivkah to do this. God did not tell Laban to do what he did either. God did not create the deception but He can use it.

When you do things by your own strength bad things happen.

“Then Ya’akov took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white stripes in them, exposing the white which was in the rods.” (Genesis 30:37 NASB)

When you have an abundance of food, there is more fertility. A starving animal will not conceive or give birth. Humans are the same way. Animals and humans need nutrition.

These barks when wet smell like sweet grass, which gave the animals the impression that there is lots of food so they will all ovulate at the same time. Any sheep, goat or cattle rancher want to time the births so they will be born at the best time for market. It’s called animal husbandry. Early sheep are heartier and healthier than later sheep.

God used basic genetics and knowledge of recessive traits to enrich Ya’akov and this is what God told Ya’akov in the vision.

Ya’akov was doing his job very well but Laban thought Ya’akov was deceptive because that is Laban’s nature. Later, Laban had to acknowledge that much of the blessing that Ya’akov received was because of God’s care.

God’s camp

After 20 years, Ya’akov takes his wife, children and herds and flees Laban to Mt. Gilead. Then after he reached an agreement with Laban, he continues onto Mananim.

“Ya’akov said when he saw them, ‘This is God’s camp.’ So he named that place Mahanaim.” (Genesis 32:2 NASB)

What are the two camps? This is not the last time this place shows up in Scripture. There are two camps in this world. Those who follow God and His Messiah and those who follow death. This is a separation of flesh and spirit. There’s a separation of death and life.

Ephraim = Northern Israel = fleshly Ya’akov

The haftarah section today focuses on Hosea. Ephraim is living likely the fleshly Ya’akov, not the spiritual Ya’akov, and God is not happy.

“Ephraim surrounds Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.

Ephraim feeds on wind, And pursues the east wind continually; He multiplies lies and violence. Moreover, he makes a covenant with Assyria, And oil is carried to Egypt. The LORD also has a dispute with Judah, And will punish Ya’akov according to his ways; He will repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he took his brother by the heel, And in his maturity he contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel And there He spoke with us, Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name. Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress. And Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they will find in me No iniquity, which would be sin.” But I have been the LORD your God since the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, As in the days of the appointed festival. I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables. Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, Yes, their altars are like the stone heaps Beside the furrows of the field.

Now Ya’akov fled to the land of Aram, And Israel worked for a wife, And for a wife he kept sheep. But by a prophet the LORD brought Israel from Egypt, And by a prophet he was kept. Ephraim has provoked to bitter anger; So his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him And bring back his reproach to him.” (Hosea 11:12–12:14 NASB)

Ephraim are choosing their own way, grabbing the heel, manipulating blessings and God rebukes this. Hosea sees the difference between Ya’akov living in the flesh and Ya’akov living in the spirit. When Ya’akov “worked for a wife” for seven years, that humbled Ya’akov. That brought his flesh low. Ya’akov was for all intents and purposes, Laban’s slave for all that time.

Ephraim is choosing to live like Ya’akov in the flesh and God will leave them to the results of that path.

Speaker: Daniel. Summary: Tammy. 

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