Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
As we read Jacob's record in the book of Genesis, we need to remember that the whole Bible is the word of life. The Bible contains teachings, stories, prophecies, and types, most of which apparently are unrelated to life. But since the whole Bible is the word of God as life, we should not consider the stories in the Bible as mere stories. We must look to the Lord that He might show us the life in all the stories. Most Christians have considered the stories in the book of Genesis merely as stories, neglecting the life found in them. When we were young, many of us enjoyed hearing the stories in the Bible. Undoubtedly, the stories in the Bible are the best. May the Lord give us a way to receive the nourishment of life in all the stories in the Bible.
We have pointed out that as far as the experience of life is concerned, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph should not be considered as four separate individuals. In the experience of life, these four persons are one complete unit. In Abraham, we see God's calling, justification by faith, living by faith in God, and living in fellowship with God. But in the experience of God there are not only God's calling, justification, faith, and fellowship; we also have been selected and predestinated. In Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob we see various aspects of the experience of life. Only by putting these three people together with Joseph do we see the completion of the experience of life. We have seen that Jacob needs Joseph to complete him. The New Testament reveals clearly that we have been predestinated to be the sons of God (Eph. 1:5), even the royal sons of God. All God's sons shall be kings. In the book of Revelation we are told that the saints will even be co-kings with Christ to rule over the nations in the kingdom (Rev. 2:26-27; 20:4, 6). We do not see the kingship in either Abraham or Isaac. Even if we look at Jacob himself we cannot see the kingship. It is clearly revealed in Joseph. During the time of the last chapters of Genesis, the whole world was under the reign of Pharaoh. Pharaoh, however, was merely a figurehead. The real ruler on earth at that time was Joseph. Since Joseph represented Jacob, the ruler over the earth was actually Jacob. Jacob ruled through his son Joseph who was the ruling aspect of Jacob's life. Therefore, the experiences of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph constitute one complete experience of life. This experience of God begins with selection and consummates with kingship.
Genesis 1:26 reveals that God's goal in His creation of man was for man to express Him in His image and to represent Him with His dominion. Although we see something of God in Abraham, we do not see in him very much of the image of God. Furthermore, in neither Abraham nor Isaac do we see God's dominion. Even in Jacob himself we can barely see God's dominion. God's dominion is seen in Joseph. In Jacob with Joseph God's image and dominion are clearly revealed. Eventually, Jacob was called Israel, the prince of God. His name includes God's name. In the transformed name of Jacob we have the name of God. Because Jacob had truly been transformed into God's image, in his being there was the expression of God. While Jacob had the expression, Joseph had the dominion. Hence, as one complete unit, they expressed God and represented Him. If we would see this, we must have spiritual enlightenment. We need to pray, saying, "Lord, open our eyes. We don't just want to read the stories in the Bible and get knowledge from them. We want to see the light of life in these stories and be nourished by the life they contain."
In Abraham we cannot see much of God's dealing. Neither do we see God's dealing in Isaac, for God never dealt with him. Isaac simply loved to eat. According to our opinion, none of us would agree with this, saying, "God, why do You deal with me all the time? Why didn't You deal with Isaac? Isaac even sold Your blessing for savory meat." In 27:3 and 4, Isaac said to Esau, "Go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die." If a brother did this today, we would say, "Brother, you shouldn't do this. This is too fleshly and worldly." But Isaac was not rebuked for doing this. In fact, although Isaac blessed blindly and wrongly, God honored his blessing. This clearly indicates that Isaac does not represent the life which has been dealt with by God. Jacob's life is the life which represents God's dealings. Time after time, God did not let Jacob go. Instead, He kept His hand upon him.
In chapter twenty-nine, Jacob, after coming to Laban's home, was put into the transformation room. As we have seen, Isaac, Rebekah, and Esau worked together to force Jacob to escape from his home. Isaac was simple, easygoing, and not disposed to exercise his discernment. This was his disposition and character. Rebekah, however, was clever, ingenious, and manipulative. Being a strong wife and mother, she manipulated the whole family. Esau, the brother, was not very intelligent, but he was physically strong and seemed to say, "Jacob, I don't know how to exercise my mind as you do, but I do know how to exercise my fist. You may be smart, but one day I will kill you." These three people worked together as a team to chase Jacob away, forcing him to leave his loving mother and his father's home. We know that Jacob suffered on his journey by the fact that he "lifted up his voice and wept" when he saw his cousin Rachel (29:11). Jacob had been very lonesome. All that he had experienced prior to coming to Laban's home was simply to bring him into the room of transformation. In chapter twenty-nine, Jacob was admitted to this room.
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