The Conversion of Jacob

By Jon Bowles

Oswestry, UK

20 December 2003

(PLAY FROM START)

What I thought I'd do today is give a Bible Study about a particular individual. It's very easy to become disoriented, very easy indeed to become disoriented. I know that Felin Isaf, which is a little place below us where my parents used to live, the kids used to go running down through the wood there to their grandparents house when they were growing up through teenage. When we first went down there, when we first actually moved into Wales, there's a track that leads down the side; and we'd go down the track and think, "Oh, we'll be clever. We'll come back up to the house." So we'd go straight up from Felin Isaf, straight up the bank, over the fence, into the field -- and be totally and utterly lost. We must have done it three or four times, and we could not figure out why on earth it wasn't where we thought we were. You see a small part of a picture.

It's like when you know a particular rat-run to a particular area. And then, for some reason, you have to take off on a side road; and you find yourself on another road that you also have a rat-run for a different area, but you don't have any idea that they're connected up together. It's so easy to become disoriented like that, until you get this fuller picture emerging. It's like the blinkers on a horse that go on either side, that stop the horse from being distracted from whatever it is on either side. Or you go through a wood or somewhere with a very small torch. You know, you can't see very much. You see a little bit, but you can't see the big picture at all.

It's interesting even in the blitz; down in London and all over the UK, people were killed. I don't know what the numbers were, but there were quite a phenomenal number of people killed by road accidents during the blitz because of the lack of light. They could not see. They had a little tiny torch that they had to shine down, little tiny ones; and the vehicles didn't have main headlights. They had blinkers on their headlights to make sure that nobody could see them from the air. It can be very, very difficult.

Today, we certainly see through to the future quite darkly. We can see bits. We can see, yes, Christ is going to return. We can see certain things that lead up to that particular point. It's like I say about the rat-runs. You have, I hope, that term is used over in America. I don't know whether it is? A rat-run is where you drive to work, say from home to work, and you go down all the little back lanes; and people use those back lanes, and they're called rat-runs. And these rat-runs, you're suddenly aware that two of these are then joined together by this particular road; and you suddenly get a bigger picture. It's much like that as far as the future is concerned.

Turn over to I Corinthians 10. Well, let's pick it up in I Corinthians 9 because of the context of this particular verse.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. [In other words, run in that way. We make sure that we are diligent about it.] (25) And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beats the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

He could see his own problems, his own difficulties. So it is attaining that goal in the future of the very Kingdom of God; and, in that context, we find this verse.

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [And he goes into this section ... ]

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the [age]are come [end of the ages].

And they are very much written for us. This book that we have in front of us, that we're reading this from, they did not have this widely available. It wasn't available until about the 1500's. Tyndale was the first real English translator of any substance, and we're looking at a large percentage of this book coming from his translation

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

These examples are definitely for us today. The book has been preserved for that. We go back to Romans 15, back a few pages, and he puts it in the same way. Well, he puts it in a different way, same basic thought; but it certainly extends it. It's not just the example of Moses coming through the Red Sea.

Romans 15:3-4 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached you fell on me. (4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime [That's whatever things. So whatever we find within that scripture, they ... ] were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

It may help us in our own journey, in our own difficulties and problems that we go through; and all of us do go through them. Now there are certain individuals that we know are going to be in the Kingdom of God. If you'll turn back to Luke 13, we can see here that specific individuals are going to be there. So when we are looking for people with which to have a Bible Study, kind of have a look and see what did they have to go through, and how did they handle it, and how did God handle them? These people that we know have made it are certain people that we can certainly deal with.

Luke 13:22-25 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. (23) Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, [Now, here's the reply.] (24) [You]Strive [Remember, that's what Paul said: "I strive that I might obtain the mastery." Strive ... ] to enter in at the strait [the difficult] gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. [It is not an easy task. What is before us right now is not easy.](25) When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and you begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence you are.

I don't know where you're from. In other words, what way are you going? What way are we going? That's why I say, read that article, What Is a Liberal?, because it really does summarize and sum up what we must be about.

Luke 13:26-28 Then shall you begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in your presence, and you hast taught in our streets. [You've been in our Church.] (27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are [I don't know from where you are. In other words, what direction are you going? In what way are you actually walking?];depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. (28) There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

So we can see here that there are going to be individuals that are definitely going to be there. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the prophets are mentioned specifically here. The one I want to deal with today, the one individual I want to do a Bible Study on, is the life of Jacob.

Now, Jacob is quite an interesting character, to say the least. I'd like to use his life, go through his life, just use it to illustrate how God is totally involved with us, even when it may seem as if he's not. It may seem as though He's not there some of the time, and yet He is. He is involved in our lives, and He was involved in Jacob's life. And I've broken it down into areas, five areas.

THE BIBLE IS LARGELY ABOUT JACOB (PLAY FROM 10:16)

So let's go into this first point, the fact that the Bible is really a book about this individual, about him and his descendants. Romans 11. It's something that all of us need to keep in mind. Those of you listening down in Africa, keep these things in mind. This is written to Gentiles here, and yet notice what it says:

Romans 11:1 I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [That is, to provoke the Israelites.]to jealousy.

Romans 11:17-21 And if some of the branches be broken off, and you [And he's talking to the Gentiles now.],being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (18) Boast not against the branches. But if you boast, you bear not the root, but the root you. (19) You wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. (20) [Yes.]Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: (21)For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not you.

So it's quite a severe reprimand in that regard, but notice what it's all about. He's talking about the fact that the Gentiles are grafted into the olive, grafted into Israel.

Romans 11:23-26 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. (24) For if you wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (25) For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved [All the children of Jacob, all the children of Israel.]:as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

So the Gentiles are actually grafted into Israel. And it seems certainly in the New Testament Church (the actual Church itself) you're looking at Israel. Now when we come into the future (the actual Kingdom of God), then certainly everything seems to point that this same process will be there. It will be almost like a commonwealth of Israel. It indicates that, if we apply the law the way in which the financial laws work, it seems as if that would be the case. And they will have to come into the commonwealth of Israel in order to have the benefits that will be there at that time. If you will, turn over to Revelation 21; and we'll look at this picture of the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:9-12 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife. [Now, we're looking at the Church here, the Church.] (10) And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (11) Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (12) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

So this vision that he had of the New Jerusalem -- of this place where we will be dwelling, of the very true Church, which is the very Bride of Christ, this temple to which Christ is going to return -- it is bound into Israel. And if we turn back to Revelation 7, we find the 144,000, again, tied into Israel.

Revelation 7:1-3 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (2) And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, (3) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

And here are the servants of God, and there are undoubtedly Gentiles in there; but they are falling within the tribes of Israel. They're all given a specific tribe in which to be. So it's very clear, from what Paul wrote in Romans, it's not just a case where they're grafted into the olive tree. They are grafted into Israel. They are grafted into a specific tribe within Israel as well. So, he goes on and actually lists the specific tribes that are mentioned there.

Now, when we come to Jacob, when we come to this individual whose name was changed to Israel later on ... You can begin reading about this individual in Genesis 25:22; and it then carries on really (with him alive, and the various things that were impacting on him) all the way through to Genesis 50:13. It's almost half of Genesis. We're looking at almost half of that first book of the Bible is realistically about one man. Okay. You've got the story of Joseph in there, and these other bits and pieces in there; but it is all impacting one man. So there is a great deal of information. And certainly we can't cover it all today, by any stretch. And I'd urge you to go back and read that section, that section from Genesis 25:22 through to Genesis 50:13; and see the full picture of this particular individual.

JACOB'S CARNAL BEGINNING (PLAY FROM 17:04)

So let's ask the question, as far as how he actually began life. We go back to Genesis 25. (And I strongly urge you to put a marker in Genesis somewhere, because we are going to be coming back and forth between Genesis.)

Genesis 25:19-22 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac: (20) And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. [Now, Laban comes into the picture as we go down a little bit further.](21) And Isaac entreated the [ETERNAL] for his wife, because she was barren: and the [ETERNAL] was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. (22) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the [ETERNAL].

And you say, "Well, how did she enquire of the Eternal?" I don't know. I don't know how this was done. It doesn't say. I know in the case of Abraham, you're looking at Melchizedek. Was He still around at this time? I don't know. I can't give you an answer to that.

Genesis 25:23-28 And the [ETERNAL] said unto her, Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. (24) And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. (25) And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. (26) And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob [which is a supplanter, one who catches hold of the heel]: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. (27) And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. (28) And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Now, there's a split. There's pretty well a split in the family at that time, but it is important that you understand that Rebekah loved Jacob. And you think, well why? The chances are that he was something like her. He was to a large degree like her, more like her than Esau was. As we come on and see there are certain family characteristics coming out of Rebekah that certainly highlight themselves within the life of Jacob. And you go down a little bit further, and it goes into this first example, where it says:

Genesis 25:29-31 Jacob [boiled]pottage [a kind of a red soup]: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: (30) And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray you, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom [which means red]. (31) And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright.

So, again, we're starting to see he was a conniving little so-and-so, who quite frankly worked the angles wherever he possibly could. And we'll go on and find out he was taking to some degree after his mother (who was Rebekah) because his mother seemed to be the same way, very similar. It was a family trait. And if you go and find out what happened with her brother, Laban, he was the same way as well. They're all very, very similar. So there's a great deal of influence here, but it was something that God had to get out of him. He was also a hard worker. He was somebody who worked very hard, and he really grafted where necessary. But he was a conniving so-and-so, and God had to deal with this to a large degree. He had to work this through and out of his life, if He was going to use him in the Kingdom of God.

Genesis 25:32-34 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (33) And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. (34) Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

He gave him bread and soup. We moaned and groaned about the price of the soup at the motorway service stations. How about the price of this bowl of soup? [laughs] It was a good deal more than that! I mean, all the service stations in the UK and the USA and everywhere else where Britons and Americans set their hands and feet would have been owned by Esau, [laughs] except this birthright went to Jacob instead; and he sold it for a bowl of soup; and therefore, in that way, Esau despised his birthright. And it was. He had no concept of what, in fact, he'd got rid of. In the future, when he sees what he's actually done, it's going to be staggering, absolutely staggering.

But you can see the conniving way that Jacob dealt with his brother. It was pure carnality. You can admire it. You could admire it; but it's still purely carnal, purely selfish, having no belief and understanding. He probably understood what God said about the older serving the younger. I'd imagine that Rebekah told him that, because she went to enquire of the Eternal. But he didn't leave it in God's hand. He didn't allow time to pass. He wasn't patient in any way at all.

Now, when we come over to Genesis 27, we can see. We just read about how Rebekah loved Jacob and how Isaac loved Esau. But here in Genesis 27 you can see the type of individual, the reasoning behind Rebekah's relationship between Rebekah and her son.

Genesis 27:5-9 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. (6) And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, [Listen!]Behold, I heard your father speak unto Esau your brother, saying, (7) Bring me venison, and make me savory meat, that I may eat, and bless you before the [ETERNAL] before my death. (8) Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command you. (9) Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savory meat for your father, such as he loved.

She engineered this entire passing of not just the birthright but the blessing as well. It wasn't just the birthright from Abraham, Isaac and ... (It should have been Edom. It should have been Esau.) It's now Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But it's also the blessing, the abundance that we currently own throughout this land and in the United States. And Rebekah is the one that engineered this. You can see this mindset, which is a cunning mindset, but it's a carnal mindset as well.

Now, if you'll notice ... We won't go into that particular section, but what I would like for you to notice in Genesis 27:

Genesis 27:38-40 And Esau [when he came back, he] said unto his father, Hast you but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. (39) And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, your dwelling shall be [away from -- as it's better translated -- away from] the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above [or, away from the dew of heaven from above]; (40) And by your sword shalt you live, and shalt serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shalt have the dominion [Notice what it's saying here in verse 40.], that you shalt break his yoke from off your neck.

Now the indication is that will happen at the end time. And we need to be watching very, very carefully -- watching Turkey, Kazakhstan, all those areas down in that area. It's a very troubled area at the moment, down at the bottom side of Russia, going and leading into Turkey.

Put your marker in there and go across to Obadiah. Obadiah is a book that we don't tend to read very much of, and the reason for that is that it's talking about Edom. (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah. So it's just after Amos. So, in Obadiah.) There's only one chapter there. We find here, in Obadiah:

Obadiah 1:8-9 Shall I not in that day, says the [ETERNAL], even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? (9) And your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.

He will completely destroy Edom at the end. And we need to be aware that here is a relative, a fairly close relative, of Israel; and yet this relative of Israel is not going to support Israel at the end time. We're looking at Turkey. We're looking at probably going into Kazakhstan, into that area, to some degree -- the peoples that are around that particular location.

Obadiah 1:15-16 For the day of the [ETERNAL] is near upon all the [nations]: as you hast done, it shall be done unto you: your reward shall return upon your own head. [And the preceding verses are talking about how he is treacherous toward Israel.] (16) For as you have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the [nations]drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

So, in other words, it will be as though Edom had never been. They'll be wiped out, and the indication is ... Notice in verse 18, just a final one. I'll just read it:

Obadiah 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the [ETERNAL] has spoken it.

So, they'll be wiped out. The indication is that the northern tribes as they come down, the eastern hoardes as they come down, will come down through that area. And, as they come into that area, it talks about a fire before them—like a Garden of Eden before them and like the desolation behind. {1} And the indication is that area is going to be wiped out, completely and utterly wiped out. It's part of the Muslim world; and this area of the Muslim world is going to suffer enormously, but they are also going to be instrumental, as far as we can gather, in events concerning Jacob.

Now, if we go back to the basic story. That's an aside. But let's go back to the story, again, regarding Jacob. If we go back to Genesis 28, notice what he actually said.

Genesis 28:19-21 And he called the name of that place Bethel [Now, this is where Jacob's ladder occurred.]:but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. (20) And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, (21) So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the [ETERNAL] be my God.

You see, he was conniving even with God. He tried to work the angles, even with God. He tried to [laughs] make a deal with Him. I mean, not only would he buy the birthright for a bowl of porridge; but here he is trying to actually do some deals with God Himself.

Genesis 28:21-22 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the [ETERNAL] be my God: (22) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that you shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto you.

In other words, you do good to me; and I'll pay you tithes. [laughs] That's basically what he's saying. So, it certainly is not the approach that we use. Turn over to Matthew 18. Again, put your marker there. You know, we've got to become different in order to be in the Kingdom of God---a totally, totally different approach from that one which Jacob was exhibiting at that time.

JACOB'S CONVERSION PROCESS (PLAY FROM 30:59)

Matthew 18:1-3 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? [And these chaps are similarly minded at this particular time.](2) And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, (3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted ...

Converted. You see what I'm saying. You go back, and you read about What Is a Liberal? A liberal is somebody who is not converted, not fully converted. Not converted in the way they need to be; and all of us fall in that to some degree -- not converted the way they need to be.

Matthew 18:3-4 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

That's a complete and totally different approach, and it's a totally different approach to the one that we find with Jacob. So we know, therefore, that Jacob had to change. We can see how he was at this time. And yet we also see, from what we read, that he is going to be there in the Kingdom. So he had to change. He had to be converted, and become as a little child, and learn certain lessons; and only in that way would he be allowed to be in the very Kingdom of God. So when we're looking at the story, we can go back and we need to ask our self, really, how was he finally changed and converted to what he should have been? And, if we go back to Genesis again, in Genesis 29 (Your marker's there.) basically God allowed him to have some of his own medicine.

Genesis 29:1-2 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east. (2) And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep lying by it.

He then came in contact with the brother of Rebekah, Laban. As I pointed out earlier on, Rebekah was a certain way; and she was very, very similar to Jacob. She had this scheming, conniving kind of streak in her; and undoubtedly, Laban did as well. There's no question of that if you look at the story line.

Genesis 29:16-25 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. (17) Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored. (18) And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. (19) And Laban said, It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. (20) And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. (21) And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. (22) And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. (23) And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. (24) And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. (25) And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this you hast done unto me?

Talk about being tender-eyed, he must have been tender-eyed as well. [laughs] He must have been absolutely stoned out of his mind to have this occur, unless there's some kind of a ceremony or something that we don't know anything about. But whatever it was, it was incredible that he would not have noticed. And yet, he managed to go ahead and have a fast one pulled on him. This was the softening up of Jacob. This was the start. And you say, "Well how, why did God allow this?"

Well, He had to teach him certain lessons. And it says "from the beginning it was not so," as far as why did God allow divorce in the Old Testament? Christ said, "From the beginning it was not so, but for the hardness of your hearts, God allowed it." In the beginning, this kind of thing would not be so; but, for the hardness of Jacob's heart, God allowed it. And the trials and tribulations that he went through, as a result of this, were huge. But, you know, God was working with him -- unseen in many cases, in the background.

Genesis 29:26-30 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. [It was probably a lot of rubbish, but he pulled a fast one.] (27) Fulfill her week, and we will give you this also for the service which you shalt serve with me yet seven other years. [And so he was caught between the rock and a hard place.] (28) And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. (29) And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. (30) And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

So we can see here how Laban was just as devious; and it was being used by God to get a message across to Jacob -- to try and get this message across, that you just be careful how you deal with people; because you deal with them that way, and you'll get dealt with that way. And it certainly was some big lessons.

Now, if we notice what then happened, we can also see a great weakness that Jacob had:

Genesis 29:31-35 And when the [ETERNAL] saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. (32) And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the [ETERNAL] has looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. [Now, you can look up in the margin that Reuben means seed, a son. In other words, this is a son! I've got a son.](33) And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the [ETERNAL] has heard that I was hated, he has therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. [Notice, she called his name Simeon. She was the one naming these children. Jacob didn't name them. She was the one doing it. And Simeon means hearing. In other words, He's heard me.] (34) And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. (35) And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the [ETERNAL]: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

So here she was naming each of these children. And each time the name was actually mentioned, every time Rachel would call one of these children's names, she would remember. She was digging at her sister all the time. It must have been chaos in that house, absolute chaos. I mean I've lived in a house with two sisters. [laughs] I have two daughters. Imagine to have married two sisters? [audience laughs] It would have been hell on earth. It really would. I mean it was bad enough having them grow up together. [laughs] Just imagine! It would have been awful, absolutely awful. [laughs] Both Estelle {2} and Andrew are agreeing with me. [laughs]

But here, this was actually happening; and God was using it to get a message around home to Jacob. You know, this devious nature that he's got, trying to work the angles and pushing other people down, it hurts. It just hurts. And he could see these two girls (Well, women is what they were.), and he was right in the middle of it all.

Genesis 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children ...

She had an argument with Jacob, and therefore gave Bilhah the handmaid to wife. So he therefore had another wife (the four wives) or a concubine.

Genesis 30:5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son.

And called Dan, which is "judging;" and went down to Naphtali, in verse 8, means "my wrestling." Again, all these things are contentious. It was a scrap between these two sisters that was carrying on in this household, with Jacob in the middle of it all.

Genesis 30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife.

And notice also, every single one of these kids was being named by the women. The women were doing the naming all the way through. Gad was conceived, in verse 11. Gad, that means "a troop." Asher, down in verse 13, is that "happy?" Yes, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed." And you go on to Issachar, in verse 18; Zebulun, in verse 20. Notice, "she called his name." She called his name and called his name. She bore a daughter and called her name Dinah, in verse 21. Every time, the women were naming these children. I mean, poor ole Jacob. In verse 14, it was beyond ... They had mandrakes, whatever they were -- some kind of an aphrodisiac or something. In fact, wasn't Issachar ... ? Yes. Issachar means "a hire." In other words, [laughs] she bought the night from her sister. I mean, it must have been hell in that household; and, in the midst of this, there was Jacob with his devious, scheming nature that was being worn down by it all. And he goes on, and he says to Pharaoh, [laughs] "a hard life and a difficult one has been my lot in all this." And here, really was the heart and core of it. I mean, it was between these two sisters.

It always reminds me that in God's law, if a virgin was raped, people look at the law that says, "Right, she must become his wife;" and they think "Well, that's hard on the poor woman." [laughs] No, it's not just that she must become his wife. She must become his wife, and he is NEVER allowed to divorce her. That was the law in ancient Israel. So, in other words, he got a life sentence [laughs], and he lived in that marriage; and there was nothing he could do about it. She could make his life absolute hell on earth, and there was absolutely nothing that he could do about it. He could not legally divorce her. He could not do anything, and she had all the law on her side. So it was quite a deterrent. It must have been quite a deterrent not to do something like that.

But, anyway, we see these household shenanigans.

Genesis 30:22-25 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. (23) And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God has taken away my reproach: (24) And she called his name Joseph; and said, The [ETERNAL] shall add to me another son. (25) And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.

Genesis 30:30 For it was little which you had before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the [ETERNAL] has blessed you since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?

So he started to recognize where his blessings were coming from, where his increase was coming from. It was coming from God. So, through this softening-up process that God allowed him to go through, it was a softening-up process. It was the start of the change of his thinking. Genesis 30:30 was the start of the way in which his thinking, his mindset, was changing. He was starting to recognize that, "No, life wasn't Jacob and revolving around his schemes and all his ideas. But there was a God; and that God gives, and takes away, and does whatever He chooses." Put a marker in there and go over to Romans 8. It's something that every single one of us has got to get to grips with and got to start to understand.

Romans 8:18-19 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.

This world is waiting for us to get our act together, all of us; and we can't just go down and live a carnal life. We can't live a carnal life and be in the Kingdom of God. We've got to be perfect, as the Father is perfect. We've got to reflect His perfection. There's none righteous but God. God only is righteous; and the idea -- that we just simply, through our own great character and great presence of mind, keep all God's laws -- is nonsense. It's crazy. That's not the way it works. It is God's mind in us that's got to be there.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also help our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Now, sometimes, we don't really know what we need. Jacob would never, in a thousand years, have put himself in the position that he found himself in when Laban double-dealed him and gave him two women who were sisters, who were at each other with cat and dog, and then blessed Leah with children and Rachel without. That doesn't seem to me a blessing in any way, shape, or form.

Romans 8:27-29 And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [or He planned that they are going]to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

So there is a certain standard and a certain image that we have got to become like; and if we're not going to be like that, we won't be there. That's how serious it is. So God will put us through things, and allow us to go through various trials and difficulties sometimes, because He knows that's the only way we're going to learn. And we've got to recognize it's very, very hard. Sometimes, it is very, very difficult for us to recognize that; and we don't see the hand of God. Jacob didn't see the hand of God in this. He was in chaos. But, you know, if you look at his life before and the way that his mother was, and the way in which her brother was, and what happened then to him, and the way he was, obviously, and what happened to him, he started to learn what it was like. And, undoubtedly, the two girls were devious as well -- the two daughters of Laban were devious. They'd inherited the same family trait. And he was living in amongst all this. He was still 99% carnal. But we start to see the change. If you go back to Genesis 31 we start to see God's hand at work. It's interesting when we look at this; and we think, "Oh, it's the deviousness of Jacob coming out with this business with the peeled sticks and all the rest of it." But there's a bit more to it than that.

Genesis 31:7 And your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God [allowed]him not to hurt me.

Again, here he is. He's starting to see God's hand is there all the time -- that even in all these problems that he's facing, God's hand is still there; and it's something that he didn't necessarily see before.

Genesis 31:8-9 If he said thus, The speckled shall be your wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be your hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. (9) Thus God has taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

But notice the reason why.

Genesis 31:11-13 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. (12) And he said, Lift up now your eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto you. (13) I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar, and where you vowed a vow unto me: now arise, get you out from this land, and return unto the land of your kindred.

So this business about the peeled sticks and all the rest of it was a breeding program. It was a breeding program that he had, and he was given a dream; and it was a matter of seeing the various rams mounting the ewes, and he could see how he could corral the various animals. Now, whether there was more to it (There may very well have been. Maybe there was something in the sticks that affected the water or whatever.), but it was God that actually gave him what to do, how to increase; and it was God that was helping him. It seems the indication is in this dream. He showed him these rams leaping upon ... Well, it's not the cattle. I think it's the stock -- ring streaked, speckled, grizzled and so on.

If we go and have a look at Genesis 32, we find a very different Jacob as he makes his way back from Laban and he starts his way back to Esau.

Genesis 32:6-10 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to your brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet you, and four hundred men with him. (7) Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; (8) And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape. (9) And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the [ETERNAL] which saidst unto me, Return unto your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you. [You see, he had this dream; and it was God that told him to go back.](10) I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which you hast shewed unto your servant.

This is a very different Jacob from the Jacob that tried to deal with God, and tried to get a deal with Him, and tried to work the angles with God. You know, "If You'll do this, then I'll go ahead and do that." No, this was a very contrite Jacob. It was the little child Jacob that was starting to come out, and here we see the conversion of Jacob. Now, here he is; he's got this army coming towards him:

Genesis 32:10-11 ... which you hast shewed unto your servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. (11) Deliver me, I pray you, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him.

So here he was with a very different frame of mind, a very different approach from anything that you've seen before; and here was his conversion. He was being changed. And it was living with these two women, and all the various trials and problems that he'd had prior to that point, that would not have been the way that he would have possibly worked out. He would never have done what happened here. He would never ever have done it. He would have had a nice easy life. He would have married Rachel, and that would have been it. He would have had lots of children, and that would have been it. That's not the way it worked; because there were some other things that God had in mind, and He was wanting him in the Kingdom in the future.

And he is there as an example for us, so that we can see God's hand even in the rough places as well. He allows certain rough deals that is [laughs] not the way we would have done it; but it is the way that God did it, because it was necessary. God can see us for what we are, and how He can't use what we are; because we've got to be converted. If we're not converted, He can't use us. There's got to be change, and we see here this totally changed attitude.

Genesis 32:24-25 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (25) And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he [struck with force]the hollow of his thigh ...

The Hebrew indicates He didn't just touch; He belted it with some kind of karate chop, or something like that. Here was Jesus Christ, presumably, that was wrestling with this man and He obviously pitted Himself. He manifested Himself as a human being, with about the same strength of Jacob; and He found He couldn't prevail against him. This guy had absolute, total determination. It is something that comes out within the life of Jacob -- that he was absolutely ruthless when determined; and he was. He karate-chopped the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint; but he still wrestled with Him.

Genesis 32:26-29 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not let you go, except you bless me. (27) And he said unto him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. (28) And he said, Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast you power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (29) And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray you, your name. And he said, [What's it to] you dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

So you're looking here, almost certainly, it was Christ who did this. You're looking at the changing of his name. And you're looking at the conversion -- the change from Jacob to Israel -- to become the prince of God who (with Abraham and Isaac, his father) would actually inherit the Kingdom of God, as it's mentioned by Christ. So, we're looking at this incredible story.

Genesis 32:31-32 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he [was limping]upon his thigh. (32) Therefore the children of Israel ...

Whether he was crippled therefore from that point on, we're not sure. It's the only way that Christ, it seems, could prevail. I mean, obviously, He created the body and knew where you strike; and He was able to do it that way. But he obviously had a great deal of determination. It is one of the good points about Jacob, in a carnal way. So, here he was. He was converted.

But, as Mr. Armstrong brings out, when we are converted -- when we first go into the water and we come up -- there might be a fraction of 1% which is converted of us, with the Holy Spirit that we need working with us. Most of us, 99% or 98% of us, is still carnal. God is working with us in this initial conversion. Turn over to Acts 14. Paul brings this out when he's talking to a group of people.

Acts 14:21-22 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, (22) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

TRIALS AFTER CONVERSION (PLAY FROM 58:02)

All of us, every single one of us, go through trials after conversion. Okay. There may be trials before, that bring us to the point of conversion; but after conversion also we go through trials, and it is part of the process. If we look in Mark 10:

Mark 10:28-30 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed you. (29) And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, (30) But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time.

Now, there are blessings to being part of the Church we do receive. I mean there is a family. We can go over to Orlando, and there is a family there; and it is. I mean we've never actually met them; but I feel totally confident -- because we believe the same thing, we're going in the same way, we are heading toward the same direction.

Mark 10:30 ... now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

It is with trials, with difficulties. These difficulties continue after conversion. We look back at some of the difficulties he went through in Genesis 34, and here we see the kind of thing that many of us (I say us. That many people within the Church.) have gone through.

Genesis 34:1 And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to [fraternize]the daughters of the land.

In other words, she had all kinds of friends outside in the schoolyard. [laughs] Basically, that's what happened. She went out. She had all her mates out in the world.

Genesis 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.

Genesis 34:5 And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

But, you know, what actually happened then we don't have today; but we can have something similar. We can have problems within the families; and we do have problems within the family many, many times.

Genesis 34:30 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi ...

Who went in and slaughtered them. They put [laughs] a swift end to the problem; but it didn't, because it caused a real problem.

Genesis 34:30-31 And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, You have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house. (31) And they said, Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?

In other words, there was a row in the household there. But the interesting thing is that here he's had this problem. He's had this trial come along after his name had been changed to Israel, after he'd had his wrestle with the angel, with Christ. Now in chapter 35, we see another time (just after this particular time) where God deals specifically with him.

Genesis 35:1-2 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother. (2) Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

So here it's almost like a baptism that took place. Here was the real change actually, the real conversion.

Genesis 35:3-4 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. (4) And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand.

Many of these gods were used as a means of, what were they? They were kind of like deeds. We have deeds today. They had these gods that defined boundaries of various pieces of lands. It's almost like you have the trolls beneath bridges, and this kind of thing. They had this kind of concept in the land at this time. If you notice, Laban went and pursued after their company; and they were sitting on the camel and wouldn't get off, with the gods underneath. Well, it was to do with land; because, as soon as they set up a boundary marker, then he was happy. He went back home, and there was no problem; but until that boundary marker was set up, they wouldn't. So there was some tie-up with the land ownership. But anyway they got rid of these, gave them to Jacob.

Genesis 35:4-5 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears [Presumably, all their icons as well.];and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. (5) And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

So this was immediately following this slaughter by Simeon and Levi.

Genesis 35:6-12 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. (7) And he built there an altar, and called the place El-bethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. (8) But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth. [The tree of weeping. I believe it means the oak of weeping.] (9) And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. (10) And God said unto him, Your name is Jacob: your name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be your name: and he called his name Israel. (11) And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of you, and kings shall come out of your loins; (12) And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to you I will give it, and to your seed after you will I give the land.

So here is the birthright and the blessing going across to this individual.

Genesis 35:13-14 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. (14) And Jacob set up a pillar.

So here, God has specifically revealed Himself to him; and He told him to go into that area, into Bethel. He told him to go there. He went there. He offered sacrifices. God appeared to him, dealt with him, reinforced His promises to him; and then what?

Genesis 35:15-18 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel. (16) And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. (17) And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; you shalt have this son also. (18) And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni [the son of my sorrow]:but his father [Jacob, renamed him and he] called him Benjamin.

So we see for the first time, the first child that he actually (Christens. Well shouldn't say christens. Names.) names! [laughs]

Genesis 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

Rachel's grave. Now you say, "Well, why?" Again, it is a trial. God put this trial on him. Here he was, He had revealed Himself to him, He told him to go to this place, He appeared to him, He gave him the promises; and then He allows his favorite wife to die. He really did, he went through a very, very difficult time -- a very difficult time. In order to become one of the fathers, he really had suffered. And when he went to Pharaoh and he recounted his life's suffering, he really meant it. He really had gone through very, very difficult years of his life. And it didn't end there. It didn't end there. I mean he was about 98 here. He was 98 years old when Rachel died.

He then has the incident with incest with Reuben in chapter 35:22,{3} and Reuben must have been quite old. I mean, I don't know what age he must have been; but he was quite old. And yet he went and slept with his concubine who presumably would have been, yes, she must have been older than he is, must have been.

And his father then died. In verse 29, Isaac gives up the ghost and dies. So he actually had to bury his father. And this catalogue of difficulties that he had, and that he had to face up to, at that particular time. After he had had specific revelation given to him, and he had specific encouragement given to him in many ways; and yet he still had certain things that needed to be ironed out of his character. And it does. It tells us all. It tells us the way in which God was working with him. He must have thought, "Well, why?" And yet he knew that God was working with him. He could see that God was working with him; and yet, in spite of that, God allows certain things to occur. He knew his name had been changed. He'd been converted. And it doesn't end there.

Then the greatest trial of his entire life: It was the death of Joseph. If you'll go over to Genesis 37, you find here Joseph was 17 years old when he had this problem. He was round about the age of 17 when he was sent out to his brothers in the field. If we start doing a little bit of arithmetic, and you start looking at this particular situation, we can start to see the way in which God was working with Jacob (or Israel, as he was then). If you'll notice, turn over to Isaiah 46.

Isaiah 46:3-4 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: (4) And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

GOD'S HAND IS CONTINUALLY THERE THROUGH TRIALS (PLAY FROM 1:10:18)

Now, that is true of each and every one of us as we go through life. The various things we need, we will be given by God. God will work with us. And we should allow that process to take place. We should make sure we stay on our knees through it -- because there is certain elements of our character that need ironing out, certain things that all of us need to be aware of. But here it says that God will be working with each of us right to our old age. It's the case with Jacob as well.

You go back to Genesis 47. This was the greatest trial of all for him. He, remember, had just gone through this incredible occurrence where God had said, "Go up and sacrifice in Bethel." And God had specifically revealed Himself to him. Then Rachel went ahead and died; and now, here he is. In Genesis 37 all the way through to Genesis 47 is the account of Joseph. I'm not going to go into the account of Joseph because that's really another sermon. I can't really go through that.

But what I want to point out to us all is the fact that God, here, God was dealing not just with Joseph, which He was. He was dealing with Jacob. This was the trial on Jacob. It was a trial beyond anything. He'd just lost his wife. It was really an incredibly severe trial for him to go through, and yet it was necessary. Otherwise, God would not have allowed it; but it was necessary for this to take place.

In Genesis 37:2 {4}, it says clearly that Joseph was 17 years old when he was feeding the flock, when he was sent out over there. Now, that was roughly around the time that he was sold. If you work it out, Jacob was, at that time, 108 years old. He was an old man; and here he was, he loses his son. His sons come back with this bloody coat, and this son that you've loved has obviously met his death somewhere. He was inconsolable! And yet God was working, at that time, to accomplish His purpose.

If we go over to Genesis 41:36, we find that Joseph was 30 years old when he then stood before Pharaoh. So, from the age of 17 to the age of 30, you're looking at 13 years. He went as a slave to Potiphar. Then he got chucked in prison. How long was he a slave to Potiphar? Two years? Three years? Four years? I don't know. I'm not sure whether it gives any indication. Whatever it was, it was measured in years; and then he was chucked in prison. It was two years from the baker's and the butler's dream to when he was elevated out of prison. So you're looking at years in these cases.

And, at the time, Jacob had no idea that his son actually existed. He didn't know what God was doing. He didn't know it was going to work out for the best. Joseph didn't know. He knew he had these dreams that he had, that his sheaves all bowed down. If I'd have been Joseph, you'd tend to think you'd keep your mouth shut, particularly when you look at the brothers that he had; but, you know, all these things occurred. So he was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh. If you go on a little bit further, in Genesis 45:11:

Genesis 45:11 And there will I nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine [Just make a note of that word 'nourish' because it talks in Malachi, the same word is being used."And there will I nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine."]; lest you, and your household, and all that you hast, come to poverty.

He'd gone through seven years of plenty. That's 37 and another 2 or 3 years (2 years anyway). So he was 39 at that particular time. So you're looking at, when you're looking at Genesis 47:

Genesis 47:7-9 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. (8) And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art you? (9) And Jacob said unto Pharaoh [speaks with amusement], The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

He saw it was a pilgrimage. This life that he had was very transitory. And God had something more for him further up, further on. He will, indeed, be in that Kingdom; but it was a difficult row to hoe, and here he was 130 years old. So, for 22 years, he did not know what had happened to his son. He had no idea what God was working out. And yet, if we go back (A few scriptures now in closing.), this Being who become Jesus Christ -- the God of the Old Testament -- was working with Jacob. He knew what was going to happen. Now whether or not He knew it was going to be Egypt or not, I'm not sure.

Genesis 15:1-6 After these things the word of the [ETERNAL] came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. (2) And Abram said, [ETERNAL] GOD, what wilt you give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (3) And Abram said, Behold, to me you hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. (4) And, behold, the word of the [ETERNAL] came unto him, saying, This shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. (5) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if you be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall your seed be. (6) And he believed in the [ETERNAL]; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

You see, here was Abraham going through the same kind of problems -- the same kind of problems that you and I are right now going through, because we do not see up ahead, the immediate future. We cannot see how the resolution of the problems that we find are solved in today. Yet we do see that, ultimately, there is going to be a Kingdom. We do see that there is a God, and we see that God has given certain promises. Abraham was going through the exact same thing as his grandson went through later on; but it was all part of this Plan of God, because of down in verse 13:

Genesis 15:13-16 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. [So this plan was in effect at that time.](14) And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. (15) And you shalt go to your fathers in peace; you shalt be buried in a good old age. (16) But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

There were certain other parts that had to fit into the jigsaw puzzle, and God was in charge of the lot. He was allowing this to occur. His purpose is going to stand! Absolutely. Regardless. So, when we look at our own situation, we've seen Jacob and how Joseph ... Let's go just to the end of Genesis and finish off the story in that regard.

Genesis 47:27-29 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. (28) And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. (29) And the time drew nigh that Israel must die: and he called his son Joseph.

And then this incident happened with Ephraim and Manasseh. In Genesis 49, he gives specific prophecies of that which will befall you in the last days. He's looking right down into our time today and recognizing, really, that then he would stand in his lot after that time. You then see that Jacob, in verse 33:

Genesis 49:33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the [breath or his spirit], and was gathered unto his people.

And Joseph buried him. He took him back to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the field (in verse 13 {5} of chapter 50) "which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying place of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre." So, there we see the death and the burial.

But when we look at our own situation today (Turn over to Malachi 3 for a couple of scriptures, scriptures we read many, many times.), but we find ourself in a certain position. We find ourself in a certain position. We find ourself in a position where it is not easy to see the way in which the current situation within the Church is going to resolve itself, and that God will accomplish what He wants to accomplish. We can't see immediately in front of us. We see what we've got to do. We've got to put the Church back on track. We see the ultimate outcome. It's like these flashlights. You see a rat-run here and a rat-run there, and you try and connect the two that hasn't come yet.

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the [ETERNAL], whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant [which is Christ], whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, says the [ETERNAL] of hosts.

So, it will occur. But who's going to be nourished, sustained? As in Genesis 45:11 {6}, like we read, who is going to be nourished on the day of His Coming? Who will stand when He appears? Pray always that you might be accounted worthy to stand before His appearing.

Malachi 3:2-3 For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: (3) And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi.

He will sit, and He will watch that crucible until the silver is ready. And, once that silver is ready, then He will harden it. It'll be ready. In the case of Abraham, the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. It was 400 years that they were going to have to serve in Egypt. Jacob had no clue about what was going on in many instances. He was given certain revelation, and he hung onto that revelation. His name was changed from Jacob to Israel, and he was converted. He had to then suffer various trials and go through difficulties until he finally attained a certain length of time, a certain age; and he died; and he's then waiting for that resurrection.

Final scripture, Matthew 24:

Matthew 24:21-22 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

There is going to be an elect. There has got to be an elect there. There's got to be. The Church has got to be back on track before that time comes. So we can't always see God's hand at every stage; but it is there, and it will remain there until it's through and his plan is complete. In Corinthians it says we go back on these examples. They were recorded for us. We can go back and see how it worked out in the past, and this individual is going to be in the Kingdom of God the same as you and I are. They were human, just the same as you and I. They lived in a different world. They didn't have computers and things. They didn't speak in a microphone and have their voice bounced halfway across the world, [laughs] and more. But they were just human beings; and God was instrumental in the conversion, in the change from that human being into something that He can then use in the very Kingdom of God. He's doing the exact same thing today within the Church; and we must never, ever lose sight of that.


{1} Joel 2:3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

{2} Estelle is Mr. Bowles' daughter.

{3} Genesis 35:22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:

{4} Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.

{5} Genesis 50:13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre

{6} Genesis 45:11 And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.