Friday, May 6, 2011

Transformations: What’s in a Name? (Part 3)

By Brenda Cathcart

Last year, I had the privilege of teaching at a women's retreat during the period of the counting of the omer. The theme was transformations and the topic was a combination of meanings of names in Hebrew and what Yeshua taught after His resurrection during the counting of the omer. Since this is once again the time of the counting of the omer, I’ve broken the teaching into sections and will post them throughout the counting of the omer as we count up to the Feast of Weeks.

While in Padan Aran, Jacob was tricked in the same manner in which he tricked his father. Jacob thought that he was marrying Laban’s daughter Rachael. Rachael’s older sister Leah, with the help of her father, takes Rachael’s place in the marriage bed and Jacob ends up married to the wrong woman.

After seven more years of service to his father-in-law, Jacob marries Rachael too. Instead of taking A wife as Isaac instructed, he ends up with four! The scriptures go on to describe one of the most dysfunctional marriages imaginable. The two sisters compete for Jacob’s favor and for the birth of sons. They even bring their two maids into the marriage. Aren’t you glad that God can even use our mistakes?

Romans 8:28 NKJV 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Jacob was called to God’s purpose. But so far, he has struggled to attain that purpose by his own efforts.

Eventually God tells Jacob to go back to the land of Canaan, to the land God has promised will be his inheritance. In Jacob’s return to the Promised Land, we see a change of Jacob’s heart. He recognizes that deceiving his brother to get the blessing was wrong. Jacob tries to make things right with Esau by sending gifts to him. Jacob’s actual thoughts are recorded in the Torah for us to read. Jacob hopes that Esau will receive him.

Genesis 32:20 MKJV 20 And also you shall say, Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.

The phrase “he will accept me,” is literally “he will lift up my face.” This is the same phrase in the blessing Aaron was to speak over the children of Israel.

Numbers 6:24-26 MKJV 24 The LORD bless you and keep you. 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. 26 The LORD lift up His face to you and give you peace.

To lift up one’s face is to look with approval. Jacob is seeking Esau’s forgiveness for stealing the blessing. He compares Esau accepting his present with seeing the face of God.

Genesis 33:10-11 MKJV 10 And Jacob said, No, please, if now I have found grace in your sight, then receive my present at my hand. For therefore have I seen your face, as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me. 11 Please take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he accepted.

The word for present in this verse is berakah, or blessing. This is the same word for the blessing Isaac gave to Jacob in Esau’s place.

Genesis 27:35 MKJV 35 And he said, Your brother came with deceit, and has taken away your blessing.

Jacob is returning the blessing to Esau from the blessings he received from God. He recognizes that the blessing he sought by his own actions is really the gift of God.

After Jacob sent the gifts off to Esau, he had to wait a night to see what results they would bring. During the night, Jacob wrestled with God. In this wrestling we see confirmation that Jacob came to realize that God is the source of blessing.

Genesis 32:24-31 MKJV 24 And Jacob was left alone. And a Man wrestled there with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh. And the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with Him. 26 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 to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for like a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed. 29 And Jacob asked and said, I pray You, reveal Your name. And He said, Why do you ask after My name? And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.

Jacob, who had struggled all his life to receive the promise by his own actions now clung to God in the person of the pre-incarnate Jesus. Jesus gave him a new name, Israel. The name Israel comes from two Hebrew words saw-rah’ (#8280) meaning to prevail and El a shortened form of God. No longer was he heel-grabber, one who struggled in his own strength, he was Israel, one who struggled with God and prevailed.

Jesus in His message to the church of Pergamos tells them he knows of their struggles and how they cling to Jesus’ name just like Jacob clung to Jesus.

Revelation 2:13 NKJV 13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

He goes on to urge them to repent of their wrong doctrines and promises a new name to the one who struggles and overcomes.

Revelation 2:17 NKJV 17 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."'

We are the ones Jesus is talking to in Revelation. We are overcomers and we, like Jacob, will receive a new name.

Paul tells us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in the spiritual realm.

Ephesians 6:12 NKJV 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Jesus tells us the source of our power is the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 NKJV 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

The Holy Spirit fell on the disciples on the first Feast of Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. Tomorrow, we will look at Jesus’ teachings on the days between His resurrection and His ascension, and the events on the Feast of Pentecost.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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