Zebulun And Naphtali

Genesis 49:1-2
” 1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:  2 “Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob,
And listen to Israel your father.”

Jacob was about to die and be gathered to his fathers.  Just prior to his death, however, he called his sons to himself and spoke a blessing over each one, some of which seem more than a little strange. 

Out Of Order.
All these blessings are all recorded in Genesis 49.  But there is something quite puzzling here, not only in the blessings themselves, but the order in which he prays for them.
For instance, after blessing the 4th son, Judah, Jacob bypassed sons 5,6,7,8, and 9 to bless #10: Zebulun.  Dan should have been next in line. Why?

Part of the reason is that these blessings tell of things that will happen “IN THE LAST DAYS.”  But The Holy Spirit, our Master Storyteller, is at it again, drawing beautiful pictures for us.  Hidden in the blessings of his sons are prophetic things about Jesus.  Oh how He loves to hide nuggets of truth for us to find, like a treasure hunt!

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Secrets In The Hebrew Language.
All names in Hebrew have a meaning.  Throughout the Bible are hidden messages in names, places, and things.  There are stories within stories and meanings in the Hebrew letters as well as numbers.
The meaning in numbers is a phenomenon that has known to the Jewish Rabbis for centuries. They call it, “Gematria.”  You see, Hebrew uses letters of their alphabet as numbers. For instance 10 is the letter “yod. [י],” that teeny tiny little line.  The number 10 is a typology for other things. It can refer to the Law or the tithe.  5 is the letter “hei [ה],” means “Grace.” For a more complete discussion of this, you may refer to the link below:

Change Of Name.

Notice the name change in the opening passage?  The Holy Spirit called him both Jacob and Israel. Why? Because that is his glorified name.  He uses it every time. Jacob operated in faith. 

He pronounced a blessing over Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. So far so good. They are his first four sons in order of their birth. But Dan, who sould have been next in line, was displaced. He takes son #10, Zebulun, and gives him the #5 spot, blessing the 10th in place of the 5th. Why?  God is pointing out that Grace is replacing the Law!

You see, Dan’s name means, “Judgment.”  Since all these things are pictures of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is pointing out that Jesus, in His first appearing, came as the Lamb of God.  He did not come to judge; He came to save!  He came as Shepherd.

(For more on that topic, you may follow the link below:
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When He returns in His second coming, different story! He’ll be riding on a white horse with the Church in tow as Judge, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Those outside of Christ will be judged AT THAT TIME…..AND NOT ONE MINUTE BEFORE.
Right now, the door of salvation is still wide open, freely offered to whosoever will.  The Father is delaying Jesus’ return for as long as possible because He is willing that NONE should perish!
Meaning Of Zebulun.
Zebulun means “Glorious Dwelling place,” in Hebrew.  His name is mentioned referring to him personally exactly FIVE TIMES in scripture, the number of grace! The other mentions are references to the tribe of Zebulun.
The town of Nazareth, which was Jesus’ “Dwelling place” for most of His life, is in the region of Zebulun.  Back then, it was a no-account backwater; a seedy little town.  Just by virtue of the fact that He was born there, Jesus brought great grace and honor to Nazareth. This place, which formerly had the worst of reputations, is now known as the town where Our Lord Jesus grew up.  It was elevated from the lowest of places high above all others!
You see, Church, no matter where you’ve come from or what you did to mess up your life, Jesus loves you!  He came to redeem and elevate you to the highest place of glory and honor.  He takes great pleasure in using the “Foolish” things in this world to confound the so-called, “Wise.”

Leah’s Blessing.

Zebulun’s mother, Leah, spoke the following over him when he was born:


Genesis 30:19-20
“Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son {her 6th, Jacob’s 10th}
20 And Leah said,“God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell {zebul} with me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun.”

Poor Leah! She was constantly vying for love and attention from her husband.  After giving birth to this child, she thought, “Now maybe he will “Zebul-dwell” with me.”  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  
Zebulun.

Leah also said after that God gave her a “Good endowment,” after the birth of her next son, “Zebulun.” Interesting choice of words. The word for endowment in Hebrew is “Zebed.”

Below is the blessing Jacob spoke over Zebulun:

Gen 49:13
“Zebulun shall dwell by the haven of the sea; He shall become a haven for ships, And his border shall adjoin Sidon.” Remember James and John, the sons of “Zebed-ee?”  They were from “Zebulun,” which is derived from, “Zebed,” mentioned above.

Zebulun and Naphtali map


Nazareth is located in the region of Zebulun.  Zebulun and Naphtali make up the entire region of Galilee. {See map above}

Naphtali.

Below is the blessing spoken by Jacob over Naphtali:
Genesis 49:21  “Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words.”

What is the Holy Spirit is describing here?  He is referring to a particular event in the lives of Jesus’ disciples!  Most of them were from the tribe of  Naphtali. The only ones who weren’t were James and John of Zebulun, and Judas, who hailed from the tribe of Judah, same as our Lord Jesus.

The “beautiful words” are the the words of the Gospel, the GOOD NEWS, that the disciples preached.  No wonder these men are like a deer let lose:  Nothing sets people free like the Gospel!

“In The Last Days.”

We are living in the last days. Zebulun, the 6th son of Leah, 10th son of Jacob. As believers, Jesus has come into our hearts and He “DWELLS” with us. He never leaves or forsakes us. After “6 days,” as God counts time, Jesus will call us out of this world and we will “ZEBUL: DWELL” with Him forever!

At that time, the judgment of the Great Tribulation will descend on this earth. But you and I won’t be here. We’ll be sitting down at the marriage supper of the Lamb!

Leah’s name in Hebrew means, “Wearied.”  Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye who are WEARY and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Weary from what?  From trying…..AND CONSTANTLY FAILING…..to try and keep the law, of which Leah is a personification.

Zebulun, son #10, is also a picture of the Law.  This boy depicts the end-time church that is stuck on still trying to obey the Law in order to be acceptable to God. They teach grace but mix the law in with it.  Though believers, they still teach that one must obey the Law or suffer its consequences.

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Obedient By “Accident.”

Here’s the problem: The law has been replaced by grace. We are no longer under the law with all it’s punishments for disobedience.  The Holy Spirit, Who now lives inside, leads us into all truth.  As a result, we not only DO NOT want to sin, we want to everything we can to please Jesus. We actually end up being MORE obedient by “Accident,” so to speak. You see, when you have the Man Inside, YOU DON’T NEED THE MAP: the Law.”

ALL the consequences and curses of the law fell on Jesus at the cross. They are no longer our heritage.  Even though such believers are so hobbled, they will still have great effect on the world, spreading the Gospel to its four corners. But how much more effective the Church will be when she has shed herself of her Galatianism. HALLELUJAH!

A Deer Let Loose!

The Church is also like Naphtali to the world. We are a “DEER LET LOOSE WHO USES BEAUTIFUL WORDS” to tell others about this wonderful Jesus!

Naphtali’s name in Hebrew means, “To twist or contort.” The segment of the Church mixing law and grace is also, initially, a little confused over the place of the law in our lives. Even so, that will not hinder them from spreading the Gospel to the whole world. Eventually, she will be set free from her preoccupation with the law and be an even more effective witness for Christ!

What a wonderful, loving Father Who hides such beautiful pictures of our lovely Jesus and and the Church in the blessings of these two sons of Jacob:  Zebulun and Naphtali.

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