Life-Study of Genesis

Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0836-9
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 100 of 120 Section 1 of 8

LIFE-STUDY OF GENESIS

MESSAGE ONE HUNDRED

THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
OF THE BLESSING PROPHESIED
CONCERNING JUDAH, ZEBULUN, AND ISSACHAR

(1)

In this message I am burdened to give a further word on 49:8-15. The language used to describe the group composed of Judah, Zebulun, and Issachar is strange, new, and foreign to our understanding. In these verses a number of figures are used in relation to Judah: a young lion, a couching lion, a lioness, the scepter, the ruler's staff, the foal bound to the vine, the ass's colt bound to the choice vine, the garments washed in wine, and the clothes washed in grape juice. Have you ever heard of someone washing his garments in wine or his clothes in grape juice? Verse 12 speaks of eyes that are red with wine and teeth that are white with milk. With respect to Zebulun we have the figure of a "haven of ships" (v. 13), and Issachar is likened to a "strong ass couching down between the sheepfolds" who sees that the rest is good and that the land is pleasant and who bows his shoulder to become a servant under taskwork (vv. 14-15, Heb.). All these points are rich, and we need to be impressed with them.

None of these points could be covered in Genesis 1, an account of God's creation. According to the record of Genesis 1, on the sixth day God made man in His own image. At the time of Genesis 1 it was impossible to have a word about Judah being a young lion, a couching lion, and a lioness, or a word about tying our donkey to the vine. Neither was it possible to hear of garments washed in wine. Although in Genesis 2 we have a garden and the two trees, we find none of the points mentioned in 49:8-15. Because these matters are part of the prophecy with blessing uttered by a man who was both transformed and mature in the divine life, they can only be found in chapter forty-nine.

In Genesis 2 Adam was wonderful, for he was able to give names to all the animals. This indicates that he was very capable. However, although he could name the animals, he could not utter a prophecy with blessing. Adam was merely a created being. He did not have the divine life wrought into him. In Genesis 1 and 2 he had not yet fallen. In a sense, we need to appreciate the fall of man. The children who fall the most are the strongest. A child who has never fallen is surely very weak. Adam, the man in Genesis 1, was perfect, but he was not very strong. However, Jacob, the man in Genesis 49, was not only perfect, but also strong. If this transformed Jacob had been surrounded by serpents, he still would not have fallen. Instead, he would have crushed the head of those serpents and cut off their tails. Which do you prefer to be—Adam in chapter one or Jacob in chapter forty-nine? I prefer to be Jacob.

In chapter forty-nine Jacob uttered a prophetic blessing which Adam could never have spoken. Only Jacob was qualified to utter such a blessing. Adam, however, was altogether unqualified for this because he did not have the divine life wrought into him and he was never transformed or matured in the life of God. But Jacob was not only created and fallen; he was regenerated, and the divine life had been wrought into him. Although there is no record that Adam's name was changed, we are told that Jacob's name was changed to Israel. Adam means "red earth," but Israel means "the prince of God." Do you prefer to be red earth or the prince of God? Red earth can never prophesy such a word as Jacob spoke in chapter forty-nine.

Jacob passed through the full experience of man's fall. I doubt that anyone else has ever fallen as low as Jacob. Although Jacob's story is our biography, we cannot compare with him as far as the fall is concerned. Jacob was the expert in being fallen. No one can surpass him in this matter. Jacob cheated, robbed, and supplanted everyone, including his mother. The fact that he utilized his mother proves that he supplanted her. (To supplant a person is simply to utilize him, to usurp him.) On one occasion Jacob even did his best to supplant God. That night at Peniel Jacob exercised all his energy to grasp God, to supplant Him, and to compel Him to do something for him (32:24-31). Jacob, of course, could not defeat God. Eventually, God touched his thigh, and Jacob became lame. Because Jacob supplanted everyone, he fell all the way to the bottom. Nevertheless, eventually he was transformed and matured and reached the peak of the experience of the divine life. Therefore, in chapter forty-nine he was able to speak a rich word of prophecy with blessing.

Prior to this chapter it was impossible for such a word to be spoken, for there was no one transformed and mature enough to do it. Furthermore, before chapter forty-nine the proper environment had not been created. The imparting of a heavenly vision always requires a suitable environment. In order for Jacob to speak the word recorded in 49:8-15, he had to be transformed and matured, and he had to have the sons over whom to prophesy. Let us now consider the spiritual significance of the blessing prophesied in these verses, a portion of the Word that requires the entire Bible for its development.


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