THE 12 SONS OF JACOB
The meaning of the names of the twelve sons of Jacob paint a wonderful picture of the believer, from conversion to his ultimate departure to meet the Lord.
The first son was born to Leah and was "Reuben" whose name means "See a Son". It was The Lord Jesus Christ who, by the shedding of his
precious blood, and his death on the cross, atoned for the sins of the world and now offers salvation to whosoever will come unto him.
The second son born to Leah was "Simeon" whose name means "Hearing". Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. One has too
"hear" the gospel message before he can call upon the Lord Jesus to save him from his sins.
The third son born to Leah was "Levi" and it means "joined". First was The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son, then we heard the message, then
after responding to the gospel call "we are joined" unto Christ. Forever linked with him for all eternity.
The fourth son born to Leah was "Judah" and it means "praise". What else flows from the lips of the regenerated sinner, but "praise" unto
our God for saving a wretch like me?
The fifth son, who was born to Bilhah, was "Dan" and it means "judging". Now we see the new believer continuing in the scriptures and daily learning of His great love and receiving the wisdom to "discern and judge" in spiritual matters. Oh what a different view of things we have now than
when we were yet in our sin.
The sixth son, born unto Bilhah, was "Napthali" and his name means "wrestling". Oh, by far, Christians are far from perfect. It is a growing
process. sometimes we shy away from the Lord's correction in our lives and we "do our own thing". We know what is "right" but we
do not want to give up all to the Lord's guiding. So we "wrestle" with the Lord. "No, not now Lord". But ultimately we know who wins this "wrestling" match. Phil 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
The seventh son, who was born to Zilpah, was named "Gad" . His name means "troop". The "troop" here is also rendered as an "assembled gathering". Yes, the Christian believer does not stand alone, he is encouraged in Scripture to "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together". Christians need each other.
The eighth son, born to Zilpah, was "Asher" and his name means "happy". A Christian can only be happy if he reads the Word of God daily and obeys all the Lord's admonitions contained "in the book". The comfort and encouragement of other believers adds to the "happiness" of the
The ninth son was born to Leah, and he was "Issachar". His name means "hire or reward". Here we see the Christian active in the Lord's
service, seeing some fruit for his labour. Some dear soul may respond to the message of salvation. The Lord will "reward" whatsoever we
do in his name, whether now or in future glory.
The tenth son, born to Leah, was "Zebulon" and his name means "dwelling". Although we live here on planet earth, our real home is in
"heaven". This is our "dwelling place" and if we keep that in mind, the things of earth will "grow strangely dim".
The eleventh son, born to Rachel, was "Joseph" and his name means "adding". As we read in Acts 2:47 .......And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved". We can only plant the seed. It is the Lord who will make it grow. He is the "fisher of men" who
reaches unto all and beckons all to come unto him. He "adds" such as should be saved.
The twelfth son son, born to Rachel, was "Benjamin" which means "Son of my right hand". Here is the end of the story, the end of this
sojourn on earth. Forever and ever in the Lord's presence, seated as it were, at his right hand. Sons of God by adoption. But as many as
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12)
Surely if these sons were born in a different order this picture may not have made sense, but we know who wrote the greatest book of all time, and He never makes a mistake and is under control of all things.