Two events stand out that transpired as God began to work out His plan and purpose with Abraham and his seed. Both events occur in the life of Jacob. One event marked the first major development in the growth of this new nation.
With Jacob the actual development of God’s nation would begin. God appeared unto Jacob in a dream. God confirmed to Jacob that His covenant with Abraham and Isaac was now being carried out with him. But God also impressed upon Jacob the significance of his plan and purpose in this covenant.
GENESIS 28:12-15: (Read)
B. Jacob saw in the vision/dream the “ladder set up on the earth,” with its “top reaching unto heaven and the Angels of God ascending and descending on it” (this dream showed in a marvelous way what the covenant was providing for. (12)
This Land that God had given to Abraham and his seed, and now being confirmed to Jacob, would be where God himself would dwell on this earth. In the land, God would establish His residence and Kingdom, and the Angels would travel back and forth from heaven conducting God’s business. The Kingdom of Heaven therefore, would be established on this earth, in this land.
GENESIS 28:16-19 (Read)
C. Jacob was amazed after awakening, really appreciating what the issue is all about. “The Lord is in this place” (16). Jacob understood from the vision that God has chosen this covenant land as His dwelling place on earth, there “is none other but the House of God. Jacob also understood that God would also be establishing the Kingdom of heaven on this earth. And “this is the gate of heaven.” The “gate of’” is often a reference to its governmental power and rule. God told Abraham thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. (Gen. 24:60)
What Jacob saw in the vision with “the Angels ascending and descending on the ladder,” was the seat of God’s government established on the earth in this covenanted land.
The business of heaven and the service or function of Gods Angels was being conducted from Gods dwelling place in this land. God’s government would be established on this earth. Jacob set up an altar with the stones he had used for his pillows, and he called the name of the place Bethel (which means House of God).
Along with Jacob’s dream, God also dealt with Jacob again in a very special way which, in connection with the development of God’s nation under way, added further understanding to God’s plan and purpose with His nation. In Genesis Chp.32, in connection with Jacob’s fears concerning Esau, God provided further understanding of what His plan and purpose with him and his seed was all about
GENESIS 32:24-28: *JACOB WRESTLES WITH AN ANGEL*
D. Along with the understanding, Jacob also received a name change that would from now on be a testament of what God was doing.
(24) “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man (Angel) with him until the breaking of the day. (25) And when he (Angel) saw that he prevailed not against him (Jacob), he (Angel) touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacobs thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (26) and he (Angel) said, let me go, for the day breaketh. And he (Jacob) said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (27) And he (Angel) said unto him, what is thy name? And he said, Jacob (FROM JACOB TO ISRAEL) and he (Angel) said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a Prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed.”
E. The name “Israel” means “a Prince or ruler of God; one with whom God rules, or will rule.” It conveys the idea that the one so named is God’s ruler; Gods Prince; one through whom God reigns Supreme or will reign Supreme.
That God would change Jacob’s name at the time the nation is beginning to develop through Him is very significant. For the name means the very thing that the Abrahamic covenant indicates that God’s “great nation” would be.
F. This great nation would be God’s ruler on this earth. Through Israel, God would reign Supreme on this earth. The power of God would be with Israel just as with Jacob in the wrestling with the Angel. Israel would prevail on this earth just like Jacob prevailed in wrestling God’s Angel. So then the nation of Israel, as the name Israel signifies, would be just that I.E the nation of Gods Rulership and Dominion on and over this earth .