Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 29, and we will begin with Genesis 29:1-8:
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the flocks: and a great stone was upon the well's mouth. And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in his place. And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran are we. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, We know him. And he said unto them, Is he well? And they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.
I will stop reading there. We are following Jacob in his journey. He has just left the land of Canaan, his home of the Promised Land, and he has come to Haran. It tells us in Genesis 29:1:
Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east.
The Hebrew word translated as “east” is Strong’s #6924, and it is a rather unusual Hebrew word because this word is not only translated as “east,” but it is also translated as “old,” “ancient,” “eternal,” “everlasting,” and so forth. It is actually translated as “old” several times. Let us take a look at a couple of them. It says in Deuteronomy 33:27:
The eternal God is thy refuge…
And the word “eternal” is a translation of this word that is translated as “east.”
Or, it is used in Micah 5, a Messianic reference to the birth of Christ. It says in Micah 5:2:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
The word “old” is this word for “east.” Could we understand that to mean “of the east?” No – I do not think so. I think the translators translated this correctly, as “ancientness” is in view because the next statement says, “from everlasting,” so they could not translate it as “from the east, of everlasting.” It was more appropriate to translate this as “of old.”
This same Hebrew word is also translated as “east” a few times in Genesis 29 where we are currently studying, but it is also used in Zechariah 13:4:
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…
That is our word. So it is legitimately translated as “east,” it seems, and legitimately translated as “ancient” or “old.” I think the way we can understand this is by recognizing that there is another Hebrew word that is translated as “east,” and it is also in this verse in Zechariah 13:4:
… and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west…
This word “east” is Strong’s #4217, a completely different word, and this word tends to be used when the actual direction of the east is in view. For example, it says in Psalm 103:12:
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Here, God is indicating two directions, east and west, and as far as east is from west, the transgressions or sins of His elect are removed from them, and that is because the east and west never meet. So the sins that God has washed away will never be brought up again to the elect.
This word, #4217, is more common to indicate direction. The word back in Genesis 29:1 where we read of the land of the people of the “east” is Strong’s #6924, and it is related to Strong’s #6923. This word, #6923, means to “come before,” “go before,” or even “flee before.” It is also translated as “prevent” which is the Old English word for “proceed.” For example, Strong’s #6923 is found in Psalm 68:25:
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after…
So it has to do with the forefront or going forward or that which is before you, and when that idea is related to “time,” what has come before us? Our parents, our forefathers, our ancestors and those which were of old, and I think that this is where the relationship to “old,” “ancient,” “eternal” or “everlasting” is coming from, because this word for “east,” #6924, identifies with that which is before or has come before.
So, again, it said, “Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east,” or the people of old, the people who had come before. And, of course, they were the people of Abraham. Abraham came out of Ur of the Chaldees and went to Haran, and then he entered into the Promised Land, so they were his people. They were the people of Jacob’s mother Rebekah, her family, and people of old. And I think that is probably a more accurate way of understanding this reference to the “east.”
It continues to say in Genesis 29:2:
And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it…
The number “three” is the number indicating “purpose of God.” And there were flocks of sheep by a well. What could that signify? When we search the Bible, it is not that difficult for us to recognize it because this is a familiar picture the Bible draws regarding wells of water, and the water provided to flocks or to people is a picture of the water of the Gospel. It is not the same word, but Isaiah 12 speaks of “wells of salvation,” and that is the same idea. So we find Jacob coming to a well in a field. And if we draw on the parable in Matthew 13 where Jesus explained that the field is the world, it provides the spiritual definition for that Biblical word, and spiritual definition is the language of the kingdom of God, which is spiritual. So God has defined His own terms in the Bible, and when we find that kind of definition, we typically see that it is helpful in many other places in the Bible, and not just in that parable. And I think it is helpful here. There is a well in the world; that is, the Word of God, the Gospel, is in the world, is it not? The world has Bibles. So at the time of the end or the time when Jacob’s sojourn begins, would spiritually identify with 1994, a Jubilee Year, in which the captives are to be set free. It is the time, because now he has come out of Canaan. He has left the corporate church, spiritually speaking, as he typifies the elect. Of course, he can also be a figure of Christ who has departed out of the midst of the congregations and gone out into the world, and in the world, there is a well – there is the Gospel. There is the Word of God, and the world is the location wherein God intended to pour out the Latter Rain to save the great multitude out of Great Tribulation.
So Jacob came to this well in the field and there were three flocks of sheep lying by it, because everything necessary was in place. The Bible was out in the world. You know, God made arrangements and preparation for the salvation of that great multitude. He raised up the electronic medium, and that was a new thing, relatively speaking. It had only been around for decades, but it was advancing incredibly fast, and God raised it up because He would abandon them and not work through them. Their work had been necessary for the 1,955 years of the church age, and that was the way that God saved the firstfruits, but for the final fruits, He would not use the churches and congregations. He would use His people by giving them truth and opening up their eyes of spiritual understanding so we would have a better grasp of the true Gospel of the Bible regarding God’s true salvation program – more than anyone that had come before us. God would purify the teaching of His Word, the doctrine of His Scriptures. And He would use a handful of few, His elect, in a ministry like Family Radio, as God opened up the doors of the electronic medium, primarily, for the Word to go out through radio, internet, television and all these electronic means. So that means the Gospel went out into the world, and it was actually blanketing the nations of the world in their languages, and apart from the churches. God had made all preparation and the sheep were right there out in the world – all those that had been predestinated and chosen to salvation, and those for whom Christ had paid for their sins before the foundation of the world. God had obligated Himself to save them, and they would become saved through the hearing of the Bible.
So that is the picture that God is establishing here, where the well is in place and the sheep are in place. But there is one problem. There is a stone upon the mouth of the well, and this also fits in with the timeline, does it not? We know that the Word was sealed until the time of the end, and once we reached the time of the end, God took the seal off His Word.
Of course, we know that this is an historical account, and it is telling us of Jacob and his visit to Haran on this particular day. We know that the day before, the well was sealed, and they took the stone away, watered the flocks and put the stone back. They would do that every day, but that is not the point. This is the picture God is giving, and it is the illustration that God is providing of Jacob, just as he came out of the Promised Land, just as we could zoom forward to the time when he would be 130 (70 years in the future), and there was a famine in the land, and he would be there for two years. And then God would draw him out of the land of Canaan, once again, as Joseph would orchestrate events and reveals himself to his brethren, and Jacob and his family left Canaan to go into Egypt under the care and protection of Joseph, and he opened the storehouses and they were fed. That is the Word that was sealed up.
And it is a remarkably similar picture to this account in Genesis 29, as Jacob came from Canaan. Again, he was fleeing for his life. We do not have to go through all the events of the last chapter that fill out the whole picture and provide the spiritual context for his flight into Haran, but it is a similar picture to when he would leave Canaan and go into Egypt 70 years in the future when it was the time of the Great Tribulation. Actually, it was the midst of the Great Tribulation, as those first two years of the seven-year famine would point to the first part of the Great Tribulation of the 2,300 evening mornings, which was a grievous period, and then his leaving Canaan and entering into Egypt for the last five years of the famine, in which there was bread in Egypt, depicts the Latter Rain.
So, yes, Jacob came to Haran and the stone was upon the mouth of the well because God had to make this point. And, again, do not get caught up in the distinction between 1988 and 1994 when drawing spiritual pictures like this, because we cannot just “pinpoint” and have perfect accuracy with every figure, and we have talked about that before. He was not in Haran for awfully long at all, as far as we can tell from the account. He could have been there fifteen minutes, and the stone was removed. But that is the idea. As soon as he got to Haran, there would be access to water, but water was not available prior to his arrival. Of course, it is just a matter of timing that they were waiting, and they told Joseph, for example, in Genesis 29:7-10:
And he said, Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go and feed them. And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and till they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep. And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. 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.
You see, they were waiting for all the sheep to be gathered, and that is also teaching a spiritual truth, as Rachel’s flock would be the fourth flock. There were already three flocks waiting by the well, and hers would be the fourth, and the number “four” points to universality or a worldwide scope or emphasis. So this is really typifying all the sheep that are out in the world where the Bible is. And, again, we have all the ingredients. We have the Word of God, the Bible, as typified by the well. We have four flocks of sheep that have come to the well for water. And then when all four flocks were present…especially, Rachel and her sheep. And that is significant because we must keep in mind that later on Jacob would marry Leah and Rachel, and Leah would have six sons, plus two sons by her handmaid, for a total of eight sons. Rachel would have two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, and two sons by her handmaid, for a total of four sons. Do you see the relationship? There were eight sons of Leah, and four sons of Rachel, because Leah and Rachel insist that the children born to their handmaids were their children. And that is a one third/two thirds ratio, one third for Rachel and two thirds for Leah, just as God uses the figure of “one third” to point to the elect.
So Rachel coming with her flock is an emphasis on the fact that these sheep are representing the few, the elect that God intends to save. As soon as she showed up with her flock, Jacob (here, a type of Christ) rolled away the stone and watered the flock. So we will look at the removal of the stone in our next study, but given the timing that Jacob is 60 and it is the beginning of the 40-year period…and, again, that 40 years points to the beginning point of 1994, the Jubilee, when the Latter Rain began. And the Latter Rain is “water.” And, here, the stone was removed as soon as Jacob showed up in Haran, and water was available for the flocks. It would point to the opening of the Scriptures and the taking away of the seals, simultaneously with the outpouring of the Latter Rain. That is not to say that the seals were not removed back in 1988 or that God was not opening up certain information from 1988 to 1994. Again, we cannot get too particular with these kinds of points of emphasis. It is just a picture that is teaching us that in 1994 and thereafter, especially in the time of the Latter Rain, the seals were off the Bible, and the Word of God was revealing doctrines that were purified teachings of the Bible. It would be more accurate and more faithful to what the Bible is teaching. And as a result of this pure form of the Gospel being proclaimed outside of the churches, primarily through the electronic medium, God would accomplish great salvation for those He had obligated Himself to save.