Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 28, and we going to be reading Genesis 28:1-5:
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
I will stop there. We are moving along in this historical account. We know that a terrible separation has taken place after Jacob received the blessing, and Esau purposed in his heart to kill his brother. His mother Rebekah became aware of it and commanded Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran. In the last chapter, Rebekah had said to Isaac in Genesis 27:46:
And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Now this is often how it works in marriage when the wife comes to the husband, and she has something that she feels strongly about, and the wife is able to express that to the husband. And there is no way that the husband can do anything but relate to it and agree, and say, “OK, we will do it.” But, here, we do not have to think that Rebekah was “twisting Isaac’s arm,” because Isaac would certainly have seen the wisdom of this as well, especially when Rebekah brought up the daughters of Heth, the daughters of the land. If Jacob were to take a wife from among them, it would be extremely grievous. Remember we saw that when Esau was 40 years old, it said in Genesis 26:34-35:
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
So both (Isaac and Rebekah) were familiar with the situation they were in, the land they lived in, and the type of people they were among. They were not godly people. These were people at that time that were serving and worshipping other gods. You know, the Bible makes it very clear that the people of God are to marry people of God. Elect are to marry elect, and we are not to be “unequally yoked,” and we have discussed this from time to time, because already in the beginning chapters of the Bible, the Lord has stressed that point repeatedly. Prior to the flood, in Genesis 6, it was that sin, in particular, that provoked Him to wrath. And we cannot help but notice the similarity with the historical situation when Abraham sent his servant to Haran (to seek a wife for Isaac), exactly as Isaac said to Jacob in Genesis 28:1:
And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him…
The Hebrew word that is translated as “charged” is a Hebrew word that is translated as “command” over 500 times. This was a command. And in our last study in the previous chapter, we looked at the father and mother: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother.” And we saw how that relates to God as the Father and to the Word of God as a figure of the mother, so obeying and honoring parents has everything to do with obedience to the Word of God, on the spiritual level. And, here, Isaac, a type of Christ, called Jacob, who is a dual picture of either the Lord Jesus or the elect. And Christ is God, so this is a picture of God blessing him and commanding him, as it says in Genesis 28:1-2:
… and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.
It is a very specific, direct command, and it is also a dual commandment. First, the command is a negative command: “Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.” And, second, it is a positive command: “…and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.” This reminds us with the strong similarity we see back in Genesis 24:1-4:
And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and JEHOVAH had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by JEHOVAH, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
The similarity is unmistakable. And, of course, this also adds to the decision that Isaac made. He full well knew the history of how he obtained his bride. Where did Rebekah come from? She came from the land of Haran, the same place that he and Rebekah determine that Jacob must go to find a wife. We see that Abraham, a type of God the Father, sent his servant. We spent a long time in Genesis 24 going over this and how that servant can be a picture of Christ or a picture of the elect as we are sent forth with the Gospel. And I say that it is a picture of both Christ and the elect because we know the Scripture that says, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” And there is another Scripture saying almost the very same thing, but it changes the word “them” to “him.” “How beautiful…are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good…” That is because when God sent forth the Gospel, He sent forth His people who carried the message over the course of the church age, for example. At the same time, since we are the body of Christ and it is Christ working in us and we are carrying the Word, who is Christ, it is Christ doing it as well. And, actually, He gets the glory for the work that the people of God perform in sharing the Gospel which saved the elect among the people of the world that came into the churches during the church age and formed the “bride.” And that is why the servant brought a bride back for Isaac. Of course, Isaac is a picture of Christ.
So we see the close similarity with what is happening in Genesis 28, except that time has moved on, and now it is Isaac sending Jacob. The similarities would be that they were both commanded not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. They were both commanded to go forth and take a wife (of the daughters of Laban). The task was to find a wife. And, actually, the similarities will continue because the servant, in Genesis 24, came to the land of Haran, and the first thing he did was to go to a well of water. Remember that he had this inner counsel with the Lord, and he said to let the maiden be the one who comes and offer him drink and drink for his camels, and Rebekah did that very thing. When we get to Genesis 29, Jacob will go right to the same well, and there he will meet Rachel. Just as he will come to the well, here will come Rachel. And just as that servant came to the well many decades earlier, there was Rebekah to offer him drink. So the similarities are very strong.
The differences are that in Genesis 24, the servant went and found the bride, and he went to Laban and the house of Bethuel, and they wanted to hinder his return and delay the taking of Rebekah, but the servant was insistent, saying that they had to get going because he did not want to keep his master waiting. So it was relatively fast that he found the bride and returned with the bride. Overall, we do not know how long the journey took. Certainly, it would have taken some time to travel there with the caravan and all the gifts they brought, and they spent some time at the house, and then they made the return trip. But that was nothing compared to the trip Jacob was about to take. He would go and meet Rachel at the well. He would go back to her house. He was already smitten with her, and he made a deal to work seven years in order to marry Rachel. We read in Hosea 12:12:
And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.
That was the job. Laban agreed that in seven years Jacob could have Rachel to wife. But Laban was deceitful and after seven years, he gave Leah to Jacob. Then Jacob went to him and said, “What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel?” Laban pointed out that it was the custom in their country to give the eldest daughter, but he agreed to give him Rachel if he worked seven more years. So that is fourteen years. But we know when we go through the account that Jacob ended up spending 40 years in Haran before he left with his wives, his children and his flocks, and returned to the land of Canaan.
I mentioned in the last study that the blessing bestowed on Jacob by Isaac and the decision to give the blessing to Jacob over Esau, plus Esau’s realization that he did not receive the blessing. fits in with the time of the end (of the world). We also saw in the situation between Cain and Abel that the Bible indicates (with the statement in Genesis 4:3, “in the end of days”), a terrible division, with one brother lashing out at the other brother to kill at the time of the end. It is just as Esau is a picture of the corporate church, in one sense, that lashes out at its brothers (the tares lashing out at the wheat) when God would make it known regarding the revealing of the distinction between them – the wheat becomes evident and the tares become evident – and one brother seeks to kill the other brother.
And I also mentioned the 40 years, which fits in with the end stage of earth’s history that the Biblical timeline of history has laid out for us, beginning with 1994, the Jubilee Year. That is significant because it was a jubilee and the time of the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Latter Rain, when God determined to save the remaining number of elect on the earth that were outside of the churches and congregations. That turned out to be a great multitude, according to the Biblical language, and far more than were ever saved within the churches during the church age, even though the Latter Rain was a relatively short period of about 17 years, from September 7, 1994 to May 21, 2011. Anyway, the time from 1994 to 2033 is 40 inclusive years.
So we had a point in 1994 where we can trace the official end of the church age, and it was really at that time that the Lord began to separate the wheat and the tares. And later in time, He opened up the Scriptures further to reveal the actual end of the church age doctrine and the command to the people of God to come out. How else can we say that? We were to “flee to the mountains,” as it says in Matthew 24:15-16: “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation…Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”
That was the command given to Jacob. He was commanded to go to Haran. Hosea 12:12 says that he “fled” to Syria. Why did he have to flee? It was because his brother was seeking to kill him. Why did the elect have to come out of the churches? Well, they were being driven out of the churches and congregations anyway, as it says in John 16:2: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” God likens that to “killing,” spiritually. To be driven out is to be “killed,” and the elect were being driven out by the false gospels and the terrible waves of false doctrines and awful apostacy that was taking place in the churches and congregations. We were being spiritually “killed,” and then God finally revealed, “It is fine that you are coming out. As a matter of fact, I command you to come out, and go out into the world, and there the Gospel will still be occurring, and the Latter Rain is falling, and salvation is taking place there. There is blessing, and there you will be blessed.”
It is just as Jacob was being sent out of the land of Canaan and, “Go find a wife,” was the command, and find a wife has everything to do with salvation, spiritually. When we seek a wife for Jacob, it is a similar to the picture of seeking a wife for Isaac, and it represents the wife of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is typifying the bride of Christ – Christ is the bridegroom, and those that become saved are the bride. And, significantly, this is like a “repeat,” for the second time in just a few chapters. It reminds us of Sarah being taken captive – first, by Pharaoh, and then by Abimelech, the Philistine king. And we saw how the deliverance of Sarah on two occasions pictured the Holy Spirit being sent forth twice, with two periods of “rain,” the early rain and the Latter Rain.
So now this is the second time that someone has been sent to Haran with the command to find a bride, so the difference would be the timeline given. The Bible, ultimately, provides the overall timetable of 40 years, which is much longer. Earlier, we were not given exact dates. But the importance of this is that it would be the second time, and we can tie it into the year 1994, and then calculate from there, and it leads to another year, 2033, that the Biblical evidence is pointing to, with the gathering of the wife and bringing her back to Canaan when Jacob was 100 years old (after 40 years), and that would represent the completeness of time. And he left with a multitude of flocks and with the bride, which would point to that great multitude that was saved out of Great Tribulation over the course of the time of the end.
It is also not an accident or coincidence that God is commanding people to feed His sheep in these days of judgment. First, there was the sheep gathering period of the Latter Rain, and “sheep” and the “bride” are synonymous. If we go back, again, to Hosea 12, we can see how God links the two, in Hosea 12:12:
And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.
That is exactly what he did. He literally served for a wife by keeping sheep. So God is tying together the “wife” and “sheep.” Now that is not meant as an insult to wives in any sense. The Bible uses all kinds of types and figures, and one figure of God’s elect is the wife. Another figure of God’s elect are sheep. Both are representing the same thing. And the Lord is the bridegroom, and we are the bride. He is the Shepherd, and we are the sheep. That is the language of the Bible. When Jacob goes there, he will have his bride and his multitude of sheep, and he will leave. On both counts, it is pointing to the Lord Jesus completing His salvation program and, finally, bringing them all back to the kingdom of God, the Promised Land, wherein they will live for all eternity future.
One other difference is that in Genesis, Abraham sent a servant. Again, that servant represented the Lord Jesus Christ, but he was not the son Isaac. Abraham sent a servant to carry out the mission. In Genesis 28, Isaac is sending Jacob, his son. Isaac did not go to his servants, as he would have had servants also, and find the most faithful servant and send him. This time he is sending the son. So that makes us wonder, “Why the difference? Why the difference in Jacob personally going to find the wife?” I think the answer to that can be found in Ezekiel 34, but we are not going to have time to look at this fully. But it says in Ezekiel 34:10, we are basically reading about the end of the church age, where it says in Ezekiel 34:10:
Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
That is what God did when He ended the church age. He took away authority and the task of the pastors and all churches from feeding the flock. Then it says in Ezekiel 34:11-12:
For thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
We do not have time to continue reading here, but we will pick this up in our next study, and we will see that God Himself, the Lord JEHOVAH, said that He will feed His sheep. That is, it would be a much more intimate situation than previously when shepherds were commissioned to feed the sheep and take care of the sheep.