Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis 31, and we will read Genesis 31:1-3:
And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before. And JEHOVAH said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.
I will stop reading there. We have been looking at this strange account of the last contract between Jacob and his father-in-law Laban concerning work for the cattle, and how Jacob specified that he would work six years and his pay would be the cattle that matched certain physical characteristics. They would belong to him, and those that did not have those characteristics would continue to belong to Laban, but Jacob would tend the cattle.
Apparently, the characteristics were kind of rare, so Laban made the deal and felt pretty good about it. But then Jacob peeled rods from different types of trees so that the “white” would appear, and he put the rods in front of the cattle at the watering troughs. And the cattle were “in heat,” and they came to drink before the rods, and it turned out that a great many of these cattle were born with these characteristics and, therefore, belonged to Jacob.
We have seen how the rods identify with the Word of God, and even the pilling (peeling) of them to show the “white” fits in with the revealing of Satan. (Remember, Laban’s name means “white.”) And the pilling revealed Satan, and it was at the time of the Great Tribulation and God’s judgment on the corporate church that Satan was revealed to be the “man of sin” or the “antichrist.” He is the abomination of desolation that was standing in the holy place.
So this all fits in with this very interesting historical parable that paints a picture of things that have already happened. We have already seen all of this take place over the course of the 23 years of the Great Tribulation when the Lord Jesus turned over the flock of the corporate church to Satan, just as the original flock that Jacob had looked over was turned over to Laban and his sons. Then there was the salvation of the great multitude outside of the churches. It was another flock: “…more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife,” as it says in Isaiah 54:1. And in another place, it refers to “the children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other,” and the tent would have to be enlarged because of that great multitude coming in as God saved the great multitude out of Great Tribulation.
So we see all this illustrated for us in this unusual scene of the cattle conceiving before the rods. Then we read that when the cattle were “stronger,” Jacob put in the rods, and it resulted in the stronger cattle belonging to him. And when the cattle were “feebler,” he did not put in the rods, so the feebler cattle were Laban’s. We discussed how the word “strong” identifies with God’s elect, and the word “feeble” identifies with the unsaved. It has to do with those that are sick, diseased, or weak, and it points to “sin sickness,” which results in feebleness, a fainting for lack of bread and water, as we saw in Lamentations 2.
But here in Genesis 31, it says in Genesis 31:1:
And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
Jacob was hearing the gossip. He was hearing these things. They were probably not being too secretive about it. They were upset. And then it says in Genesis 31:2:
And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Knowing Laban and his deceitfulness and the fact that he had already changed Jacob’s wages ten times, Jacob was certainly considering that Laban would do it again. He would change the deal and take the cattle, so Jacob developed a plan to flee with the cattle, and his wives and children, and he would leave Haran. And we will see that Laban and his sons pursued after them.
And, again, that reminds us of when Israel came out of Egypt. God had plagued Egypt and commanded Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Remember that we talked about that and the similarity between Jacob’s service to Laban and Israel’s service to Pharaoh in Egypt. That is when we first began to notice that Laban must be a type of Satan.
You know, since that observation, things have been falling into place regarding the “pilling of the rods” and the revealing of Satan. We never would have known that if we did not understand that Laban can identify with Satan.
Normally that is what happens when we are on the right track. When we have one spiritual understanding that is correct, it tends to lead to others. I know I did not have any idea what was going on here. I have read the Bible many times and I have read this account many times, and I have never heard anyone lay out this spiritual meaning of these rods being placed before the cattle at the watering troughs, and the pilling of the rods. As far as I am aware, it has never previously been understood. This is new information that God has revealed, and it is just “flowing” now. Sometimes we get into a passage, and we may struggle with it. That happened recently regarding the mandrakes and Rachel and Leah, and it was hard to see a spiritual meaning.
But now, by God’s grace, we have this insight into Laban, and it is really helping us. It helped for most of chapter 30, and now it is helping with chapter 31 regarding Laban’s sons, which would be Satan’s emissaries. Ultimately, the children of Satan are all unsaved mankind that are of their father the devil. And when the sones of Laban said, “Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory,” it sounds familiar. We could almost say, “Here we go again.” Jacob, the supplanter, is taking away the glory. It is interesting that they used that word “glory.” Jacob has taken away all that was their father’s, and Jacob has gotten all the glory.
But first, let us think about Jacob having “taken away.” Where have we heard that before? We read about it in Genesis 27:32-36:
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
So Jacob had taken away the birthright and the blessing that was originally intended for his brother Esau, and if you remember, we spent some time discussing that, and we saw how Esau’s name is Edom, and Edom is basically the name for “Adam.” Once we recognized that, we could understand the statement that was made to Rebekah about two manner of people, or two nations, in her womb, which represent the nations of the world and the “nations of them which are saved.” They are the saved and the unsaved. The elect and the non-elect are the two manner of people. And Esau is a picture of Adam, and mankind was first because he was the original (earthly) son of God. We saw that in the genealogy in the book of Luke where it goes through the ancestry from father to son, and then when it gets back to Adam, it says, “which was the son of God.” Adam, the firstborn son of God created of this world. He was created good and given dominion over the earth. It was his earth or his world. And yet, Adam fell into sin, and Satan took dominion over the earth. That is why we read in Luke 4:5-6:
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
All the kingdoms of the world had been delivered to him because he won it by right of conquest back in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, who did they obey? They obeyed the Devil, the Serpent. And Romans 6 explains that we are servants to whom we obey, so they became in bondage or servitude to Satan. So Satan was Adam’s master, so all that had belonged to Adam was his, and it was the kingdom of Satan, not the kingdom of Adam or man. Unsaved man would serve Satan and bow the knee to him until there was the Supplanter. In the first instance, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who supplanted and got the victory, and His people are in Him as the elect of God that were chosen to receive it. We then can step forward instead of Adam and receive the blessing. We receive the inheritance, and we have “taken away.” It is really the Lord Jesus that has taken away, and then given it to us, but it can also be said that we have “taken away” the blessing, the birthright, and the riches. We are taking away the whole earth from the one that was originally supposed to get it. And that is why Jacob, the second-born twin, supplanted his brother.
We see that in a few instances in the Bible where it is not the firstborn that gets the blessing, as was also true of Rueben, but it is another that comes forward and gets it. And this is happening in a similar way in Genesis 31 as Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons saying, “Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.” They were saying, “He is robbing us. He is supplanting us. It belongs to us.” From the world’s perspective (as the enemies of God), they do not acknowledge God’s right to give it to whom He will. They see it as theirs. And yet, God sees them as rebellious sons that have sinned against Him, and He is not about to bless them by giving them eternal riches. Yes – God is gracious and kind and merciful in giving (unsaved) man many earthly, temporal blessings and riches, but they are not eternal. That is reserved for His elect people, typified by Jacob.
I think we can really see what is in view with Laban’s sons bemoaning that Jacob has taken away all that was their fathers in the idea that the elect will take away this earth, if we go to Psalm 37:9:
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon JEHOVAH, they shall inherit the earth.
Also, it says in Psalm 37:22:
For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
Then of course, it says in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:5:
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
The “meek,” or the elect, will inherit the earth. And since the earth is occupied, it means there has to be a supplanting, with the people of God coming forward to receive what these others have possessed. And that is another reason why God in the Old Testament commanded Joshua and the Israelites that came out of Egypt to go into the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, and evict the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and destroy them. That is a historical parable of God uprooting the people of the world, taking away their initial inheritance of ruling over this earth, and then giving it to Joshua (whose name is the same as Jesus, and who was a clear type of Christ) and giving it to the people of Joshua, who was Israel. And Jacob would have his name changed to “Israel,” and Jacob would inherit the Promised Land. He will receive it, and the inhabitants of Canaan could have said the very words that the sons of Laban said: “Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.”
Now let us talk about “glory,” because we wonder why that word is used. As I mentioned, it is referring back to everything that was taken away – the wealth, the riches, the cattle. If you possessed all those cattle, you would have been a wealthy or rich man. We saw when we read Luke 4 that Satan possessed all the kingdoms of this world “and the glory of them.” So that is one aspect that would fit in, which are the riches of the earth itself that the people of God will receive.
But also, as God views the world, He looks at those He has saved as being extremely valuable, likened to “gold, silver, precious stones.” We also have that parable where the man found treasure in a field, and he went and sold all that he had and bought the field. And we know that the “treasure” in the field is pointing to God’s elect. God has a very high estimation of those that He has saved. He has valued us in an extremely grand way because the price paid for the elect was the blood of Christ. It was the life of God. Christ made payment for the sins of His people, purchasing us with His own life blood. That is, it required that He die and experience “hell” or the grave for His people, in order that they would become His and belong to Him, and He would be able to take them out of this world, just as Jacob will take away these cattle away from Laban and away from Haran, and he will take them back to Canaan, which represents the kingdom of God. So, certainly, when God looks at those He has saved, He sees great riches, and there is glory attached to it. There is a tremendous amount of glory involved in God’s salvation program, and we can relate this to God’s spiritual house in Psalm 49:16-17:
Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
Here, the “glory” would apply to the man of the world because his glory is not following, but notice how where it says, “when one is made rich,” it is tied to the “glory of his house is increased.” And we know that God was building His house all throughout time, “whose house are we,” and 1Peter 2 refers to a “spiritual house,” and those who become saved as “living stones built up a spiritual house.” So the increase of that house is an increase of riches. In other words, the salvation of the great multitude increased the riches of the house of God to its utmost because by the end of the Great Tribulation, He had saved that great multitude, everyone He had intended to save whose name was recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. All these can be likened to “gold, silver, precious stones,” or to the treasure that was hidden in the field. So as God completed His salvation program, the riches and glory of His house increased to its maximum limit, and that would be in view on the spiritual level in Genesis 31. Let me read one more verse in Romans 9:23:
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
It is the riches of His glory, and it has to do with the saving of His elect people.