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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Forty-Fifth (Origins)

When thinking about this week's topic, there might be some things that come to mind right off the bat. Perhaps it's your origin. As in, perhaps you think about where your ancestors came from. Or more close to home, maybe you think about where you were born, in what conditions both physically and familial. You might think bigger picture, about where we all came from and how the universe came to be. We're going to take a look at some origins, of a variety of things, to try and get an idea of a grander picture, and maybe even learn something we didn't know before!

We've talked about names and their importance as well as the amazing depth of the Hebrew language, but let's put the two together for our first delve into origins. If we read about Jacob, who was later named Israel, we find that scripture does give an explanation of the origin of his name (Genesis 25:26). However, it's a bit confusing if we read about it in English.

We're told Jacob was named based on the fact that he was born holding his older brother Esau's heel. But what does the name Jacob have to do with holding a heel? To figure this out, we have to go to the Hebrew and take a look. Jacob in Hebrew is יעקב, or Yaaqob in the transliterated to English version (which basically means using the letters in the new language to make the word sound the same as the original language).

Much like English, in Hebrew you can form larger words from smaller words. In English, we call them compound words, and some examples are beehive, weekend, and newborn. In Hebrew however, this compounding can occur at a much lower level. The unique thing about Hebrew is that not only does each letter mean something, the sound that letter makes can also be formed by a word which means the same thing.

For example, the second letter of יעקב is ע, which makes the sound ayin (remember, Hebrew is written right to left). This sound can also be made by the word עין, and both the letter and the word mean "eye," among other meanings (Exodus 21:24). In the case of Jacob, the name starts with the letter י, which is yod. This letter, and its associated word, יד, represents a hand that is either holding something or making a fist. This is distinguished from the letter כ, or kaph, which represents an outstretched/asking/weak hand.

You might already be able to see where this is going! The remaining portion of the name Jacob, עקב, is the word 'aqeb, which means heel or rear. In the verb form, 'aqab, it means to follow at the heel or supplant. So, if we put י and עקב together as it is in the name Jacob, it not only means grasping the heel, it also means following at the heel or following behind, which in either case is exactly what Jacob did at birth!

Now, let's follow this through a bit further, shall we? The verb form of this also meant to supplant, right? Supplant means to take the place of, or substitute for. It can be found in scripture in this context (Jeremiah 9:4) and in fact, its form in that verse is the name of Jacob exactly! Well, what did Jacob ultimately do to Esau? He took Esau's birthright, thereby replacing him as the first born, in terms of inheritance (Genesis 25:29-34), and completed the supplanting by taking Esau's blessing from their dying father (Genesis 26:34-27:46).

It may seem underhanded, sly, and evil to do what Jacob did. Some translations of Jeremiah 9:4 actually use the word deceiver, or dealing craftily, in place of the KJV's translation of supplant. Perhaps it was, but don't lose sight of the fact that this was what YHWH said would happen (Genesis 25:22-23) and that was His plan from the beginning. You see, not only was Jacob, who became the father of the tribes of Israel, the people YHWH chose to preserve as the lineage of our Messiah Yeshua, Jacob is also a representation of Yeshua Himself. Jacob came after Esau, who could be seen as a representation of Adam based on him also giving up his birthright by sinning, and Yeshua was the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47). Just like Jacob replaced Esau, Yeshua replaced Adam and became our Redeemer. So, when you put Jacob's actions into context, you can truly see that YHWH's ways are much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). In the myopic worldly view, Jacob's actions were despicable, but in the view of YHWH's plan the whole picture was a prophecy of our Messiah.

This brings us to another interesting origins topic: prophecy. We have learned previously that prophets are YHWH's spokespeople, and therefore prophecy is simply YHWH's message to people. Sometimes it's a warning, sometimes it's a rebuke, sometimes it's a promise or a blessing. In any case, in order for YHWH to have a message for us He has to have a plan, even if that plan is simply doing nothing and allowing things to play out as He knows they will.

His plans and His creation He made far more resilient than we ever could have thought up. Just think about something that might be on your mind depending on where you are at the moment: wildfires. We know that YHWH created everything in the universe perfect initially, and with everything perfect and in balance there would never need to be something so destructive and dangerous as wildfires. But after sin entered and everything became off balance, things started to happen like places becoming hotter, and therefore drier, than it had been. What happens with fires though? Well, despite the uncomfortable and potentially unhealthy effects of smoke, when it fills the air it ends up blocking out the primary thing that created the heat in the first place: the sun. This, in turn, provides a cooling effect and balance can be restored. Additionally, those particulates in the smoke are the types of things water molecules stick to, forming rain clouds to put out the fire! And this was all put into place before those conditions were ever supposed to have existed. They didn't even have rain before the flood, but this process was already in place! (Genesis 2:5-6)

There are hundreds of prophecies in scripture, with almost all of them occurring in the Old Testament and being fulfilled throughout history as recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. They range from being given moments before their fulfillment, as in the case of Jehaziel's prophecy to King Jehoshaphat (1 Chronicles 20), to being given thousands of years in advance, as in the case of Daniel's prophetic dream of the four beasts (Daniel 7). Some prophecies are given plainly, usually those spoken or written, while the dream or vision prophecies are always figurative, with imagery representing what will come to pass. Either way, all prophecies come from YHWH and so they all use the same style, patterns, and figurative representations. We can use previously fulfilled prophecies to try and interpret the yet to be fulfilled ones. Just remember, if there's a reason you or I aren't meant to know, He will ensure it remains hidden from us and no amount of studying and connecting the dots can change that!

A lot of the prophecies that have already been fulfilled were fulfilled through Yeshua, including the ones prophesying Him as our Savior and King (Isaiah 53:4-5, Daniel 7:13-14). Our personal salvation as a part of YHWH's plan (1 Timothy 2:4) has its origin in Yeshua, and as a part of His micro-plans for each of our lives individually it likewise could only have come from Him. He sends the things in our lives, or allows them to occur, to lead us to Him. We don't do it ourselves. He guides us on our path in His plan, we don't do it ourselves (Proverbs 16:9). So, if you've already been led to Him by Him, live your life allowing Him to lead you further. Being brought to Him is not the end of the journey. It's only the first step.

-Proverbs 20:24-

A man's steps are from YHWH, so how can a man understand his own way?

Shabbat shalom and may YHWH bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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