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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”- Genesis 1:1

Introduction to the Pentateuch or Torah

The first division, unit, or section is divided into five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). It is known as the Pentateuch, which means “five books”. The Jews know this as the Torah. The Pentateuch/Torah makes up 24 % of the Old Testament. It is mainly history, law, and a written account of Moses’ life.

Genesis covers the time from creation, to the journey into Egypt. Exodus covers from the death of Joseph to Moses and the Israelite nation leaving Egypt, and about one year building the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:17). Time of book of Exodus (1805 – 1445 B.C.) is 360 years. The remaining three books (Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) cover a period of only about forty years (1445 – 1405 B.C.).

Genesis: Genesis is a Greek word meaning “origin” or “beginnings”.  It is a history of the beginning of all things: The beginning of the heavens, earth, life, man, sin, nations and the nation of Israel. The book breaks into two parts:

Part I: Chapters 1-11) the first eleven chapters of Genesis take a big view of creation:  the universe, the earth, people, the flood, and the beginning of nations and languages.

The first chapters of Genesis cover a period of about 2,000 years, up until the birth of Abraham (4,000 – 2166 B.C.).

Part II: Chapters 12-50 covers a period of about 360 years, from the birth of Abraham to the death of Joseph (2166-1805 B.C.)

The next 39 chapters now focus on the origins of one single family - that of [Abraham] Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.  It was God’s plan to set Abraham and his family apart from the rest of the pagan world (Joshua 24:2).  Salvation would be available by Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17) through the line of Abraham.

Timeline for Genesis:

2166 BC     Abraham born
2066 BC Isaac born
2006 BC Jacob born
1915 BC Joseph born
1876 BC Jacob goes to Egypt
1805 BC Joseph dies

Author of Genesis: Moses (Deuteronomy 31:24, Luke 24:27 and John 5:46). Moses was educated in the palace of Pharaoh and was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22), which included writing skills.
Moses probably wrote the Pentateuch during the time of the wilderness wandering (1446 -1406 B.C.).

What information Moses did not eyewitness; he either received by direct revelation from God (Exodus 34:28); the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21); maybe from some historical records (that had been handed down from Enoch, Noah, or Abraham); from libraries; family history or genealogies.

Key Text: Genesis 1:1 and 12:3

Key Term: “Beginnings”

Outline for book of Genesis:

Chapters 1, 2: God created

The word ‘created’ in the Hebrew is “bara”. Here it means creating something out of nothing, without the use of pre-existing material. Unlike man who uses pre-existing material, like the iron of an old ship, and then reuses it to build cars or something else with it. The rest of the chapter fills in what God created: stars, oceans, plants, birds, fish, animals, and finally man and woman (Colossians 1:15-17).

Before creation:  John 1:1, speaks of a time that predates that of Genesis (1:1). Before God created the heavens and earth, He already existed. God is eternal, He had no beginning, and He has no ending. It is possible that the rise, rebellion, and judgment of Satan transpired before Genesis (1:1) See Isaiah 14: 12-15; Ezekiel 28:13-17.
Chapters 3: The Fall of Man

Satan, the author of sin, acting through a serpent, tempted them to doubt God’s word. They yielded to the temptation and failed the test. Here sin entered the world. In mercy God promised one who would redeem men from sin (Genesis 3:15), meaning the first announcement of a Savior. The seed of the Woman (the Virgin – born Jesus) would come to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8).

Question: Is Satan still alive today? Yes, yes and yes! 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us, he is the god of this world. We can see the work of the devil all around us.

Scriptures reveal it was Satan speaking through the serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3l and Revelation 12:9). The first sin of Adam and Eve was disobedience to God. Today, Satan still influences men and women to disobey God. Satan is a powerful fallen angel, and the head of the fallen angels, and not as we have “pictured” him to be; as wearing some funny black or red jump suit, with horns and a spear.

1 Peter 5:8 says the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Satan is out to kill, steal and destroy you. The Bible is very clear in its teachings regarding the existence of a personally called the devil (see Job 1:9-12; 2:4-6).
Chapters 4: The First Civilization

The Bible teaches, and archeologists confirm that the people of the world before the flood were not mere savages. While Adam was yet living, his descendants were the first herdsman (Genesis 4:20), invented musical instruments like the harp and flute (Genesis 4:21), and learned how to make things out of metal (bronze and Iron) making tools for farming and construction; and perhaps for war (Genesis 4:22). Some of the things found when they excavated underneath the flood deposits of pre-flood peoples were painted pottery, tools, turquoise vases, copper axes, copper mirrors, hoes, sickles, fish hooks, models of boats, cosmetics, which women used for darkening their eyebrows and eyelids, and pots and pans.
Chapter 5: Genealogies from Adam to Noah

Genesis 5:1-32 gives us a list of 10 generations from Adam to Noah, up to the flood. According to the list of the 10 generations, the time from Adam up to the flood was 1, 656 years. Most likely the race had not spread far outside the Mesopotamian area. Mesopotamia is the area between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. Most people lived along the two rivers, or between them.

Chapters 6-9: Noah and the Flood

Jesus regarded the Flood as an historical fact, and likened the time of His coming to the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27), this is red letters meaning Jesus said it. And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, so the Lord said to Noah. “I am going to destroy both them and the earth” (Genesis 6:5-12). God told Noah to build an ark (boat). It was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.

Noah’s home, according to Babylonian tradition, was at Fara, on the Euphrates River, about 70 miles from the site of the Garden of Eden. So boat building and river traffic must have been familiar to Noah from childhood. It must have taken Noah at least several decades to build it, if not the better part of the 120 years. Of which, during this time, he was undoubtedly the subject of unceasing ridicule and jests of his neighbors.

2 Peter says, that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, who spoke out against corruption and wickedness all around him. Noah building the ark would certainly have given him the opportunity to explain of the coming judgment.

Well finally the ark was built, and it rained for 40 days and nights. The number 40 in the Bible seems to mean (testing or judgment) See Numbers 14:33-34; Jonah 3:4; and Matthew 4:2-3. Noah and his family were inside the ark for 377 days.

God then told Noah, that He would never destroy the earth by a flood again and the sign will be a rainbow in the clouds. Archeological excavations in Mesopotamia bare evidence of the Flood, both in cuneiform writings, and in the actual flood deposits. Babylonian and Assyrian scribes refer to the age as “before the flood”. One king praises himself as one “who loved to read the writings of the age before the flood”.

Chapters 10-11: The Table of Nations

Genesis 10:8-12) Nimrod: Nimrod was the most ambitious leader in the 400 years, between the Flood and Abraham.

Genesis 10:8) Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, born after the Flood, and judging by the ages mentioned in Genesis 11:10-16, he may have lived through the whole period.

Genesis 10:8-9) He is three times described as ‘mighty’, and at first many consider this to be a positive contemporary testimony about Nimrod. It is not, when you do a little background study on Nimrod.

First, what does the name Nimrod mean? It comes from the Hebrew verb marad, meaning ‘rebel’ or ‘to rebel’. It is concluded that Nimrod was a rebel who tyrannized other humans. Nimrod setup tyranny (the cruel use of authority), he opposed God and did his utmost to get people to forsake Him. Our English translation of the Hebrew of Genesis 10:9 is weak. It should be translated, ‘like Nimrod, a tyrannical hunter in opposition before the Lord’.

Nimrod was a very enterprising man. In his ambition to control the rapidly multiplying and spreading race, he seems to have been the leader of the Babel project (Genesis 11:9). The tower of Babel was not a ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ type of construction, where people were trying to build a structure to get to heaven. Most interpreters believe the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:4) was a ziggurat. A ziggurat was shaped somewhat like a pyramid, which rose by separated terraced levels, each smaller than the one below it. A ziggurat was a man made structure, with a temple at the top. They were not actually going to, or even could, build a structure to heaven. They were only building a structure to put a temple at the top, to worship the ‘gods of the host of heaven’ like the sun god and the moon god.

Later (in Deuteronomy 4: 19; 17:3), God would warn the people of Israel from worshipping the sun, moon, or stars. Work on the tower of Babel was stopped temporarily by the confusion of tongues and dispersion of people, but was resumed by those who remained in Babylonia. The tower became the center around which Babylon was built. It became a pattern for similar towers in other Babylonian cities, and may have suggested the form of the pyramids of Egypt.

Genesis 10:10-11) Nimrod seems to have later resumed work on Babylon. Then he built three nearby cities, Erech, Accad and Calneh, and consolidated them into one kingdom under his rule in Babylon. Babylon was long known as the ‘land of Nimrod’ (Micah 5:6). Still even more ambitious to control the ever-spreading race, Nimrod went 300 miles north, and founded Nineveh, and three nearby cities; Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen. He was the founder of the earliest imperial world power (Babylon and Assyria).

Note: A total of 125 Biblical reference associate Babylon with the worldly system of rebellion against God. The founding of Babylonia and its capital city represented a form of rebellion against God. They sought to establish their own religious and social systems apart from God. See Isaiah 13:1 – 14:23; Jeremiah 50-51; and Revelation 17 and 18.

The Tower of Babel and the Table of Nations:

Note: the contents of chapter 11, would naturally be before those of chapter 10, but they are reversed. Chapter 11 explains why the scattering took place, and chapter 10 tells how the nations were scattered to different places of the earth.

In chapter 10, the words “territories”, “clans”, “nations”, and “languages”, occur three times, though not always in the same order (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31). Noah had three sons, Japheth, Ham and Shem. The “table of nations” is structured around the descendants of Noah’s three sons. Many names mentioned in Chapter 10 are identifiable with nations of ancient times, some have continued down to the present.

Japheth: (Genesis 10:2-5) Japheth’s descendants went northward and settled in the regions around the Black and Caspian Seas and migrated into Europe and Asia. The Greeks, Romans, Germanic Peoples, Celts, Slavs, Mongolians. Modern day Europe, Russia, Germany, Mongolians, East Indians.

Ham: (Genesis 10:6-20) Ham's descendants went southward and settled in Northeastern Africa and Egypt. Modern day Ethiopians and Egyptians.

Shem: (Genesis 10:21-31) Shem’s descendants settled around the Middle East. Hebrews, Assyrians, Babylonians, Arabs, Persians. Modern day Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jews and Syrians.

Because of this, we will start out with Chapter 11 first.

Outline of Genesis 11: 1-9

1.     The unity of race and speech (Genesis 11:1)

2.     The place of settlement and rebellion in the land of Shinar (Babylon) (Genesis 11:2)

3.     The Tower of Babel and its purpose was a center of rebellion against God (Genesis 11:3-4). This “United Nations” program was in defiance (“lest we be scattered abroad”) of God’s command to Noah in (Genesis 9:1), “to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish (fill up) the earth.

4.     The judgment of God: the confusion of tongues (or different languages) (Genesis 11:7)

5.     The result of the judgment: scattering them over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:8-9). Genesis 11:9 marks the beginning of racial, ethnic, cultural, and family diversities. The migrations of the people would come after the events of Genesis 11:1-9 the Tower of Babel.

Note: the tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues occurred in the 4th generation after the flood, about the time of the birth of Peleg, (Genesis 10:25), which was 101 years after the Flood. Peleg, which means “division”, may refer to the division of mankind; because in his time the earth was divided. It seems to pinpoint to the Babel experience and neighboring sites.

Chapters 12-25: Abraham

Abraham: Abram was born in the Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:27-28). Ur was in southern Babylon, in the Tigris – Euphrates Valley in the region known as Sumer. Excavators at Ur reveal a culture with dictionaries and grammars, mathematical tables of square and cube roots, sun dried brick adobe houses, stones for grinding flour, ovens for baking bread, tools, artistically ornamental pottery vessels and jars, beads, and realistic figurines in human and animal farm.

The Babylonians had many gods and goddesses. They were worshippers of fire, the sun, the moon, stars, and various forces of nature. His country men were idolaters; and his father was an idolater also (Joshua 24:2).
Abram lived in a world of idolatry, but he was not one. But, how did Abram know about God? Abram could have learned directly from Shem. Shem lived till 75 years after Abram entered Canaan.

In Genesis 12:1-3 God called Abram to leave his home in idolatrous Ur of the Chaldeans, to go to an unknown land.

1) Leave your country . . . go to the land - God promised Abram land (See Genesis 17:8) “the whole land of Canaan . . . I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants. The Jewish people are back in their own land again. On May 14, 1948, Israel was reborn again, and the Jewish people were given back their land, and recognized as a nation again.

From 586 B.C. to 1948 AD, that is 2,534 years, Israel was without a land. After 2,500 years, Israel again stepped back on the world stage. Only God could have done that.

2) God promised to make Abram into a great nation: through Abram, the great Jewish race and nation came

3) All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you:

A.   Through Abraham’s descendants, the promised Messiah (Jesus) would come, and die on the cross for all mankind

B.   God entrusted the Jewish people to write the Holy Scriptures (the Holy)

Not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8); Abram went from the known to the unknown. God called him to leave the place where he was born, grew up and where his family and clan were. Fueled by faith, he set out from Ur, in search of a land where he could build a nation free from idolatry. Abram went on a 1,000 mile journey, not knowing where he was going. Abram would have only known the direction of his travel (going north following the Euphrates River), but he did not know where God would eventually lead him.

Abram goes to Canaan (Genesis 12:4-9)

Haran was 600 miles northwest from Ur, and 400 miles northeast from Canaan. Haran was Abram’s first stopping place. Haran was already a well settled region, with roads to Babylon, Assyria, Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Along which caravans and armies constantly marched. So after the death of his father, Terah, Abraham, under the call of God, moved or in search of a more sparsely settled land (Acts 7:2-4). Abram went to Canaan, first to Shechem, then to Bethel, and then to Hebron. Bethel was one of the highest points in Canaan, with a magnificent view in every direction. Abram’s name was changed from Abram to Abraham in Genesis 17:4-7.

Canaan: Canaan was located in the south half of the east border of the Mediterranean Sea, about 150 miles long, north and south, with an average width of about 50 miles. Canaan was on the highway between the Euphrates Valley and Egypt, the two main centers of population in the ancient world. It was the geographic center, and meeting place, of Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman cultures. A strategic location and here Israel was planted, to present God among the nations.

Chapters 17-35: Isaac

Isaac: Isaac was born when Abraham was 100, and Sarah 90. Not much is told of Isaac’s life beyond the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22, and the incident of Abimelech, King of the Philistines, and Rebekah, and the strife over wells in Genesis 26.

Isaac had inherited the bulk of his father's’ herds and flocks (Genesis 25:5-6). Isaac was prosperous and rich, peaceable, and his life uneventful. In Genesis 26:3-4 God promised to make Isaac’s descendants innumerable as the stars, because of His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 22:17). Again, God reaffirms His word spoke to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3.

Chapter 22: Abraham offers Isaac

Here God commands that Isaac be slain, before he had any children. It was a test of Abraham’s faith. God has promised Abraham’s faith. God had promised Abraham, that Isaac would be the father of nations (Genesis 17:16). Abram had waited 25 years for Isaac to be born, now, God told him to slay Isaac. The offering of Isaac was a picture-prophecy of the death of Christ.
Overview of Calvary

Don’t miss this. This is the high point of the Book of Genesis. God wanted Abraham (a type of God the Father) and Isaac (a type of Christ) to experience a “preview” of that great event about 2,000 years in the future at Calvary.

Abraham “laid the wood on Isaac.”  Wood is a type of humanity (see Exodus 36:20).  It shows us Jesus Christ (humanity) and him bearing the cross (Matthew 27:32).

Isaac’s age:  He could have been no older than 37 years old.  (See Genesis 17:17 and 23:1)  Isaac was probably in his early thirties.  Isaac was in the prime of life.  There was no fighting or wrestling or struggling for Abraham to get Isaac bound.  For Abraham could not have bound Isaac, for he was too old, and Isaac too young and strong.  Isaac must have been willing and fully agreed to be bound (and a sacrifice) even as Christ was bound (Mark 15:1) and became our sacrifice.  God provided a ram to die in place of Isaac.  Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), would die in our place, at the cross.

This was Abraham’s last and final test.  We all know that a final test is.  If you fail the test, you fail the course. You have to take it over again.

Genesis 22:1-3) take your son, your only son, whom you love and go to the region or Moriah.  Sacrifice him there on one of the mountains.  Region of Moriah:  Solomon built the temple here (2 Chronicles 3:1 – David build an altar there 2 Samuel 24:18) and God sacrificed His only Son in the same place.  Early the next morning, Abraham got up and saddled his donkey.  Notice Abraham didn’t say…

1) “But God, I need a few more weeks to ‘pray about this”

2) “But you know, God, I need some more time to research this.”

3) “But you God you know I need some more time to get ready for this big test”

4) He didn’t even say, “But you know, God, I’ve waited 25 years for Isaac, and now you want me to sacrifice him.”

5) He didn’t try to bargain with God or negotiate with God, “I’ll give you 1,000 sheep instead of Isaac, Lord.”

There were no buts or whys or questions for God.  Abraham simply obeyed.

Chapters 25-35: Jacob

Jacob: Jacob’s first 77 years were spent in Canaan, the next 20 in Haran, then 22 in Canaan, and the last 17 years in Egypt.  (Genesis 25:10-15) Jacob was born a twin.

Genesis 28:10-15) Jacob leaves home: Jacob leaves home to go to his relatives up in northwestern Mesopotamia (Haran). It was about 500 miles away. God speaks to Jacob in a dream at Bethel. God promised Jacob’s descendants land, that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth, to watch over him and bring him back to this land again. God did (35:6).

Genesis 29:16-30) Jacob marries Leah and Rachel. He had two wives and two concubines. Of these, 12 sons were born.

Genesis 31:13, 38-41) God tells Jacob to leave Haran: Jacob had stayed in Haran 20 years, and leaves for Canaan.

Genesis 32:22-32) Jacob wrestles with God: Here God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Here in Jacob’s name changed to Israel, the nation of Israel got its name and characterization: “you have struggled with God and men, and have overcome.” For the past 2,500 years, Israel has had a struggle with Her relationship with God, and with men (other nations).

Genesis 35:9-13) God reaffirms his promise to Jacob of land, nations and kings through his descendants.

Genesis 35:22-26) Jacob fathers 12 sons, who later became the twelve tribes of Israel.

Genesis 46:6) Jacob goes to Egypt. Jacob moves his family to Egypt (1876 B.C.)
From Jacob to Israel:

Text: Genesis 32:28

To understand this name change better, we need to go back to Genesis 25:22-26 and give some background on Jacob’s life.

Genesis 25:22-26) Jacob was born a twin. His brother’s name was Esau. Before birth, Jacob and Esau struggled and jostled each other inside the womb. Rebekah wondered if the Lord was trying to tell her something.

The Lord told her, each child would produce a nation; Jacob the nation of Israel and Esau the nation of Edom.

At birth, Jacob grasped his brother’s heel. This action was “interpreted” to mean, that Jacob would later trip up his brother, and take advantage of him. This prediction proved to be true. The name Jacob comes from a Hebrew word (Yaagob) that means, “may God protect”. It was selected because of its connection in sound and sense to the noun “heel” (ageb).
The verb (ageb) means “to watch from behind.”

As Jacob grew up, his name would take on a different sense later in life, as his deceptive nature became evident. His name also meant “one who grabs the heel” or “one who trips up”. Supplant, which is the basis of the name of Jacob means, “to defraud”.

Genesis 25:29-33) Esau sells his birthright to Jacob. Jacob was ever the schemer, seeking by any means to gain advantage over others, even his twin brother. One day when Jacob was cooking some lentil stew, Esau came in from the country hungry. So Jacob had Esau sell him the birthright for some bread and lentil soup.

In the culture of that day, birthrights to the first born were to receive a larger share of their father’s property. Later that was expanded to receive a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17).

Genesis 27:1-36) Jacob gets Israel’s blessings

Genesis 27:15-16) Jacob dresses up in Esau’s clothes

Genesis 27:18-19) Jacob lied about his name

Genesis 27:19-20) Jacob lied about the food

Genesis 27:21-27) Jacob lied about his identity

Genesis 27:35) Isaac said, “Your brother came deceitfully”

Genesis 27:36) Esau said, “He has deceived me these two times, isn’t he rightly name Jacob”

Genesis 27:41-45) Because Esau held a grudge against Jacob, and wanted to kill him, Rebekah decided to send Jacob to her brother Laban in Haran (See Genesis 24:29)

Genesis 28:10-15) Jacob flees to Laban. Jacob is now leaving home, and starting on a 500 mile journey to Haran. It would take Jacob about three or four weeks to walk there.

It was a three day journey to Bethel, where Jacob had a dream, the dream of a stairway, with angels ascending and descending back and forth from heaven to the earth. Jesus Himself is the bridge between heaven and earth (John 1:51). The Lord, who stood above the stairway, confirmed to Jacob the promises He gave Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 13:15-17; 26:3-4).

The same God who cared for his father and grandfather pledged also to care for him, and give Jacob and his descendants, and promised to bring blessings through them to the whole world. God also promised to bring Jacob back to this land again.

Genesis 29:1-14) Jacob arrives at Labans’. Laban was a master schemer who would control Jacob’s life for the next twenty years.

Genesis 29:16-30) Jacob marries Leah and Rachel. Jacob, who deceived his brother Esau and his father Isaac, would now be deceived by his father-in-law. We eventually reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8). Jacob is a deceiver. Laban gave Jacob, Leah instead of Rachel. Laban married off his two daughters for 14 years of free work, what a deal.

Genesis 29:31-43) The Children of Jacob. Jacob has eleven sons in Haran, and the birth of Benjamin later (Genesis 35:18-26).

Genesis 30:25-43) Jacob’s makes an agreement with Laban. Upon completion of the 14 years of service for his wives, Jacob agreed with Laban to work for wages consisting of a share of the livestock. Jacob was to receive all animals (cattle, goats, and sheep) that were spotted, speckled or streaked (striped) as his wages. During the next six years, Jacob became very wealthy, because of the blessing of the Lord.

Genesis 31:1-55) Jacob returns back home after being away for 20 years. Jacob felt it was time he returned back home. Six years before, God had put the desire in Jacob’s heart to return to his own country (Genesis 30:25), and that desire never left him. The Lord often begins to speak to us in that way. Along with the desire within us, God also directs us, as He did with Jacob through the circumstances around us (Genesis 31:1-2).

Jacob noticed that his in-laws weren’t as friendly toward him as before, largely because of the increase in his wealth. Circumstances aren’t always the finger of God pointing out His way, but they can be significant indicators of God’s will. When God wants to move us, He occasionally makes us uncomfortable, and “stirs” up our nest” (Deuteronomy 32:11).
The third and most important way God leads us is through His Word (Psalms 119:105).

God has already spoken to Jacob in a dream (Genesis 31:10-13). Jacob has been with Laban for twenty years (Genesis 31:38, 41). In the six year period, Laban may indeed changed Jacob’s wages 10 times, or the number may be rhetorical exaggeration (Genesis 31:41).

Jacob’s secret departure was not untypical of his believer’s patterns, and the text notes “Jacob deceived Laban”.  Genesis 31:20

Genesis 31:38-41) Jacob was in Haran for 20 years, worked 14 years for Laban's daughters, and six years for his flocks.

Genesis 31: 44-55) Laban and Jacob made an agreement. The meeting of Laban and Jacob ended on a friendly note. A long and difficult chapter in Jacob’s life (20 years) came to a close.

Genesis 32:1-8) Greatly relieved that Laban had left him, and that “mizpah” stood between them, Jacob headed toward Bethel. The destination God had appointed for him (Genesis 31:3, 13; Genesis 28:15).

Genesis 32:22-32) Wrestling with God. Jacob had spent most of his adult life “wrestling with people”. Like Esau, Isaac, and Laban. So God came to him as a wrestler. God meets us at whatever level we are at. At Peniel, all alone, Jacob was confronted by a “man” who engaged him in wrestling.
The true identity of the “man” was soon evident, for Jacob remarked, “I saw God face to face (Genesis 32: 30).

During that night Jacob discovered that he had spent most of his life fighting and resisting God’s will. This remarkable experience would teach Jacob, that he was a weak and fallible human with weakness. Jacob became strong, only when he became weak (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).

The purpose was the changing of Jacob into Israel. It really didn’t “just happen” in one night. God had taken Jacob on a 20 year journey to change him from “Jacob to Israel”. Here, Jacob was at the threshold (about 10 miles) of entering into the land of promise. We cannot go into our “promised land”, being like Jacob. We must be changed “to Israel”.

Before Jacob entered the land of promise, he was met by God who both crippled and blessed him. This event was an important turning point in Jacob’s life. Every Christian needs a “Peniel” in their lives, where we also are changed from a “Jacob to Israel”.

Genesis 32:25-26) Touched - this Hebrew verb translated touched, refers to God’s special touch. When God touched the strongest muscle of Jacob, it shriveled. After this crippling touch, Jacob’s struggle took a new direction. Now crippled in his natural strength, he had to depend on God’s strength. His disjointed thigh would be a constant reminder that he could no longer trust in his own strength or flesh, but trust in God (Jeremiah 17:5-8).

Jacob’s experience with God physically changed him. Now he walked with a limp (Genesis 32:31). Jacob now knew it was not by his might, nor by his power, but him being empowered under God’s leadership and direction. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6).

Jacob now knew he had to lean on God. “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5). This experience also had a spiritual impact on his life. Jacob’s strength was in his limp, for it was constant reminder that God had conquered him. God had conquered Jacob by weakening him. Jacob became strong, only when he became weak (2 Corinthians 2:1-10).

Jacob had been struggling with Esau (Genesis 25:26). Later he struggled with Laban, yet right before meeting Esau, Jacob had the struggle of his life. He, who once grasped his brother’s heel, now clung on to “the man”. Jacob now encountered someone he could not defeat.

Genesis 32:29) Jacob had wrestled with “the mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24).

Genesis 32:27-32) Jacob receives a new name. The “man” asked, what is your name? The Lord didn’t ask the question in order to get information, because He certainly knew Jacob’s name.  What God really was asking Jacob, are you going to continue living up to your name, being a schemer, and deceiving others, or will you let me change you.

In the Old Testament, one’s name is linked to his nature. In the Bible, receiving a new name, signifies a new beginning (Genesis 17:4-5; John 1:42). Some name changes come to mind like Abram to Abraham, Saul to Paul, and Simon to Peter.

1)    A new name represents (a new character and nature). The pilot is clear. Jacob’s pattern of life (Scheming and deceiving) had to be radically changed. In saying his name, Jacob had revealed his whole nature. Here the “heel-catcher” would be changed from Jacob to Israel.

2)    Jacob had a new walk. He now was limping.

3)    Jacob had a new relationship with God.

The name Jacob continued to be used interchangeably with Israel, in chapters 33-48, indicating God’s work on Jacob’s life. There were times when Jacob/Israel walked and acted like “Jacob”, and at other times he walked and acted like “Israel”. Like us, there are times when we walk in the spirit, and other times we may walk in our flesh (Galatians 5:16-25).

God took Jacob on a twenty year journey, to change him from “Jacob to Israel.” We as Christians all have the “nature” of Jacob, or “Jacob’s nature”. We have un-renewed minds, having a carnal behavior, and still walking in our flesh. When God changes us from a “Jacob to Israel”, it is not a microwave type of deal; it is more a crock-pot type of deal.

Jacob: Jacob’s nickname “he deceives”

1.     A new name representing a new character and nature.

2.     Jacob had a new walk. He now walked with a limp.

3.     Jacob had a new relationship with God.

Chapters 37-50: Joseph

Key verse for Joseph: Genesis 50:20; “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Egypt: the 12th dynasty was Egypt’s “Golden Age”, of art and craftsmanship.  In this era, Joseph emerged as the prime minister of Egypt, and Jacob and his sons went to Egypt (1876 B.C., Genesis 46:6).

Joseph: He was born in Haran, was Jacob’s 11th son, at 17 he was sold into Egypt, 13 years in Potiphar’s house and in prison. At 30, became ruler of Egypt. Joseph dies at 110 years old.

As the story begins, Joseph is a youth of 17 years old. His brothers hated him (Genesis 37:4) because Joseph brought a bad report to his father about them. The substance of this report is not given (Genesis 37:2). Maybe his brothers thought that Joseph was a tattletale, a sissy, a do-gooder, or a softie.

Joseph was given a “cost of many colors”, a richly ornamented robe, probably a multicolored tunic. This seems to signify that Jacob favored him above the rest, with the intent of granting him all, or a larger portion of the inheritance (Genesis 37:3-4). Joseph also had two dreams, which they didn’t like, that seemed to mean that he would be ruler over the other members of his own family (Genesis 37:5-11).

One day Joseph was sent out to check up on his brother out in the fields. Now they saw a chance to get even with Joseph. The brothers threw him into a pit, and then sold him as a slave to some merchants going to Egypt. Now the thought was Joseph could not receive any, or all of the inheritance, or be a ruler over them.

In Egypt Joseph was put into prison under the false accusation, and after 313 years of waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises, he was exalted to be second ruler in the land of Egypt. When his brothers came down to buy grain in the time of famine and bowed down to him, his dreams were fulfilled.

First Joseph went to, and then all of Jacob’s family went down to Egypt. Joseph was the instrument used by God to preserve Jacob’s family (chosen family) in the time of the famine, and pave the way for the settlement in Egypt; and becoming a great people numerically. The first 70 years of the 430 years started in Genesis 46:26 (1876 B.C.; 1876-1805 B.C.)

Genesis 41:46) Joseph is 30 years old

Genesis 45:6) Joseph is now 39 years old, 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine

Genesis 46:6) Jacob move his family to Egypt (1876 B.C.)
Joseph dies at 110 years old

The time Jacob went down to Egypt (1876 B.C.) to the time of Joseph’s death is 70 years (1876-1805 B.C.)

The rest of 360 years are in Exodus. 1:1 – 12:41
Time Line of Joseph

1915 B.C. Joseph was born in Haran
1898 B.C. Year Joseph was sold into Egypt, at age 17; Genesis 37:2, 28
1885 B.C. Year Joseph was taken out of prison and made second in command, at age 30; Genesis 41:46
1885 – 1879 B.C. Seven years of abundance of crops; Genesis 41:47
1878-1872 B.C. Seven years of famine
1876 B.C. two years into the famine; Genesis 45:6
1876 B.C. the year Jacob and his family moved to Egypt: Genesis 46:6-50:26
1805 B.C. Joseph dies in Egypt at 110 years old; Genesis 50:26
Lessons learned from Joseph

Joseph’s Dreams: In Genesis 37: 5-11, Joseph had two dreams from God about his future. God gives prophecy, not to scare us, but to prepare us.

Lesson 1) Waiting for prophecy to happen:

Most people when they get a prophecy want to know, when will it happen? The answer to that question is, probably as soon as you are ready. Many times the word may be far into the future, and it may be far into the futures, and it may be difficult for us to fully understand it. If this occurs, we need to wait, and allow God in His own way to “work it out”.

Lesson 2) Don’t try to go out and fulfill your Prophecy:

In Genesis 12:3 Abram was told by God, that He would create a great nation through him. And again in Genesis 13:16, God promises to multiply Abram’s descendants, “as the dust of the earth.” Then again in Genesis 15: 1-5 God told Abram that his descendants would be like the stars in the sky. Meaning, too many to be counted.

But, in Genesis 16:1-4, 15 after Abram had dwelt in the land ten years, Abram and his wife decide to take matters into their own hands. They thought, we have waited long enough for God to “do something”. So they decide to “help God out”. Abram has a child by Hagar, and calls him Ishmael. Abram had gotten ahead of God’s right timing.

Many of us also get ahead of God’s timing in prophecy, and try to help God out. Don’t! If you try to help God out, you will produce an Ishmael (something of the flesh) and not an Isaac (something from God). God is never in a hurry, but is always on time.

Lesson 3) Prophecy will test us:

Oddly enough, a prophecy will give us positive highlights about our future role or tasks, but may say nothing about any pitfalls we may encounter; or the tests we will be facing. It is a common feature of major directional prophecy that speaks to our future, vision and ministry, that soon after it is given, “the sky falls in and the bottom drops out of our world”. Everything goes wrong!

Joseph shared his two prophetic dreams with his brothers and father (Genesis 37: 5-11). A short time later, his brothers flung him into a pit. From there the nightmare continued, when they sold him into slavery and he was brought to Egypt. Finally, he ended up in prison.

Eventually, he was freed and became the Prime Minister of Egypt under Pharaoh. Then, after 15-20 years after have spoken his prophetic dream to his family, it was finally fulfilled in its entirety.

When David was anointed by Samuel to be king (in time) in 1 Samuel 16; there was no mention that King Saul would be chasing him and wanting to kill him. David waited 15-20 years for his prophecy to be fulfilled.

Lesson 4) Timing and Preparation:

Timing is the most difficult thing to get right in prophecy, in both the delivery and the out-working. Most people when they get a prophecy, want to know when will it happen? The answer to that question is, probably as soon as you are ready.

But let’s look in the Bible for some examples. Joseph waited around (15-20) years for his prophecy to be fulfilled. Abraham waited 25 years for his son Isaac, and David waited around (15-20) years about being king come to pass. There is always a gap (or wait) between the prophetic promise and the fulfillment. During this wait, prepare yourself; don’t just “do nothing.”