For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000 James Melough


Jacob, though less easily discerned than most of the others, is nevertheless also a type of Christ, and in connection with the flaws in his life it is necessary to note, that with the exception of Joseph and Daniel, of whom no sin is recorded, all the other types were clearly also not without faults; and relative even to Joseph and Daniel, it is to be noted that the absence of any record of sin in their lives is not to be construed as meaning that they were sinless.  They weren’t, for there are no exceptions to Ro 3:23, “All have sinned,” hence the need of the new birth to save men from hell and fit them for heaven.

Like his father Isaac, Jacob was also a secondborn, his brother Esau being Isaac’s firstborn; and as Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn, hated Isaac his secondborn, so did Esau, Isaac’s firstborn, hate Jacob his secondborn, this hatred manifesting the enmity that exists between what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit, as disclosed in the Jews’ hatred of Christ; and in spite of its protest to the contrary, in the final analysis the flesh hates God and everything and everyone belonging to Him.

Because of his brother’s hatred, which as noted already typifies man’s hatred of God and which is therefore the ultimate cause of sin, he had to leave his father’s house and go to Padan-aram meaning their ransom is high, and few will have difficulty seeing in that journey a typological picture of Christ’s leaving heaven to come down to earth, so that men’s sins might be atoned for, and they reconciled to God.  Nor will many miss the significance of the meaning of Padan-aram their ransom is high: it points to the price that Christ had to pay to ransom men’s souls from death.  It cost Him His life, that cost being further declared in 1 Pe 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ....”

Connected also with Jacob’s leaving his father’s house and going to Padan-aram, was his taking a wife, see Ge 27:46; 28:1-2, it being emphasized that she was to be of his own blood line, and so was it also with Christ.  His coming to earth to make atonement for sin and provide salvation for every believer, has resulted also in His receiving a bride, the Church, made up of all those who trust Him as Savior in the period between Pentecost and the now imminent rapture, it being said of those believers that, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” Eph 5:30.  See also 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27. 

A further significant fact connected with Jacob’s bride was the evil character of her family, particularly her father and her brother, for in this, God would have us see the evil spiritual parentage of all men prior to the new birth.

Another brush stroke has been added to the symbolic picture by the divine Artist in recording that through the conniving of Laban, Jacob’s father-in-law, he was tricked into a union with Leah, the elder sister of Rachael who was afterwards given him as his bride, and whom he loved dearly.  It isn’t difficult to see in this the foreshadowing of Christ’s coming first to offer salvation to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” see Mt 10:6; 15:24, Israel being portrayed by the elder daughter Leah; and the Church, by Rachel, the brevity of the time between his union with Leah and his marriage to Rachel having its fulfillment in the brief period between the presentation of Christ to Israel, and the dissolution of the nation in AD 70.

Jacob’s evil treatment at the hand of Laban is symbolic of Christ’s evil treatment at the hand of Israel, the symbolic picture being brought into clearer focus in Jacob’s flight from Laban, and God’s warning to Laban not to harm Jacob, see Ge 31:24.  In the preservation of Jacob, God would have us see His preservation of Christ through resurrection.  The Jews imagined they had seen the last of Him when they sealed His tomb, but He having died to make atonement for sin, has been raised again, as it is written, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him,” Ro 6:9.

Passing over many other instructive details of his history, we find Jacob at last returned to the land, rich and powerful, reminding us that Christ will also return in power and glory to subdue His foes, and inaugurate His millennial kingdom.

For a detailed study of the life of Jacob see the verse-by-verse Genesis studies.

(Another type of Christ will be added next week, D.V.)



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough